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“Kalamaki Beach Hotel, Zante, June 2013”

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Kalamaki Beach Hotel
Ranked #16 of 30 Hotels in Kalamaki
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Kalamaki Beach Hotel, Zante, June 2013”
Reviewed July 3, 2013

Our hearts sank when our transfer coach rolled into town. Uptown Kalamaki consists of what we called ‘The Strip’. It comprised mostly of neon lit bars and restaurants serving pizzas, pasta, or burgers. They had names like ‘Sizzle and Grill’ or, our favourite, ‘Drunk Corner’. And many gift shops and excursion sales offices. Ideal if you are young and looking for a jolly good drink up and dance into the wee hours or to watch football in the ‘sports’ bars. But I guess we’re a bit past that kind of holiday.

We arrived at The Kalamaki Beach Hotel at around 8 p.m.

An issue greeted us at reception since we’d left our ‘accommodation voucher’ at home.

‘We need that to be paid!’ we were told. A ‘Hello’ or ‘Welcome to the Kalamaki Beach Hotel’ would have been a better start. We could hardly fly back and get it. In contrast, our ‘Rep’, from Olympic Holidays, Roz was faultless and un-flappable and sorted it out for us. We were directed to our room, and crikey it was hot in there.

In fairness we had been alerted that air conditioning and the use of safe and fridge would cost extra, but only via this trip advisor site. The Kalamaki Beach Hotel’s own website promotes these facilities but does not mention a cost. So be prepared to shell out a surprising €183 for 2 weeks. Granted the safe and fridge were non-essential, but hang on, I was coming to Greece as a student 35 years ago when we’d often sleep on beaches or local roofs for some cool(er) night air. Surely with the huge expansion of the Greek tourist trade and its increasing appeal to older generations and families since then, air conditioning in a hot country (that’s why we come here) ought to be a given. (They could go some way to resolve the loo paper business too.) Paying an extra 20% on our total holiday cost for A/C is a little like ordering a restaurant meal and then being expected to hire the knives and forks.

I am aware of the Greek economic problems, but we do spend a lot more money while we’re here than we students did in1977, when all we spent was on a cheap flight, a cheap airless room somewhere indeterminate, and lived off watermelon, street vendor souvlaki and the occasional treat of a deep fried fish.

Since it was pitch dark beyond our hotel lighting, and us in a place we’d never been to before, our evening meal would have to be at the hotel bar staffed by the very friendly Maria. The souvlaki was a bit tough, but it was primarily a bar after all, we ought not to expect anything more than bar snacks anyway. It was little worrying that banging music was coming from the Hotel Marelen next door and there was a karaoke night going on across the street.

And these are the only negative things I could say about the hotel (and all out of the way in the first few hours of arrival.)

We needn’t have worried. After our hotel breakfast of coffee (PG Tips tea also available) fruit juices (choice of three), ham, cheese, toast and hard boiled eggs, followed by yoghurt, tinned fruit cocktail, peaches and more coffee, we discovered in daylight that our hotel was less than a stone’s throw from the beach, it had a clean pool a short distance, and hidden from, the main hotel with plenty of space around and a bar that served basic lunches too.

Our double room with a balcony was cleaned very well every day and sheets changed every other day. My wife and I could, on occasions bump into each other moving around it, and the shower was small but, hey, you’re only in it to sleep and shower!

For a more ‘greek’ lunch there is very good ‘Authentic’ Taverna just beyond the pool, facing onto the beach. Staffed by friendly waiters Marco, Spiros, Dimitrios, and Nikos who, all except Nikos, respond when you attempt to speak greek, even if it is only ‘Parakalo’ or ‘Efaristo’.It serves all the greek favourites along with the ubiquitous pastas, pizzas and kids menus, but it stops serving food at 5 and closes at 7, respecting the ‘protected’ status of the beach as a nesting site for sea turtles (caretta caretta) who lay and bury their eggs there in the evening. Don’t be offended when Nikos (the eldest waiter) ignores your requests, only dropping bills at tables, collecting the money and tidying chairs and tables. He’s not being grumpy, he is just deaf. Top Tip: Opt for a minimal walk to the pool loos, rather than the Taverna’s own.

We had noticed signs to a ‘Greek family restaurant’ called ESCAPE and ate there on our first evening. Outside seating was in a garden with trees with a view towards distant mountains, and not crowded. The Lamb Kleftico was ‘melt in the mouth’ stuff and the Moussaka was so delicious we were tempted to pester the manager, Georgia, for the recipe.

We ventured up to The Strip with varying success. ZAKAMATHI was good too. Its entrance was on the Strip but the seating was way back from it and at a lower level, so we weren’t aware of it. Top Tip: Go there as it gets dark as they light pretty lanterns on the tables. Although when it gets really dark these are the ONLY sources of light. If you sit away from the main restaurant building, as we did, it is difficult to actually see what you’re eating! My wife had the Lamb Shank which, literally, fell off the bone.

On the basis that if you like something. . .do it again, we made two more trips to each of these.

Milo’s on The `Strip’ had been recommended to us, but we preferred our favourite two. A little unfair perhaps as it is known as a fish restaurant and we’d eaten well at a late lunch, and over-ordered non-fish things.

Paulo’s at the quieter, bottom end of The Strip was pleasant enough, if you prefer shop bought deep pan Pizza bases, rather than the thin crust ones we do.

Some shops will allege ‘faulty’ PIN machines, so be prepared to pay in cash. If they do accept your card payment, there will be a charge of €1 for each transaction.
Top Tip: Be careful handling tightly stacked items on shelves – Olive oil to take home, vinegars etc. If you break anything you will be charged. Unlike at Tesco.

There is a Citybank cash machine up near ‘Sizzle and Grill’ at the top of the Strip – it will charge €2 for each withdrawal.

Top Tip: When booking excursions from agents on The Strip, try to get as much information from them about your trip (which will leave from Laganas a few miles along the coast.) If you want a newer glass bottom boat to go see some turtles and have a swim out at sea, try to make sure that’s what your getting for your €20. We made the false economy of opting for a €15 alternative, and ended up being guided onto an ancient diesel smelling rust-bucket (no glass bottom) and when the on board barbeque was fired up, the cabin filled with smoke. We did see a turtle though.

The Crystal Beach Hotel is a nice stroll away, along the beach for an interlude between a beach/pool day and an evening meal. The view from the bar situated high over the sea and beach is a photo-opportunity and well worth either the wade through the sea AROUND the quartz laden rocks (only knee deep) or ducking off the beach at the orange arch and upturned canoe to go over the top of them, especially if wives have important shoes on! Their restaurant on a higher level over the sea is good too.

Top Tip: If you need it, check whether bars, hotels or restaurants are offering simply WiFi or FREE WiFi. Stanis restaurant is free, and good food too. Crystal Beach charges a couple of Euros for half an hour.


We were attracted by an ad for a barbeque with entertainment at Hotel Marelen, next door. But it was very busy and a tad Butlins. We arrived during the kids entertainment. We didn’t have any, but suspected the ones there were a bit over-tired or hyperactive. But, in fairness, that hotel promotes itself as a ‘family’ hotel, and they were kind enough to refund our €20 as we left.

Banana Beach is a must, in our opinion. Greece has very clear waters but these were especially so. And Kalamaki Beach has weeds and can be a bit rocky getting into the water. There is a FREE bus service taking approx. 40 mins. at 11.15 from opposite ‘Paulo’s’, and we went there three times too. The sunbeds were €6 for the day as usual, but there are also a few four-poster style cushioned pergolas with drapes all round, at €13. Both having waiter service, saving you a regular walk up the hill to the bar and restaurant. The bus is waiting to return at 4. Top Tip: Considering bus travel times, you will only be there for 4 hours. I’d suggest taking a picnic (there are plenty of supermarkets near the bus stop selling fresh fruit, bread, cheeses and hams-I’m sure the hotel won’t mind/notice if you ‘borrow’ a knife!) rather than taking an hour out of your time at the restaurant, good though it was, (and had freshly caught fish to chose from its iced display) maximising beach time. Everything was very clean including the toilets. Top Tip: It gets busier at weekends.

We were very sad to leave. The hotel staff had all been courteous and helpful, as was our rep, Roz. We’d had a fantastic holiday, the odd hiccup ought to be expected. Ours were rare.

Our progress through the airport, and its passport, luggage and security checks were comparatively smooth for a Greek airport.

Room Tip: Go for first floor annexe, for the view
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Doug G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed June 29, 2013

Just had a fabulous 2 weeks in kalamaki beach hotel.All staff very friendly and helpful.Room was adequate and cleaned every day by the two lovely ladies.The pool was great and very clean,plenty of beds and parasols and a poolside bar and snack bar.The beach taverna served food from 9am till 5.00pm,we ate there every day and the food was delicious.There were low flying planes but they never bothered us.Best location if you like the beach,but walk to kalamaki from hotel was a bit of a drag if you are elderly or disabled.You can get a taxi for 5 euros.Breakfast was self service,tea coffee juice.Boiled eggs,toast,ham,cheese,rolls,cakes,and cereals and fruit.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Elizabeth W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swindon, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 25, 2013

Just returned from a 10 day break with our two friends, we love this hotel and have returned many times. The hotel is clean, the staff are so friendly, they can't do enough for you! The location in our opinion is the best in Kalamaki. We have stayed in other hotels but nothing compares. The grounds are beautiful and very well maintained, rooms are a good size. The pool area has recently been updated and looks lovely. There is a pool bar which serves food, a restaurant on the beach and a bar at the front of the hotel which is popular and open til late. It is close to the main strip where all the restaurants are and entertainment. If you are looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday, this is the ideal hotel. Looking forward to a return visit!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank jenkind7450
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 20, 2013

Stayed here for 2 weeks with my husband. Lovely room, not that big but clean and had all that we needed. Our room was on first floor near reception. Staff were polite and helpful. Pool was of a nice size and close to the Kalamaki beach taverna that was great for lunch. The road it was on is peaceful and the walk at night to the old kalamaki wasn't to far which we went to every night. Would we go back again, definately.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank louise t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed June 10, 2013 via mobile

Stayed here with my husband daughter 4 mother in law and her elderly mother. The hotal is lovely and clean the breakfast is just your average continental breakfast something there to suit everyones taste. The hotel pool is lovely and clean the pool and beach bar have lovely food. Not much for children do we had one on her own and she only played with one little girl one day the rest of the time was no children there. Over all a cracking holiday in peak season great weather. Right next to beach not to far a walk into main strip where all the restraunts are absolutely gorgeous I recomment Stifardo it lovley. Staff was very friendly especially the lady who worked on reception she always made a fuss of our little girl.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Nicola W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Blackpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed June 9, 2013 via mobile

We booked this as a late deal so felt we were taking a bit of a chance as some hotels can be very basic in Greece. However we were pleasantly surprised. The hotel is closest to the beach in the area where the loggerhead turtles come at night to lay their eggs - an interesting bonus. The hotel looks to have been recently refurbished and is smart and modern in appearance. We were in the annex block, even nearer the beach. The room was on the small side but there was plenty of storage and the beds were comfortable. The bathroom was also small but adequate. The shower cubicle looked new (with sliding doors) and there was always plenty of hot water. We decided on arrival that we wanted the safe, fridge and air conditioning. These were all extra but we were warned of this when we booked. It cost 91 euros for all three for the week which some may think expensive. There are no tea/coffee making facilities so I recommend taking a kettle and supplies. All rooms have balconies and we had a great sea view although we were on the top level so not sure whether the views would be as good on the ground floor. I would certainly ask for a top level room. We found the staff very helpful and friendly. The air con wouldn't work when we first tried it but within half an hour they had it fixed for us. The room was clean and there was maid service every day. The breakfast was a bit monotonous - 2 types of cereal, tinned fruit, yoghurt, cheese, ham, boiled eggs, bread and a selection of biscuity things and cake. A bit of variety would have been nice but great outdoor area to eat breakfast 'al fresco'. There is free wifi but you can only really access it in the dining area or reception areas. The pool area is beautiful with a pool bar where you can also get food albeit a little pricey. Also sun beds are free by the pool whereas you have to pay for them on the beach. There is also a smart looking bar open in the evenings near reception but we didn't try it as it always looked quiet. One thing no one else has mentioned is the fact that the hotel, along with all others in this area, is right on the flight path of the nearby airport with planes only a couple of hundred feet above you! We thought at first this might be a problem but its amazing how quick you get used to them and they didn't bother us really. There aren't actually many flights a day anyway and we didn't hear any at night. We would certainly go back to this hotel.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank John P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed March 11, 2013

This was a holiday on a budget, however we used OTB and after booking and paying in full on their website they called me the next day to tell me the holiday had gone up by £300 because of the Thomson flights, I was furious but because I had already paid and amde all the arrangements I felt obliged to pay the remainder. However I have never used since nor will I ever use OTB again because of this.
The hotel looks very nice from the foyer and the overall impression is good, clean and bright.
there are the usual extra charges for aircon fridge and safe which I hate but actually have come to budget for now anyway. The rooms are the usual expected for Kalamaki, on the small side and basic a bit cramped for 2+1 but since you are out at the beach or eating out are fine to kip. Our balcony overlooked the strip of side garden and rough pasture and was actualy quite pleasant.
the bathrom was functional but very cramped and trying to take a shower without flooding the place was near to impossible, nor was there much space to put down cosmetics & toiletries without them getting soaked too! Not an awful room but certainly only worth 3 stars at best. It was kept very clean tho.
There were no meals included apart from breakfast which was sad in the extreme, boiled egg toast and jam every day, some basic cereal, crappy machine coffee. We eventually started eating out for breakfast to avoid the boredom of the same non-event every morning. The sparrows are very cheeky here and will nick your toast if you turn your back which is not very hygenic either.
The bar out front was actually one of the nicer parts of the hotel and provides free pool and table tennis, drinks were good and reasonably priced for healthy measures.
The pool was also quite nice, it was a slightly mid-season when we were there and so no probs getting beds although we also tended to go to the excellent beach a lot anyway. The pool bar was good friendly but not the cheapest.
There is a taverna on the beach which is connected to the hotel - the food is generally pretty good but it is pricey and if you eat there regularly you will feel it. However if you want real greek food and fresh seafood look at what the locals are lunching on and order some of that, it is really excellent if you are prepared to be a bit adventurous! Again though it will cost you a fair bit but is so much better than a lot of the tasteless tourist dreck we were subjected to on the strip in the evenings.
For anyone who has not yet been there are two main reason for going to Kalamaki, one is the lovely gently sloping family safe beach (although sand castle building is limited because of turtle nesting) and the other is the Brit friendliness of the area. If you are happy to eat out and get a decent deal price on this hotel you will have a pretty nice stay, it is functional and close to the beach, otherwise there are much nicer (although pricier) available in the area.

Room Tip: Get rooms away from the road (front) of the hotel, don't worry about aircraft noise, you get use...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Marrakesh_Namur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kalamaki Beach Hotel

Property: Kalamaki Beach Hotel
Address: Zante, Kalamaki 291 00, Greece
Location: Greece > Ionian Islands > Zakynthos > Kalamaki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Kalamaki
#15 Romantic Hotel in Kalamaki
#16 Family Hotel in Kalamaki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Kalamaki Beach Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 43
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the luxurious Kalamaki Beach Hotel situated right on the beach of Kalamaki, on the south coast of the picturesque island of Zakynthos. The complex was created in 1981 and it includes 2.5 acres of beautiful gardens, three buildings with accommodation, 2 swimming pools, a snack bar, a restaurant, a cocktail bar and a traditional taverna by the sea. All 43 rooms have been refurbished in 2011 and thus contain all modern amenities that will ensure a comfortable and pleasant stay for all our guests. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kalamaki Beach Hotel Zakynthos

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