We stayed for a week at Celini Suites right at the beginning of the season. To get to Evia the options are either the ferry from Rafina, which seems to operate at rather inconvenient times during weekdays, or driving from Athens via the new suspension bridge at Haldiki, which takes 3 hours on a good day, and includes a mixture of new motorway and old, pothole-inflicted roads.
According to Dimitra, the owners' daughter, the hotel changed hands recently and the new owners have been busy updating the decor of the rooms and improving other features. Unfortunately, workmen were much in evidence throughout our stay.
Reception leads through to a comfortable lounge area and the dining room with additional tables outside on the terrace. The infinity pool is a good size, although a bit too cool to use early in May. A small number of sun loungers are provided but many guests would probably make their way to a beach.
The rooms are well laid out on three levels, ensuring that there's plenty of privacy. We were at the end of a lower terrace, giving peace and quiet plus a wonderful view. The room was functional rather than luxurious, and in reality, a studio rather than a suite, but included plenty of hanging space around the bed, a basic kitchenette area, a small shower (handheld, unfortunately) room and a limited sitting area with a single sofabed. Air-con and a flatscreen TV are in every room, and a wi-fi connection is available around the pool area.
The hotel now offers all meals rather than just breakfast, which is sensible as the nearest taverna is at Figa beach, a 5 minute drive or a long walk. Judging by the meals we had during the week, the hotel could develop quite a reputation for its food. Highlights included an excellent vegetarian risotto with black rice and feta, a delicious green salad with parmesan and strawberries, and a grilled vegetable stack with halloumi. But we could envisage the domestic-sized kitchen and inexperienced staff struggling to cope with more than a handful of guests. Also, prices for food and drinks weren't made explicit as there was no menu or wne list yet. Breakfast is an extra 12 euro per person, which seems a bit expensive for a standard continental buffet, although that included homemade jams and freshly-squeezed orange juice.
One option is to self-cater, but given the limitations of the kitchenette (four small plates, four large plates, two cups and saucers, a handful of cutlery, two pans and an electric double ring), preparing even a simple meal would be somewhat masochistic. And the lack of coffee/tea making facilities and supplies is surprising.
Food wise, apart from the hotel itself, one place shone amidst rather typical taverna fare in and around Marmari: a new restaurant called 'Akrogiali', which was opened mid April by a couple of Athenians, and is situated at the end of the Marmari bay opposite where the ferries arrive. The decor is clean and simple but with a quirky touch, such as colanders, graters and the like being used for light fittings. The food is authentically Greek but with modern touches to bring it up to date.
So, overall, Celini was a delightful place to stay but there were a few niggles which need addressing and perhaps should have been anticipated before reopening. As it stands at present, we'd give it a 'very good' rating; with more attention to detail, it would be 'excellent'.
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