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“A Fantastic Option for a Budget Stay in Crete”
Review of Imperial Studios

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Imperial Studios
Ranked #14 of 32 Hotels in Amoudara
Reviewed August 18, 2013

We spent the first week of August 2013 at the Imperial Studios (myself and two teenagers). This was our first visit to Crete and we selected Imperial Studios on the basis of the Tripadvisor reviews. Generally the reviews here are really accurate and give a very fair idea of what to expect. If you want a busy, lively resort with lots of entertainment, activities and 5 star accommodation this is not for you. If you would like somewhere sufficiently small that you can get to know your hosts and fellow guests; where the service is truly personal without being over-bearing; where you can eat beautiful, locally grown and home cooked food and where you can spend time reading and sunbathing (sun or shade) round a lovely clean, quiet, DEEP pool then Imperial Studios are for you.

Georgio is the "front of house" man and a great host. Nothing seemed too much trouble for him. Zac his brother does the cooking and he is a great cook. We quickly decided that the food at the Imperial was more delicious and better value that places in Amoudara and the evening meal times and evenings in the bar are very sociable and family friendly. We ate there 3 or 4 evenings and Zac fires up the wood-fired oven if there is sufficient demand. We had a beautiful beef stifado one night and roast chicken another. We also had chicken fillets another evening - delicious. Have to say that the Greek salad at Imperial is the best I've ever had - absolutely gorgeous - never tasted feta cheese like it. Very healthy eating all round. Zac's chips also great.

We had booked a studio for 3 but for the first 3 nights we were able to stay in the large apartment on the top floor. This is very spacious (two rooms, dining table and chairs, 3 balconies). We didn't need air con there even in August as there is always a "breeze" (gale force wind) that keeps the apartment fairly cool. Kitchen utensils negligible in either of the rooms that we stayed in.

For the last 4 nights we were in the one room we had really booked. This was on the first floor and we needed to pay extra for the air con to sleep comfortably (8 euros per night). This was a very small room with a one ring electric hob, fridge and sink but not table or much in the way of cooking utensils. I managed cheesy pasta a couple of times but washing up is tricky without a draining board (and I had not taken tea towels - a must).

TV didn't work in either of the rooms we stayed in but as we only slept in the rooms this was not an issue.

Beds made every day; good quality bed linen and towels. Pretty clean but not spotless - that said any grubbiness was merely dustiness and the bathrooms were properly cleaned every day. Our toilet broke one day (flooding from underneath) and Georgio had it fixed before we even returned to the room from the pool (I would say within about 2 hours). I thought this was really impressive.

For what we wanted and could afford we could not have improved on Imperial Studios as a place to stay. I would definitely go back!! My teenage children loved the pool, the food and the pool table. They really liked Georgio and Zac - they too would definitely go back (NB free wi-fi in bar and pool area).

As for the "resort" itself - there really isn't much to do apart from the beach which is Ok but not stunning (lots of waves for body boarding etc).. Amoudara is probably an excellent base if you hire a car (which we didn't do) as it is quite central and just off the main northern motorway which links up Heraklion and Chania etc. We used public transport extensively to go into Heraklion (bus stop at the end of the street; buy your tickets in advance from the supermarkets on the main street as its cheaper - 1.50 Euros per trip but 2 if you buy on the bus). However the bus journey into Heraklion is rather tortuous and slow even though the distance is not far and you need to get into Heraklion to go anywhere else (e.g., buses to Rethimnon, Agios Nikolaos).

We took trips to Rethimnon and Agios Nikolaos - easy to do from the bus station in Heraklion (the one at the port) and pretty cheap (around 7 euros each way for each of us). The bus journeys to both were about 1.5 hours. You can buy your tickets on the bus and they are very frequent. Both places are well worth a visit - particularly Agios Nikolaos which is stunning, has a lovely beach in walking distance of the town and great restaurants (we ate at Pelagos and it was absolutely fantastic in every respect).

Depending on how you book to get to Imperial (you can do it directly with Georgio, see http://imperialhotelzacgeorgio.co.uk/) it is probably not worth paying for an expensive transfer to and from the airport at Heraklion. It took us about 20 minutes in the minibus that we had paid highly for but in fact the number 6 bus that links Amoudara to Heraklion actually starts from the airport so you could probably do a return journey on the bus for 3 or 4 Euros per person. Otherwise a taxi would also be a cheap option.

Finally, I can't over-emphasise the generosity of Georgio and Zac who treat you like guests of the family rather than people to make money from. We had countless drinks as gifts and Georgio gave us a bottle of his own olive oil as we left. Wonderful people.

Room Tip: If your budget runs to the apartment I would definitely go for it.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank NCBluecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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41 - 47 of 65 reviews

Reviewed July 23, 2013

Returned last week after a wonderful relaxing holiday. The room was basic but very clean. The owners, Gergio and Zak are great, they made us feel very welcome from the start and also provided us with 'entertainment'. Georgio is a great storyteller and Zak is a great cook. Plenty of sunbeds available and good range of music playing in the background. We had a great time and would definitely go back!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PandH_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

We had a fab week here; Georgio and Zak are excellent hosts and go out their way to make your holiday perfect, one of them was always on site 24hrs. The pool area and garden is very pretty and relaxing, sun beds are always available and if needed the palm trees and umbrellas offer plenty of shade, the pool is superb at 3 meters deep it’s the deepest I’ve ever been in! For families with older children and teenagers it is the perfect place, offering a free pool table (table was due to be recovered), large pool, free wifi by the bar/pool area and fresh food served all day, the evening meals really are the best in Amoudara and were only about €8

The rooms are basic but clean, the running water can be temperamental at times but with a little patience and slight turning of taps it soon sorts itself out, we only needed a kettle and a fridge so were happy with the little kitchenette, if there is anything missing just ask as I am sure they will do their best to help. The beds are comfortable and the linen and towels are changed midweek, Mama Maria cleans the rooms every day except Sunday, lovely lady always smiling and often leaving small flowers from the beautiful garden in the room.

It’s a 5min walk down the road to the main street and another 5mins to the beach. Uncle George’s is a great place to eat lovely friendly staff and great food, if you have young children the windmill restaurant has a soft play area but the food wasn’t so good in there.

I wouldn’t hesitate in going back!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank bristol67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2013

My partner and I have just returned from a week at the Imperial studios and we can not recommend the hotel enough.

Georgio and Zak are great hosts and made us feel very welcome. The big highlight was the food, which was served on one big table to allow all the guests to sit together. It allowed us to meet and get to know all the other guests, giving the hotel a really friendly and intimate feel. Zak is a great chef and the food was always fresh and locally sourced. My favourite was the beef stivado, which had been cooked in the wood fired stove in the hotel garden. Gorgeous!

The pool area was well maintained and there are plenty of sunloungers available for everyone.The bar is open from 8 until late, so Georgio is always at hand to serve up an ice cold Sprite, Beer or Baileys cocktail. A really relaxing holiday was enjoyed by all.

Thank you for a lovely stay!
Karen & Ryan

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TheKazerella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2013

We arrived after one o clock in the morning and there was Georgio, all smiles, ushering us round to the bar for a free ice cold drink - what a welcome after a four hour flight! He speaks english very well and is a mine of information about crete and greece. There are not many budget priced hotels whose restaurant food is very fresh - having been picked minutes earlier from the beautiful garden, especially the vegetables and herbs and they make their own goats cheese (the goats are kept at a smallholding in a nearby village). I have never tasted produce so delicious. Zac is an excellent chef,producing tasty greek classics,using chicken,lamb,fish and there are vegetarian options too.The portions are generous - he also makes the best greek salad I have ever tasted.The food prices are very reasonable, considering its' organically produced and picked freshly - can you imagine the prices you would pay back in the uk for such quality? The bar is well stocked, the pool is nice and the rooms are kept spotlessly clean by Zac and Georgios mother Maria who is always smiling! The rooms are simply furnished and include a hotplate,kettle and fridge and there is a tv although you dont go to greece to watch the telly unless there is something big on like sports matches,I suppose. Being a small place means that the family can spend quality time with their guests, especially at the bar at night where I am pretty sure the laughter is heard for miles, with guests of all nationalities made to feel welcome and safe. There were lots of tears when the transfer bus came and we felt that we had arrived as strangers and left as friends - everyone was on first name terms for the length of the holiday and not just a room number. we are already going to book for next year - roll on summer 2014!

Room Tip: try to get a room on the first or second floor, if you get tired easily and with a view of the mount...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank MaggieC186534
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

As soon as we arrived, Giorgio greeted us and offered us a drink in the pool bar, this friendly atmosphere continued throughout the week. It has a real family run feel about it, both Giorgio and his brother Zack run the hotel, work on the bar and cook the food and their mother, Maria worked tirelessly to ensure rooms were cleaned 6 days a week. Imperial Studios has a really relaxed feel to it, the pool is a great size, there aren't too many people there, the garden and plants are beautiful...and if you need anything, Giorgio is there to help!
The hotel is located a few minutes from the strip which has plenty of restaurants and bars, the beach is about 6/7 minutes away, and there is a very regular bus service into Heraklion, which is definitely worth the 20 minute bus journey.
Rooms are basic but have everything you need and all come with a balcony and optional air conditioning.
I have never revisited a hotel, but with the friendly atmosphere and location I would definitely go back here.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank JennyK294
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2013

This was my second trip to Imperial studios and once again I was not disappointed! The hotel owners were as lovely as always, made us all feel very comfortable and when we had any problems they offered help. The rooms are basic but they are very clean and have everything that you need and the people make up for it. The pool area is lovely and the atmosphere is calm and relaxing but you always get good conversation! Literally cant fault it, would go back in a heart beat.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Bryoney C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Imperial Studios

Address: Amoudara, Crete, Greece
Location: Greece > Crete > Heraklion Prefecture > Amoudara
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Amoudara
Price Range: $20 - $28 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Imperial Studios 3*
Number of rooms: 277
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Also Known As:
Imperial Studios Crete/Amoudara

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