I must admit, before we booked our trip we were a little apprehensive due to the lack of pictures. The accommodation is very affordable and it seemed that there had to be a catch - but there wasnt!
The owner of the apartments, Fragiskos, emailed me detailed instructions for how to find the hotel prior to our arrival. Luckily we had booked an airport shuttle, but this was still very thoughtful of him and was greatly appreciated. By the time we got through the airport and made it to the hotel, it must have been about 8:30pm - but straight away we were impressed. The pool terrace was stunning, and because our shuttle bus took a wrong turn we entered the complex from this side so this was the first thing we saw. Although it was getting late, Fragiskos was waiting in reception to greet us with a smile. We found our room to be spacious and well-equipped, better than we were expecting in every way. Granted, the accommodation is no-frills, but equally nothing was lacking. Everything was spotlessly clean, there was ample kitchenware for our needs, and the room was a triple rather than the double we were expecting! We got changed and went downstairs to get a remote for the air conditioning in our room - straight away Fragiskos was keen to make sure we were happy, and he recommended a local restaurant for us to eat at. It was then, however, that he told us not to get too comfortable - there was a better room becoming available the next day, which we would be moved to!
Sure enough, we were moved to a 3rd floor budget studio on our first morning, which was bigger and had a view over the mountains. This went without a hitch and was another example of Fragiskos going above and beyond his duty to us. Again we had everything we needed - a small cooker/stove, pots and pans, and even a good sized fridge! It is notable that all rooms have their own balcony and space to dry clothes. The area isn't massive, but it's more than I would have expected from budget accommodation. We had a private safe in our room which there was no charge for and which had more than enough space for all our valuables. The bathroom was spacious and honestly, the only real annoyance we found was that because there was a small gap between the top of the shower tray and the bottom of the curtain, there would sometimes be some leakage. This is a very minor gripe though!
Throughout our whole stay (8 nights) we found Fragiskos to be consistently helpful and friendly. Even the maid, who appeared not to speak English, always greeted us with a smile. This really contributed to the experience and we asked for advice and recommendations on a range of different things - all of which Fragiskos was happy to help us with. At the end of our stay we needed to contact our airport shuttle company and he made this phonecall on our behalf without question. On our last night, we came in from dinner around 10pm to find that he was still working! We stopped to say our goodbyes and found that he was waiting for an arrival due at 11:30pm.
Throughout our stay, the maid cleaned our room and changed our sheets and towels every other day. This was always done whilst we were out so that we were not disturbed and everything was always pristine when we returned. There was a small charge for air conditioning, but Fragiskos explained to us that this was purely to cover his electricity costs and we had no issue with paying it. When a hotel is so affordable, it is only fair to expect to pay a little more for the luxuries. We opted not to pay for breakfast but instead prepared our own using our kitchenette. This was ideal as we didn't have to get up early and it was of course a cheaper option.
The local area, Amoudara, was pretty although a little run-down. Everyone was very friendly and there were plenty of shops selling just about everything - as well as some fantastic and very affordable restaurants (our favourite was Creta House). Amoudara beach was beautiful and had a number of bars. Unfortunately the sea was cold, as was the swimming pool at Manos, but this didn't bother us much. In early September the weather was hot but not unbearable and we still had the benefit of travelling during holiday season, just without the crowds. The local bus stop was about a minute away, serving the airport, city centre, and the nearby Carrefour supermarket (if you don't fancy walking!). To be honest though, we only went to Heraklion twice as we preferred to stay in Amoudara. During holiday season the shops of Amoudara tend to stay open until at least 10pm, some as late as midnight, so they really are extremely convenient.
All in all, we had a brilliant time at Manos and would happily stay there again if we ever return to Crete. If you are unsure whether or not to book this accommodation, do it. There is a lot to explore around Amoudara, all within walking distance, and you'll be made to feel at home from the moment you arrive. Highly recommended!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ammoudara Manos Studios Hotel is a total of 10 studios with fully equipped kitchens, with a reception in the entry of the building and of course our swimming pool with the appropriate atmosphere to enjoy moments of relaxation. In the end we must mention that our four story building has an elevator for your facilitation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Amoudara Manos Studios Hotel Crete