The Imperial is a quality international hotel and is without a doubt the best establishment the Mediterranean group has to offer. It also caters well to families with children.
The hotel is in the district of Aghia Paraskevi, a 10 minute drive from Kamari and 15 minutes from Monolithos. The coastline next to Kamari can be reached on foot along the beach, and is about a half hour walk away. Allow 20 minutes or so to get to Fira and its airport by car.
Opened in 2006 and renovated in 2007, the Imperial Mediterranean is full of style and quality services. None of the rooms are designed for handicapped people, but the hotel has put in place some facilities to enable those with reduced mobility to use the establishment, provided they are accompanied.
The entrance welcomes you into a kitsch and charmless setting lacking true style. The reception is just to the left and as soon as you enter, you cannot help but notice the column of crystals hanging down towards a glass table, an installation that is both sad and original. This column cleverly catches the eye and distracts attention from the restaurant lounge and its sofas, which are white (like the whole entrance hall) and set on a different level. This part of the hall has a real shortage of windows, and the resulting gloom is a pity, given the magnificent panoramic view of the mountain that can be glimpsed through the one and only window. The Louis XV-style chairs and cabinets along the walls displaying jewels of little value help give this part of the hotel the appearance of a museum.
Further inside, the hotel layout matches a pretty standard template: a long central space with a swimming pool (and the bar next to it), the restaurant, and a space with synthetic lawn set aside for children, which has a good variety of activities despite its rather unpleasant floor. The swimming pool is very large, and thanks to its bar, this is the hotel's main gathering point. Nearby, there are tennis and basketball courts for guests to make use of, free of charge. There is a spa (in a rather cramped space) where treatments start at £42, and also a room where guests can pamper themselves with a manicure or pedicure.
There are 55 guest rooms, which are designed and decorated mainly with couples in mind. Measuring about 18m², they are spacious and painted in rather neutral shades.
What impresses about the decor is the care taken in the choice of details, without going over the top. For example, there is a mirror with a hint of ethnic design next to the flat screen television. Overall, the design is fairly minimalist. The rooms are also equipped with an exercise bike, stereo, and all the services expected of this category: a safe, air conditioning, a mini bar on request, and 24 hour room service.
The bathroom is furnished with a shower and a bathtub, and the power sockets are covered with a plastic flap (a good idea for families with young children). The toilet is also in the bathroom.
The restaurant is average in size (it can seat around one hundred diners, inside and out) and serves up a menu of international dishes, as well as a few typical local specialities.
In addition to meal times, the bars are open all day long. The bar next to reception is decorated in warm, comforting shades and furnished with dark blue velvet armchairs, but it proves less popular than the swimming pool bar.
There is nothing to go crazy about here, as the beach is pretty charmless and neglected, and there are not many facilities. The black sand could be an attraction in itself if it were not for the many huge rocks, which are piled high and make the place feel more like a riverbank than a beach. As a result, you are unlikely to feel like stretching out in the sunshine, and there is no point looking for a bar to find some shade away from the hot Greek sun either, as you will not find one! When you stay at the Imperial, it is hard to avoid the feeling that you are being left to your own devices, as there are no distinguishing features and the place itself has no life or soul.
All that is provided to counter the sun are two huts in the distance, with six fabric parasols and dozens of blue plastic deckchairs. There is also a cemented waterfront running along the edge of the perfectly and unbelievably crystal clear water of the sea.
All the same, it is a pity that bathing is really the only pastime available to holidaymakers.
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