Looking over the long beach of Rethymnon, the hotel could be mistaken for a high rise block of flats when seen from afar. Once inside, you will have a big surprise. Somewhat reminiscent of a cruise ship, the space is full of twists and turns, pontoons, parquet floors, and pretty little swimming pools... Thanks to intelligent renovation work, the hotel makes use of every nook and cranny to offer a maximum of services to its guests. There are many bay windows to allow maximum use of the natural light.
The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the centre of Rethymnon. Allow 1.15 hours by car to transfer to Heraklion International airport, 50 mi away.
The hotel is part of the "Aquila" group (4 hotels in Crete) and operates between the beginning of April and the end of October. The guests are mainly couples and those aged 45 years and above. Nearly half are Germans, and one third are English. Every afternoon, live music (international and Greek) is staged for the guests. A show (magic, theatre and folk tradition) is organised three times a week.
Facing the sea on the town promenade, this 6-storey building has taken on the shape of a vertical "U", squeezed in between other quite small buildings. Built in 2002 and renovated in 2006, the hotel welcomes its guests into a big reception hall slightly set back from the street. To the side is the lobby bar, a TV space, and a stylish glazed internet corner with 4 flat screens (£3.50/30 mins; £6/hour). The areas are very nice, and the majority of them open on to each other. The mini-club with bay windows has an outside part on the street, fenced in for protection. It has lots of games and activities on offer. An open space on the first floor provides room for a small swimming pool, a triangular overflow pool, and deckchairs looking out to sea from the parquet flooring. The ground floor houses the well-being area, a particularly new, well-kept and modern complex bathed in daylight: it has a covered swimming pool decorated with turquoise mosaics, a whirlpool bath flush with the parquet flooring, a Turkish bath hewn from marble, and some shiny new fitness machines, etc. It is also home to the main swimming pool. It is a pity that there are no plants at all.
The 202 rooms (3 of which are family rooms) are accessed along corridors that are both carpeted and made of marble. Around 280 sq ft in size, 103 of the rooms look directly out to sea, while 45 have a side view, and the rest have views over the swimming pool or the road. Decorated in cream and blue, they are equipped with a flat-screen television (with 31 channels), a free safe, air conditioning, a balcony, fridge, tea/coffee-making kit, direct telephone line, CD player, luggage rack, shoe-shining kit, and mosquito repellent. Wine and fruit are on one of the tables in the furnished room to welcome guests on arrival. The bathroom has a floor of white marble tiles, a bath, scales, bathrobe, slippers, hospitality products, a mirror and hair-dryer.
The buffet restaurant provides breakfast from 7.30 am to 10.00 am, and dinner from 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm. Between 8 and 10 hot dishes are on offer. You can eat outside under the pergola. Inside, although we liked the parquet flooring and many bay windows, the cramped space makes it hard to move around. The hotel cafeteria provides an alternative to the buffet, and opens from 10.00 am to midnight. Here, the maritime theme finds stylish expression in a number of ways. The glazed facade of the ground floor and first floor overlooks the sea. Mediterranean cuisine is on offer.
There are about 10 mi of beaches between Rethymnon and Scaleta. To get down to the sea from the hotel, all you have to do is to cross the very busy road running along the beach with palm trees dotted along it. Wooden pathways have been laid on the fine brown sand to give easier access to the clear waters. A life-guard watches over the beach from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm. The beach gets very busy, so it is a good thing it is so long and wide. If you do not like deckchairs and sunshades, try the water sports club! Rethymnon beach is one of the main sites used by turtles during their breeding cycle (between May and October). For their protection, you must avoid walking on the beach at night at all costs, and ensure that any lights pointing towards the beach are switched off.
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