More about Iberostar Creta Panorama
Went ther last year and it was great so i am in the process of booking for a late holiday this year. Dont know where the complainers were certainly was'nt the same hotel from bar staff to cleaners they were great and yes the animation team were great as well. remember nino well. we were treated with the utmost respect the fact that we were scottish certainly helped. when we arrived we were the only British in the hotel and it is certainly geared for the german and french and unruly italians but as i like to treat people the way i like to be treated doesnt matter what nationality you are. food was great i have a fussy husband who normally gets fed up withit all but not there plenty fresh and inviting meals. can say in all the years of travelling in 4 and 5 star hotels whilst this wasnt opulent it certainhly was comfortable and i am fuss with my hotels. hope this will clear up a few things so iberostar creta panorama here i come again see you all soon
Creta Mare/Panorama - a disappointing experience
This is the first time we have to disagree with the majority of raters for a hotel. For some reasons, we seem to have been in a different place than most anybody else in this forum. But let's take it step by step:
We stayed in the Creta Panorama complex with two adults and two children (8/10) in August 2006. We had a family room outside the main hotel, in one of the single-story bungalows that dot the hillside next to the Panorama.
View is outstanding, better than in any magazine. Maria at the calypso bar is a dear, friendly and helpful all day in the blistering heat. The garden is beautiful and well maintained.
Room - our family room was tiny, certainly less than 30 sqm or approx 300 sq ft. The parent room was without air condition, about as big as a closet and the bed size somwhere between single and french - probably acceptable for newlyweds ;-)
We complained a couple of times in a polite way with front desk management, suggested we even pay for an upgrade, but found ourselves stalled and ignored all the time. We gave up after a week.
Food was on the low end of being acceptable, but to be fair there was always someting that was OK. This is the first time we were in a hotel without even a beverage service, so each meal was string of trips to the buffet to supply food and beverages, which gave the whole thing the atmosphere of a busy airport. Of course if you enjoy a good glass of wine you have to avoid the all-inclusive places anyway...
The coves: Okay, we knew that Crete is not known for beaches and that this hotel in particular had only man-made coves. But seeing the concrete breakwaters and tacky jetties in reality is a downer. Add to that the murky water and algae-covered pebbles, let alone the ever-present sea urchins, the bathing experience is somewhat of a disappointmenmt.
About half the people in the hotel were sick. Sneezing, wheezing or bound to the room with stomach sickness. We have been to many locations, including third world countries and were never sick. This time, every one of us had some kind of indisposition. We believe it to be either the pools (see below) or the irrigation system with its unavoidable mist that smelled intensely of badly reclaimed water :-(
The pools are downright dingy. There are times when it was hard to see the ground. One of the hotel technicians told us the the pump and filter systems could not cope with the number and condition of guests using the pools, this was a known problem. Of course, 9 out of 10 pool patrons did not shower before entering the pools, covered with sweat and suntan lotion - Yuk!
Lastly - the sea: looks much more inviting from the cliff than close-up. There were always shreds of plastic bags and other filth in the water. There were days when not even the kids went into the water. In all fairness, water on the south side of Crete (enjoyed after the Samaria gorge trip) was much cleaner. I guess the north coast is just too populated...
In closing, this trip was a disappointment and we will certainly avoid both Crete in general as well as the Iberostar chain in particular in the future.
Just got back from 2 weeks at the Creta Panorama. Great holiday overall.
Large, clean, comfortable with sea view ( not asked for ).
Due to how the hotel is sited, a large number of the rooms have
Excellent, Italian restaurant and International ( both adjoining)
A la Carte restaurant by the main pool 1 visit per week. (Dont bother paying for bottle of wine, just order house). They go to a lot of trouble to make it enjoyable. Over all food very good, lots of choice. Bars serve International brands of drink as well as local.
Large main pool, plus 3 other outside and 1 indoor. Grassed area on cliff top overlooking the sea was my favourite place to sit
nice breeze, quiet, but near enough for a swim in the pool or a walk down to the cove. Beach- gritty grey sand buy lovely clear water. Not the best though if you are a beach person.
Bit naff, usual animation team type thing, but they did their best. each week they hold either a Gala BBQ or a beach party, this is chargeable 25 euros, but both events were very well thought out, fireworks at the end, very enjoyable.
The hotel is a bit remote, but Panormo village ( little train ride 1.5 euro) is OK for a few little shops and a drink. Rethymnon is about 40 mins on the bus 1.70 euro each way and the old town is nice with plenty of shops, harbour etc. There are also 2 little trips available on the noddy train which can while away a morning.
If getting the bus at night, be carefull getting across the road in the dark, bit scarry!
Overall the hotel was great, service excellent, hotel staff very friendly ( not biased towards the Germans ). Would definately go again. Suitable for all ages.
Good quality All Inclusive hotel
We stayed here for the school half term holiday week and it was very busy. The animation team were excellent and worked very hard to entertain the guests both young and old. The children's activities were very good. Evening entertainment was the typical mix of a few professional shows and the hotel's own animation team. I don't particularly like this kind of entertainment but our daughter does so we sat through a few shows which were fine.
Our only previous All Inclusive holiday had been to the Bahia Principe, Tenerife and it compared quite favourably with that. The food itself was probably better at the Creta Panorama but the lack of restaurants/snack bars was a bit restricting (Bahia Principe has 5 a la carte restaurants as well as buffets,snack bars, bars etc). We came back one afternoon from Rethymnon at around 3.00 p.m and there was nowhere to get anything to eat, the bar in the main hotel was closed and the only place to get any food was the swim up bar which had soft drinks and pies! How bizare!
The clientelle was mainly German and Italian and I noticed nobody dressed for dinner, jeans and t shirts were still very much evident in the restaurant of an evening. There was a large group of Italians on a short stay over a long weekend and they completely took over the place even having an evening party around the main pool area which they closed off early to prepare for. When we asked what all the preparations were for they said 'it's only for Italians'! The music and fireworks went on until the early hours, there's nothing like not being invited to the party to make you feel unwelcome! LOL
Initially I rather enjoyed there not being any other Brits around but after a while the culture differences were showing what with the pushing and shoving and reaching across in the dining room, lack of courtesy and largely unfriendly fellow guests, every time I would make eye contact and smile it always seemed to be met with a surly face LOL. Again probably just a cultural difference.
Overall a lovely hotel and grounds but I would think twice about returning. There aren't enough places to get food or drinks compared to other AI hotels of this star rating and I would prefer a larger mix of British clientelle (never thought I'd hear myself say that)!
great for teenagers
I took my two teenage daughters for a week in July. They absolutely loved it. There were lots of kids their age, all nationalities and they were partying until late. It was very busy and sunbeds were scarce, so you had to be up early if you wanted a lounger. The food was good and there was lots of choice but again it was busy at mealtimes.
I would most definately recoomend this hotel for older children and I managed to read a few novels whilst my daughters had fun. The room was spacious for three and unlike some of the other reviewers, I thought it was good not to be surrounded by all Brits on my holiday.
Having returned from this hotel, I can, in retrospect, understand why most reviewers love it, but there are some dissenters. We went with 3 children who thought it was the best hotel they'd visited. As a parent, I am tempted to agree. As an adult traveller, I found the holiday too slanted to the children, plus there were several other irritations, especially the corporate (Italian) groups.
My suggestion is that those who want a relaxing holiday, with children well catered for, should go to this hotel. For those who value a less regimented (and more hassled) environment, choose a hotel with more variety, and a little more quality.
Big bold and (quite) beautiful
With all reviews, it is difficult to please everyone, so I am going to try to be impartial.
Good general bits!
The hotel is very clean, food excellent, many pools (but salt ones, which you get used to eventually), great for teenagers at the older end (14-18), but also younger families. Having said that, teenagers are not a problem at all. Many nationalities which I like, and a great variety of accomodation.
Yes, there are points in the day when there are only small pies, but not for long really. Main niggle was with FIrst Choice, whose descriptions of the room types in the brochure is not good. I had rung them from the UK to check I was getting what I wanted, but when I arrived, I had a lovely room with a sofa bed for my 12 year old when I had asked for a room with a separate bed bit for him. Do double check this. I was one of many who did not have the room type they thought they had! Sort it out FC for next year, as it made the holiday start badly. Of course we adapted!
The other main niggles are the main pool which is very slippy. this can be avoided by using one of the other pools, especially the one in the front of the hotel with the pool bar tended by Maria - excellent!, and the bagging of sunbeds early. Yes the dreaded towels, and not just the Germans or Italians, Brits too!! The hotel are not strict enough. Howver, for such a huge complex, there is always a quite spot and I agree with the reviewer who said the cliff overlooking the mid bay is good. That is also the best bay for swimming, just below the somewhat bizarre pill boxes, jeep and gun left over from WW2 (goodness knows what the German customers make of this!).
The main restaurant and Italian are really the same, and there is a lot of choice, but it would be better with some more restaurants to avoid the Cattle market feel at peak times. Tip earlier to breakfast, later to lunch and dinner avoids this!
The hotels also shares the site with the Creta Maris, and although we were at the P we were actually in a CM room as it was superior!
The staff - Doris in the games room bar is great. Maids cheery, rooms spotless.
Bar for teenagers - they could party sensibly if you see what I mean!
Water Aerobics in the main pool (and I am unfit) - great fun and excellent staff!
Little train to Panormo, which was fun, and the little town itself has had some bad press here. It was great! The taverna on the right at the waterfront were very friendly.
Get out! Hire a car, take a trip. See internal Crete and the mountains. The caves and the pottery village.
Space and views.
Would I go again? For a short break yes, not for 2 weeks again as I would want to see more of Crete. However, if you want to please most of the family you won't go wrong!
Top tip - if you like waffles at breakfast follow the French to the chef in the Italian section of the restaurant. but if there are no waffles in the pan, he only make 2 at a time, and then quarters them. Thus if there are more then 3 people in front of you in the queue you may end up waffle less! Take a table nearby and leap in between waffle bakes!!
As with anything in life you cannot please everyone but rest assured from somebody who always likes to have a moan you will struggle with this hotel.
We stay during the two middle weeks of August with our two children aged 11 and 12. Their enjoyment of the holiday was summed up in the tears that flowed on leaving the hotel.
The hotel is great, very clean and even when we got up at 11am we still managed to find sunbeds. If you want to sit around the main pool you may be disappointed but to do so you would miss out on the experience of sitting on the grass verge on the cliff. The views are excellent, a nice sea breeze and very peaceful.
Food is good, lots of choice even for vegetarians. The children had everything they need although we do as a family enjoy trying different foods. If you want ham, egg and chips or steak and chips then this is not the place for you!!!
The entertainment is enjoyable, the kids loved it and the late bar was a definate hit with our family.
Most of the pools are salt water but the little pool at the end of the complex is fresh water, never that busy and again you will find sunbeds mid morning. The main pool area is very slippery, but if you were flip flops or shoes and don't run you will not fall over!
The central beach is excellent, yes its not golden sand but its clean and the water is extremley clear. Snorkling is something you must do as the number of fish on some days will suprise you.
The watersports are excellent, the Banana Boat was a big hit.
We had a bungalow which was very nice, excellent air conditioning and our two children had their own bedroom. The rooms were cleaned daily to a five star standard.
Bar's throughout the complex are excellent, staff very friendly and the nightly cocktails need to be sampled.
If you are looking for a holiday were the kids can venture around a complex safely both day and night with lots to do this is the place for you. For the first time in a number of years we got to have a rest and recharge rather than having to entertain our children.
At extra cost they have a weekly event, Greek evening and Beach Party, don't fall into the trap of many British tourist that don't go because its not included in the all inclusive package, you will miss out on two excellent evenings.
Our only gripe was having to travel First Choice Airways, the leg room was appalling and no option to upgrade on the Gatwick flight. BA have a scheduled flight to Crete so when we go back that will be our preferred method of travel.
I would recommend the taxi transfer, as the coach transfer is over an hour.
We will be going back very soon.
Lovely setting with immaculate gardens
We arrived at Heraklion Airport in the unearthly hours of the morning and it was complete bedlam. Bearing in mind this was in September, so I can only imagine what it must be like in full season. About 3 or 4 flights arrived within about 10 minutes, and the airport just could not cope. It was full, there were no announcements and we waited for about an hour just for our bags to be unloaded. There were not enough trolleys or toilets.
Returning home was even more of a nightmare. Once you got through security into the departure lounge you could not move for people. At one stage we would not even turn around it that was packed. It was rather scary for about 10 minutes and it was swelteringly hot. The problem was nobody was boarding flights so people were coming though into the departure hall and there was not enough room.
There are several swimming pools all of them apart from one are salt water. There are fresh water showers so you can shower after your swim.
Food was great. Breakfasts served from 5 AM, and there was continental, English fry up, cereals, yoghurt, fresh fruit, cereals. Lunch could be taken in either the main restaurant (have to wear a top and shorts and be dry) or the pool bar (had to wear a top but could wear your swimming costume too). Again salad, bread, chips, meat and fish and fresh fruit. Afternoon cakes and then evening meal from 6.30 PM. The choices were vast. It was all buffet help yourself and you could choose Soup, salad. There were about 5 different pasta choices, several meat and fish choices with fresh veg and different potatoes, vegetarian choices, huge salad bar, bread etc. Fresh fruit and a huge sweet trolley. There is unlimited soft drinks, beer red and white wine which is help your self taps around the bars and restaurants.
The area around the Pools is very slippy, so do be careful. You get three water bottles in your fridge as although you can top them up around the Hotel, you won’t get a new bottle if one of the bottles is empty. They will not do you a packed lunch (which seems unreasonable) if you go off for the day. It is mainly Italians, Russians, German and Dutch in the Hotel. Most of the staff speak good English and are all very helpful.
The beaches are really little coves with shingle/sand on. It can get very rough so a lot of the time you are only allowed to swim out a short way as the red flag is up. There are water sports available, but as the water is not all on one beach it is located a way from the main pool.
There are free beach towels one per guest which you must return at the end of your stay.
There is the normal animation team, all of which are pleasant and speak English. There are activities during the day, but not as many as we have had on other holidays. They do not interact much with the guests. In the evening they put on a show. It is ok, but we have seen better. Theh try their best!
We went with Thomas Cook.
The Jeep adventure is a must where you go off in a land rover, off road and up into the mountains.
Konossis is good but it is too rushed and you have no time to see anything that you want to see. The guides are very knowledgeable.
Would like to have more excursions as speaking to other guests from different tour operators they had different excursions such as driving into the mountains, and riding a mountain bike down.
Would recommend hiring a car. Do not hire a motorbike as the roads are quite dangerous. Even with a car we had to be really alert as motorbikes were both over and undertaking us.
Late Check Out
This was rather disappointing. We were due to be collected at midnight. Check out was at 12 Noon, so a few days before we were due to leave we asked if we could keep hold of our room. We were told to come back at 10 AM on the morning of our departure. Bearing in mind you have to check out at 12 Noon, this is leaving it rather tight on time. What I could not understand if surely they must know before hand if the room is available or not. Initially we were told we may be able to have the room until midnight at a cost of Euros 50.
You can get the “Noddy train” to Panoroma for 2 Euros, it is very nice but not much to see. It is a very pretty fishing port with a couple of shops, but no more.
Rethymnon can be visited by bus which you catch right outside the Hotel, (Euro 3.40 adult return) and it is certainly worth a visit. Loads of shops, museums and lots to see.
Chania is also worth a visit, you can change buses in Rethymnon. The connection service is easy and regular. This is where the German and English war cemeteries are located.
I would recommend it for older couples and families. If you want a hotel near a lively resort then the nearest lively resort is about 40 mins on the bus.
We would go back again.
Nice food, shame about the Germans!
We stayed in the main hotel during the last two weeks of September on an all inclusive basis. There are a large number of bungalows/apartments on the site too although we can't comment on these.
To make things easy, below (in no particular order) are a list of pros and cons based on our experience:
1. The hotel is located on a huge plot of land with the main building being situated at right angles to the sea - this gives sea views from virtually every room.
2. There are six swimming pools located in extensive and well maintained gardens, which are beautiful.
3. The choice of food available was amazing and the quality was excellent. My partner can be quite fussy about what he will eat but he didn't have any trouble finding several dishes at each meal that he liked.
4. There are free sunbeds around each pool and throughout the gardens. The gardens tend to be quieter and are situated on a cliff top giving an uninterrupted view of the sea and a pleasant cooling breeze. Sunbeds were always available no matter what time of the day.
5. One of the pool bars is run by a lady called Mariah, who was lovely and very helpful.
6. Soft drinks, water, beer and wine are available during the day via self service. On an evening there are several bars with a wide variety of spirits and cocktails in addition to the above and the measures are very generous!
7. Our room had air conditioning and we were quite impressed with this compared to other hotels that we have stayed at in the past.
1. For the first week of our stay, we found the water pressure and temperature of our shower to be poor. This seemed to sort itself out for our second week.
2. Safety deposit boxes were available but at 30 Euros per week, we thought this was expensive.
3. Getting served in the main (Lobby) bar proved difficult on an evening as the bar itself was lined with bar stools where people sat and wouldn't move.
4. The hotel is isolated with no other bars or tavernas in walking distance. With this in mind, we were very disappointed with the evening entertainment provided by the Animation Team.
5. Poolsides were VERY slippy, particularly with bare feet. Care is needed at all times.
6. You can't control who else stays in the hotel at the time that you do and we experienced some very noisey individuals who would frequently slam doors and generally be loud in the very early hours of the morning.
7. Not that you go away to watch the TV but the channels available were mainly in Greek or German and so we ended up watching quite a bit of CNN when getting ready (the only channel guaranteed to be in English).
8. In the event of bad weather, there is little contingency for evening entertainment as the main theatre is outdoors.
9. There is a daily maid service which we thought was ok until I lost the back off an earring and we had to look under the bed!
10. The room contains a fridge that when you check in has three small bottles of water in it. These do not get replaced and so you need to keep the empty bottles and refill them yourself at one of the pool bars or in the restaurant.
From the above it might look as though we had a bad holiday but we didn't, there are just things that we felt could have been better.
Overall the staff were friendly although there were one or two individuals who seemed to resent being there. In addition, the hotel is very popular with the Germans - I won't say too much more but go expecting them to behave true to form and you won't be disappointed.
We have been to a couple of Iberostar hotels and overall we were pleased with our decision to stay here.
One last thing, the photos etc on the Iberostar website are very accurate and so if you look at these you'll have a very good idea of what to expect.