More about Saint Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas
St Nicolas Bay Hotel gets even better in 2006!!
Having just returned from an early season vacation in May 2006 at the St Nicolas Bay Hotel, I felt that I must share my terrific experience with my fellow Trip Advisor colleagues. I was last at the hotel in August 2004 with my wife and 2 children and had a very pleasant time then, but this time was even better!
This year, since British Airways has increased its flight schedules to Crete to 4 times per week, we decided to visit the island as independent travellers. The journey to Gatwick was effortless enough and the flights up to BA's usual high standards. Upon arrival in Heraklion we were greeted by a very smart young man from the St Nicolas Bay, who drove us straight away to the hotel in less than one hour.
Our check in was effortless and a very attentive staff member showed us to our room which was one of the deluxe seafront bungalows. The view was simply breathtaking. The hotel grounds had a certain freshness about it which is usually lacking, on second time visits. Though I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was! We tried all of the hotels five restaurants during our visit, but our firm favourites were the Blue Bay Restaurant for lunch and the wonderful outdoor panoramic sea view Kafenion Restaurant where we dined under the stars. Having stayed in Elounda, a few years ago, I much prefer Aghios Nikolaos area. The St Nicolas Bay Hotel seems to have to struck the right balance for 5* hotel for fine hospitality and service to match, yet still retaining the special Greek charm, without all of the “American Razzmatazz” one tends to find at the other 5* hotels in Crete.
All of the staff we encountered were extremely courteous and very helpful, under the watchful, but unobtrusive, eye of the hotel’s senior management. The pool area was kept immaculately and the water very clean and inviting. My son had some skiing lessons at the hotel’s Water Sports Centre and was soon able to ski around the bay, to the admiration of his friends. My younger daughter was a regular visitor to the hotel’s Kids Club which seemed to be superbly managed. The time passed far too quickly and sadly, it was time to return to the UK. We will definitely return to St Nicolas Bay next year.
very relaxing holiday St nicholas Bay hotel
Date 20th July 2006
Reviewer: North Wales
We travelled to crete with our 8 year old son for 2 week. I was a bit apprehensive about the hotel having read some of the other reviews . We arrived in the afternoon and was greeted by Nikos who was the front manager. He showed us to our suite with a sea view which was very nice. The only problem was that my son had to sleep on a small bed . We made our feeling known and we were eventually moved to a bigger suite after seven days.
The staff were always polite and friendly especially Michalis in the lounge bar.
My partner was looking for a relaxed holiday and that is what he got. There were plenty of beds by the pool and by the beach for the first ten days but after that it was very busy and unless you were up and about by 8a.m. the beds by the pool were gone.
The drink and the food were quite expensive but when you are staying at a 5star hotel that is what you would expect.
Overall we had a lovely holiday and would probably go back again.
St Nicolas Bay Hotel has a lovely location. The front row seafront accommodation is fine with good seaviews but some of the rooms which purport to have a sea views don't! Some of the second and third row rooms look out onto bushes and trees! The rooms are a little shabby and basic - not five star standard. Beds uncomfortable. No tea/coffee making facilities in the bedrooms. The staff were hardworking and friendly. The half board arrangement is fine when one is travelling with children - the buffet dinners are very good but the restaurant does resemble a school canteen. Tables outside would be welcome but are not available in the half-board restaurant. Blue Bay restaurant for lunch is good and has lovely sea views. The new spa is quite basic but welcoming and very informal. Having stayed at this hotel on several occasions there are obviously management/staff issues. The water sports staff are excellent. This prvately owned hotel could be fantastic but is lacking in certain areas. However, it is relaxing, informal and unpretentious.
good but not good enough
We have just returned fromthe St. Nicolas Bay hotel spending four days there. The room was fine but a little small with a nice shaded terrace. The bathroom was narrow. We did indeed have a sea view but it was a strip of blue in the distance between other buildings. It is difficult to comment on the rooms in general as it seems to me that each one is different. It is a beautiful spot and the gardens are lovely. I liked the infinity pool but preferred to sit out on the rocks near the sea. The outside breakfast area was very nice. We were on half-board and breakfasts and evening meals were good and varied. I agree with other comments that individual staff members were very pleasant but the management are not..in particular the Mr. Grumpy comment. On our first evening we were shown into the main eating area which was souless and I didn't like at all. However the next night we realised we could eat in another raised area that was entirely different and delightful although the restaurant manager never seemed keen to show people there! We ate one night at the a la carte Kafenion. The food was good but overpriced and we were allowed a ridiculously small credit in lieu of half-board towards the cost. Food and drink are in my opinion overpriced reflecting simply their 5 star rating rather than excellence. We enjoyed our stay but it is not in my view a 5 star hotel.
Generally OK but with minor reservations
Having just returned yesterday from 7 nights at St Nic, thought it would be a good time to write a review. Initial impression on arrival was good (particularly after a 5 hour flight delay on MyTravel from Gatwick). We stayed in a Junior Suite with separate lounge/bedroom/bathroom (Room 415), not over-looked, and with spectacular views. The room was modern, spa bath included but never used. One or two things lacking such as trouser press and tea/coffee making facilities which you kinda expect in a 5 star hotel, but we consider think to be a minor gripe providing the rest of the Hotel is of good quality, which is was. We stayed B&B, but used the a-la-carte restaurants on 3 occasions, and yes it was'nt cheap, but the food was good (try the choc mousse desert in the Minotoire Restaurant - its a work of art!). Wine and bar drinks were expensive, but generally in line with a 5 star hotel. The barman, Mickalis was a jolly chap and would always enter into light hearted banter. What was slightly strange about eating in the a-la-carte restaurants, was that the General Manager (Costas), he would come to eat in whichever was open on that night, and on his arrival, the staff would basically turn their main attention to serving his every whim (and various members of his family when they turned up). We gave him the knick name of God because he obviously puts the fear of god into his staff. The resort of Aghios Nik is lovely, and a 5 Euro taxi ride will have you bang in the centre in 3-4 mins. You order a taxi at reception and one is there within 60-90 secs (we actually timed it on no less than 3 ocassions, excellent service from the taxi boys). We found a superb restaurant down by the harbour called Barko (8, Akti Pagalou Street, Aghios Nik [-----------]) and although perhaps slightly more expensive than some places, the food was absolutely superb. However, there are tons of places to eat all around the area to suit all tastes and price bands. Back again to the hotel, I would agree with an earlier reviewers comments that the sun lounger quality (particularly at the beach side) was poor, and on one particular day we couldn't even find one available. Also, the waiter service at both pool and beach locations was fairly average. There was a destinct lack of evening entertainment at the hotel, but this can be found in town. Overall, we loved the resort of Aghios Nik, and will return next year, but will probably try Minos Beach Hotel (just over the other side of the bay to St Nicolas Bay Hotel).
One to be avoided
We visited the St Nicholas Bay in August this year, and were extremely disaapointed with our hotel for a number of reasons. Whilst the public rooms were very nice [with the exception of the "school canteen" used for the Buffet Dinner if you were on a half board tarriff] the rest of the hotel was a let down. Our sea-facing bungalow was OK, simply furnished, good air con: nice enough, but certainly not 5*.
The biggest problem of all for us was the attitude of the management. Our feeeling was that everything was too much trouble, from getting a table in the restaurant to requesting a late check out from our room [flatly refused]. Whilst we had been greeted with warm welcomes, bottle of wine and fruit, things went down hill rapidly thereafter.
Breakfast was good, although marred by very slow service. Dinner was shambolic. Poor quality food, small buffet area, feeding frenzy from guests. Not an environment conducive to relaxing at all. Our last night was awful: short tempered staff publicly arguing with one another, half empty buffet table. We could hardly wait to leave. To upgrade to the a la carte restaurants would have cost each one of us around 45 euros or more per person. We had already paid £3000 for one week half board [2 adults, I child, including UK flights]. We did not feel like throwing good money after bad.
Extremely high prices aside, there simply was no atmosphere in the hotel at all. Rarely was there live music, and the place was deserted.
In conclusion, our main complaint was about the indifference of the management. As previously mentioned, on our check out day, I asked if we could have a delayed check out. Flatly refused, because hotel was very busy. Fair enough. However, I was then told that really it would suit them better if we checked out earlier than 12.00, to accomodate incoming guests. To avoid confusion, could we also come early to pay any extras we might have had. We finally checked out at 11.50, and came to pay the bill. Not sure what confusion might have arisen in such a small hotel: who knows.
The manager literally threw the bill at me, with the words :here is your total, pay this". I told him I wanted to check the bill first, which I did. His attitude to us was appalling. He said the bill was OK, and we should pay it. Could not get rid of us quickly enough thereafter , probably because we were not going to spend any more money at his over priced hotel.
We have never been so glad to return home as we were after a week at St Nicholas Bay. Its a pity, because the location is very nice, the local town excellent, and the Cretan people outwith the hotel exteremely friendly and helpful. We might return to Crete, but never again to St NIcholas Bay. Beware.
This could be so much better!!
I have stayed at St Nicolas Bay on three occasions and feel very sad to read all of the previous reviews. This hotel is in a great location. It has its own private, sandy beach with lovely views out across the bay and feels very secluded with its pretty gardens and pathways winding in between the low rise accommodation. It is only a 5 minute taxi ride to the pretty harbour of Aghios Nikolaos, which, although trying to cater for the tourists, still retains a great 'Greek' feel with its mix of shops and restaurants.
The staff are friendly and hardworking, especially Nikos who runs the watersports and Maria who runs the newsagents/shop.
The main problem with this hotel and the reason why I have no plans ever to return is the management.
When you visit this hotel it quickly becomes apparant that the guests are secondary in importance to the management. As has so rightly been highlighted in previous reviews, the management and their extended families take priority over the guests whether it be reserving the best sunbeds on the beach or jetty to being allocated the best tables at the a la carte restaurants etc. Some of the management are members of the hotel owners wife's family and he, sadly, seems oblivious to the situation in his own hotel.
It is obvious that the management have not been 5star trained themselves and seem to have little idea of what guests expect from a hotel advertised as such.
The rooms and bathrooms are basic and need updating and dragging into the 21st century. The mini-bars don't work, there are no tea/coffee making facilities, the beds are rock hard and lumpy, housekeeping is inconsistant, the showers flood, guests are expected to keep dragging their beach towels backwards and forwards to their rooms and keep them for days without being changed for clean ones. The dining option, if you are on half-board, is a rather repetitive buffet served in what can only be described as a school canteen. Breakfast, on the other hand, is served outside on a terrace and is wonderful - why can't dinner be a similair experience? The a la carte options are very poor - totally overpriced and sub-standard. The evenings are abysmal - no music/entertainment and consequently no atmosphere so everyone either goes to bed early or heads for Aghios Nikolaos.
The management are sour faced and unapproachable and, as previous reviews state, have open confrontation with staff.
All the above, aside from the managerial problems, would be more acceptable in a 3 star hotel where you are paying 3 star prices but is, quite frankly, insulting to guests who are expecting a 5 star hotel and are, in turn, expected to pay top end 5star prices.
I repeat how sad I am at the situation at this hotel - it really could be a wonderful place to holiday. There is only so long that a hotel can survive on location alone. For the sake of guests, staff and indeed management themselves I do hope they manage to clean up their act and bring this hotel up to the standard that it is crying out to be.
Perhaps if someone told them about Tripadvisor......................
Over Priced / Poor Service/ Awful food.
We booked a last minute break at the St Nicholas - I had read some reviews on here that werent so good, however they were more to do with price than anything - and i didnt mind spending money so long as the service food etc was to be good. On the upside the villa we had with a private pool was lovely - perfect for my wife and 2 kids. That really was 5 star. Once you had left the confines of your own villa though everything went down hil. The staff were surly and rude - tutting when requesting something, the room wasnt cleaned until 4 pm everyday when it was meant to be cleaned twice a day. The food was so bad and so over priced - we were on a few occasions asked to sit inside whilst tables remained free outside ( but not laid ) we had to fight to get seated outside. The beach is so small that only a few peiople can use it - when we arrived the hotel was quiet so this was ok - however after a few days it got busy. We were then told by the management that our children and those of the villa next door could not play on the only open bit of space at the hotel - there being no space on the beach - no place by the public pool, meant that we had to confine a 3yrd olsd and a baby to the confines of our own small space - ridiculous as ths hotel was marketes as being child friendly - parents take note - the kids club is closed every day between 2 and 4 so forget those afternoon sleeps. we hired a nanny however our 3 yrd old refused to go back with her on the 3rd day - this has never happened before. The 7 day break cost me over £6000 - - i wouldnt say that this was at all value for money - we spoke to the managment who didnt as promised get the general manager to speak to us - instead we were fobbed off with a business card and a promise of a discount next year. We explained that being british we hate to complain but really thought that they should improve the service rather than reduce the price -
On another note the chef here is so bad it is quite unbelievable - fish for dinner would cost about £30 per dish - thats 2 michelin star prices in london - yet we had to send back dish after dish - we were then told by the waiter that critics often visted the place and it was rated highly - he was quite intimidating towards my wife. So would we go again, not a chance - if you have the money and the lack of time - go to the almyra, the residence , the chedi, etc etc - unless of course you fancy a week at the crete equivalent of fawlty towers. thank god the weather was lovely and the room was nice . by the end of the week most people were complaining and groups of quiet discontent were being formed...
anyway - hope this helps.
Lovely location but expensive
We have just returned from 10 days at St Nic. The resort grew on me over time and we had a good holiday. It is in a lovely 5* location but it wasn't a 5* resort in every respect.
We had booked a family suite as we have a 14 month old daughter and fancied some space. Unfortunately the family suites are completely unsuitable for children who are not competent stair climbers as there are lots of marble steps around. Fortunately the manager agreed to move us after a couple of days into a deluxe suite. This was by far superior to the family suite, much more spacious and a separate lounge, bedroom, shower room and bathroom. We were very lucky that the manager agreed to give us this at the same price. We didn't find him grumpy at all, he was very friendly every time we saw him during our stay. We didn't find the staff grumpy either.
There are lots of steps around the resort which you just get used to as the location is so nice, but it is a pain with a pushchair.
Here are the gripes -
the orange juice at breakfast is watered down;
the beds are hard;
not all the reception staff tell you the correct information;
the drinks and food are very expensive, at least twice the price of in the town.
Ag Nic is an easy half an hours walk, or 5 euro in a taxi. I also recommend La Strada and Migomis restaurants.
I have just returned from a stay at the Nicholas Bay with my wife and two children under five. I had read the reviews before going but I decided to give it a go given the recommendations of my travel agent.
It is a good location with pretty grounds which are well maintained. The pool area and private beach are however small for a complex this size and on at least two occasions I noticed debris and scum in the pool. For a family with two buggies to push around there was steps everywhere and no ramps. I dread to think what someone who was disabled would do!
The family size suite which we took was a good size but very bare. On one occasion I had to contact reception for someone to clean the rooms.
The kids club is run by a super lady who was really great with our children. However she is on her own and is not able to take the children outside. It was evident to me that the Hotel was not interested in spending money on this aspect of their operation.
The food at the various restaurants was bland and very very over priced. This was 3 star eating at 5 star prices.
The final comment I must make is in relation to the staff. I found the waiting staff very helpful. The middle and senior management however were simply uninterested and quite rude. On the last day of our stay I asked for a late check out given that our flight was in the evening and that my two young children would require a sleep in the afternoon. The Assistant Manager was quite dismissive of me upon my request and refused to help me.
I will not be staying at this hotel again. It was over priced and poorly run.