Our visit to this hotel at the end of April 2017 was courtesy of Silver Travel Advisor, as I was a lucky winner of one of the monthly draws last year! We had been looking forward to the trip for several months, and although the hotel itself was superb, there were a couple of aspects of the visit with which we were uncomfortable.
On the positive side, the hotel is very modern, with lots of glass, chrome and marble everywhere. Our room was spacious and airy, with a balcony that overlooked the enormous – and very inviting – swimming pool. The fittings, especially in the bathroom, were of high quality. Everything worked perfectly, which you can’t say everywhere you go! We had dinner included on our first night in their Dome Restaurant, and were highly impressed by the quality of the food and service. Some of the dishes were of Michelin star quality! The staff were very friendly and attentive with us, and as we were staying six nights, began to know us quite well! Breakfast was certainly full, with just about everything you can imagine on offer, from cooked breakfasts, to cold meats and cheeses, to Greek pastries and cakes. I was even able to enjoy my early morning glass of sparkling wine (minus the orange juice!)
However, although we had read beforehand that the hotel was not situated near the centre of Thessaloniki, we had not realised how far away it actually is. It’s very near the airport, very convenient from that point of view, and seems to be used mostly by businessmen, those attending meetings and conferences and for weddings. There were no other holidaymakers/tourists like us for the majority of the time we were there. To get into the town centre, we needed either to take a bus (but being unfamiliar with both the Greek bus system, and the language, this was not an option for us) or take a taxi, which meant a journey of at least twenty minutes (in very busy traffic) and a cost of around 20 Euros – each way. The area in which the hotel is situated is not residential at all, rather commercial with out-of-town shops and shopping centres, next door to a hospital, and, if you were really interested in it during your holiday in Greece, an IKEA store within five minutes’ walk! You could walk to these places from the hotel (although the busy road in one direction was dangerous as it had no pavement) but there was literally nothing else of interest to do in the area at all. We therefore felt somewhat confined to the hotel itself where unfortunately we found little to occupy us.
The reason for this was that their ‘summer’ season had not yet started and the outdoor pool and the main bar were closed. In spite of the high temperatures and sunshine while we were there, the pool was not opened as there was building work going on at both ends of it. This meant that, staying in the hotel, we couldn’t use the pool and had to put up with the continuous noise of drilling, sawing, hammering etc. As a result, it wasn’t exactly a quiet, relaxing few days! There were no sunbeds available so the only place we could sit in the sunshine was on the terrace of the restaurant, where we were expected to buy drinks (these were pricey!) and where we were disturbed by the continual passing of workmen transporting scaffolding from one place to another. Although there is an indoor pool which is part of the hotel spa, it was quite small and not as attractive a proposition as its outdoor counterpart!
It is such a pity that none of the staff, knowing we were travelling all the way from the UK specifically to stay in their hotel with the accommodation voucher they had provided, did not see fit to warn us in advance that there would be building work going on, and that the pool would be closed. If they had, we would definitely have changed the dates of our visit to a time when we could have enjoyed the obvious benefits of this excellent hotel to the full. I should repeat that although it is a very nice hotel, it’s not situated in a very convenient area and for most British tourists a hire car is essential. I would say that if you want to try it, you’ll find it very comfortable. You’ll enjoy a bit of luxury and you’ll enjoy the food, but if you go in the ‘winter’ season it may well be partly closed with few activities for holiday-making guests.