Our holiday to Crete involved something we’d never done before: staying in one hotel for 3 weeks. It seemed a good idea when we booked it, but then on the flight over, I started worrying, ‘what if we don’t like the hotel’.
The town of Rethymnon on Crete’s northern coast was an hour by taxi from Heraklion airport and the “Sentido Aegean Pearl”:https://www.sentidohotels.com/hotel-search/sentido-aegean-pearl/ was virtually the last hotel on the seafront.
Our room – Our garden view room was a reasonable size and well appointed with plenty of hanging space, drawers and shelves: on unpacking, everything easily found a home. The mushroom walls were calming with art adding a splash of colour. AC and lights worked well and although there was a TV and tea making facilities, we didn’t use either. The fridge was filled on request but, as there was a small supermarket nearby, we just chilled our water and tonics (to go with the duty free gin). The desk had plenty of plug points nearby, complimentary wi-fi and a comfy cream arm chair had a good reading light. We grew to love our little home from home despite the small single beds pushed together.
The open plan bathroom (not the loo) might not be to everyone’s taste but we liked it. Although the shower was over the bath, it was hot and powerful and it was hard to drag myself out of it in the evenings. The hairdryer worked well, the toiletries were reasonable, the shaving mirror was at the right height and the white towels and robes were good quality. Perfect.
Our balcony with table and two chairs, was ideal for our nightly game of chess after a day on the beach.
Entertainment – We don’t ‘do’ evening entertainment, but each night at 9pm there was something different around the outside bar: a magician, folk dancing, pianist and for something different, a slide show about a local turtle project. The hotel also provided free evening tours of the town and a wildlife area by day. I attended an enjoyable hour’s cookery demonstration particularly as the tastings of tzatziki, stuffed vegetables and koukouvayia (tomato and cheese on bread) were generous and the recipe booklet ensured we could try them out at home.
Restaurant – Knowing the hotel was a little out of town, we’d chosen half board.
Breakfasts were splendid with a vast choice of constantly changing hot and cold dishes. Although probably not a very British breakfast I loved the various types of cheese and ham pastries. Dinner was even better and for me started with soup and olive bread while Roy checked what was being cooked on the hot grill, usually returning with a little something to share (salmon, chicken kebabs, fish goujons, prawns). I generally had pasta or grilled meat with a huge plate of salad from the constantly changing salad bar with Roy feasting on meat and veg (think beef bourguignon, tender sliced roast meats like lamb stuffed with feta and meatballs). There was a lovely array of cold desserts and I was always tempted by fruit salad and ice cream with a small square of honey cake. The wine list was good, with house white being reasonable in taste and price at €16.
But what really made our dining experience was the welcoming maître D (who I’m pleased to say, ensured the dress code of long trousers for men in the evening was strictly adhered to) and the friendliness and professionalism of the waiting staff. Manousos, behind the bar, also deserves a special mention as he made us a lovely large dry martini every night before dinner.
Pool and beach – the pool was small and the sunbeds nipped in so you couldn’t move them round to follow the sun. Instead we used the beach across the road with its neat rows of plentiful beds (free to hotel guests but to others €6) where Harris had the knack of intuitively greeting everyone in their native language. Food and drinks could also be ordered from the hotel and the only downside was that, for our third week, the red flag flew constantly and the life-guards were quick to whistle out anyone caught going into the sea.
So a great recommendation, with only two very minor niggles. (1) despite booking months ago, we irritatingly had to change rooms after two nights although to be fair, the first one was a suite. However, we were able to pay €35 to keep our room from 12 noon until 6pm on the day of departure. (2) beach towels are only exchanged three times a week (not very 5 star).