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“A Four and a half star trying really hard!”

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Amirandes, Grecotel Exclusive Resort
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Kato Gouves
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 September 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Grecotel Amirandes the second week in September, we had a great stay - lovely food, and this was an ideal hotel for just chilling out for the week. The public areas in this hotel are stunning, the staff friendly and proficient, and there are some lovely touches about this hotel like the constant supply of fresh towels at the pool, beautiful pool area and lovely surroundings, but there are also a few fails that definitely detracted something from our stay.

We had a lovely warm welcome with reception staff greeting us with fresh orange and cool towels - very welcome after a late arrival.

Our room was extremely comfortable - double size with a day bed in the corner. Always cleaned to a really high standard, although I would say that the room was comfortable as opposed to five star luxury.

The pool area is outstanding, and we ate a few times in the pool side bar - the food was excellent, and although a little more expensive that cafes and bars in the surrounding area the portions were huge, and the food really fresh. There is also waiter service in the pool area throughout the day, and the staff come around with free melon slices and water.

We were half board, and the restaurant for evening meals is stunning (mostly outdoors, water features etc). The food was great - always fresh and tasty, but maybe not quite the selection I would have expected from a 5 star hotel. We found the wine on offer at this restaurant was on the whole really expensive, and resorted to getting our own from the local supermarket and drinking it before dinner....however on our last night we ate at one of the a la carte restaurants and found the wine selection better and cheaper!

On the whole the drink is very pricey in the hotel, which was disappointing (over 10 Euro for a vodka and tonic and 13 Euros for a cocktail), so we ended up wandering a 100 yards up the road to the local Taverna where we got 3 rounds for 20 Euros.

The biggest disappointment was that this hotel is not quite the haven of peace and quiet we were expecting. Our room over looked the reception area, and at night there is a lot of noise from the live acts (which do stop at 11:30). There is reasonable sound proofing between the rooms, and good sound proofing between the floors. However there is little sound proofing between the corridor and the room, and practically none between the room and the outside world....which was exceptionally problematic when at least 3 sets of our neighbours sat out in the balconies drinking until about 2 or 3 am while getting generally riotous and very loud!

On the whole we had an enjoyable holiday, although minus a good few hours sleep...my advice - invest in a decent set of earplugs!

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Rosiesmartypants
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 September 2011

There are now quite a few luxury hotels on Crete so why stay here? Well, if you're just planning on a bit of relaxation by the pool or on the beach, then that's a good question. Elounda, where the other five star hotels are situated, is a lot prettier than Kato Gouves, which is, to be frank, a bit of a one horse town with an unappealing beach backing onto a bit of wasteland. The sand's brown, the beach is covered with smelly seaweed, and the large pipes waiting to go somewhere on the field behind the beach don't exactly add to the ambience.

But actually, there is a very good reason to stay here. Gouves is about a 15 minute drive from the airport and Heraklion, so it's much more central to the island than Elounda. If you plan on doing a bit of exploring of the island and its historical sites, but you also like a bit of luxury when it comes to your accommodation, then the Amirandes is really your only option.

And it doesn't disappoint. It really is a beautiful hotel. The public areas have been built to resemble a Minoan palace. There are walkways and arcades beside shallow reflecting pools which are all magically lit up at night with sparkly lights and candles. Breakfast and dinner are outside in a beautiful courtyard with a pool in the middle and walls to protect you from the (quite strong) breezes, yet giving views of the sea. The huge swimming pool (Olympic size) is surrounded by a kind of louvred sun shade so you can choose to be in the sun, in the shade or in dappled sunlight and there are enough sunbeds for everyone, even when the hotel is full (which it was the first week we were there). It's very romantic - you could come here for a honeymoon (as many couples do) and not be disappointed. It reminded me a lot of the sort of ultra stylish resorts you get in places like Mauritius.

The staff are wonderful. Everyone is so friendly, even the room maids. Most of them are native Greek although there are some Eastern Europeans in the kids club and on the reception who are equally chirpy. The restaurant staff loved my son and gave him lots of attention. I can honestly say they are the best staff of any hotel I've been to, and that includes the Four Seasons, where they're great, but you feel they're paid to be great. In the Amirandes you get the feeling they're so nice because they're just really nice people. It won't take you long to learn what "kalimera" and "kalispera" mean.

In fact in many ways the Amirandes is up there with some of the best hotels I've stayed in, except for one thing, which is that it's really not very cheap to stay here. The hotel is lovely but for the amount we paid we expected it to be pretty darn lovely. We booked a family suite with sea view, but the first room we given (in the sunset wing) was very disappointing. In order to see the sea, you had to stand right by the window in one corner or go out onto the balcony or otherwise you were looking straight onto the hotel's even pricier villas. The so-called suite was actually a normal sized room split in two, with the part nearest the window divided off with some sliding doors and two small beds were placed in there for the children. It wasn't a suite in the sense of any hotel I've stayed in. We asked to be moved (we were paying extra for a sea view and wanted to see the sea without craning our necks) and the hotel manager was very helfpul. She said the hotel was full so couldn't move us, but the next day another suite became free in the building near the swimming pool. This wasn't much larger than the first one, but had a much better layout with a separate dressing room, and our bedroom had it's own window (as did the kids' one) so we weren't cut off from the outside world when the sliding doors were closed. At a very conservative estimate (we booked through Sovereign, who I might just add were absolutely dreadful - they couldn't even get the departure terminal right) we were paying more than five hundred quid (GBP) a night for this, probably more. I just expected something a bit better. The pillows were hard, the bed was uncomfortable, when you had a shower water went all over the bathroom floor. If they'd made the rooms a couple of feet bigger in each direction, that would have helped. Charging less would have helped even more. It's a nice hotel in an unclassy part of a very touristy island, and Greece is in the middle of a massive economic crisis. But hey, the hotel was full, so who am I to moan about it? (although while I've got your attention, over seven Euros for a freshly squeezed orange juice seems a bit over the top too. Cocktails were around the 12 Euro mark.)

The food was good. Breakfasts were excellent with loads of choice. Dinners also had a lot of choice although vegetarian dishes were more limited if you don't eat fish or meat. You won't starve, but you may find it getting a bit samey.I was disappointed that the menus were rotated on a weekly rather than fortnightly basis so the second week the food was all very familiar. There is loads of fresh fruit. I had fresh figs with honey and yoghurt almost every day we were there. Delicious.

The hotel has free wi-fi and it was super speedy. My husband always has to work on holiday and this makes a big difference to us. It's very rare for hotels to offer it for free and for it to be so good, so well done to Grecotel for moving with the times. Less good was the gym, which was a bit sparse in terms of equipment.

More than half the guests were Russian, which may account for why it's so pricey, as they seem to be a bit less price sensitive than the rest of us, the rest of us being a mixture of Europeans, mainly German and British. There were some quite stunning women the first week - which made for interesting people watching around the pool and in the dining area. But fortunately for the body conscious there were also plenty of fatties (rich ones I think - not many tattoos here) in inappropriately small swimming cossies.

In other reviews people have mentioned the aircraft noise and mosquitoes. Although the hotel is under the flight path, the planes are high enough up that they haven't got their undercarriages down when they fly over so they're not landing imminently and the noise is no worse than it is where I live in South London. Maybe I'm more used to it than some people, but it didn't bother me at all. We didn't see a single mosquito the entire time we were there. I'm normally a biting insect magnet but I came away with not a single bite and my insect repellent spray went unused.

The hotel has a little kind of mini supermarket which sells more or less anything you might want. It's a little pricier than a normal shop but not that much more, and is actually very useful if you've forgotten or run out of something.

I was a bit disappointed by Crete. It's very touristy and nothing feels very authentic. Even it's most famous attraction, Knossos is mostly a total fake. We hired a car and drove around a bit, but this isn't very relaxing. The Greeks drive like maniacs and not surprisingly have a death rate on the roads three times ours. However, the weather when we were there was fabulous - fourteen days of glorious sunshine (with a cooling sea breeze), and it's only a three hour flight from the UK (even if Easyjet can make it feel a lot longer).

If you're going anyway, then the Amirandes is certainly the best placed of all the luxury hotels to make the best of the island. It's an undoubtedly lovely hotel, but for the price you're paying, I can't help feeling it jolly well ought to be.

Room Tip: Avoid the sunset wing if you want a seaview. The wing by the pool is the most convenient..
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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8  Thank rosiefromlondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2011

The hotel is located near the beautiful beach, just as the restaurant for dinner, lunch and breakfast. This is an experience as such.
Sure, this is definitely not the cheapest hotel in Grece, but is is worth every €.
Never crowdy, huge swimming pool, great rooms. Our little daughter had a great time. High quality food both at the buffet and in the à la carte restaurants.
However, what stroke us most was the extreme helpfullness and sense of service every single member of staff demonstrated.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank Bestemaatje
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2011

We have just arrived back from a week stay at the Amirandes. This is a quality resort - it is wonderfully designed with great attention to detail and the service was of the highest quality.

All the staff had smiles on their faces and their greetings were not forced but totally genuine. Our room - a sports suite - was first rate, spacious, comfortable and kept immaculately clean. The food was outstanding. We were on half board and the main restaurant - a buffet type approach - was so good and varied that we did not visit any of the other resaturants (which would have been at extra cost). The staff at the restaurant led by the wonderful maitre d'hotel and restaurant 'captains', was exemplary and all the staff did their utmost to make you feel welcomed and did everything to accomodate requests. We had lunch every day at the pool bar where again the manager and his staff - particualrly Christos and Poppi - were fantastic and the choice of food good. One thing to note is that food and drink is a little on the pricey side.

The setting of the resort and its facilities are very good - we played tennis each day and the courts are great. There is varied entertainment each night, ranging from a sax player playing in the main restaurant to Greek dancing and cabaret performances in the outdoor auditorium.

There were plenty of sun beds and towels and we never had any problem finding a good spot. The Olympic size swiming pool is wonderful and was never crowded. The beach itself was a little disappointing in size terms but this was more than made up for by the quality of the sea which was quite 'wavy', giving us endless hours of fun.

This is a top notch resort with quality staff from the cleaners to the manangement who all want you to have a good time. Slightly pricey yes but in our opinion worth every penny. We will be back for many years to come. Thanks Amirandes for a memorable holiday.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank bscandh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2011

The hotel area is not large, but very beautiful. All that is pictured naked truth, no photoshop. Not a lot of greens, but the emphasis is on at the combined rock, fire and water. A glow of burning torches, reflected in the water at night are fascinating. Pool not very big, but full enough to swim in pleasure. Particularly pleased that the midday heat you can swim in the shade, because according to the architectural design of the part of the basin rises a canopy with a diffuse shadow. Day at the pool free of charge carried the water and fruit.
But the beach disappointed. They are there two, even three, but one only for those who rest in the villas, the second has a very awkward rocky entrance to the sea, and the third - sand, but it is so small that to 10-30 am free space on it never was. And the sea itself have upset the hotel: small (up to a depth never reached), and always highly shtormyaschego. From 7 days was 4 days of red flag .
We had breakfast only. It was quite dostatochno.Na the hotel we did not like dinner, prices are high. But the breakfast was wonderful. And it's not food, fruit, fresh juice and champagne (though it also played an important role). All the matter in the atmosphere. Beautiful pool, nice polite pervonal and live sound of saxophone, sailing smoothly over the water. A very positive start to the day!
Beautiful area, stylish design - stone, wood, glass and water. All new, well-groomed. Staff - polite, correct, smiling.
No noise, at least the animation - mini-fubol, tennis courts (aside from the residential buildings, beach and pool). Evening programs in the early season form was not.
Planes fly and truth, but they stop paying attention to the second day, absolutely not interfere.
The audience - the British, Germans, French, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian. Hotel for a quiet respectable families. Those who engage in sports and animation, there will be bored.

Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
4  Thank irun_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2011

We stayed nearly 10 days on half board.

The hotel is beautifull, rooms are clean, modern and confortable .

Staff were very professional, polite and helpful.

The main restaurant was good, we were happy with our half board. The greek a la carte restaurant was also Delicious.

The main pool, salt water, was great. Very large and with plenty of towels and free beds.

The beach, even small, was very nice and clean. It is very important as you don't have much things to do other than relax in the beach or swimming pool. We were here for that, so enjoyed our stay.

Will I be back ? Not sure because I found it a bit overpriced compared to what you can get elsewhere ....

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank The_Attorney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2011

We have just returned from 10 days half board at the Grecotel Amirandes, it was superb!
The hotel is only 4 years old and I 'm sure it would be the flagship of the Grecotel chain. Only 20 mins drive from the airport, you are greeted with cold hand towels and a glass of champagne. Then you are given a tour of this stuning hotel then taken to your room.
Everyone is so friendly and helpful, you feel they are one big family. We were half board and ate lunch there most days. The prices are not extortionate, as some people have said, you get what you pay for! The food was excellent, so good that we did not use the a la carte resturants. There was always plenty to choose from in the buffet resturant, such as fillet steak, salt baked fish, plenty of lamb & pork dishes, oriental stir fry & burger & chips!
Everywhere was so spotlessly clean. In the washrooms there are small white towelling hand towels for you to dry your hands but I rarely saw more than 2/3 used ones in the basket, they must have been continually taken away.
Each day at the pool & at the beach a waiter would brings everyone a FREE bottle of water, slice of watermelon, small pastries etc.
Everyone made time for you including the hotel manager. George, the Hotel Maitre'D was really lovely, we felt we really got to know him. He taught us a lot about the hotel, the staff & the Grecotel chain.
The taxis were on strike, the whole time we were there and my husband had a reaction to a mosi bite. We spoke to reception, they said the pharmacy was too far to walk so they arranged for a driver to take him there & back to ensure he had medication.
We did the Jeep safari up the mountain which was really very good & very interesting. The Boat trip to Spinalonga would have been very good too but it was just too hot to explore
You have to go a long way to beat this hotel, I haven't stopped talking about this holiday and would love to go back.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank KASDP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Amirandes, Grecotel Exclusive Resort

Address: PO Box 106, Kato Gouves, Gouves, Crete 71202, Greece
Phone Number:
Region: Greece > Crete > Heraklion Prefecture > Gouves > Kato Gouves
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Kato Gouves
#1 Romantic Hotel in Kato Gouves
#1 Luxury Hotel in Kato Gouves
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Kato Gouves
#1 Family Hotel in Kato Gouves
Price Range: $247 - $886 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Amirandes, Grecotel Exclusive Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 212
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Amirandes 5 star hotel in Crete, is a sparkling exclusive resort on the coast of east Crete. Themed around the lagoons that swirl through its centre, the luxury hotel in Crete covers a 70,000 sq m beachfront estate comprising of eight restaurants, sandy beaches, Elixir Spa with authentic Ayurveda treatments, outdoor Olympic-size seawater pool, over 60 private pools and extensive children's facilities. The sophisticated guestrooms suites and villas feature indulgent details such as private gyms, home cinema and state-of-the-art bathrooms with colour-therapy and aromatherapy Jacuzzi bathtubs. Refined and considerate service mirrors the Resort's meticulous attention to detail and utmost respect for the privacy of its guests. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grecotel Amirandes Hotel Gouves
Grecotel Amirandes Amnissos
Grecotel Amirandes Hotel Amnissos
Amirandes, Grecotel Exclusive Resort Crete/Kato Gouves

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