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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We just returned after a three week stay at Avra Imperial Hotel. This is our second visit (we also visited two weeks last year). If you are reading this review because you just want to make sure that Avra is OK, then there is no need to read any further – just book it. The hotel is EXCELLENT!
Here are the details:
My wife, two kids aged 5 and 7 and myself have been visiting 4 and 5 star full board/all inclusive family hotels since 2008 (Yes I know the first visits were without children). I would say we are very experienced family travelers.
To make our holiday perfect we need to have great food, multiple restaurant choices, excellent service, spacious resort, pools and beach. We also found that it is important, that we don’t have to “fight” other people for sunbeds.
So let me start with sunbeds, umbrellas etc. The hotel has 328 room, so I guess they have an average of 1000 guests. In other hotels this might be a problem, but not at Avra. Fist of all there are Two pools in the hotel at a size, that equals the size of the pool at other hotels we have visited, but that’s the two SMALL pools in Avra. There’s also a huge 1500m2 pool and a kids pool. So there’s a lot of room at the poolside. But even that’s not all. They also have a full time pool side assistant. His only job is to assist you in finding an umbrella and sunbeds – He also takes care of “ownerless towels” occupying empty sunbeds
The beach has ample free sunbeds and a poolbar. It’s a rubble stone beach, so bring flip flops or beach shoes.

Serving food to 1000 guests is difficult at any level. Many things can go wrong and make the dining experience an issue rather than a pleasure. This is how they handle it at Avra. First of all, you are greeted by a friendly hostess at the restaurant entrance. Besides making sure, that you are properly dressed (a huge problem in other hotels we have visited), she also makes sure that you are seated at a table at the terrace, inside or in the courtyard at your convenience. Second, the buffet is supervised. A number of staff members ensure that the buffet is always fresh – no health risk! I love it!
There is also two a’la carte restaurants (at extra cost) – these are also highly recommended. This year, Avra introduced a new a’la carte restaurant, serving Cretan food. This is included in the price! Amazing! I love that they improved from last year even though that didn’t seem possible.
At the poolbar, our kids loved the popcorn chicken and toasts – I hope this will be included in the “holiday inclusive” package next year (this has nothing to do with Avra though, it’s a Thomas Cook/Spies thing).
Last but not least, it is the only resort of this kind we have ever visited, that have room service (at extra cost). You can order a large number of dishes or a pizza from the Italian restaurant.
Needless to say, the food experience at Avra is just a level above anything else we have ever tried.

Especially two of the staff members made a very good impression. My wife never visited a fitness center before our visit last year, where the resident (educated) trainer motivated her to start and she didn’t look back since then. We very happy to see that Michalis was still on staff this year. He is professional and very friendly and I cannot thank him enough for getting my wife started with exercise. Our kids also enjoyed his free daily swimming lessons – He taught both my kids to swim this summer.
On our first visit we were helped with various tours by the hotel concierge, Alexia. This year she was not there. But a few days into the visit I saw her accompanying some guests. As soon as she saw me across the room, she waved to me. And a few minutes later she came to us in the restaurant – clearly remembering us. She now works in the backoffice, but we had the pleasure of meeting her several times during our visit.
Both Alexia and Michalis are a real asset to the hotel.
The new concierge Jimmy helped us book a brilliant boat ride (at Seaze the day). He definitely did this job before. Great.

If you wonder how the rooms look, have a look at the Avra homepage – you can easily trust all the pictures there. What you see, is what you get!
My wife also enjoyed the enormous hotel SPA. She had mother/daughter massage with our 7 year old, a facial and some sort of combo treatment. From the look at her ecstatic facial expression upon her return, I am sure it is recommendable.
The kids both loved the kids club. There are two different clubs. Our kids used the Nordic onewith Lollo & Bernie.
Night time entertainment is light. Do not expect a show – it don’t not fit the place. Instead there is a piano player in the bar twice a week. The bar does however serve some very good (not watered down) cocktails.
The area around the hotel is not too exciting, but there are a few restaurants and shops. But if you want to go shopping, you need to take the (frequent) bus to Chania.

All in all, this is our perfect holiday destination, and it will not be our last visit. Sure, there are more luxurious destinations and hotels, but I can assure you it will be much more expensive than Avra Imperial Hotel!

PS
This is primarily a family hotel, but I cannot see why you shouldn't visit as a couple - choose the private dining option

Room Tip: They have so many types - find one that fit your needs
  • Stayed: August 2018, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank glenstrup2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Just arrived back from spending 2 weeks in the Avra Imperial Hotel. We are in our sixties and we were looking for a relaxing break. We were disillusioned by how the brochure portrayed this hotel as being exclusive and a la carte. It said nothing about the hundreds of babies and children everywhere in the hotel. Going in to the dining room once you got past all the pushchairs there was children left to run throughout the dining room. It felt more like a school canteen. The food was average but it was certainly not a la carte. The room we were given was comfortable and nicely decorated, but the noise level of the children running past the room made us feel that we wanted to go home. We approached our Tui rep who was useless. Not interested in helping us find another hotel, and when he did eventually find one wanted to charge us £900 for the last 5 days. Feeling dissatisfied with the whole experience. We were looking forward to coming home. We spoke to Jimmy the concierge who wanted to help and moved us to another part of the hotel where there was less children, also advised us to go to the cretan restaurant in the morning for breakfast which was smaller and had far less children which we felt gave us a whole new experience on staying at the hotel. We found the service at the cretan restaurant very good and the staff were always polite and welcoming and the breakfast was very good. Jimmy was also very good when we booked excursions. When the one excursion did not fulfill what the brochure advertised Jimmy dealt with it efficiently. We were impressed by Jimmy's enthusiasm with dealing with hotel guests. He certainly made the rest of our stay an enjoyable one. The hotel is very impressive, clean and the service was good. Staff were helpful. Our only complaint is too many children.

Room Tip: ask for a quiet room
  • Stayed: September 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank gjsjdavies2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

I would like to recommend this hotel for everyone. High standard of rooms, alternative activities during rainy days, lovley swimming pools. Proper equipped gym. Tenis court available for everyone. Awesome food, kind waiters taking care of everyone and ultra nice concierge Jimmy, cheers mate!

Stayed: September 2018, travelled as a couple
2  Thank bartlomiejkalita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

My wife and I are in our seventies and looked forward to staying in this five star hotel having stayed in many before. However on leaving the hotel eleven days later we decided that we would never return or encourage anyone of our age to go.I hope that my comments will explain why this is so.

We had a very early flight from London having travelled up from Somerset. We arrived at the hotel mid afternoon and were greeted by a single member at Reception who did not ask about our journey. We looked forward to a welcome drink but were were never offered one. We were shown to our room which was very nice but were given no real information about how the lighting worked or other essential advice. Never mind we decided to have a cup of tea. But there were no tea making facilities in the room. My wife phoned and a kettle was sent up but we had to wait some time for cups and saucers. Then she phoned to ask for a little milk to be told that we would have to go to the supermarket for that.We die finally get some milk but what a performance.

We went to the main buffet restaurant for dinner. In no time at all we found that the food was at best warm and at worst cold. That was to be the case for the next eight nights. At the roast station there was belly pork on four evenings and inedible undercooked duck on two. For the last two evenings of our stay we went to the Al Fresco restaurant. This was much better. The food was hot and tasty and the staff were first class showing an interest in what we had done that day. This was in sharp contrast to the buffet restaurant were you were shown to your table but there was little if any conversation.

Enjoying life down at the poolside presented problems. There were a lot of beds crammed close together and they were all uncomfortable . Only the beds at the beach had mattresses. There were a few quiet areas but these were few in number. Furthermore my wife reminded me that we are never more than twelve feet from a rat in England. Well here you were never more than twelve feet from a baby or young child. It is a family friendly hotel but that for us was a problem. It would have been nice if there had been an adults only area in the dining room rather than having to sit among a mass of prams and pushchairs. Furthermore there was a rule that people could smoke in public areas. That apparently did not include the outdoor restaurant. As for the dress code just forget it. Wear what you like.

In other five star hotels members of the management team are to be seen wandering about. Not so at this hotel. I never saw one. The only person who appeared to be in that category was the well thought of Concierge who was I suppose Guest Relations.

There are some very likeable members of staff particularly in the Cretan Restaurant (excellent for breakfast) and the Al Fresco restaurant but there is a real need for staff training. I think this is particularly the case with some of the Reception staff, Some of them forget the value of a welcoming smile and the friendly, caring goodbye at check out might encourage people to return. They should remember that they are the first and last members of staff that guests will encounter. On our departure no one other than the bell boy impressed me with their farewell.

If you go here do visit the monastery at Goudia and Chania.

Room Tip: Away fro the swimming pool
  • Stayed: September 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
8  Thank bayjoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Avra_Management, Υπεύθυνος Σχέσεων με Πελάτες at Avra Imperial Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Dear guest,

Thank you for the time you have dedicated us to share your feedback about your stay at Avra Imperial Hotel. Your remarks allow us to assess the service we are providing, and in turn, will make us aware of opportunities for improvement, as we always strive to increase customer satisfaction. Thus, we assure you all your comments as well as compliments will be shared with the relevant departments.

Having said that, our guests always receive a warm welcome by our professional/well-trained and dedicated Front Office team, who takes pride in providing you with exceptional hospitality from the beginning to the end of your stay.

Following your comment on the tea/coffee facilities, please let us inform you that only certain room types are equipped with a tea/coffee machine while a kettle may be placed in all hotel rooms upon request. Any further services can always be provided from our Room Service department. Relating to our smoking policy, smoking is only allowed in outdoor areas (common and private).

In the meanwhile, we are sorry if we have not met all your expectations on this occasion and we do hope to have the chance to welcome you back in the future to make your next stay as seamless and pleasant as possible.


Best regards,
Guest Relations Supervisor

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Excelent experience! Such a lovely place!
It's a long way to go. I landed in Heraklion (160 km from there) but the hotel is fabulous so worth it. Staff very helpfull. Please, if you want an experience in Crete, more precisely in Kolymbary, do not hesitate to book at this hotel. Everything is thought to the detail: there is a nursery, with an employee taking care of the children, it has a mini market, a hair dresser, several swimming pools, in a little seen concept, the main swimming pool is all glazed, allowing magnificent photos when diving, tennis courts, beautiful gardens very well maintained and a small orthodox church within the hotel. In addition to the main restaurant, there are three restaurants: one with Italian cuisine, another with Asian cuisine and the grec one. I've been on a half board basis and it was worth it. A grand buffet breakfast as well as for dinner. Most of the rooms have a private swimming pool. The beach, a fantastic bay surrounded by the no less fantastic mountain landscape, has direct access through the hotel gardens crossing a narrow street (100 meters).
2 negative points: the beach - not sand but stone, very characteristic of the beaches of Greece for those who already know. I think, on this level, the hotel could do quite a bit more once everything is thought out in detail at this hotel (we bought rubber shoes) and
the reception staff: not always in a good mood.
A word of appreciation to Mrs. Despina Makridaki, the assistant reservations manager, who treated my reservation with great professionalism and to all the staff in the restaurant that every night treated me and my family so kind.
Thanks Avra Imperial!

Stayed: September 2018
1  Thank Eugénia B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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