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Reviewed 9 August 2020

We have just returned from 2 weeks stay at Stella Palace. We ended up here after two other hotel bookings were cancelled as the hotels were staying closed this season... so this was not a hotel we initially had chosen and was a "make do" option. Well, it turned out to be a very fortunate outcome! We had a lovely holiday.

Arrived at Heraklion with only one of our three suitcases, the other two stranded in Gatwick! Hotel really helpful with getting some essentials delivered by a local pharmacy and the on site supermarket being able to supply the other necessities. Cases arrived next day, phew!

Room 621, family room by the top pool was a really good location, opposite bar where entertainment in evening was being held so we could sit on our terrace to watch if we wanted. Contrary to other reviewers I didn't think it too loud, and with door shut you really couldn't hear it. Yes room a bit dated, and not huge but we didn't go on holiday to sit in the room. Beds comfortable and room clean.

Sun beds... now this is where it gets interesting. Other posts suggest that people reserve sun beds and hotel does nothing about it. Not so. Yes people did get up early in order to get beds in places they wanted by the pool they wanted to be beside. But Nikos (at top pool) came around, took our room number and gave you grace to go to breakfast.. if the bed then remained unoccupied he would remove towels and reallocate. I didn't see many people reserving beds and disappearing for hours (there was one couple who put towels on a couple of beds next to ours at 8.30, then disappeared until 3, and had the nerve to have a go at the people now sitting on "their beds"). Nikos and the other guys worked really hard to find you beds if there were none available, but come on, with COVID, they have had to restrict numbers and if there are no beds, there are no beds! I did see some brits getting uppity because they had rolled out of bed at 10, and wanted 6 beds together, with shade and why couldn't they have this.. I will add that there were always beds and umbrellas free on the beach at any time of day, so if none by the pool, go to beach!

Food ok, main restaurant a bit chaotic at times, But fine if you went before 7.30. Went to all three al la carte no problem booking via app, plenty of availability. All good but Asian restaurant the best, had really enjoyable meal there.

Bars fine, good selection of drinks although none seemed very strong. Drank a lot without getting drunk... but that's fine, meant I could try lots of cocktails without getting hammered.

Staff all wore face masks or face shields, and gloves. Hand sanitiser available at bars and restaurants and guests asked to wear gloves when getting food. Social distancing mainly respected, people queuing for food and drinks were leaving appropriate spaces. Amphitheatre not used for evening entertainment instead being put on at pool bar which I think was better. People could sit in comfort on sunloungers (instead of stone step), in the open with cooling breeze. It Felt safe, and whilst not quite the same as usual holiday, much more normal than the COVID world we had left in the uk!

Finally, the staff, they were all lovely, polite, cheerful and so hard working. They really are a credit to the hotel. I was talking to one member of staff who was saying how much he enjoys working there, how great the owners are and how well the staff are looked after. This really shows through in the way the staff treat the guests - happy staff=happy customers.

This really is a great family hotel. Probably more children than I would have wanted, but hey it's school holidays and it's set up for kids so can't complain!

Finally, the journey there and back was a unique experience. Yes we had to wear masks in the airports and on plane, but benefit of empty airports, places to sit and no queues at security or passport control! First time I've ever been to a Greek airport in summer and found plenty of seats and hardly any people! At Gatwick, no waiting at all at passport control, fantastic!

Our COVID summer turned out way better than we thought it would!

Thanks Stella Palace

Room tip: Pool view, ground floor rooms are great
Date of stay: August 2020
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
7  Thank Ocobrown
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dimitris Tzirakis, Owner at Stella Palace Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 11 August 2020

Dear Ocobrown,
Thank you for your 5-star review!

Nothing makes us happier than a high satisfaction of our guests. We do our utmost to make our guests have the safe and pleasant holidays and your comments assure us that we are fulfilling your expectations. Your support and kind comments about the Staff encourage us to work day by day towards the perfection.

We hope to see you again in the very near future.

Warm regards,
Guest Relations Manager
Alexandra Raida

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2020 via mobile

Nice place. More 4 than 5 star. Great for kids. Hadn’t realised next door is adults only ( island) Tip restaurants- don’t use the app just go to customer services. App only does a few days ahead and they book up quickly yet there’s room when you go to guest relations. Get up early to reserve your subbed as that’s what everyone does. Gym should be included in the price and have longer opening hours. Food is lovely and cocktails great. Bar staff work hard and are friendly. Water aerobics is 1130 daily in the pool nearest the beach. Beach very basis and the fish in the water bite you if you stand still. Visited hersonassis old town and was well worth the trip. New town is very young and busy
Great resort and value for money but definitely go all inclusive

Date of stay: August 2020
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
3  Thank nikkigatesy
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dimitris Tzirakis, Owner at Stella Palace Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 11 August 2020

Dear Nikkigatesy,
We thank you for sharing your experience after your stay with us.

It really makes us glad to read that overall you had a great time at Stella Palace Resort & Spa!
We are delighted to know that you appreciated the efforts of our Bar staff, food and cocktails. We believe in hosting of our guests with an excellent service and the highest quality standards.

We hope to welcome you again on your next visit to Crete!

Kind regards,
Guest Relations Manager
Alexandra Raida

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2020

I've had a quick look at the one-star reviews and it seems to me that the people who wrote them had quite messed-up expectations. Let's be clear: this is essentially a hotel for families who want a beach and pool holiday. It's not a hotel for couples who want constant adventures or genuine luxury. It is not a *luxury* hotel. It is a hotel aimed largely at families with kids aged about 5-15ish who love swimming. The waterslides are a bit of a giveaway.

Overall I think this is a good hotel but it has some obvious ways it could improve. I'll just list the pros and cons:

+The pools. There are lots of them and they're all good. The water slides are really good. My kids are 6 and 9 and they loved it all.

+The beach. Some people in the negative reviews have commented that it's small. I suppose it's not the biggest beach of all time, but I thought it was perfectly good. Notably, the very rough waves of Crete are nicely placated by a massive jetty, which means that it's really safe for kids. So I think overall it's an excellent beach and one of the most kid-friendly ones you could find in Crete.

+The food. Although a little hit and miss at times, generally we thought there was enough choice so we were able to find things we liked. Lunch was especially good, as well as the fresh pizzas made at dinner. Breakfast is the weakest of the three, as quite clearly Greeks don't understand breakfast cereals (I assume they're not really part of the culture there...?) but if you can't find *something* you like there's something wrong with you. It's not Michelin-starred fine dining, necessarily, but you shouldn't go to a hotel like this expecting that. One tip to the hotel: get better child-friendly dessert. My children could rarely find any dessert they liked. We compensated for this by having ice cream at the snack bars, but why not have a bit of ice cream at dinner? Most desserts were very grown up or very Greek, so not really good for English six year olds.

+The drinks. There seemed to be a quite large choice of drinks at the cocktail bar. I don't understand why one of the negative reviews I read below mentioned there not being enough choice - I got the impression that there was an entire cocktail menu to choose from, no??? They definitely had all the drinks I wanted, anyway.

+ The a la carte restaurants. We only managed to book a space in one of them, as they seemed quite heavily booked up (or maybe had less space than normal because of Covid?) but we went to the Crete-style a la carte restaurant and thought it was excellent.

+Cleanliness. It was spotless and the cleaners seemed to be cleaning stuff non-stop. Tons and tons of towels, and our room seemed to be cleaned most days (all days, I think, actually). I can't fault the cleanliness at all, to be honest.

+Staff. They were generally helpful and on one occasion went above and beyond for me. They were all quite polite, too, even the poor chaps serving drinks by the pool, all day, every day. They always kept up a bit of enthusiasm.

- The biggest negative was the family room being, essentially, one room with a flimsy screen. This issue with this was that if the parents want to stay up while the kids are trying to get to sleep, the kids area isn't dark. This made it hard for my kids to get to sleep for the first couple of nights, until we figured out the best thing to do was sit on the balcony, leaving the room itself dark until the kids had fallen asleep.

-The extremely loud music until 11pm. This kept us all awake, kids and adults. Why so loud? Why until 11pm? Why such bad quality music? The only thing I'd say in the hotel's defence is that it does seem very normal for Mediterranean hotels to do this, although I don't think we've experienced it until 11pm before. I think the hotels we've stayed in in Spain tend to stop the music at about 10pm or so.

-The gym and the sauna area cost money to use, which is pretty annoying as I am one of those people who likes to use the gym and sauna for just a little bit at a time, but every day. Having to spend money on this made it a lot less appealing and ultimately just makes the hotel look petty and cheap. Contrast with similar (in fact cheaper) hotels I've stayed in in Spain which have had better gyms that are free.

-The most bizarre incident I have ever experienced at a hotel in my life. The hotel's app asked me to rate the hotel early on in the holiday and I gave it 7/10. Later I was summoned to reception to explain myself. This was a pretty odd meeting that left me feeling like I was being told off for only giving a 7. Perhaps that wasn't the intention, though, perhaps they really wanted to find out if there was anything they could do to improve things. In which case, why did nothing come out of the encounter? I mentioned that one reason for my score of 7 was the pettiness of charging money for a mediocre gym and was told they would "see what they can do." But they never did anything about it or speak to me again. In which case, why bother to make me walk up to Reception to discuss it? Why not just leave me alone, if they weren't really that interested in doing anything about it?

So although I've gone into a lot of detail on the negatives there, I do think overall it was a good hotel and a good holiday and, importantly, my kids had a great time, which is all I care about. As long as you're sure that you want a pool/beach-centred holiday that is, by and large, for the kids to enjoy, then this is fine choice to consider.

Room tip: I would imagine that the rooms closest to the beach are the quietest, as they would be furthest from the musical entertainment.
Date of stay: July 2020
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank Al M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dimitris Tzirakis, Owner at Stella Palace Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 9 August 2020

Dear valuable Guest,
Thank you very much for visiting Stella Palace Resort & Spa and for a such constructive review!

We are glad to read that overall you had a good time with us and enjoyed the majority of our services.
Moreover, all your comments have been noted and these will be reviewed accordingly.
We believe in hosting of our guests with an excellent service and the highest quality standards. Your feedback is essential for our continuous improvement.

Hopefully, we will have another opportunity to welcome you back in the not too distant future.

Sunny regards,

Guest Relations Manager
Alexandra Raida

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2020 via mobile

I think it say all, when I tell everyone, that we was at Stella palace from 10-20 July, after we went home to Denmark , BUT!!! 8 days later we come back to this AMAZING HOTEL.. it’s absolutely the most amazing place to be, for family and couples. Why? Best pools area for everyone - all rooms is located easy and perfect to the pools, beach - restaurants but the biggest reason is... the whole staff!!!! We have never been a place with this service, they do everything for you, and always smile and help.. the only problem for us is, when the guest are so disrespectful to the staff.. omg.. but, mr George and mr Palentilis you are simply the best .. thanks for you and to the rest of the team/staff the same to you.. thanks, you are amazing .

Best from Lars and Chanette Denmark

Date of stay: August 2020
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank wftl2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dimitris Tzirakis, Owner at Stella Palace Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 9 August 2020

Dear Lars and Chanette ,

Thank you very much for visiting us second time already during this season!

Your high appreciation of our services gives us strength to work daily towards the perfection and provide all our guests with the best experience.

It was a big pleasure to accommodate you one more time and we hope to see you very soon!

Many hugs from all of us,

Guest Relations Manager
Alexandra Raida



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Reviewed 3 August 2020 via mobile

Staying at the Stella Palace Resort and Spa was a bit of a mixed experience for us. Our goal was to have a relaxing holiday so when we arrived and checked into our room with a poolview, we were sad to find out that the poolbar close to us was playing incredibly loud dance music which from our balcony was so loud, even inside the room with the doors closed we could still hear it pretty loud... and it wasn't an "evening thing" it was an "all day and all evening long thing". Later in the evening when the music entertainment started at the other bar, the dance music from the first bar was still playing so we were forced to listen to two kinds of music equally loud at the same time. I felt so stressed about this, so we talked to the reception about the possibility of changing our room. They were flexible about this, but since most rooms were booked the only quiet room they could offer was a room much smaller than what we had paid for (and without a bathtub, which was one of the reasons we originally chose the first room). At least it was quiet. After staying at the small room for 1 week we were lucky to get an upgrade to one of the superior rooms with a private shared pool. We were very grateful for this. This made our holiday so much better because now we could actually relax by a pool. During the first week it was impossible for us to find sunbeds by the big pool during the day because they would all be reserved early in the morning (most of them without being used at all). This was super annoying because we chose this hotel because of their nice big pools. There are signs everywhere saying reservations of sunbeds aren't allowed and that towels will be removed. But they are never removed. My advice to everyone who wants to stay at this hotel is to book a room by the private pool if you're not a morning person, otherwise you can forget about finding a spot at the pool, unless you're a selfish person who get up early and reserve sunbeds. The private pool area was really nice and quiet the first few days... until some guests moved in next to us and made their own little party everyday playing loud music and leaving trash everywhere around the pool which made it feel a lot less luxurious and a lot more stressful.
To be honest we don't understand how this hotel can be a 5 star hotel. It doesn't compare at all to other 5 star hotels we've been staying at. Maybe it's 5 stars compared to a Greek standard. The rooms were dated, furnitures were stained, chords were coming out of the wall, door handles were rusty, the drain in the shower was a bit clogged, TV signal was bad, wifi didn't work properly etc... but this wasn't really an issue for us. The outside areas are beautiful and esthetic with lots of flowers and nice spots. Most of the staff was kind.
We were quite satisfied with the food (except for that fact that they put dill in a lot of the food, especially salads, and I dislike dill so much so I couldn't eat those things, but I guess that's just a matter of taste) and we enjoyed the complementary dinners at the other 3 restaurants where the atmosphere was a lot nicer and more quiet compared to the main buffet, which mostly felt like a busy cafeteria especially in the morning and in the evening where it was so crowded. We only went for breakfast 1 time at the main buffet and decided to never do it again because it was too crowded for us. Lunch at the main buffet was good and not crowded, and we really enjoyed our encounters with the super awesome young waitress named Irini. She quickly became our number 1 favorite person at the hotel. She was always smiling and being super attentive and efficient. We just loved her so much.

We recommend this hotel to people with kids. The children's facilities are awesome. If you like us are a couple without children, who just wants to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet, this might not be the place for you. There's a lot of music going on at different spots. Even in our superior room there was a few nights we could hear music from a nearby hotelbar until 1.30 or 2 in the night which is quite annoying if you're a light sleeper. The music at one of the poolbars mainly played dance music with a loud bass which I guess is for the young party people to enjoy. One day they played some quiet jazz instead, and that was so much more pleasant to listen too. They should play more relaxing music like that.

Our main advice for the hotel is to take the sunbed-problem seriously. I've seen this problem mentioned in many other reviews, so they really ought to take some action in regard to this and remove towels like they say they do. It's simply not worth paying a lot of money to stay at this hotel if relaxing at the pool isn't an option. It's a problem that could be so easily fixed if it was prioritized. I've posted a photo taken by the pool at 2pm in the afternoon which shows a lot of empty reserved sunbeds and no people around. I've also posted photos that shows the reason why the hotelrooms doesn't compare to other 5 star hotels other places in the world (chord coming out of the wall, stained/dirty furniture, door handle that ought to be changed, very stained door).

Date of stay: July 2020
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
5  Thank LouiseBaltzer
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dimitris Tzirakis, Owner at Stella Palace Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 5 August 2020

Dear Mrs. Baltzer,
Thank you for choosing Stella Palace Resort & Spa for your holidays and for your feedback!

We are glad to know that you have enjoyed our a la cart restaurants and highly appreciated the service of Irini.

We would like to inform you that the hotel is well-known as family hotel with a big variety of activities and multifarious entertainment program during the day and evening time. We also are very proud that 30% of our guests are our repeating guests.

Nevertheless, we are sorry we did not meet you expectations. It is only by listening our guests we can improve our services.We are dedicated to offering the best experience possible, and take all guest feedback very seriously.

We hope we will have another opportunity to be a service of you.

Best regards,
Guest Relations Manager

Alexandra Raida

Best regards,

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