We booked Lioliou Beach Hotel for 7 days this August: impressed by recent reviews, we very much looked forward to our holiday.
Greeted by the dockside, the short journey up and over the hill, through the small, delightful town of Chora, took us to the hotel. Beautifully situated, with a couple of excellent beaches close by, we soon settled in to the pleasant rooms. The rooms are good but if you choose to stay here, then ask for a balcony – my daughter and her husband were very disappointed to be given one of the few rooms with a balcony that was too small to sit on – but the general standards are good. But what followed proved hugely disappointing.
The place is a little isolated but the nightly minibus offers a simple opportunity to go into town and to enjoy the pleasures of small, vibrant centre with some excellent restaurants and cafes. But we decided to eat locally for the first night, in the hotel restaurant. Whilst not particularly busy, we struggled with service: when we asked for menus, the miserable waitress actually through them at the table with as little grace as she could muster: we were shocked and appalled that any establishment could treat their guests in such a way. This didn’t bode well and it got worse.
Meanwhile I made the mistake of talking to Giannis, who apparently runs the place, whilst he was sat at a nearby table smoking, and asked what the ‘specials’ were, as it wasn’t clear on the menu. What followed was an extraordinary act of rudeness: he simply ignored me to the embarrassment of me, my family and other guests. I hadn’t realised that the form was this: you have to ask for menu first (don’t ask the staff to explain anything as only he can do this) and then wait for him to grace your table with his presence, which he eventually did, and with as much indifference as possible, he finally took our order. Not surprisingly, that was our last evening meal at the hotel. And, ironically, this was our worse food experience in a 15 day trip to Schinoussa and the neighbouring islands.
By chance, whilst walking to a nearby beach, we saw a small sign to another establishment, the Anatoli Studios. As I strolled up one afternoon, following a small track through a goat field, I was greeted by Nikos who runs the place – we could not have been made more welcome. Not only did they point out the less frequented beaches and talk about local history, the food and hospitality was first rate. Apart from breakfast at the hotel, which was fine, we either ate here or in Chora, where the locals could not have been nicer.
Schinoussa is lovely even in August! The beaches were never packed and if you are willing to walk, you can still find plenty of peace and quiet without too much effort. The hotel is well appointed: a lovely location and decent rooms with air conditioning. The rest of the non-restaurant staff were very pleasant and helpful but the rudeness of some left a distinctly sour taste. Despite paying up front – the place doesn’t take cards – when the opportunity came to go to Naxos a couple of days early, we cut our losses and left.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the most picturesque gulf of Schinoussa in the beach of Liolos, in a calm and idyllic environment that gains you from the first moment you find "Lioliou Beach Hotel." Modern, graphic, magical with all the essential comforts that will offer you unique and unforgettable vacations.The calmness of the country side, the sea in a distance of breathing, modern, organized but also very friendly environment makes you escape from the everyday routine. ... more less