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Luxury Hotels

Anemos Luxury Grand Resort – Crete

Mum likes and son likes. It’s not an easy task to find that kind of a hotel. Even though I did promise my older son proper waterslides, they didn’t exist in this hotel and he loved it anyway. Our second base in Crete was Anemos Luxury Grand Resort which is located a few kilometers from Georgioupoli towards Rethymnon. The fact that a Greek beach hotel belongs to the luxury category should already tell something, luxury in the name doesn’t usually convince us.

Anemos Resort is a big hotel. However even when the hotel was fully booked and had plenty of families, the atmosphere was calm and relaxing, almost serene. The main pool area wasn’t too noisy despite of the fact that there were plenty of kids. There were a lot of private pool rooms which also keep the main pool area out of masses.

THE ROOMS

The size of the room was one key factor when we chose our second hotel in Crete. We were able to fit all 4 of us into 35 square meter basic deluxe room. We would have liked to have a bigger room with a pool but were so late with our booking that all pool suites were fully booked. You are able to find plenty of room sizes and also the basic room versions have the pool option.

We had a room with sea view and a view to the next door field where a bunch of goats of some kind were pasturing. The rooms are located in two story houses which are widely spread along the vast hotel area. We had quite a walk to the main building but it wasn’t a problem for us.

The rooms were decorated with a funky Arabian kind of twist but somehow it worked there nicely. The only thing that didn’t please my eyes were the tiles in the bathroom. The bathroom had a tub, separate shower cubicle and delicious bath products from Mooi. One improvement would be getting bigger towels. Luckily there was a bathrobe and slippers available.

We had a terrace/balcony with 2 chairs, a table, plenty of space and with a drying rack where you could hang your swimming suit after a dip in the pool. From the room you will also find a minibar, ironing equipment and safety box. Local red wine, dried fruits and a bottle of water were waiting for us when we arrived. They also provided a new bottle of water every day.

AMENITIES

Instragram heaven, that was my first impression of the hotel. The lobby is decorated in a flashy way, not sure what kind of decor style it actually is but it does give a luxurious feeling.

The main pool area is beautiful and what I loved about Anemos, is that one didn’t have to hunt sun loungers. The hotel has prohibited reserving sun loungers and takes away towels if the place is unoccupied for more than 30 minutes. In addition to the lovely pool, you have a chance to work on your tan on a stunning beach area where you can also book a cabana with service for a very reasonable price. However you probably won’t need the cabana since normal sun loungers are very comfy as well.

There are a few boutiques and car rental close to lobby in the main building.  Supermarket, a small chapel and spa are located next to the pool area.

AMENITIES FOR KIDS

First thing I usually notice are the baby cots. In Anemos the baby cot was new and bedding luxurious. Miniclub had plenty of activities and even the spa had special offers for the kids (chocolate massage for 20€ sounded tempting). There was also a bigger play area and pool with small slides for the little ones.

Our bigger son found plenty of friends and liked the hotel a lot. The beach is child friendly, only bigger waves (we had during a few days) might bother smaller kids, bigger ones will just love those.

RESTAURANTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

We were on a half board basis and the hotel also offered full board option. We dined at the Meltemi main restaurant but Anemos also has Levantes and Ostria a la carte restaurants where you get a discount if you have HB or FB. Food was very tasty, also according to our 6 year old who actually asked why don’t we move this hotel since the food is so good (oh yes, I would love that).

The wine list was comprehensive and included a nice selection of local wines. The prices were steeper compared to our first hotel on the island, Avra Imperial. Same wine cots 10€ more in Anemos. Despite of the prices, we liked the fact that you could save the bottle for next evening without a hassle.

There is a beach restaurant called Sirocco and a snackbar next to the pool area. Upstairs in the lobby building, you can find Notos champagne bar but we enjoyed more sitting downstairs where you could also follow the evening entertainment, everything from traditional bouzouki music to magician.

SERVICE

When we arrived, there were three people helping us with the luggage and opening doors for us. Check in and check out were handled quickly and professionally. Since the hotel area is quite vast, you can move around with a golf cart. There was always someone providing that service and the men driving those were always on a happy mood.

From Meltemi restaurant Michaela was especially helpful and service-minded as well as another waiter whose name I have forgotten already (I remember that he was a big Real Madrid fan though). The service in general was exceptionally good across the board and I could have listed another ten names here.

WAS SOMETHING LEFT FOR IMPROVEMENT?

A couple of things were bothering us. The supermarket on the premises was so overpriced that it was almost ridiculous. NAN milk powder for the babies cost 26,90€. In a normal supermarket in Georgioupoli, it cost 9,90€ and in Avra Imperial hotel 17,90€. Cotton pads were 4€ and was it Jaegermeister bottle that cost over 43€ (didn’t buy those, just noticed the prices).

When the grandparents bought a small toy from the supermarket, it was missing pieces. I took it back just to be told that they have this small note on the wall (which is handwritten) and all sales are final. After being quite persistent (read, a nasty bitch), I was able to change the toy for another one.

If you are visiting Anemos during high season, I recommend to rent a car. Getting a taxi took one day almost 40 minutes. The price to Georgioupoli was 6€ oneway. The spa in the hotel was so lousy, that there is a separate posting coming.

Dispite of the above few flaws, Destination LOMA thinks that Anemos Luxury Grand Resort deserves full 5 stars. Following are the best parts in a nutshell:

+ Spacious, nicely decorated basic rooms

+ Excellent service

+ Beautiful interior design

+ Reservation of the sun loungers strictly prohibited

+ Gorgeous beach

+ Pleasant hotel for kids

-Ridiculously expensive supermarket and poor spa experience

Atrium Platinum Luxury Resort and Spa – Ixia, Rhodes

What a lovely hotel surprise! I have visited Rhodes more often than I dare to admit (already when I was a child) therefore I have tried many of the hotels there. However Rhodes has never been a hotel dream for me due to the service level which even in better hotels has been just average. That’s why I was so pleasantly surprised with Atrium Platinum and it jumped into my TOP 5 service hotel list. Few other hotels on that list are Zighy Bay in Oman, Peninsula in Bangkok and Ritz Carlton in Doha so pretty well done for a hotel on a Dodecanese island.

Before the trip I sent an email to the hotel and requested for rooms next to each other. A polite response came very quickly. When we arrived to the hotel, concierge Alexander came to greet us and took our luggage. This is a service I have never received in a Greek hotel, not even in ”so called” 5* hotels. Check in was handled quickly and they upgraded us to a suite which we noticed only when we saw the room.

The overall look of the hotel is very fresh and stylish. Especially the lobby gives you a true five star feeling from the moment you enter the hotel.

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ROOMS

We had originally booked a basic sea view room but where upgraded to a sea view suite which included a separate lounge area and 2 big terrace balconies. 68 square meters was more than enough. Even the normal rooms are 42 square meters which is much more than the normal hotels in Rhodes provide.

The rooms were decorated in a stylish way with soft colours and quality furniture. The bathroom had a Jacuzzi and separate shower cubicle. Perhaps one thing could have been added, a small special treat (in some hotels it’s a funny bath duck or a loofah). There was a minibar, safety box, coffee making possibility and WIFI in the rooms. Oh and a fluffy bathrobe..

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RESTAURANTS

First night we dined at the Elia restaurant next to the pool area. The portions were so big that I had to leave half of my gemista behind. Tzatsiki and traditional Greek salad tasted exactly like they were supposed to. It was a chilly evening (only +21c) and there were only a few other guests in the restaurant.

I wanted to try out the Asian Koi restaurant upstairs, but we had already other plans for the second evening. In addition to Koi, there is a more sophisticated Greek restaurant Porfyra and the main restaurant Arghangelos where we enjoyed our breakfast. The breakfast was the best I have received in Greece. There were so many delicacies to try, unfortunately my stomach could handle only a limited amount of food.

The Chromata bar next to the lobby was full of people during evenings. We skipped the bar but I believe there is a good reason why it is so popular.

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ACTIVITIES

There is a nice spa in Atrium Platinum. I booked a 50 minutes after sun facial and massage before the trip. I recommend to follow their website where you can spot good offers to the spa. I paid 50 euros for the treatment which was a reasonable price since they use quality products from Anne Semonin and Thalgon. There were only 3 people in the spa area so I had the pleasure to try all the pools, jet massage and aqua beds. I could have spent hours every day in the spa area.

The pool areas are beautiful and big. We always found a sun lounger easily and I didn’t see anyone reserving the loungers. The only negative thing was a slightly slow drink service by the pool and ice cold water. There was a children’s play area next to the pool and inside the hotel a separate playroom for kids.

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LOCATION

Atrium Platinum is located in Ixia, approximately 5 kilometers from Rhodes Old Town. There are plenty of restaurant nearby and the Rhodes town is a short taxi ride away. The beach is close to the hotel but be aware that you have to cross a busy road. The beach in Ixia is stony and windy so not very child friendly.

The only tiny thing happened with the check out. We had called and requested for a late check out. The lady on the phone said that she can promise almost for sure that it will be possible but when I reconfirmed only a few hours later, they said that it definitely won’t be possible. I totally understand since the hotel was fully booked but I wonder what had changed so dramatically in a few hours. The hotel didn’t have a locked luggage room which to my opinion should always be there.

Next time which I hope will happen soon, I might choose a room with a private pool and definitely try out the Asian restaurant. All in all, Atrium Platinum was an excellent choice. The service was outstanding and there were enough activities to choose from. Destination LOMA rates this hotel full 5 stars despite of the icy cold pool water and teeny tiny additional wishes.

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Hotel Sukhothai – Bangkok

Sukhothai is a Bangkok classic and Bangkok hotel inthusiasts’ dream city. You can get a five star hotel with a fraction of the price when compared to Europe or Middle East. New luxury hotels are opened on a regular basis so when one hotel is able to hold its status year after year, they must have done something right. That is one of the reasons why Sukhothai has remained in my hotel dream list for years.DSC_1239

Uusi 102The room

Normally when we stay in Bangkok, we aim for high rise hotels. Sukhothai is a low rise building but in this case it didn’t bother us at all. We booked an Executive Suite via Hotels.com. I consider 136€ for a 76 square metre room quite a reasonable price even if it was without breakfast. The decor of the room is Thai style and includes a lot of wooden details. The interior was beautiful although I usually prefer more scandinavian style myself.

The bathroom was huge and took probably 25 square metres of the total. There was, of course, a separate bathtub and shower cubible and enough smaller essentials for a shampoo bottle nerd (toothbrush, body milk and wohoo, loofah!). The bigger room was a good choice for our small family. Our son was able to sleep in peace and quiet and we were able to chill out in the separate ”living room area”. There would have been enough space to place a sliding door between the living area and bedroom..Perhaps that would have just ruined the feng shui of the room.Uusi 100 Uusi 101Amenities and service

Since we stayed only one night, we didn’t have too much time to use Sukhothai’s amenities or restaurants. We did however book an airport pick up via hotel. It was a pleasant feeling to step into properly air conditioned S series Mercedes where you had cold water and refreshing towels waiting for you.

We bought hotel breakfast separately for 1000 bahts. In the breakfast room I noticed that the hotel was mainly used by business people. We didn’t see any other children during our time. There were no queues in the breakfast restaurant and the quality was true 5 stars.

I really wanted to test Sukhothai’s recommended restaurants but we were so exhausted after our flight that we only managed to order from the room menu. Phad Thai, green curry and mango with sticky rice were delicious, beautifully placed onto the plate and reasonably priced (for a 5 star hotel). Hotel’s Celadon reataurant has been chosen the best restaurant in town by Travel and Leisure magazine. No wonder.

In the morning we did have time to take a quick swim in the pool. The pool area followed calm and sophisticated style of the hotel. Service in the pool area was polite and sun loungers felt like beds. The service in general was excellent. I bet this is one of the reasons why Sukhothai has been able to keep its status despite of multiple high rise luxury newcomers. Check in was done in our own room and check out ended before it even started.sukhothai_sunday_brunch_at_colonnade sukhothai_spa_botanica_entrance Sukhothai Pool_5Location

Sukhothai is located along hectic Sathorn road. I was suprised how calm and quiet the hotel area was. When I took a walk in the hotel garden, I couldn’t believe I was in the middle of hectic Bangkok. We have stayed a few times in the next door Banyan Tree so the area was familiar to us. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes by foot to reach Sala Daeng skytrain station and Silom Road’s restarants/market places.Uusi 104 Uusi 103I would recommend Sukhothai for couples and business travellers who are looking for calm and sophisticated old school hotel. We didn’t feel uncomfortable although we had our son with us but I wouldn’t want to distroy the calm fengshui of the hotel with a bunch of screaming kids.

Our view in a nutshell:

+ Classic Thai style room and premises

+ Excellent service

+ Calm overall ambience

+ Top restaurants

– Quite a long walk to the skytrain

* Photos of restaurant, pool area and Spa Botanica received from Sukhothai hotel

Thanos Hotel Almyra – Paphos, Cyprus

Thanos hotels have been dragging on my hotel list as long as pictures of Annabelle and Almyra have been published on Conde Nast Traveller pages. Our choice this time was Almyra, due to its child-friendly promise and good location in the center of Paphos. The building is from the 70s and the hotel used to be called Pafos Beach hotel. Nowadays the hotel looks like an interior design heaven and it’s no suprise it belongs to the Design hotels chain.

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ALMYRA ROOMS

We had booked two inland view rooms. The view was to the garden and city. The rooms looked fresh but to my opinion do not reach the same star rating as other hotel premises. There was no balcony in the room but you basically got a French balcony when you opened the windows wide open. If you have enough cashflow, I recommend to book a Kyma Suite where you have more space, own yard and stunning seaview. The terrace rooms that open to the garden looked dark and the balcony chairs are basically next to each other, so there is no privacy on the terrace.

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SOMETHING TASTY

Our price included half board and I’m really happy it did. Breakfast had everything we needed and dinner dishes changed every day. There were plenty of local flavors and french fries/pizza were left to the kids buffet. The main restaurant had a beautiful terrace area. Their wine list was very interesting with plenty of local wines and we actually chose our winery tour based on the menu. The waiters/waitresses had a proper knowledge of the wine list and were able to introduce good alternatives. You didn’t feel like you were having an ordinary buffet dinner in a cheap Mediterranean hotel where wine is served boiling hot.

There was a race during lunch time who would win the best lounge sofa set in Notios restaurant. You just wanted to chill there for hours. The service in Notios was slow but their pita burger was so delicious that we could kind of forgive the slow service. Our favorite restaurant in the hotel however was Ouzeri on the beach promenade. The food was delicious and prices reasonable. They had live music on site everyday we were there. Halloumi salad tasted even better when you were able to enjoy it with a seaview and live Greek music. There is also one additional restaurant in the spa area, but we didn’t try that one since the area was child free.

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HOTEL AREA

During our holiday in July-August there were a lot of families in the hotel. And when I say a lot, I really mean it. The main pool had turned into a kids pool and we adults actually used the spa pool area or walked to the beach if we wanted to have a dip in the pool/sea. Spa area was child free.

There is a football field and a small park for kids which our child enjoyed every day. We didn’t try any spa treatments but did use the gym a few times. The gym was small but we managed to do a proper training routine there. There is also a stylish boutique on the premises which sold Jimmy Choo and Prada.

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Almyra had been renovated in a way that pleased our eyes. It has a touch of a boutique hotel but still knows how to respect local traditional style. The garden was stunning, scents divine and lanterns made it very special in the evening. The service was impeccable both in the reception and in the restaurants (if we skip the Notios service part). Thanos hotel didn’t disappoint and I would love to try our also their two other hotels in the area, Anassa and Annabelle.

Few notes in a nutshell:

+ Stunning design

+ Good restaurants, interesting wine list

+ Child friendly (a lot of acitivities for the kids)

+ Excellent service both before and during the trip

– A lot of families during peak season (main pool is quite chaotic)

– Service in Notios restaurant didn’t reach the standard service level

*Pictures of the rooms, Kyma rooftop, gym and spa pool received from Thanos hotels