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“Great location and activities”

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Neilson Alana Beachclub
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 September 2017

Before I went on holiday, I was concerned about the previous reviews. However, our experience was very good. The activities and staff and as good as any other Neilson resort. The location is excellent, close to a village AND next to the National Park with climbing, scenery and hiking is a real bonus.
Yes, the rooms are a bit small with average storage but we don't spend much time there, there is so much else to do! The gym was disappointing but all watersports are excellent. The tennis courts (x6) and bikes (x100) are new. The food was good but not yet excellent, Id recommend the mussels, pasta bar and risotto.

Room Tip: Surprisingly top of the "tower block" gave excellent views and was peaceful.
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  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4  Thank Coneyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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47 - 51 of 239 reviews

Reviewed 4 September 2017

Lets get the negatives out of the way first.

Swimming pool - don't be fooled by the pictures, it's small.

Rooms - spotlessly clean but very small. We were there for two weeks and found it cramped. I'd requested a balcony which I got but it too was tiny. Were were two - had we been three it would have been unworkable.

The main bar - very small given peak numbers and very tatty. Floor with cracked tiles and furniture that belongs in a skip. Unappealing and annoying as this was a problem that literally could have been mainly solved overnight. Drinks are expensive and the local wine represents very poor value for money.

A real bother was that it became clear from talking to others there that some of them had paid around £1k less for the same holiday! BUT, my choice to book and pay.

OK, let's move on

I was worried about going - having booked in May - as I'd read some very negative stuff about the place before going. Having spent about £4k the holiday is a major financial consideration.

Location is excellent - right by the national park which offers superb walking, serious hiking, climbing and biking opportunities. The location is prone to storms and high winds (The Bora) which hamper watersports and the health and safety brigade are a bit keen here.

The hotel and Neilson staff there were fantastic - all of them. Friendly and they were working very hard to ensure people were having a good time. Mark Warner take note!

The staff were all completely engaged in their work. The toddlers there were enchanted by the carers and the older kids were properly engaged, occupied and thoroughly entertained.

The sports kit provided is exceptional - all brand new and really good quality. I only used the sailing and biking gear; top quality boats and high end bikes. I was told the other facilities were of a similar standard. No one complained about the kit - it's good.

Coaching and tuition - again the very top of the shop. All the coaches and beach staff were on top of the game. Endlessly helpful, patient and polite and they knew their stuff. My son could not sail when he arrived and he left having taken out a high performance cat on his own. Massive tick.

Food - all excellent and lots of it Great choice, well presented and all nicely cooked. The food is not at Club Med standards but then the Neilson proposition is not that of Club Med. The restaurant is new and spotlessly maintained by cleaning staff who work jolly hard. (I gave our room maid a 20 euro tip as our room had been amazingly well kept) Impressive.

9th floor bar - bizarrely this is ignored by the majority of guests. Great service and a superb view. Spectacular actually.

Hospitality - there is a genuine and sincere focus on making people happy. The ever present customer services manager takes her job very seriously as did her location host colleague who was equally applied. Outstanding.

Crunch question - would I go again? No. Mainly because I rarely go back to the same place twice. I understand that the bar is to be refitted and the swimming pool upgraded for next season. Roomsize will take some solving - not an easy one.

BUT I will certainly be booking a Neilson holiday next year at another centre.

OVERALL - we had an excellent holiday and I was completely satisfied with it. The food was great, the staff were terrific and the flights and travel all went fine.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank Alex K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2017

Neilson are possibly underselling what a great location this is. There is a National Park with amazing climbing and walking on the doorstep. There is a really fun little village no more than 200m along the coast road with lovely restaurants. There is a 'sky bar' at the top of the hotel which has great views. And it is only about 45 mins from the airport.
All of the usual Neilson activites are also right there with new kit fresh from the box. Tennis is my thing and the coaching was the best I have had on a holiday like this and the courts are first rate.
The hotel rooms do need updating quite badly but the restaurant seems to be brand new and the food and staff were both very good. (Not too much feta and aubergine - perhaps more Italian influence.)
The hotel is compact but it never felt crowded and, actually, being able to find your husband/kids without traipsing miles as you do at some similar resorts was good.
The swimming pool is not quite large enough for kids' clubs and adults to co-exist easily but, as ever, the kids club reps were attentive and hoiked the kids over to one side of the pool when a grown up laid claim to a share of the water.
(One tip to pass on; the beach is made of large stones, so come with beach shoes for gettting in and out of the sea in comfort. Or buy shoes in the village...)
Not every resort needs to be identical and I have never experienced the perfect package, but the staff here really are going the extra mile to overcome the shortcomings on the room front. Given the variety of amazing activities you really won't spend any time in your room anyway.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
8  Thank Susan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2017 via mobile

We are about to return from two weeks at Alana Beach Club, our seventh Neilson summer holiday. Our previous vacations have included Phokaia and Messini.

Every Neilson experience has been a resounding success for me, my husband and our two young daughters. Like other Neilson holiday-makers, we both work hard during the year and this is our two-week opportunity to be together as a family, have fun and rest. We have high expectations of Neilson and Alana has largely maintained the standard - we would happily return next year.

Many of the concerns in previous reviews have been constructive and accurate (a few have not). It is to the credit of on-site Neilson staff that they have clearly addressed many of the issues. The key outstanding matter to resolve for next year in my view is the size and lay-out of the bedrooms, though I would caveat that ours were functional and clean.

We have rated our experience as "Excellent" because we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. Neilson and local staff were professional, helpful, energetic, hard-working, always friendly and continually responsive. The facilities that our family used (e.g. Kids' clubs, bike-riding, tennis, sailing and water-skiing) were outstanding. We loved the location with its rich history, striking scenery and charming restaurants.

More detail below of individual experiences and shout outs to some great staff members.

Thank you Neilson - we will be back!

****

1. Journey and arrival - seamless flight and check-in. Titan Air very professional. Friendly and efficient welcome and transfer by Neilson to the resort. Likewise, efficient welcome at hotel with friendly and helpful staff and comprehensive check-in process. Most important for our hungry children was lunch and we were immediately pointed in that direction.

2. Kids' Clubs - absolutely outstanding as ever. Our girls loved the activities and the staff. A big shout out to Ryan in Sharksters. Fully of energy, fun and kindness. Lottie adored him. Our eldest girl also had an amazing time in her second year in Hot Shots. She was delighted that her HS instructor from Messini 2016 - Ewan - was with her again this year. Together with Becca and the rest of the HS teams, Ewan ensured that Imi thoroughly enjoyed herself and progressed further in her RYA levels.

3. Bike-riding - we rode most days, on our own and with the group rides. Some great trips - my favourite being the National Park Bike & Hike and the Coastal Cruise. The bike team were fantastic - encouraging, patient, knowledgeable and fun. Shout outs and thanks to Alex, Joseph and Joe!

4. Other activities - my husband and daughters enjoyed sailing and water-skiing and as mentioned our eldest hugely benefited from the Hot Shots offering. Kit, facilities and "beachies" all excellent. Thank you to Roly for ensuring our two daughters had fabulous water-skiing and knee boarding experiences.

The swimming pool was moderately sized and clean. Every early evening we "battled" to extract our children from it for their showers; because they were having so much fun, swimming and playing with their friends.

For relaxation my favourite spot (probably out of all the Neilson resorts that we know) was under an olive tree, by the water's edge and with a good book. The natural scenery and background noise of voices and the water activities were very calming. Bliss!

5. Accommodation - we had two adjoining rooms in "the tower". As I previously said, bedroom accomm requires review for next year. As a minimum, redecorate and replace the "seventies-look" accessories and furnishings. Storage space somewhat lacking. Bathrooms could do with an upgrade. House-keeping cleaned our rooms thoroughly every day and delighted our daughters with little messages and jelly beans!

6. Catering and refreshment - restaurant food was excellent and with great variety. Catered also for dietary needs. Great morning coffee and loved the fresh orange juice at breakfast. Staff were lovely and attentive - Nikolas in the restaurant was a star. The beach bar was ideally located and fairly spacious. Good variety of drinks. Having experienced wonderful bars such as those at Phokaia and Teos, Alana's could do with some sprucing up for next season. Sky Bar was a novelty, especially for our children - amazing sunset views and very dramatic on the last evening with the thunder and lightening.

7. Location - given how busy we were with the resort activities, we did not venture beyond the local town and National Park. Stunning sunset views and the National Park is strikingly beautiful. We enjoyed a number of local restaurants including Damalcija, Ante Steak Restaurant, Bistro Antonio and - my favourite - Taverna Konoba, just outside the National Park.

8. Staff in general - Sally, Harim and the entire Neilson team are to be commended for their energy, responsiveness and professionalism at all times. Local staff (e.g. Reception, in the restaurant and bars) also great. I came in one morning after a 7am run, to be greeted unprompted with a cup of much-appreciated coffee from the reception barman. The house- keeping team worked so hard to ensure clean premises - always smiling and following up to check all was well.

Stayed: July 2017, travelled with family
6  Thank marytL3503SH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2017

We were so fortunate as to be asked by our daughter and son-in-law to join them and their two lovely children for the second week of their holiday at Alana Beach. We enjoy social tennis and the opportunity to improve our game and – more importantly – to meet people and make friends really appealed to us.
Before we arrived our daughter texted us saying not to be put off by the few negative reports that were coming through on Tripadvisor. These mostly concerned the size of the rooms that were fairly consistently complained about. But she assured us that our overall experience would be amazing and that we were not going on holiday to stay in our room all day – and how very right she was. I have to say that I had not checked Tripadvisor in any detail prior to our holiday, rather assuming that with Neilson’s reputation I was not going to discover much to worry me or indeed to give me second thoughts about having chosen Alana Beach. With hindsight I am rather glad I didn’t.
The purpose of Tripadvisor reports has to be primarily to give those looking for attractive destinations an accurate and honest idea of what to expect. And this is exactly how I like to write my own reports – anticipating if I can the sort of things that fellow travellers want to know about. There can be no place for spiteful, insulting or offensive commentary and reports influenced by such motives are effectively worthless. I am immediately suspicious, then, as to the motives behind the ‘Terrible’ reports although doubtless these are occasionally justified. But I do absolutely dismiss any such directed at the Alana Beach. Indeed I saw one report from a contributor who arrived on the same day as we did that describes the facilities and conditions in the hotel and the resort as a whole that I quite failed to recognise – it was as if its author and I had arrived at completely different places. And my wife and I are well into retirement, rather fastidious and certainly intolerant of poor standards of hygiene and bad service.
So – what did we find? Well, the flight over from Manchester with Titan Air to Zadar was uneventful and on time. The cabin crew were efficient, courteous and caring. Transfer to the resort similarly so. It seemed that we were there in almost no time at all. Yes – it was busy enough checking in at reception, but what else would one expect? There was certainly no unreasonable delay. Our daughter, who had met us at the front entrance, went with us to our room which was in fact quite spacious. It did not offer a spectacular view from the balcony but I remarked to my wife that I reckoned that in 24 hours we would barely notice what we might be missing. When we sat out together on the balcony next evening with a glass of wine and listening to the breeze in the pine trees she conceded my point. I am aware that the staff will do their very best to re-accommodate those who are unhappy with their allocated room and I would urge anyone not to hesitate to ask for a room change in you really are unhappy – it seems to be no trouble to them and they will do what they can.
What was more important to us was that the room was spotless, as indeed were the reception and the other public areas in the hotel. So a special ‘thank you’ first of all to the housekeeping staff. I happened to come into my room one morning when it was being cleaned and found the staff member on her hands and knees getting into every nook and cranny with her cloth. No unpleasant odours, no flies and only one mosquito (quickly despatched) during our whole stay. Air conditioning worked fine.
The first evening was a non-inclusive one for dinner, and so our daughter and son-in-law very generously treated us to a meal in one of the many restaurants in the locality. And the next day we got stuck into our tennis. We had booked in to the Premium Tennis which attracts an additional charge that I paid before arrival. This entitled us to two hours’ coaching a day, and an additional private lesson. Josh, our coach, was just fantastic – not only a great player but a highly professional coach, and great fun to work with. When we get back to our club in Chippenham I don’t think they will recognise us – and I’m not just talking about the sun tan! The tennis courts are astroturf and really great to play on. A tribute, too, to all the other coaches we met, mostly at the social tennis sessions that were huge fun. You could not get a more good natured crowd, and how kind they were to my wife and me who must have been among the oldest playing. The same goes for our fellow players on the course, all good at the game and one at least frankly outstanding. But never once were we made to feel out of place or a nuisance.
I had not anticipated the extent to which the clientele itself can influence the experience. Neilson holidays are certainly not of the ‘cheap and cheerful’ category. The typical guest will be a ‘work hard and play hard’ type, and pretty fit and healthy with it. And I am not ashamed to say that we felt very much at home with all of those we got to befriend. What is particularly good to see is the great feeling of family – our own was by no means the only one of the resort spanning three generations. We saw little enough of our grand-daughters – they were just too engaged in their activities and we were amazed at all that they were doing, even to the extent of being just a little alarmed at the sight of 11 year old Imogen on water skis behind a speed boat. The experience at the Neilson resorts surely does wonders in building up children’s confidence and developing their social skills. It’s certainly the case with our grand-daughters. Seeing so many happy children, teenagers and young adults was an utter joy for us.
I won’t say a lot about the food and service as the quality of both has been made quite apparent by the great majority of Tripadvisor reviews. Good fresh, healthy food and plenty of it. The wines are local and perfectly drinkable if not quite up to what you might find in Italy or France. ‘Holiday wine’ my son-in-law called it.
Nowhere is perfect, and no one experience suits everybody. And in order for my report to be credible it is only right that I draw attention to what seemed to me to be deficiencies. But I have given 5 stars to the Alana Beach for the simple reason that it has been one of the best holidays we have ever experienced. It has only recently been taken over by Neilsens and it is clear that they will continue imaginatively to develop and improve it. The outside areas are quite underdeveloped or perhaps suffering some neglect over the years. The olive and pine trees are attractive and provide welcome and effective shade. The beach recliners are plentiful and in good condition. We did enjoy the sea front itself. The back of the hotel somewhat resembles a barracks and could do with a lick of paint which it will no doubt get by this time next year. It is hard to see an easy solution to the grumbles about the room size short of a very major refurbishment. A huge compensation lies in what is offered by the location – Croatia is a fascinating country with an immense history, and the sea and the Plakenica National Park make it clear why Neilsens have chosen it for one of their resorts.
We are very grateful to our daughter and son-in-law for asking them to join them and for introducing us to the Neilsen experience. Our first holiday with them but we hope not our last, even in the context of in our fifty years together my dear wife and I do far more looking back and rather less looking forward.

Room Tip: Do contact the hotel - they are very keen to help you make a good choice
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  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
15  Thank Tomtiger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Neilson Alana Beachclub

Address: Dr. Franje Tudjmana 14, Starigrad-Paklenica 23244, Croatia
Region: Croatia > Dalmatia > Zadar County > Starigrad-Paklenica
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) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Starigrad-Paklenica
Hotel Class:3 star — Neilson Alana Beachclub 3*
Number of rooms: 163
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