I am writing this review while staying in Aegean Pearl hotel. We booked it last minute so got a good bargain. If we paid 5* price I would be probably disappointed.
This hotel is located at the end of Rethymno boulevard, pretty far from the town center (2.5km). This area is looking half-abandoned, especially this early in the season. The neighbourhood is looking rather sad with these tired buildings, barely alive palm trees and rusty lamp posts. Thank God, me and my mate are avid walkers, so there is no problem for us to cover this distance. If you are not one, a taxi stop is just outside the hotel, 5 euro to the town center. After all, this area is very quiet comparing to the center with its shops and bars.
The modern hotel complex seems a bit ET in this surrounding. Very light, almost minimalistic architecture, spotlessly clean courtyard and pool area, lobby and restaurant area decorated in white, together with the blue of the sea and the sky create the atmosphere of the calm luxury.
The interior of the rooms is also minimalistic and the design is very smart with the clean lines and dominating palette of white. The open bathroom was mentioned in the previous comments and this is the most questionable point in the whole design of the room. I would understand if the hotel had a few such rooms while the other had normal bathrooms.. but in fact the situation is vice versa. Only few rooms have private bathrooms, and these rooms have worse view and a shower instead of a bathtub. So if you want a good view or like taking a bath, you would have to bear with the lack of privacy. This can be bothering if you travel with a mate or a teenage child. The WC is behind a glass door, but this doesn't prevent from hearing all the sounds (sorry). Also the sliding doors of the wardrobe are too heavy to operate and the wardrobe itself is not so convenient for stacking clothes (only 35cm deep and huge distance between the shelves). Otherwise, the room is perfect, fantastic beds with very comfortable matresses, good furniture and nice lightening, large balcony, tea/coffee facilities, hi-speed internet connection.
The territory is not too big (expected for a hotel in town) but very clean, cosy, and full of flowers. There is a very nice main pool with sea-view (average size) and a couple of smaller shared pools. I counted the sunbeds around the main pool: there are only as many as 30, and hardly any space for more. While the hotel has about 100 rooms, one can imagine the mess in the pool area when the hotel is full during the season.
The beach doesnt not belong to the hotel (all the beaches in Greece belong to the state). Do not expect the beach environment to be as well-cared as the hotel territory: loks like they simply dont care about. The beach itself is mainly sandy, but there is a lot of stones also. They are removed by the hotel staff in the area where the sunbeds and unbrellas are placed, but not from the rest of the beach. Within 0-20m from the shore there is plenty of stones in the seabed under the water, as big as an apple and bigger. I had to get swiming shoes from the local s/m, otherwise I couldn't manage it into the sea.
The staff is very-very friendly and helpful but seems that they just cannot do more than they do.
Now I have to mention the issues which are absolutely incompatible with 5* rating.
1. The towels are gray, not white and feel stiff.
2. Noone cleaned the balcony rails and the parapet before offering the room to the guests. When we asked the maid to clean them, she only wiped the dirt from the upper rails and left it everywhere else.
3. The beach towels are offered against 10 euro collateral but in fact they are worn-out. These are supposed by the hotel to be replaced only every 3 days, which I found absolutely ridiculous. sorry but I do replace mine every day.
4. The care products provided are the same as in the neighbouring 4* star hotel; they are cheap, noname and the choice is basic. No body lotion, no hair conditioner, no manicure set etc. You have to ask for the new product if you ran out of some - noone would replace them by default.
5. Very poor sound isolation of the rooms (you can hear all the noises from the next door or a corridor)
6. FOOD! This is the biggest minus to this hotel. I don't know what happened since the previous reviewers were here (they mentioned a great choice and great quality). Believe me I have stayed in many 5* hotels in Greece so I can compare. This is not even standard 4* but very basic 4* choice and the quality is sometimes even lower. The only thing from 5* is fresh orange juice in the morning, that's it. Do not expect variety of local foods: you will hardly find a couple of local specialities.
Only 2 sorts of cheese on breakfast: one local and one european. Awful sausiges. Simple "Lipton" teabags, no leaf tea. No any nuts! limited choice of baked stuff (2).
Relatively wide choice of main courses for dinner, but salads , starters and desserts are terrible! Several times I noticed the leftovers from the previous day, or the same stuff served 2 and more days in a row. For instance, Tuesday hot lamb roll (main) was offered as a cold starter on Wednesday. Yesterday cold meat and smoked fish were served today again, and the slices of meat looked dried up. A couple of salads which are very strange mixture of ingredients and the taste is colorless. The choice of the greek pastry has never changed since I came here (6 days ago). Same cakes are offered every day, those that were not finished yesterday, today are cut in pieces and served in cake plates at the buffet!! Cream caramel (the simplest thing!) is absolute tasteless as if it was cooked with water instead of milk. What can I say.. such a choice and quality of food is a real SHAME for a 5* hotel.... this MUST be improved and a.s.a.p.
Summary. If you have a good bargain and do not care much about the food, do book this hotel but do not expect full 5*. Also, if you prefer a sandy beach, try to find hotels closer to the center of Rethymno.
And believe me, Crete is an amazing island and has a lot to offer: hospitable people, fantastic nature, gorgeous mountains, clean sea waters, incredible food! I have been here plenty of times and I will definitely come again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The SENTIDO Aegean Pearl is located on the Greek island Crete and is ideal for beach lovers who want to relax at the beach. The hotel is in the city Tethymnon on the island Crete. Next to the hotel there are many different shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. The beach promenade directly by the hotel, and is ideal for walks. You have got the possibility to take your breakfast at the main restaurant of the SENTIDO Aegean Pearl where a buffet is prepared to each meal. Moreover, you can enjoy your lunch at the snack bar which is directly next to the pool. In the evening you have got the possibility to choose between the buffet or the A la Carte-Restaurant. At the bar you can enjoy the sunset with a tasty drink. Many different watersport activities were offered next to the beach. The SENTIDO Aegean Pearl is in cooperation with the diving school where you can schedule diving lessons. Furthremore, in the evening the hotel offers entertainment shows. The SENTIDO Aegean Pearl offers 4 different types of rooms: Comfort double rooms; Double rooms with private pool; Family suites; Suites with sea view ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sentido Aegean Pearl Hotel Rethymnon
- SENTIDO Aegean Pearl Rethymnon, Crete