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A trip to Crete

A trip to Crete

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Old Sep 11, 15, 9:33 am
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A trip to Crete

Today I start a new Trip Report about our last trip to Crete. It was a „Budget-trip“ as my wife wanted to save money. We ended up booking 5 nights at the Blue Palace Elounda (Luxury Collection) in a Bungalow with private pool.

We started our journey at DUS airport from were our flight to Heraklion with Air Berlin departeted. First we should start at 5:50, but they changed the times weeks before to 7:50.
Like more or less every journey from DUS it started at the „exclusive“ Hugo Junkers Lounge. Like I said in the past it´s an OK lounge with limited food offerings. Nothing to write home about....
View with rare airline:

Entrance:

Seating area:

Offerings:
DSC_0006 by Hello Friends, auf Flickr


The flight borded before time but left a few minutes late as a crew member was ill. I grabed Emergency seats at the A 321 which offered good legroom.



We arrived in time and lagguage-transfer worked relative well. We visited the restrooms at the airport and wished we had used the one at the plane....
I prebooked a rental car via billiger-mietwagen.de at Hertz. When we arrived at the rental car area the shock! No one at the Sixt-counter, no one at the Budget-counter, no one at the Europcar counter and no one at the Avis counter BUT the half plane at the Hertz counter. Cool!


After over 1 ˝ hours we got our papers and could go to the pick up station. We got a Hyundai i30 Diesel (weakest one I guess) in basis-configuration. Not the worst car but if I had to drive it every day I would get mad...



Next: Blue Palace Hotel
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Old Sep 11, 15, 1:00 pm
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Blue Palace Hotel

After an 1 ˝ hour drive we arrived at the gate of the Blue Palace. The guard asked for our name and wasn´t ble to find it on the list. As usual she gave me the list and I pointed it out. It may be practical, but of course not perfect privacy. Only for the records we were asked every time for our room-number when we entered, I would have expected they knew us after a few days...
Entrance with lobby-building:


We drove to the main entrance and were immediately greated by the bellboy. A member of staff brought us to the lobby and told us we should sit down as the front desk was busy. I thought they would told us when they are ready to check us in, but nothing happened. So I went to the reception myself to check in. All not very luxury, a very underwhelming check in. Also they noticed my birthday during the stay, but nothing happened on my „special day“. OK, I can live with it...
After another wait we were escorted to our Bungalow. I booked a Bungalow with private pool with a best rate claim, no upgrade was granted as a gold-member. They claimed I got an especially nice room, but I doubt it.
We got „Bungalow“ 327, in fact it was a normal room with one room, a small terrace and a pool. The bathroom was OK with only 1 sink, a sparly separated toilet, a shower (which often flooded the toilet) and a bathtub. Not the nice freestanding tub they show on their website and also without television, but it wasn´t too bad.
The room itself was not really small with a small flatscreen, a kingsize bed and a sofa. The terrace had a table with 2 chairs, 2 chaises and a kind of (totally uncomfy) daybed. We also had a private pool which was not only really cold (at 35 degrees, won´t see it at coldr times!!!), it was also connected with the other „private“ pools. You could see in the neighbors terraces and Bungalows from it, so absolutely not private. I would call it useless, not the place to be. We had a nice view to Spinalonga (see separate post later). Over all not bad but the last time I booked a budget room!
The room:



Bathroom:




Terrace with pool:


View at night:


Bungalows from the path:


The resort is build on a hillside and separated by a road. You can use a kind of lift to come from the lobby to the beach.
Resort from the water:


The hotel hat 2 outdoor-pools. The first (fresh-water) is on lobby-level near the bar and was more or less always empty. It was also not very warm. To be fair it was nicely done.
Upper pool from the bar:


View from pool-terrace/ bar:


The second pool (saltwater) was on beach-level and had a good temperature. One part were only 0,77m deep for children and the other part was 1,35m deep.




They also had an indoor pool, but I didn´t used it.


We also used the fitnesscenter which was OK. The equipment was so-so, my crosstrainer crashed 2 times during different sessions, the bike once didn´t work.
The beach is relative big and was always relative crowded. It´s a pebbled beach, you best enter the water from a jetty. The water was relative warm but very salty. We also did some snorkeling, I´ll do an extra post for it. At the beach it was often very windy, so one time our drinks turned. Drinks were good.



First evening we ate at the Blue Door restaurant, their „traditional greek tavern“. I was nothing special. The food was prepared mediocre, we had better meals in taverns at Plaka. My wife coudn´t eat her main course, the bread was old. While quality was mediocre prices were fairly high. Service was OK at best but far away from luxury level. If you pay 30,00 € for a main course you may expect much more. After the first evening we decided not to eat at the hotel again.
Main course (30 € and not so good):


Desserts (good):
[url=https://flic.kr/p/xxFxgP]



We had 2 times drinks at the bar, whick were OK, but nothing really special.
Breakfast was served in a big room with terrace. It was always loud (many silverware clatter) and not my cup of tea. They had many choices on the buffet, but quality was mediocre. For example the fruits (peaches, melons) were mostly unripe while you get very good ripe fruits all over the island. I doubt it´s even possible to get such fruits on Crete, so I guess they import cheap good – really a shame!To be fair they had good pancakes, waffles and some nice delights. Bread was not high quality.
Last day we had breakfast via roomservice which was OK.


Bottom line
The Blue Palace is not a bad resort, but some steps under what I´m normally used to. You can´t compare it with real luxury resorts in any way. Perhaps I would return as Crete is really nice, but surely not in a Bungalow. While hardware lacks privacy, service could be improoved (but not really a problem, they are trying) and food must be improoved. In the end with the best rate claim it was at least good value (300 per night).
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Old Sep 12, 15, 10:13 am
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Excellent report. Nice pics of Crete.
But that Hertz line? No priority line/cut in privileges for #1 Club members?
Not sure about the pebble beach though.
But you did get the best seat on the plane.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
We got a Hyundai i30 Diesel (weakest one I guess) in basis-configuration. Not the worst car but if I had to drive it every day I would get mad...
As I picked up my car in Cape Town from Avis yesterday, I was given the choice between that Hyundai, a Ford Focus, and a VW Jetta equivalent/whatever they call it here. I went with the VW... Avis already pulled the Hyundai trick on me and I wound up with a car that had only 3 doors.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 10:49 am
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Nice budget trip at 300 euros per night lol

Otherwise, good stuff. To me from the pics at least it looks like a pretty good resort.
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Old Sep 13, 15, 3:39 am
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Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
Excellent report. Nice pics of Crete.
But that Hertz line? No priority line/cut in privileges for #1 Club members?
Not sure about the pebble beach though.
But you did get the best seat on the plane.
Problem was I booked via a broaker, so no proiority service. They also didn´t had a priority line. Also I guess I would have been in grave danger using it as people were very agressive and I doubt many even heared about such things

Originally Posted by mpkz View Post
Nice budget trip at 300 euros per night lol

Otherwise, good stuff. To me from the pics at least it looks like a pretty good resort.
Yes, it´s pretty good

Originally Posted by krazykanuck View Post
As I picked up my car in Cape Town from Avis yesterday, I was given the choice between that Hyundai, a Ford Focus, and a VW Jetta equivalent/whatever they call it here. I went with the VW... Avis already pulled the Hyundai trick on me and I wound up with a car that had only 3 doors.
Would have been my choice too. With me it was Opel Astra or equal....
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Old Sep 13, 15, 5:42 am
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The first day we decided to do Knossos and Heraklion.
Knossos may be the most important archaeological site on Crete, it is also a touristic hot spot and very crowded.... The palace itself is impressive, also I´m not a fan of Evans reconstructions.
A few impressions:











After Knossos we drove to Heraklion and visited first the Archaeoligacal museum which is quite impressive. It shall be the second most importang archaeoligical museum in Greece after Athen.








Heraklion itself has some nice buildings like the Venetian Loggia

the Morosine fountain

or the harbor with the (temporary closed) castel.


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Old Sep 13, 15, 12:47 pm
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Well €300 per night doesn't really sound budget to me.

It's interesting that your photos and text seem to tell a totally different story. From your photos it looks quite splendid but I guess you were slightly underwhelmed given your writing.
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Old Sep 13, 15, 9:11 pm
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Looks like a cool place to chill out for a while. Looks like some great weather too.
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Old Sep 13, 15, 9:22 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
The first day we decided to do Knossos and Heraklion.
Knossos may be the most important archaeological site on Crete, it is also a touristic hot spot and very crowded.... The palace itself is impressive, also I´m not a fan of Evans reconstructions.
As I understand, Sir Arthur Evans had little choice; if he had not intervened to protect the structure he was discovering, it would have been washed away in the rains.
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Old Sep 14, 15, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by DanielW View Post
Looks like a cool place to chill out for a while. Looks like some great weather too.
Yes, it´s nice to chill out

Originally Posted by DaveNCL View Post
Well €300 per night doesn't really sound budget to me.

It's interesting that your photos and text seem to tell a totally different story. From your photos it looks quite splendid but I guess you were slightly underwhelmed given your writing.
OK, OK - Budget is relative. My text shoudn´t be too negative, over all I enjoyed my stay. The view was beautiful and hardware OK. Service was also not bad, but not the level I´m used to. Main problem was really the food, but it seems to be a common problem at Cretean hotels, at least I heared it about Daios Cove.

Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
As I understand, Sir Arthur Evans had little choice; if he had not intervened to protect the structure he was discovering, it would have been washed away in the rains.
Didn´t study archaeology, but was it really necesary to rebuild that much. At Malia for example it´s not the case
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Old Sep 15, 15, 12:21 pm
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I promised a few words about snorkeling. We snorkeld only at the hotel-beach as we doubted a snorkeling-trip would be worth the money. Snorkeling itself was nice, but not compareable to „real“ snorkeling hotspots. I woudn´t travel to Crete for it, but if you are there it´s a nice sport.














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Old Sep 17, 15, 8:04 am
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Brings back good memories. Thanks.
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Old Sep 17, 15, 10:11 am
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Originally Posted by Darren View Post
Brings back good memories. Thanks.
You´re welcome!
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Old Sep 24, 15, 2:34 pm
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On the scond day we first drove to Gournia, an old Minoan town. It´s fastcinating to see the old structures, I really enjoyed it.






On the way back we had some nice views on the Gulf of Mirambellou.



We drove to Agios Nikolaos, which was praised as one of the nicest towns on Crete by our guide. OK, I can´t confirm that, I found it nothing too special. The archaelogical museum is still closed, so not much to see. We parked at the harbor
[url=https://flic.kr/p/xUKvKi]


and went to the main attraction, the Lake Voulismeni



OK, nice I have seen it.....
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