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Blue Marine Resort & Spa 3.5

Agios Nikolaos, Lasithi Prefecture, Crete

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Beautiful seaside location in Agios Nikolaos, a 10-minute drive into the city center
  • On a small beach with calm water suitable for swimming
  • Sunny rooms with flat-screen TVs, kettles, and balconies, many with ocean views
  • Junior Suites have outdoor whirlpool tubs
  • All-inclusive property with three restaurants and four bars
  • Lovely spa with Phytomer skincare and indoor relaxation pool
  • Huge pool with shallow play area for kids
  • Kids' club with private children's pool and playground
  • Fitness center with modern cardio and weight-training equipment
  • Multiple shops, including jewelry store, clothing boutique, and fish pedi spa
  • Entertainment program for adults and kids
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Free on-site parking

Cons

  • Shortage of lounge chairs at pool area
  • Rooms are dated
  • Beach is small and feels cramped
  • All-inclusive drink packages are restrictive and potentially confusing

Bottom Line

Overlooking the sea in a suburb of the Creten city of Agios Kilolaos, the Blue Marine Resort & Spa is an upper-middle-range all-inclusive property that touts itself as a high-end luxury hotel but doesn't quite deliver on the promise. The 202 rooms are bright and sunny but far from luxurious, with simple white tiling, light-finish wood furniture, and dated bedspreads, but balconies and flat-screen TVs take the vibe up a notch. The resort features, while not quite upscale, are considerably more impressive, and include a beautiful spa, a large outdoor pool, an impressive kids' club with its own pool, and plenty of activities, including sports, live entertainment, a fitness center, three restaurants, and four bars. Travelers may want to compare rates at the Miramare Resort & Spa, which has chicer rooms. 

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Scene

All-inclusive family-friendly resort popular with European travelers

Popular with European families in search of an all-inclusive resort vacation, the Blue Marine Resort & Spa is for travelers wanting to spend the majority of their time at a resort rather than out and about exploring the surrounding area. The hotel sits on a sea-facing perch and occupies a large stucco and red-stone building that blends in well with the surrounding landscape. A pair of elevators leads from the outdoor parking lot to the lobby, a modern space with white whicker sofas and coffee tables, modern chandeliers, and large glass windows fronted by an arched column facade. There's a small computer area off to one side with three PCs equipped with headphones for Skyping and a couple of chessboard tables for those who want a break from the island sunshine. The lobby is the main hub for arranging activities, with separate car rental, guest relations, and reception desks. Other common areas include a small beach with lounge chairs and thatched umbrellas, a large outdoor pool with plenty more lounge chairs, and a number of bars and restaurants, some with alfresco seating and views onto the sea.

Location

Coastal location in the city of Agios Nikolaos, about an hour from Heraklion by car

The hotel is located on the island of Crete in the Ammoudara neighborhood of Agios Nikolaos, a sea-facing city with approximately 10,000 residents. The hotel is a 10-minute drive to the center of the city, while the popular Faedra Beach is a 15-minute walk or two-minute drive away. Agios Nikolaos an hour away from both the port at Heraklion and the airport. Chania is a three- to three-and-a-half hour away, while getting to Rethymno takes about two and a half hours. 

Rooms

Simple rooms and suites with balconies, many with ocean views and some with private whirlpools

The Blue Marine Resort offers Double Rooms (with sea or mountain views), sea-facing Family Rooms, and Junior Suites with sea views and outdoor whirlpools on the balconies. All have individually controlled air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, and DVD players, mini-fridges, safes, and kettles for making tea and coffee. Free water (two bottles per day) is also provided. Decor is simple, with white tiling, light-finish wood furniture, and dated bedspreads, and large windows lead out to balconies, letting in a lot of natural light. All bathrooms have shower/tub combos, wall-mounted tube-style hairdryers, slippers, bathrobes, and basic toiletries. 

Features

Three restaurants plus four bars, kids' club, huge pool, beach with lounge chairs, and on-site entertainment

As an all-inclusive property, eating and drinking is an important aspect of the experience at the Blue Marine Resort & Spa, and along with four bars serving drinks well into the night, there are three restaurants. An American buffet breakfast is served in the main restaurant, which is also open for lunch and dinner buffets every day. Guests staying for at least four nights also get a free dinner at one of the two a la carte restaurants, while those staying a week or longer get to try out both at no additional cost. The Marino Al Mare serves Italian food and his lovely sea views, while the Olive Tree focuses on Mediterranean (read Greek) fare, and offers candlelight dining. Alcohol is also included in the all-inclusive packages, with some restrictions on top-label liquors and wines. The Pool Bar Pelagos opens after breakfast and serves drinks, coffee, snacks, and ice cream, while the Main Bar Panorama opens in the early evening and stays open late. The Theater Bar is open only for a few hours to serve guests watching entertainment, and only serves soft drinks, beer, and house wine. There's also a beach bar open during the day, and the beach, while small and not particularly pretty, has lounge areas and calm waters that make it suited for swimming. 

The spa is particularly attractive, with a beautiful indoor pool with waterfall and fountain features, plus a sauna, a hot tub, a Turkish bath, and a variety of beauty and health treatments, including facials using products by upscale French brand Phytomer. There's also a fitness center with a range of cardio and weight-training machines, along with a beach volleyball pitch and a tennis court. 

The resort has its own small outdoor amphitheater, and entertainment includes evening shows, including a weekly Greek night featuring pro dancers and a live orchestra and a variety of parties, comedy shows, and other events for adults. Children ages 4 to 9 can hang out at the Mini Club, which features an indoor play and arts-and-crafts area, an outdoor playhouse, and its own kids' pool with a volleyball net. Hours, however, are limited. There's also a shallow section of the hotel's huge beach-facing main pool that's suitable for kids plus a playground that's open all of the time. 

The resort has multiple shops on its grounds, including a jewelry store, a beachwear boutique, and even a fish pedicure mini-spa. There's also a games room with a couple of pool tables, foosball, a mini-basketball arcade game, and a few mini-rides for small children. Other facilities include laundry services (for a fee), free property-wide Wi-Fi, luggage storage, and a conference room. Wedding-planning services are also available. 

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Address

Ammoudara , Vathi, Agios Nikolaos 721 00, Greece

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