Family Holiday to Crete Inc Review of Hotel Nana Beach

May 23, 2014

I have done a Vlog of my holiday, you can click here to watch it or read on to hear about my holiday in great detail!

Thursday 8th May – Travelling Day

(I've also done a video on travelling here)
We had an early start, up at 2.30am to leave at 3.30, the idea being that Maddie would sleep in the car... erm, that didn’t go quite to plan! She was wide awake when we set off, she dozed a bit here and there but never really went to sleep. We had some added stress right at the start of our journey, the motorway was closed for one junction so we had to take a rural detour, getting stuck behind slow moving lorries with no opportunities to safely overtake.

Maddie NOT sleeping!
Luckily, we got back on track once we were back on the motorway and I had built in a half hour buffer to allow for such delays! So we actually arrived at the airport exactly on time, with the rest of our group only a few minutes ahead. We got through check in and security without a hitch... well, I got stopped and my bags searched, turns out I had forgotten to eat my (organic) yoghurt in the car and accidentally tried to smuggle it through security! Oops! It was far too early in the morning, clearly my brain wasn’t quite awake.

Once through security we grabbed a quick breakfast and kept Maddie occupied with games and rides on her Trunki. We boarded our plane and although we took off a little late we must have had the wind behind us as we landed on time in Crete. Maddie had a really tough time with her ears and got really upset – my ears hurt more than usual as well so maybe we had a very fast descent? After that unpleasant experience we picked up our luggage without a hitch – phew! I always panic at that moment, hence why I spread my clothes out over two suitcases so that I have something to wear if one gets lost.

We got onto our transfer bus and Maddie finally fell asleep! It was good because that little power nap saw her through till the end of the day with no strops or tiredness! We were impressed with our rooms, although they were not huge they were a reasonable size, modern and very clean. We used the remainder of the day to check out the rest of the giant complex... Honestly, it was like a mini village!

Friday 9th May – First Full Day

It was quite overcast & windy all day so I did a lot of filming as it was too chilly to go in the pool. We also used the opportunity of milder weather to try out all the play parks. We all ate tea together in the main buffet restaurant but it didn’t quite work – it meant a very late night for Maddie (10pm). So we came up with a different plan for the rest of the holiday.

Saturday 10th May

It started out as a beautiful clear day, we went to the kid’s activity pool and Maddie absolutely loved it. Unfortunately it clouded over in the afternoon but luckily the wind stayed away this time so it was still warm. The hotel offered free pedalo boats for half an hour at a time, Ricky, Maddie and I took one out to sea and we all loved it! That evening we implemented our new routine – the three of us had an early tea, meeting the others in the bar after eating for some games before they went on to tea themselves.

Sunday 11th May

It was beautiful all day, we took advantage of it with archery in the morning, playing in the kids pool, early lunch then a full afternoon on the beach. We had an early tea at the Italian A La Carte restaurant which was really special – delicious food and a bit more of an ‘occasion’ than the buffet restaurant we normally ate in.

Just call me Katniss!
Monday 12th May

The sun was out in full force that morning and we enjoyed a swim in the pool followed by an early lunch. We spent the afternoon on the beach – snorkelling, paddling, building sand castles and more. Maddie loved the sand, she seems so happy and at home there. Unfortunately it clouded over in the afternoon so it felt rather chilly at times but at least we had a break from the baking sun that had shone all morning!

Tuesday 13th May

The hottest day so far! We spent all day by the pool, playing with our inflatable toys and pretend fishing games. Daddy and Uncle Terry got squirted and splashed loads by Maddie and her new friend, Ruby. We enjoyed a delicious meal at the Greek A La Carte restaurant... moussaka like I’ve never had before, delicious salads, selection of meats and lots, lots more! We all got dressed up for the occasion so it felt like a very special evening.

We took Maddie to the kid’s disco but she had little to no interest in it even though her new friend was there.  She was a bit worn out so Hubby took her to bed while I had my first night out of the hotel room! There was a dancing and flame throwing show on that evening and I loved every second! The skill and talent was amazing to watch and I’m glad that I didn’t miss that one.

Wednesday 14th May

It was extremely windy that day so we didn’t get to do much! We tried going to the beach but the sand kept blowing in our faces, we went to the pool but it was too cold to get wet and then have the wind blowing on you. We tried the kiddies pool as that is shallow and we thought that would be okay... but no... the jets of water were being blown around so much it felt like it was raining and you couldn’t stand anywhere without getting showered with cold water! Maddie and I curled up on a sun bed for cuddle in our towels but it was so windy I was really scared that a heavy parasol would fall on us. There was nothing for it but to admit defeat and head inside. We went to the bar and played monopoly and other table games until lunch time.

By this point we were getting a bit fed up with the same food all the time so we felt a bit deflated after lunch. We chilled out in the room watching The Little Mermaid... If we couldn’t be in the sea we could at least watch a film about it!!

I went to the gift shop and found that they stocked lots of organic skincare! I didn't buy any of it as, unfortunately, it did contain a few ingredients I wasn't keen on although most items contained organic oils and did not contain parabens. They did have a great selection of local, organic honeys... Hubby had to calm me down and stop me hyperventilating after seeing this huge selection in the tiny shop!

Thursday 15th May

One whole week gone. It was a lovely, hot day (29 degrees C) with a strong breeze which made it a more manageable temperature. We spent the day by the pool and Maddie enjoyed playing with her friend again. 

Friday 16th May

Maddie was up a lot of the night and early hours of the morning so we were all really tired that day. We spent the morning in the room playing games and the afternoon by the pool. We enjoyed a final meal with all of our group together that night, we decided not to do it on the last night as we wanted Maddie to get an early night ready for travelling back.

Our group L-R: Me, Ricky (Hubby), Margaret (MIL), Ken (FIL), Terry (BIL), Becky (SIL-ish), Maddie!
Saturday 17th May

We spent our last full day by the pool with a visit to the beach for a bit in the afternoon. We went to the Italian A La Carte restaurant that night and the food was delicious (again).

Maddie helping herself to extra salad
Sunday 18th May

Packing and travelling! We left the hotel at 12 midday local time (10 am GMT) and we got through the door home safe and sound by 9pm GMT. No delays, no issues, no problems! Amazing!

Hotel Review

Overall, the hotel is great – it is purpose built so it is very well laid out. I believe the beach is manmade, the rocks around it create a bay area which helps to keep the largest waves out, plus the sand is super soft.  There are so many pools and they are spread out so that no matter where you are in the complex you are never too far away from one. The kiddies pool is a great depth, even when Maddie fell over in it she could keep her head above water while on all fours so I felt happy that she didn’t need her armbands on all the time.

The park on the beach had some shelter from the sun and plenty of things to play on. The food was very nice but obviously it did get a bit repetitive eating the same kind of things for 10 days in a row. A lot of the food was over salted and too buttery for my taste but I guess that is a matter of opinion. Everything was freshly cooked though which wins big points with me. The A La Carte restaurants (Greek, Italian & Fish) were faultless in both the quality of their service and food.

The fact that the hotel complex was on a hill was both a blessing and a curse – it meant that nowhere was a very far physical difference from another place but it did mean a lot of steps or very steep ramps for those with push chairs. It wasn’t much of a difficulty for us as we are young and fit with an able bodied and eager 4 year old but those with younger children or those less able would have found moving around a bit of a struggle, I think.

I would also say that this hotel would be a nightmare for anyone with any kind of allergy or intolerance – the food labelling was very poor (e.g. ‘Vegetables’) and no indication as to the main allergies. Also, the balconies and rooms were very small, I know that you do not need a huge room for just 1 or 2 weeks stay but when you put three people plus their luggage in a room the size we had, which was bigger than the rooms the rest of our family were in, it filled up pretty quickly.

The hotel was full for the second half of our stay and we really noticed the difference – struggling to find a seat at dinner & breakfast, difficult to get to the food, fresh food not being cooked up quick enough to replace what had been eaten, etc. I would say that there were not enough facilities for the hotel to function well when full. Also, there were not enough places to get water. Normally, at other all inclusive resorts you would be given/offered bottled water at breakfast and there would be drinks fountains throughout the resort. At Hotel Nana there was only one self service fountain and the rest of the time you had to go up to a bar and ask for water, this is unusual and made it a bit of a chore to get drinks for the three of us. 

The staff were the friendliest I have ever experienced while at home or away. Every single person you passed would have a smile and a friendly word for you, the animation staff always had time to sit and chat with you and the bar staff really knew their cocktails. You could tell them what kind of drink you like (e.g. fruity, sweet, etc) and they would whip up something special for you that wasn’t on the menu.

On the whole Hotel Nana is a lovely resort filled with friendly and helpful staff. It is not somewhere I would go back to but, depending on your needs, I would recommend it.
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  1. Looks like you had a fab time Rachel! Looking forward to seeing the rest of your vlogs :)

  2. I loved Crete, it's beautiful and hot isn't it! :-) Glad you had a fab time, i'd love to go back there xx

    1. Yeah it really is beautiful! I'm ready for my next holiday now... lol xx


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