10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Okay but not great
"Vuni Palace Hotel â Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus
They say that first impressions mean a lot. As you approach the hotel, you turn off the main road into a slightly scruffy side road, then at the bottom of this road is an area that looks like a cross between a third world slum & a run down council estate. It looks absolutely awful run down area with more litter than blades of grass. As you go through the main gate into the Vuni Palace complex, there is building work going on at both sides to complete a conference centre and the behind the casino. This looks like it should be finished soon and is not a major problem either with noise or dirt
The main Vuni Palace hotel is clean, smart and right on the beachfront (although its not much of a beach) but all rooms have a good view. Any hotel must get the basics right and the Vuni Palace does this. All public rooms were smart & clean, the food is excellent and the service mostly good, the rooms are adequate & clean. Perhaps it was that we were visiting in early May but the place was half empty, which is a shame as the temperature was excellent (not cold but not too hot). It was also very quiet around the poolside with never more than 20 people sunbathing and no more than half a dozen people in the large well designed pool. One of the reason for this could be the smell. There are 4 smells that you get depending on the direction of the wind. Firstly is the nice sea breeze, then there is a really nice herb smell, then there is the diesel fumes from the large boats going into the nearby harbour (this did not happen much and only lasts a couple of minutes at any one time), but the thing that you did get some days (all day long) was of raw sewage. The smell comes from an area between this hotel and the next door hotel which is also owner by the same group so there is no reason why it cannot be sorted out as in the heat of summer it is going to be dreadful.
There were several things that did not spoil my holiday but which I think they could improve on such as to sort out the smoking in the dining room. Either stop it completely or move the smokers to the other smaller side of the room. As they were in the vast minority, this should be easy to do. The problem in the dining room is that the non smoking side quickly filled up, yet the smoking side (twice the size) only had a handful of smoking people.
It would also be nice if the hotel produced a leaflet or brochure that was in every room which detailed things about the hotel, such as where things are. It was the fifth night of our stay before we found out there was a separate room called a Nite Bar that had the occasional entertainment. There was nothing in the hotel to say that a room at the end of the corridor was the Nite bar and nothing on the door and no signs. The only other minor irritation was that there was no enough storage space in the bedrooms. There is enough if you are single or only staying a few nights, but if there are two people staying for more than a week then you have to keep much of your cloths in you suitcase.
Overall the hotel is okay to a 4 star rating but it is right on the edge of town so you either need a taxi or a car. You can walk to the centre in about 25 â 30 minutes but you would not want to do this late at night as the paths are poor."
- Travel date: Fri 30th of May 2008
"Just returned from a lovely holiday in northern Cyprus. We stayed at the Vouni Palace Hotel which claims a 5 star rating.It was dissapointing that this hotel,which has the potential to be very good currently falls well short of the mark.In my opinion achieving a 3.5. The problem would appear to lie with the poor management which transmits itself to all memebers of staff. The rooms were perfectly satisifactory and our junior suite more than lived up to expectations however poor housekeeping and general levels of service detracted from our overall stay. If the management situation can be adressed I would have no hesitation in recommending this hotel as a 4 star category."
- Travel date: Wed 17th of October 2007
"having stayed in Kyrenia twice this year we decided to have a change and booked the Vuni Palace.
This place totally lacks character with surly staff. Advertised as self service and do they mean that! no body ever comes near you not even to offer a coffee or drink.(drinks by the way at exorbitant prices). Advertised with 3 restaurants only 1 buffet open.
When approaching the hotel, wise to keep your eyes shut as not the most scenic!!
Advice dont go there unless you want entirely a expensive and self service holiday ."
- Travel date: Mon 15th of October 2007
"been here 3 times in 9 months. find staff very friendly and helpful. all staff i spoke to speak almost perfect english. food was very good and drinks at the 24 hour bar are great. service great too. did not find any problems with building work. very modern hotel. i will be back"
- Travel date: Thu 11th of October 2007
5 star it is not
"We have just returned from spending two weeks in Northern Cyprus, booked to stay at the Vouni Palace. The late eveing flight meant that we arrived at the hotel at around 6.30 am. On approach my husband said it looks like Beirut, ohhh dear... not off to the best of starts, but once through the 'still being build' front gate, the hotel itself on first sight is a blessed relief. The Vouni Palace could be a really good hotel, but last week when we were there, in what is supposed to be peak season,
there were no animations, a soggy damp smelling indoor pool with no spa facilities and a steam room that needed a good clean. One of the biggest sin's for me, is that my 8 year old went looking for the much looked forward to kids club, only to fnd that there was'nt one. Vouni was understaffed, the food was nearly the same EVERY day, and finding staff that spoke English was difficult, the other guests were about 60% Turkish/Cypriot speakers now living in London, so language was not such problem for them, but for the English only speakers it was a little more challenging. I have to say with a good clean, Vouni should be re classified 3*. We Checked in Tues AM, checked out FRI AM....moved up the coast, to the Mercure, not so close to town but 5* as billed it WAS, we were finally able to relax and enjoy the our holiday."
- Travel date: Mon 3rd of September 2007
Hotel O.K.,surroundings not!
"We have just returned from this Oscar group hotel having had a 2 week stay between the last few days in February and early March.
The hotel was, according to staff, at full 'winter' capacity with no more than 50 guests.
Guests were predominately single sex groups of Turkish people from the mainland who stay at the Vouni Palace for short breaks and use the Oscar Casino nearby and British visitors who , at the time that we were staying, had booked their holiday with Cyprus Paradise.
The British visitors were mostly in their 'golden' years and were generally a pretty self reliant , sociable group able to make their own entertainment.
There was no other form of entertainment provided at the hotel throughout the 2 weeks, either during the evenings or through the day . A young man who introduced himself as the 'entertainment manager' made himself known to us on the day of our departure and explained that the entertainment programme begins in full between May and September and that until then there would be some limited day and evening activities.
There was no 'entertainment' at all in the vicinity of the hotel, apart from the Casino . Most places were closed and were due to reopen later in March.
One of the things that we like to do when on holiday is to explore the local area on foot. There are no walks around the hotel as all land is private with little or no access to beaches.
The area between the hotel grounds and Kyrenia is very different to how we expected it to be. It is very much a building site with uneven and potholed roads and almost non existent pavements.
The hotel provides a courtesy bus in and out of Kyrenia and a taxi is inexpensive.
Hiring a car is the way to get around.You can see most of the sights within 3 or 4 days.
What we didnt realise was that there are not many places that you can park up and have a nice walk........developers seem to have taken over vast coastal tracts of Northern Cyprus and the sound of pneumatic drills and cement mixers is constantly in the background. The roads are very busy close to the coast with a lot of heavy, overloaded construction traffic going to and from the new housing developments.
The places that we liked were St Hilarion Castle, (wear suitable shoes for walking), Bellapais Abbey , Famagusta and Salamis.
There is very little of locally made goods to buy however we did find a basket shop at Edremit. Most of the clothing sold in the shops are rip off designs of branded sportswear or similar.
The beaches are almost all affected by swathes of rubbish which is washed up by the tide having been dumped at sea.....
plastic bottles and rubbish of all kinds lies around...even on the turtle beaches. Our experience is that the photos of the beaches in the brochures promoting Northern Cyprus dont match the reality. Its such a shame that it appears that no one takes responsibility for the clearing away of the litter and rubbish that lies around most of the areas close to the hotel.
The hotel has a lot of things in its favour. The staff are generally very helpful and friendly . The rooms are spacious with powerful showers, good toileteries ,excellent air conditioning and roomy and comfortable beds.
Food in the dining room is plentiful and varied although it is difficult to imagine how things would run if the hotel is full. Because it was ' the winter' ( March) when we stayed there was no option to have the advertised a la carte meal .
Drinks were fine, note though to ask for the list of drinks available on an all inclusive deal.......the drinks on the back shelf on the bar are all to be paid for as is fresh orange juice if you ask for it at breakfast time.
On our last 2 days we managed to try out the wicker sunbeds which are non ajustable and very uncomfortable and also some other external seating outside the bar on the patio. Outside seating is not available in the winter, sunbeds are not available in the winter, the outside pools arent cleaned out until the start of the summer season and therefore you wouldnt use them if you stayed in the winter. This was a real shame as effectively you wern't able to relax outside unless you dragged some bucket chairs out of the building on to the patio areas..........seating inside wasnt very comfortable and there was a limited range of hotel music that quite simply could drive you nuts if you let it!
The internal pool in the basement has no outside windows and the whole area has a strange smell which put us off getting into the water. The sauna and steam room is next to the pool but were not always switched on! There are a few items of fitness equipment next to the pool but there was no one around to help
(maybe in the summer?)
Would we visit Northern Cyprus again? No
Would we use the hotel again? Yes, on condition that it was located in another country.........
One last point, although this hotel is rated as a 5 star hotel it is not clear who has rated it and what criteria have been used....it is a very nice hotel but we personally feel that it is of a similar standard to 4 star hotels that we have stayed in in Britain.
And, if you want a quiet lounge around the pool area take some earplugs to drown out the noise of the renovation work going on at the hotel next door, it should be finished by the summer though!!!!!!!!"
- Travel date: Thu 15th of March 2007
Great for peace and quiet
"This was a very new hotel when my girlfriend and i stayed during October 2006. We flew into Southern Cyprus and found this a bit of a pain as the journey took for ever. On approach to the hotel i was really worried that i had made a big mistake!!!
I had no reason to worry, on arrival the hotel grounds were very nice but still being developed. I have never been to a hotel where the staff have been so helpful. Upon arrival the company i had booked with ( HOLIDAY MATE LTD, who also forgot to book the transfer to pick us up!!!) had not provided us with any vouchers and the hotel was unaware of of arrival. The staff looked after us, checked us in and said it would be sorted in the morning. At this point i was grateful for the 24 hr bar!!!
The hotel was fantastic and the food was excellent. I have stayed in many all inclusive resorts in many countries and i must say that this hotel had the best food. Allways fresh and HOT.
The bar staff and entertainment team made the stay very enjoyable and the rooms were fantastic.
All i can say is that i quite like a quiet lazy holiday so i would not recommend this hotel to someone looking to party the night away.
Hire a car as there is lots to go and see!
Have a great time."
- Travel date: Thu 22nd of February 2007
"Loved every minute of the holiday. 24 hour bar is a great idea. Food plentiful and quality great. Staff very friendly and always helpful. Pool loungers class. Animation team keep every one happy and busy. Hardly left the hotel as did not feel the need to. HOLIDAY FANTASTIC. One down side is that the immediate vacinity not very pretty.
Karen, Kieran & Carla - Scotland"
- Travel date: Sun 21st of January 2007
Vuni Palace, October 2006
"Great hotel, friendly staff, food and drink excellent! Some amenities were not available in october as this is considered winter.
Would recommend this hotel to anyone."
- Travel date: Sun 14th of January 2007
"stayed at the vuni palace from 12th oct to 26oct with my wife and two friends.On the approch to the hotel we thought what have we let ourselfs in for unfinnished buildings and rubbish everywhere, but once in the hotel grounds the place was spotless. in the two weeks we were there we could not fault the place the staff were frendly and helpful food excerlent room spotless would recomend to anyone"
- Travel date: Thu 26th of October 2006