36 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
3rd visit in 4 years
"Having visited in 2009 & 2010 we decided to return this August 2012.
Another great holiday had by all. Rania and her staff are superb special thanks to Pavlos at the bar you are great mate. Yanis Michaelos Joanna and Jasmin were lovely.
The food in the Taverna was 1st class although we like to eat out at other places during our stay too but if you are on half board you will not be disappointed.
The rooms are kept clean and tidy beds made every day and towels replaced regularly you even get 2 bathrobes!!. At 8 euros per day extra for the aircon is well worth it as it does stay very hot at night. The food and drink prices were not really any more expensive than previous years the 3 of us (all eating adult meals) could pay anything between 26 and 35 euros which included drinks!!
The sunset from the Taverna is to die for. As for the location yes it is quiet but local buses are cheap if you want to travel to places further afield like Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos. We hired a small car for a few days for 80 euros. There are a couple of nice tavernas about half a mile away and again in Gouves which is about 25 minute walk or a 10 euros taxi ride. It was disappointing however that the tavernas that had seating ares right next to the sea have had to now take the decking down... something to do with the government/EU which is a shame. It has had a big impact on Gouves very quiet now.
Other place to visit nearby are Hersonissos which is a bit more commercilaised but not overly so.You can arrange a boat trip from here too very reasonable prices from 20 to 28 euros per person cheaper for the kids. We went on a glass bottom boat which took us to Sissi and we stopped in a little bay for a while and had a swim. We used Poseidon who will also give you a free tansfer to the Golden Bay and back. Elounda is very pretty place about 10km from Agios Nikolaos nice beach small port lovely sea fronted tavernas.If you want to go to Spinalonga the boat trips from her are less expensive than from Agios Nikolaos too.
Vai beach is very nice apparantly they filmed the Bounty advert there some years ago. Heraklion is great for some shopping lots of cheap leather goods and there are some nice bars and Tavernas.Knossos is just a local bus trip up the road from there. Rethmynon is also a good place to visit.
This is a great place to have a family holiday being so small you get to mix with a lot of the other guests if you like that sort of thing or just do your own thing.There are some small beaches locally within walking distance and a bigger one in Kokkini Hani about 15 mins walk. If you do get a car then there are lots of beaches you can drive to which are very nice too.
I have mentioned before DO NOT book trips through the reps as Thomson will charge you twice as much as you can get it locally. However this year our rep Craig was superb he really took the time to chat to people and the kids loved him.
Overall this is a great destination either as a place to relax and do very little or if you are more adventurous a great base to travel to other places either using public transport or hiring a car which you can do locally from Kokkini Hani or Gouves very reasonably.
We will be back again next year so maybe see you there!!"
- Travel date: Mon 20th of August 2012
Superb holiday in Sept 2011.
"We returned from Golden Bay Crete yesterday 13th Sept. We booked through Thompson's.
We were welcomed from the beginning by the owner (whose name I kept confusing - but she didn't seem to mind). The staff were just exceptional. Special mention for Irena the waitress - just marvelous. 'Off beat' humour; but really fun.
The apartment was basic, but it was also very clean and comfortable and very well served by the hard working staff there. We had a great view of the sea from our balcony (the shoreline is opposite the the very front of the complex) and we watched some fantastic sun rises and sun sets from there. Our apartment was
at the very rear of the complex - but two floors up. The towels were changed every other day and the bedding was regularly changed and the beds were tidied every day for us. The complex is compact, but also has everything that you would need; the food was reasonably priced and very good quality (and tasty). There were also some good (and some possibly not so good) tavernas in the local area too.
Gournes is QUIET! This was good for us. Yes, facilities can be sparse neighbouring the complex. BUT... we walked about a mile (later measured on a hire car's speedo) to two good-sized supermarkets - on the 'Old National Rd.' - and there was everything that you could want along there. This wasn't so bad, and it suited us just fine. There is also a basic supermarket, only 50yds along the coast from the front of the complex and this was also fine; we could get what we needed there too. This is a good location to be able to get anywhere on the island.
If you're looking for 'night-life' and you're in your 20's, get a hire car or perhaps you need to be in Malia (about 7 miles along the coast).
Note - I wouldn't advice renting a scooter or especially not a quad-bike as we saw and heard about some nasty accidents that would really ruin your days there. The machines I saw looked wrecked at the point of hire. We saw plenty of really poor riding on these bikes ("just who are you trying to impress riding like that... ???"). I ride large bikes myself in the UK and I can spot someone who is looking to book into a hospital casualty unit from about 100yds; and there were lots of 'em about! We also saw lots of bandaged limbs - out and about - and also at the airport last night... None of this seemed to be a coincidence; if you follow my point... I thought that the bike/quad rental companies weren't acting as responsibly, towards the 'weak of thought', as you'd really want them to be. So, we went the cheap hire car route - 30 Euro / day in a small FIAT, and we used it to save a fortune on trips (it had air con too - much needed in the 32 degree heat).
The organized trips, through the tour rep, were very expensive; far too expensive in my view. But Crete driving standards can be an expereince in itself!
I have to say that I resented the tour rep implying to us all that to get to get to be able to sit next to your partner on the flight home was going to cost us all 7 Euros each to pre-book this... I've never come across before and wondered why they needed to be reminded who had traveled with whom?? This was said to us on the first day there; at the tour rep's meeting. I'm wondering where this E7 went (or if anyone actually paid-up - E7 x 20 = E140 a rep's meeting??); whose policy was this? I'll be writing to Thompson's about this point. To the Rep - you know who you are matey in your west-country accent and poor presentation skills. This all seemed highly inappropriate and quite questionable to me.
But back to the holiday complex - it is excellent! 'It did what said on the tin' and what a great location and set-up; you'll love it (despite those issues above).
Keith & Donna.
- Travel date: Wed 14th of September 2011
"spent 2 weeks @ the golden bay in gournes in july...everything about this place was fantastic, from rhani the manager right down to the maids(who were non-stop from morning to early evening)..special mentions to stu and pavlos who ran the bar..stu in the day, pav in the night...janni also worked non-stop as well... mike, the holiday rep who was there 6 days a week and nothing was a problem for him..no downsides as such, just be prepaired to be up early to get a sunbed...already looking to book for next year.."
- Travel date: Mon 25th of July 2011
Excellent clean accommodation with very friendly staff
"A family holiday in June 2011 with children (infant, 9 and 13),
Golden Bay Apartments are very good quality accommodation, very clean, well maintained and serviced daily by maids.
The pool area is clean and well maintained, and large enough with ample sun chairs for the 40 apartments on site. Apartments have established a great relaxed family atmosphere.
Stuart and Pavlos run the bar and provide an excellent level of service and entertainment both during the day and well into the night. Ranier the manager is very friendly and accommodating.
We were half board - the menu is varied enough for two weeks. The meals were good basic food, well prepared and served in a taverna style dining area. At 3 courses portion sizes are more than ample.
Unfortunately the area Gournes is in decline with shops closing along the promenade which is a shame. Greece has become an expensive holiday destination with grocery prices soaring in the local supermarket, trips and drinks matching UK city prices.
The beach/water is clean with service from street side bars. 2 sunbeds and a parasol for 3 Euro/day
Car hire is very reasonable 135 Euro for 5 days in June - reasonable amount to explore Knossos, Crete Aquarium, Water City and Heraklion City worth a visit. "
- Travel date: Sat 9th of July 2011
"Just got back from a superb holiday at the Golden Bay Apartments. Rania the Manager and Stuart the Poolbar Manager were absolutley brilliant. Nothing was too much trouble infact all the staff were really pleasant from receptionist, waiters and waitresses and the two lady cleaners.
I thank Rania for being so patient with my partner, who every evening tried to master the menu and ask for each meal in Greek. How she could understand him God only knows.
Thank you everybody.
Chrissy & Keith"
- Travel date: Thu 23rd of June 2011
Best holiday ever!
"Just got back from Golden Bay and had the most amazing holiday.
The staff were so welcoming and friendly especially Ranya the hotel manager and Stuart at the bar. Great sense of humours they really made the holiday!
The apartments were lovely, spacious and very clean, the maids are constantly on thr go and clean your rooms every day.
If you are young and looking for a lively place this is not the place for you, if you're looking for a relaxing holiday it's the perfect place.
There was a Greek night held which i was amazing,everyone was in great spirits and lots of dancing on the tables, also Stuart hosted a karaoke night which was a great laugh.
The food at the Taverna was beautiful, we went Self Catering but ended up eating at the Taverna every night as the food was so divine and great prices.
We will definitely be booking to go back next year!Didn't want to leave! Big love to Golden bay !!"
- Travel date: Fri 17th of June 2011
Fantastic hotel and a wonderful holiday
"We had an amazing time at the Golden Bay Hotel, mainly thanks to the staff who were absolutely faultless and quickly got to know and remember us - from the manager to the receptionist to the barmen and to the waitors/waitresses. The apartments are nice and clean and have everything you need along with a daily maid service. The apartment blocks are set around a pool with sunbeds and a pool bar where breakfast is served in the mornings, snacks during the day and drinks available at all times. Stuart and Paul the barmen are very welcoming and friendly and will do anything for you. The hotel is located directly on the seafront with the restaurant looking out over the sea. The food served at the restaurant was lovely and quite reasonable, as were most of the other restaurants that we went to. There are a few bars and restaurants and small beaches in walking distance of the hotel, with more going on and larger beaches at Kokkini Hani (about a 10-15 min walk) and Gouves (about a 20-30 min walk), both of which are on the bus route. There is also plenty going on at the hotel in the evenings - bingo, karoke, and Greek night which is so much fun and highly recommended. The hotel is very family friendly and suits all ages and groups. We were very impressed with the hotel and the staff and would highly recommend it to anyone considering staying there."
- Travel date: Tue 14th of June 2011
"Just back today from Golden Bay Hotel and this was the best holiday in years.
Every one at the hotel were very friendly . Stuart and Pavlos were great fun and made sure you were enjoying your holiday
The hotel was very clean rooms cleaned daily to a high standard and the food in the taverna was excellent and prices were also very good.
We were delayed yesterday due to the ash cloud Rania the manager was of more help than the rep she came and spoke to us personally explaining we were delayed until 2.30 am next morning she gave us our room until that time with no extra cost also free drinks in the taverna.
Pavlos also stayed until that time to make sure we got our coach and seen us off okay.they made us feel special not a number.
I will be going back next year for two weeks as one was not enough.
Thanks to the team at Golden Bay you are great"
- Travel date: Wed 25th of May 2011
"Just got back from Golden Bay Apartments, the staff there are exceptional they can't do enough for you, the apartments are really clean with fresh towels and bedding changed regularly. The outlook from the Hotel is beautiful and the beach is just down the road if you want it. Just what we needed a perfectly relaxing holiday.
Margarita & Jack
- Travel date: Mon 27th of September 2010
Good value for money
"Stayed here with my husband and 3 children, 10,9,7 13th aug 2010 for 1 week. Ditto what everyone else says staff very friendly and they work very hard especially the only 2 maids! We had 2 1 bed aptmts which were basic and very clean more than enough room for us all, although they were together we all slept in the one at night and used other during day. Right over road opp sea bring a hat it can get very windy as you eat outside.Eating at the taverna proved a test of patience for 3 kids it does take ages for food to arrive which is of a good standard for what we paid. 1 waitress bless her to look after about 25 tables!!!! Food good on greek night, and the greek entertainment was good for those who like to let their hair down and muck in!! Breakfast also took ages ok as we werent in any rush but frustrating for kids and those who want to get on. Weather was very hot which was great as only here for week. Pool perfectly adequate in size you could watch kids. Yep towel on sunbed nice and early!!!!! Some guests leave behind books they have read on shelf round by pool nice touch. Visited Water City which you will need taxi to get to if under your own steam which was 13 euros each way, 90 euros for 5 of us. You could not walk it easily as someone has suggested in a review! Plenty of fun for all of us get there for the day, the ground gets very very hot underfoot though as barefoot to go on rides ouch! Stui works very very hard and is just as you expect from reviews, you'll see when you get there, many adored him! Arani the owner is very good at what she does, exemplerary (have i spelt that right). And far from being in middle of nowhere as some have said, those who like it very noisy i expect, there is all you need closeby all in all just what we required without breaking bank, no bad tummmies and no horrible smells like you get in Spain!!! Enjoy!"
- Travel date: Sat 21st of August 2010
Fabulous for families
"We have just returned from the Golden Bay in Gournes and had a marvellous time. We took our 6 month old and our three year old for their first major holiday, as well as my mother. We were a bit worried about accommodation, heat etc. but we need not have been as Rania and all of the hotel staff went out of their way to make our stay comfortable and safe. We had an excellent and quiet room right at the front of the hotel overlooking the sea and Rania also ensured that my mother was in the room next door. They provided us with a high chair in the room when we asked for one - nothing was too much trouble. We were half board and the food was more than adequate - lots of choice, tasty and plenty of it. The staff were always on hand to give us help and information, the pool was just right for the hotel and the atmosphere of the hotel was warm, intimate and friendly throughout. What the brochure did not tell us is that the hotel is right on the seafront, so we had a lovely surprise when we drew up in the bus. Each morning we would wake up to the sound of the waves and a lovely refreshing breeze. There are a number of little beaches between 10-500 metres from the hotel. None are very large, but they are sandy and all that we needed. The resort itself is small and there is not an awful lot to do except the beach, pool and a train tour that stops at the hotel several times a day. Most in the hotel were more than happy with this, but we like to see and do more when we are on holiday, so we hired a car for three days and drove to the Lasithi Plateau, Knossos, Heraklion and Rethinon. The resort is also on the bus route and the buses are cheap, frequent and very easy to use. Do not be afraid of the public transport system and feel obliged to book the very expensive Thomson excursions. We used the bus to get to and from Hersonisos, where we took a boat trip to Sisi. You can easily catch the bus to Heraklion and thence to Knossos. The rep, although very nice, was keen to stress how difficult it was to use the buses beyond Hersonisos and Heraklion, but this is not true. However, the bus stop is about a 20 minute walk from the hotel and, although not arduous in terms of distance, it is hard going in the heat of the sun. "
- Travel date: Fri 13th of August 2010
fantastic , superb and all that
"we stayed here , my wife, myself and our sixteen year old son and from the very first meeting of the owner, rania, we just knew we were in for a treat. she was so friendly and welcoming. then we met the rest of the staff and they were all, every last one of them. just fantastic, thats stu, pavlos yannis, rania x 2 and the girls who cleaned our rooms every day.
the food in the taverna gardens overlooking the sea and the spectacular sunsets , was just brilliant. lots of choice, and very very tasty.
we booked our own trip to spinalonga through mikes tours .gouves (20 min walk from hotel in gouves) and saved around 40 euros from the thompson rep one. could be done a lot cheaper by taking local bus to agios nickolias and booking it down at harbour, would save around 5o euros easily.
the resort of gournes is a fairly quiet one although had enough going on to keep us happy, there are other resorts nearby that are really lively if that is what you would like.
we had the best holiday ever , so much so that we are going back next year and our 21 yr old son and his partner are coming with us and we cant wait.
we met a couple who first came to golden bay in 2001 and loved it so much that they have been every year since and i can see why.
- Travel date: Mon 2nd of August 2010