35 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
We keep coming back!
"This was our 7th visit to Koutouloufari and the Astra. We came first in 2004. It was a late deal in which we didn't know where we would be staying. I don't think we could have done better than Koutouloufari, a charming little village about 15 minutes walk up the hill from Hersonissos. The Astra accommodation is simple but more than adequate, cleaned daily and with regular changes of bedding and towels. My only reservation is that the Astra is not suitable for those with mobility problems. The staff at all levels are friendly and obliging. Alex, the barman is quite a character (who has named me Santa Claus!). Indeed, everyone we meet in the village is genuinely hospitable and trusting. There are plenty of nice restaurants nearby. Fabrica, run by Giannis, is our favourite but we have had nice meals everywhere. We usually hire a car for a few days and have had good service from Orion nearby. Basically, we have had no bad experiences here. This is the only holiday destination to which we have returned repeatedly. We are not unique by far in this respect having met people people who have come here 10, 15 and even more than 20 times. Many come twice a year. The repeat visitors are the greatest testament to this delightful village"
- Travel date: 26th October 2010
"just got back after having 2 wks at astra village amazing holiday great location and you are able to get to lots of other places from here. rooms spotlesly clean they were cleaned every day towels and bedding changed reg, great if u like walking 15mins down hill you can get anywhere if you dont like hill coming back taxis are available.would recomend astra village to all"
- Travel date: 25th September 2010
Best holiday yet! We loved Crete!
"Ignore any negative reviews about this place, and dont worry. You will enjoy this quiet and petite place. The Astra only books through Thomson (next Year it will be Thomas Cook) so 90% of people staying there were english. The feel of the heat when we came off the plane was wonderful, especially considering it had been raining for days in the Uk before we left. Buses were well organised at Heraklion airport, there seems to be a front and a back to it as soon as you exit. Transfer time was acceptable, winding through dark narrow streets, witnessing previous drop offs, this stage of the holiday you are always your most apprehensive! Thinking 'i'm glad that's not our digs'! We then drive through a busy pretty street, full of bars and restaurants. Thinking this is nice! We hoped our destination was the same. It went dark again and then again a simular street. Our drop off! At a well and in front of us, twinkly lights and activity. Luckily the guys at the front knew where to go as apparently they had been here 5 years in a row! so everyone charged up the road with their cases aboot admiring the pretty street. First impression was certainly good! Plus everything was open (it was about 1am their time) so a drink once u drop your cases is a definate. You collect your room keys at the reception down the steps. This is where u find out air con is extra. â¬7 per day. â¬49 a week. (that bit I was not happy about) we got it and I guess worth it. No discount for 2 weeks by the way. They keep your passports overnight to take details just in case u wreck the room or cause damage! We stayed in the new block apparently. Had an apartment appossed to the smaller studios. Kitchen/lounge/diner with WC and shower and seperate bedroom. Rooms lovely and clean. As u expect. All fittings and decor new. Large balcony. Shower worked and always hot which i always think is important. Nothing like a crap shower to ruin your holiday. Hairdryer in bathroom too. Maid service every day. They didn't come until probably 4 in the afternoon where we were, which was great because nothing worse than the feeling u gotta get up just in case the maids knock on the door. So we were able to have a lie in if we wanted. They made beds every day, sweeped floors, changed towels every 2/3 days. Provided toilet roll (cheap stuff) and of course they emptied bin in bathroom. (no toilet roll down the loo!) We were in room 96 top floor. Down the side of the apartments. We had a restaurant directly beside us but were well screened off and restaurant not noisy, greek music instead which was nice when sat on the balcony. To the back and above us was mountains. And below the sea and the harbour of Hersoniss. Sun in the balcony late afternoon. Only downside was we had next doors balcony right next to ours. So privacy in that way wasn't good. Further round the back they would have had better views and some had both pool and sea views. There are 2 pools. One in the reception area which has less room for beds and apparently the pool is quite cool because the sun not on it in the afternoon. We stuck to the back pool when we had our pool days. It was never packed and u could always find a bed. Certain spots stay in sun all day. You learn where they are. Whilst we were there (late aug/sept) there were no children. Having no children ourselves it was quite relaxing, though some of the adults could be noisy in the pool! The pool got dirty, as it would (people jumpimg in with lotion on etc) but it was cleaned and the next day it would be ok, lots of flies and bugs in the water, a net was provided, some didnt really get that you had to do it yourself, like anywhere else, you cant have staff cleaning a pool for flies all day (common sense really). The position of the Astra Village itself is bang in the middle of Koutouloufari. Coming out and walking to the right takes you to Pisco Piano which starts at the water well where u get dropped off by the bus. To the left you have more pretty streets. Koutouloufari is full of restaurants and quiet bars. Nothing loud, that is further down the hill in Hersonissos if u want something more lively. And if course Malia is a taxi ride if you want to go mad. You can easily eat at a different restaurant every night, even if you stay for 2 weeks. Good for tourists but understandingly not good for the restaurant owners. Business for some is quiet. We always tried to eat somewhere where it already had customers sitting down. Nearly all have roof top views of the sea. We did 2 excursions, Spinagonga and Greek night. I would recomment the later, the greek night was a bit rushed and a dark journey on a bus winding through small roads made you feel a little queezy! Especially after booze. I would recomment Spinagonga, even though you dont spend much time on the island, the guide is very thorough and informative and the trip out on the boat so you can jump in the sea and swim is worth it. We hired a quad for 2 days so we could get to the beach easily, walking down to the town was 15 mins but walking up was another story in the heat, unless your feeling fit. We did it once, it was ok. The taxi fare of 7 euros we felt was very steep for a 5 min ride up the hill. We did it when we bought food from the SPAR.We went to 2 other beaches whilst we had the quad, one just behind Lidel supermarket and then one in Malia. We hired a Jeep fpr 2 days also and got to see some sights of Crete, Zeus's cave up in the mountains (again be prepared for a steep walk up the hill once you get there, they do have donkeys there you can hire, but be warned its a right trek up to the cave) We also went to Agos Nicholas, Rethimnon, then down to the south to Preveli (a beauty spot which had actually been burnt down which was very sad but worth seeing, 2 weeks before it would have been green and lush with palm trees) and Plakius beach next door to Preveli. Driving round Crete is very easy, only one main national road and small villages. Very worth seeing that side of Crete. All in all a wonderful holiday and I so wish I was still there! I loved crete so much I feel I want to live there! ENJOY! :) "
- Travel date: 13th September 2010
"I have just returned from a 2 week stay at the Astra Village with my 16 yr old daughter. We enjoyed every minute here.The apartments are basic but have everything you need for a self catering holiday.The snack bar provides you with a very friendly service (Alex)with a good selection of food until 5pm. You don't need to go far for the supermarket, it's right opposite the apartments,although another minute up the road you'll find another one. Lots of restaurants on your doorstep, you could eat at a different one each night, there is even a chinese restaurant opposite too.A 15/20 minute walk down the hill will take you into Hersonissos, which is a lot livlier if thats what you want for a change of scenery. The bus service is excellent here too, and reasonably priced if you wanted to travel further afield. We went on a trip to the island of Spinalonga while we were there which costs about 53euros for an adult.You travel to Elounda and get the boat over to the island, and stay for about an hour. Our guide Constantine keeps you well informed all day with the local knowledge which is great. You then get to visit a cove for swimming & snorkelling and have a bbq.The boat heads back and you spend another hour in Elounda before travelling back to your hotel.The weather was fantastic here everyday! (we went in August). This was our 1st visit to Crete and definitely won't be the last!I wouldn't hestitate to recommend The Astra village apartments.I couldn't say a bad thing about it.We booked with Thomsons.As usual couldn't fault them either."
- Travel date: 27th August 2010
"Have just arrived back from a week in Crete, at the Astra Village apartments, Koutouloufari - my wife and I and three teenagers (17, 15 & 15) Booked through Portand Direct and therefore all travel was through Thomsons. Canât praise Thomsons enough - collecting the tickets at their office at East Midlands airport took less than five minutes, Check - in was also quick and efficient and we were through to Departures in less then ten minutes. Plenty of entertainment on the flight and the flight staff were friendly and attentive. Transfer to resort was another area where Thomsons rate highly - no sitting in the coach awaiting other flights - onto the coach and away! The reps for Thomson seemed to be a little more professional then from other companies providing just enough information and guiding to the accommodation. We arrived at Koutoulafari at around 23.00 hours but the main street was bustling and plenty of shops and restaurants still open. I had read mixed reports of the Astra apartments but have leant to make my own judgements and have visited various Greek Islands over the last twenty years. Astra Apartments are made up of five blocks around two swimming pools. We received a warm welcome at reception. Our two apartments were made up of a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen diner with a sofa bed, TV (limited channels but enough to keep up with news and sport), a fridge and two-ring hob (the usual in Greece although the TV was a nice addition). The apartments were scrupulously clean and were kept that way by the cleaners who visited every day. In my opinion the apartments were amongst the best I have stayed in Greece Plenty of sun beds around the pools, never had to go without and the pools although small were great for dipping in and cooling off. There was a friendly bar that made breakfast and snacks and drinks during the day â and satellite TV to keep up with all sorts of sport. I would say that Koutouloufari is a cut above the normal Greek resort -it is up in the mountains above Hersonnisos and about twenty minutes walk down to the sea and a further five minutes to Star Beach which is great for teenagers, free entrance but a charge for slides, bungee etc. The restaurants and shops are just a little more sophisticated then found on the beach front resorts, that is not inferring any less friendly, perhaps because it is a little smaller we found it more friendly and you soon got to know a lot of the characters in the restaurants and shops. Donât get me wrong there is plenty of choice â you could eat at a different restaurant every night for a fortnight and still have choices where to eat. We did not have a bad meal whilst we were there, the boys went for breakfast each morning at Fabrica, where they veered between waffles, crepes and full English breakfasts all prepared and served with a smile and a joke by Yiannis, the owner (they often returned for a Crepe on the way home in the evenings as well!) The Ariadni restaurant was virtually opposite the apartments - Manos was always helpful, friendly and important for us Brits never pushy. Great pizzas and well-served traditional Greek plates â we also had nice meals at the Restaurant at the end of the village next to the adjoining village of Piscapiano. Canât remember the name But there are lots to choose from but we ran out of holiday! We would definitely return to these apartments and the resort of Koutouloufari. "
- Travel date: 22nd August 2009
booked last minute, was not disappointed
"Myself and my seven year old daughter have just returned from here, we were only there for week and wished it was longer.booked it at the last minute. The rooms were cleaned every day, after two nights our bedding and towels were changed. Basic facilities for catering for yourselves, but enough to provide yourself with breakfast etc, plenty of little supermarkets with-in one minute walk, all well stocked. Excellent base for exploring, and if you just want a week chilling out by the pool(WHICH WAS CLEAN) The staff at the Astra village were great and made you very welcome, Alex and Jon in the bar were great, always happy and cheerful. It was very sad saying goodbye. Will return again, and hopefully have a longer stay. Recommmend the Astra Village to anyone, and the village was lovely. Fantastic holiday.Thank You Astra Village. "
- Travel date: 8th August 2009
Koutouloufari - hidden gem
"Just returned from 2 weeks in Astra Village, the apartments were very clean and tidy. The only let down was the pettiness of staff. Air Con is â¬9 per day - extremely expensive and into our 2nd week we were told not to take our own water/food down to the pool and that we had to buy drinks from the bar which were warm! So we all waited until the pool bar shut at 4pm then raced to get our own!! We had to complain about the cleanliness of the pool, it wasnt nice but they did clean it everyday after that, even if the cleaner was dipping a bleached up brush into the pool water! Koutouloufari itself is just lovely, a magical place full of Greek tradition, our favourite restaurant was Ariadne, just across the road, the staff knew our names after the first day and the food was fab, loved Manos, Toni and Yannis. Also Galini's is a very special restaurant where you get the best customer service ever. The walk to Hersonissos is fine, the walk back to Koutoulafari is not advisable but a taxi will cost no more than â¬7 although Koutouloufari is much nicer than Hersonissos. I would highly recommend Koutoulafari not so much Astra and this is only because of the staff, the apartments themselves are in the perfect spot, clean and roomy. Our rep, Alisha, was fantastic, best rep we've ever had, always happy and smiley and nothing is too much trouble. Overall we had a great holiday and met some brilliant people there (you know who you all are!). Already looking at a week in September to go back!! "
- Travel date: 17th July 2009
"The accomodation was comfortable and adequate and normal for Greece. Two pools, everything clean and tidy. Rooms cleaned ever day. Koutouloufari is agreat place to stay. Gentle walk -downhill - 15 minutes to Heronisis. Taxi back 7 euros. My only complaint, which I think is a big one is the cost of air conditioning. Priced at 9 Euros a day is the most expensive I have ever come across!!!! adding over Â£100 to the cost of the holidy accomodation!"
- Travel date: 13th July 2009
"we arrived at astra village to find a very small swimming pool, and also to find later on how dirty the swimming pool was, the pool was not cleaned once all hoilday the edge of the pool was lined with yellow scum as well as the top layer of the pool water, the bottom of the pool was full of flys and wasps all week.As well as this the water turned everyones bikins yellow and also made rips in peoples bikins The rooms were ok with all equipment needed although the cleaners managed not to change the towles or bed sheets all week. The staff were not very friendly except one bar staff called john who was lovely and very helpful. The location of the apartments is brilliant and the place itself is great just a shame about the staff and dirtiness of the apartments. Koutalafari is lovely really quiet but everything there that you would need its a walk to hersonnosis but is not worth going to very loud and not very nice."
- Travel date: 12th July 2009
August 2008. We found these partments t...
"August 2008. We found these partments to be an excellent base for a family holiday in Crete. The standard of furnishing, kitchen equipment and decor is basic but clean and recently decorated. Cleaners attend daily (with towel, sheet and toilet paper top up sufficient) and we found staff to be pleasant. There is a local charge for air conditioning and safe hire which for two weeks cost a total of 150E. As we had researched beforehand we were expecting this cost but others weren't. As everywhere, some apartments were better located than others with some enjoying sea views and private patios. There are two small pools but both enjoying good sunbathing spots and, again, they were clean and well maintained. The village itself is excellent with a good choice of friendly bars, restaurants and supermarkets, many with large terraces enjoying lovely views towards the sea. If you want Irish bars, nighclubs, theme pubs and fast food restaurants you need to walk 30 minutes to the coast. We would recommend Orion rent-a-car which is near the 'wishing well', with private parking very close to the apartments. A trip to the nearby waterpark (aquaplus park) is a must as is the boat trip to Dia from the port (El Greco tours). Having hired a car, the day trips we did showed the tour company days out to be very expensive in comparison to doing it yourself. The apartment BBQ is held c 2 weekly was excellent and a cheap alternative - but no less enjoyable - than an organised 'Greek Night'. Knossos and Spinalonga also unmissalbe and our favoured beach was the one nearest Malia Palace archaelogical site ('Sun Beach'). There are many others if you want something more lively."
- Travel date: 26th August 2008
The Astra was a lovley base for our holi...
"The Astra was a lovley base for our holiday. Our room was clean and bright with a lovely sea view from the spacious balcony. The kitchenette was also well equiped. The staff are, on the whole, very pleasant - Alex, the barman, is a bit of a legend! The two pools are small but nice and safe for the kids. We really enjoyed this holiday and I hope to return."
- Travel date: 26th August 2008
Koutouloufari is fab!
"Despite some problems, Astra Village Apartments are pretty much an OK place to stay. Being two ladies on our own with two children, we requested an upper storey room when making the travel agent booking. However, we got given a ground floor room on the main walk way - which suffered from a slight cockroach infestation problem! On complaining to Cruella De Ville on Reception (that was our name for her anyway) she did arrange an immediate fumigation of the apartment, which seemed to do the trick. However, she was unable to grant our room move for a further three days (the next changeover day). We did eventually get moved to the second floor - to a room that had been burgled the previous evening! We are sure she did it on purpose because we had harangued her on several occasions about a move - hence her nickname!! However, following the installation of evening security guards (who, I believe, are on on duty until the end of the season) the nocturnal visits ceased and we could rest easy from about the Wednesday - a week after our arrival. I have to say there were no problems with cleanliness - the rooms were cleaned daily; linen was changed twice a week - pristinely clean, but a little worn; and loo rolls were provided (despite us having read previous reviews about them not being provided, and our buying our own). And the showers were always scalding hot and powerful. Beware of the pools however - they are quite small and there are not enough sunbeds. There was even a small war over the sunbeds (we were like the Germans placing towels on beds at 2am), so staff frequently removed them, and I think they were a little over-zealous with some of the chemicals used. We had an inexplicable rash until we went to the beach, when it mysteriously cleared up. Having said all that, by Greek standards, this is quite a good place to stay. Alex the barman is a diamond! Koutouloufari itself is delightful! A really quaint village, with twisting cobbled streets, excellent tavernas (try Patrikos - nice boss, happy staff!) and a visit to the Dutch pancake shop and the adjourning jewellers is a must. The silversmith is so very accommodating and made us loads of one-off designer pieces in a very small time frame. We will definitely be back!"
- Travel date: 9th August 2008
Top traveller tips for Astra Village Apartments
"A wonderful way to see Crete for the first or many times."
"Favourite restaurant was Ariadne and Galini's"
"Best holiday i ever had, saw a bit of the "real" Crete"
"A little classier then the normal greek break "
"favourite restaurants were "Mezes" and "Lichos" which is in Piskopiano (2 minutes away). "
"ate out a number of times, all restaurants were very good, some pricier than others, good service"
"wonderful village which came to life at night, great base for exploring, away from it all"
Astra Village Apartments is also called
- astra village apartments crete
- astra village apartments hotel crete