11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Wonderfull relaxing chilled holiday
"We have just returned from two wonderfully chilled weeks at the Astoria Hotel in Troulos and are already looking forward to a return visit next year. We arrived with a little trepidation as the pictures and some of the reviews from last year had put some doubts in our minds. I am pleased to say we need not have worried as the hotel has been refurbished, I believe last year, and the brochure and web pictures do not do it justice. It is now a modern âGreekâ boutique style hotel with high quality rooms the majority with views over very well kept gardens. The bedrooms are well appointed, very clean with fridge, AC and TV(both not used) and the shower is the best I have ever experienced in Greece. The pool area is a delight, especially after a long hot day on the nearby beach, and with Harryâs Bar open form 9:30 until late, who could ask for more.
Troulos itself is quite spread out so you will need to explore a little though everything is within a short walk from the hotel and there are plenty of Tavernas to chose from, those we used and recommend are:
Ambrosia & Nectar â good quality, large portions
Stygarlia? (Casa Di Pasta) â owner plies you with freebies.
Troulos Bay Hotel - good quality and price with the best view of the sea both for dinner and lunch.
TO KAAYBIâ typical Greek Taverna on the âback roadâ
Snack Bar on the Beach â lunch times only, excellent Gyvros and sardines
There are more both on the beach and scattered around but we did not have time to try them all.
Best beaches â Elias but you will need a jeep, Big Banana can be reached by bus and Troulos as it is on the doorstep.
Skiathos town is only a short bus ride away with a regular service and at a good price though it does get very busy, standing room only at peak times. Tip, if there are 4 of you negotiate with the taxis that often follow the bus, you may get to town for only a Euro more but in comfort.
For a wonderful relaxed and chilled holiday you would be hard pressed to beat the Astoria Hotel."
- Travel date: Thu 16th of July 2009
Just stunning, clean and very welcoming
"Hi, My fiance and I spent the most wonderful week at the Astoria last month.
I was a little worried when we booked, because some of the reviews were a little offputting, but we were really surprised to find an immaculate, modern, clean boutique hotel near one of the loveliest beaches (with a pool of terrapins to coo over).
The staff were really friendly and pleasant. The barman by the pool, Harry was a total pro with great cocktails till the early hours. The pool was so clean and tidy, it was a pleasure to have a dip in the afternoons (especially with the bar so close)
Our room was like brand new. A modern airy room with great quiet aircon and a lovely shower room that had loads of hot water ever day.
We paid extra for the aircon, but it was worth it. I haven't had a decent nights sleep since I got back to England. I think I need aircon at home now.
Breakfast had 3 different cereal choices, then hot basic breakfast choices and the obligatory peaches and greek yogurt with honey. Plenty of choice for us for a week. I am used to cornflakes at home, so this was an improvement for me.
The rooms were cleaned thoroughly every day with fluffy fresh towels.
To sum up, this was our second visit to Skiathos as the island is just amazing. It was our first visit to the Astoria, but it won't be our last. We have found our perfect, quiet hotel and don't intend to settle for less in the future.
If you are booked in, don't worry. You will love it. I am so jealous of you. Roll on next summer."
- Travel date: Wed 8th of July 2009
Very, very good hotel by Greek standards
"I will break this review down in to two parts as some times the hotels are graded with a lower score due to its location in a poor resort or even country.
So, lets start with the Astoria. Firstly, the pictures for the hotel on many of the tour operators websites seem to show the hotel prior to refurbishment in 2008 - I'm not sure why the owners have not done something about this?
The hotel is very typically 'UnGreek'. By that I mean there is not a stick of pine furniture to be seen, the rooms are modern and well furnished with a fridge, TV, and hairdryer. The bathroom is UK standard 3 star with modern fittings and excellent shower that pumps out hot water all day and indeed night. The rooms are cleaned daily and a few strategically placed towels (on the floor) will indicate you want them changed. The pool area is very nice and the bar area is again modern and smart.
Breakfast is pretty good, with fresh bread, jams, eggs and some omlette/scrambled egg concotion. There is also juice, coffee and tea. It is not without a few problems though, the wasps are particularly fond of the Greek yoghurt and jam and it can be a bit of a free for all at busy times due to the small counters.
I only have one minor complaint with the Astoria and it is also mentioned in the previous review - it simply has no atmosphere. I'm certainly not advocating a bit of drum and bass should be pumped out over breakfast but it needs an injection of some personality. Its all a bit clinical. As an example at breakfast there are two or three of the staff watching like hawks to top up the beans or rmove your dirty plate, but they almost seem robotic, greeting you with a muffled 'hello' or 'finished' as the offending dirtied cutlery is removed. Similalrly, the bar is staffed by Harry. Harry has been serving drinks behind the bar since 1994. He works (during the summer) seven days a week for 15 hours a day, He is very polite and trys his best to make conversation. But he has the persona of somebody who, well somebody has stood behind the same bar since 1994. Even in the evening, the bar is distinctly lacking atmosphere. The drinks are reasonably pricey, but in only line with the other over priced inns on the Island. I have to say this lack of atmosphere is prevalent throughout Troulos. Apart from the Beltisos. The Belstisos belts out music out tof the most appalling sound system I have ever heard and the barman will do his best to stop you leaving. Beware if you are thinking of booking here!
All of the residents of the Astoria are British and the county of Yorkshire seemed to be there during our stay. 'Can you get me wun piecer torst' was a common phrase over heard at breakfast!
Finally - Skiathos. It is a really icturesque Island. But it comes at a price and expect to pay 10 - 12 Euros at the trendy bars in Skiathos Town. The Alkyon Hotel right on the Port in the Town looks like a nice place to stay. I would suggest avoiding the resteraunts on the harboue as the whiff of sea air will inflate the already over priced food which by Greek standards is distinctly average. Try Kasbar on Bar Street for cheaper drinks and some live music.
As for Troulos, it is quite nice, the beach is good and there are a few ok tavernas. The mach lauded Ambrosia and Nectar really isnt that good and the wait for food can laborious. The atmpsophere (and service) but most importantly the food is much better at Pardiso which is just opposite the fork in the road.
The best beach by some distance is Banana Beach (bus stop 26). There are some nudists at one end, the gents and ladies parts are too far away to make you choke on your feta. The sand is great as is the sea and the beah bar is busy but not too busy to dusturb your all important sun bathing.
The bus service is excellent and if not staying in Skiathos Town, you will probably use it plenty, but it can get a little busy at peak times. If you are thinking of hiring a car for a day, make sure its is jeep ad there are only two aspahlt roads on the island. You can see everything in one day (despite what the hire company may tell you) and you should not pay more than 45 Euro's for one day jeep hire.
In summary. We had a geat time in Skiathos and regretted not booking for a little longer than one week. Stay in Koukanaries or the Town and take plenty of money with you. I get the impression that the global recession is starting to bit as many of the expensive restaraunts are very quiet and so there may well be a price correction."
- Travel date: Sun 28th of June 2009
Short &Sweet in Sunny Troulos
"Just home from sunny week at Astoria Hotel. Pleasant room on 2nd flr with balcony over looking pretty garden. Room clean, adequate space for clothes etc. Good fridge (no extra charge), TV (waste of time little English not even decent Greek channel showing news or weather). Bathroom modern, good shower, loo, sink plus hairdryer. Not too hot 2nd week in June, so managed to avoid paying for air conditioning, think it was 4E a night. Used safety deposit box (situated in room by reception 20E a week, can only be opened with their master key & your key).
Breakfast basic, enjoyed yoghurt & honey plus toaster worked. Other choices not so good - boiled eggs (always cold), scrambled egss with ham (not so good for us veggies), bowl of uncovered baked beans (which you can have heated), inevitable tinned peaches & thick tinned milk. Bar pleasant but pricey, not much atmosphere, few people around, possibly for that reason.
Hotel within 5 to 10 minutes of gorgeous sandy beach & in a pretty lane with tracks thro countryside past apartments towards tavernas, supermarkets & bars (Troulos needs to be explored as very spread out & could miss a good Taverna). Ensure you have torch, be careful crossing road, plenty of mad drivers about. Bus service excellent & easy to use. Hotel at Bus Stop 20. Bus Stop 19 for Victoria Bar, 18 for handful of Tavernas. Fares 1.80E into Skiathos, 1.40E out to Koukanaries.
Enjoyed meals at Vareli, Kalybi, Troulos Taverna (on beach) & Apollona (2nd meal there not so good). Local tavernas not generous with complimentary dips, desserts, brandy/raki as experienced on other Greek islands. Drinks at Victoria Bar bit cheaper, good lively atmosphere, pleasant staff catering for British taste, quizzes, bingo & theme nights. As expected local supermarkets displayed similar prices & expensive for basics.
Thomson Sunset Cruise nothing special, overpriced, would not recommend. Good value Island Hopper Discovery Boat Trip to Skopelos & Alonossis, Victoria the guide brought the islands to life with her knowledge & tales of these idyllic islands.
A great relaxing, stunning holiday location, may not suit those looking for the rustic Greek experience."
- Travel date: Mon 22nd of June 2009
"Have just returned from our first visit to Skiathos. Loved everything about the island and would most definitely go back. The Hotel Astoria is in a peaceful area about a 500m walk from Troulos beach with views of the mountain behind and loads of tavernas within walking distance or there is a superb very reliable bus service every twenty minutes or so into Skiathos Town. The hotel is very comfortable and the owners charming and friendly. We'll definitely be back for another visit but not as late as mid September. The weather wasn't as good as we'd hoped but we didn't let it spoil our holiday. See you in June next year!"
- Travel date: Thu 25th of September 2008
"recently refurbished, astoria is a good, clean base, with the beach literally just across the road. Dont know why they havent put up new photos as the room was much more modern- it had a good shower compared to greek standards, and was cleaned every day. a lovely pool with plenty of sun beds next to a small, friendly bar. Harry the bar man is a sex god and very helpful :)
bus stop is about 100m down the road which takes you to the beaches around skiathos and also to the livelier skiathos town at night. troulous beach is very nice but quite quiet, so its good if you want a relaxing and peaceful day and the troulous bay hotel does a good fresh lunch. but the best beaches for us were banana beach and koukanaries,
as a young couple (17 and 21) we found trolous fairly quiet even though it was peak season and though on the internet it says it is the largest village outside the main town, it was very spread out. but we were honestly really impressed with astoria- friendly, smart, clean and close to tavernas, supermarket, beach and bus stop. it is a good base for exploring the island...
- Travel date: Wed 13th of August 2008
"Last year my boyfriend was lucky enough to get a ticket for the European Cup Final in Athens. He found out he had a ticket at 2.30pm on the thursday and I had the Astoria booked by 4.30 the same day. Due to the circumstances we had absolutely no expectation of Skiathos in general or the hotel.
When we first arrived I was a bit apprehensive as the coach pulled up on a dirt sand area. However, when you get to the front of the hotel its completely different with a lawn and lots of flowers and bushes. Our room was lovely, very basic but what I expected from a Greek hotel.
We stayed at the Astoria bed and breakfast, the breakfast was very good, fresh bread, lots of fruit and greek yogurt, jams, cheese, ham. The pool was a good size with plenty of sun loungers.
The location was very good, bar, little supermarket and bus stop on the road outside the hotel. Bar isn't noisy though. Short walk into Trulos centre. My favourite restaurant in Trulos is called Ambrosia and Nectar, its a bit more expensive than the other restaurants in Trulos but worth every penny.
This year (2008) we went back to Trulos and had a look at the Astoria. Its had a big refurb, so its probably even better than this review as its a bit late."
- Travel date: Mon 28th of July 2008
"The Hotel Astoria is situated approx. 300m behind Troulos Bay beach across the main seafront road, 50m down a dirt track with goats grazing on one side and a building site on the other. This is a rough rural area, which has some of the charm, beauty and atmosphere of a French campsite in the Dordogne valley. The aforementioned main road has no pavements and is thus somewhat deadly, so pack a torch as you will need this at night. The cars, motorbikes and quads race around the blind corner in front of the hotel and you have to share the tarmac with them just to cross to the beach, supermarket, bus stop or restaurants. There was a loud car crash on this stretch of road whilst I was there. This is definitely NOT a safe place for children, elderly or disabled people!
The Astoria has just been refurbished so you no longer have to hold the shower spray to shower, though you must expect it to flood the floor as space is limited. The decor is ultra modern and the building pretty with whitewashed walls and a terracotta roof from which house-martins swoop all day. They are in competition with the endless wasps, however, who are allowed to swarm inside the communal jam pots at breakfast and mob the guests so that you must go armed with a swatter to defend yourself. The air conditioning is 4 euros per day and DOESN'T work properly at night as the thermostats are incompatible with the room sizes, causing them to allow the rooms to either freeze or fry when you're not awake to adjust them. The engineer refused to fix the problem and the management (Mr and Mrs. Nikos) irritably offered another room change but as the problem affects the whole system that is no real solution. The bright receptionist Daniella tried her best to reason with the obstinate engineer to no avail. The maids prepare breakfast before cleaning the rooms and the lovely maid Eleni is especially friendly if you speak to her in Greek, no matter how poor your grasp of the language may be.
I booked this holiday on the Thomson website with a Â£400 reduction that made it very affordable, about Â£450 each for B&B including all flights and transfers, meals on plane etc. I chose it for its quiet and pretty rural description. It is reasonably quiet, but you must request a quiet room as the bar can be very noisy at night and you won't be able to use it unless you wish to spend a king's ransom on alcohol, this being unbelievably expensive throughout Skiathos, cocktails ranging from 8-15 euros, most 12 euros in the town, that's Â£11! Wine is cheaper, but still more expensive than England. It's best just to have a glass at dinner and save your money to explore the island and eat reasonably well.
The main negative in this holiday was actually the other British tourists! I was surprised how few British tourists on Skiathos bothered to even say please and thank you in Greek. Most were clearly unsophisticated and unwilling to explore the Greek culture; which is a shame as we found many friendly Greek people who were more than willing to expand your experience of the island, most being visitors themselves who came on the ferry from Athens to work in the tourist trade during the summer months. The vast majority of British tourists on this small island are from northern England, most in their 50s or 60s it seemed, though some slightly younger ones arrived as the school holidays began. We only met one other southern couple in the whole 2 weeks we were here and they were just passing through. This is a lovely island so I wonder why it is not more popular with southern British tourists.
If you want a good value, healthy, delicious meal in a cool situation go to Kabourellas Fish Taverna on the front in the old port of Skiathos Town. Also good are its neighbouring restaurants if you choose Greek cuisine and compare prices. The much hailed Windmill restaurant above the new port has very fancy food with nice sauces with a stunning aerial view; but the fish is fresher at Kabourellas and you can find as much dish variety at Ambrosia and Nectare's friendly restaurant in Trolous Bay if you brave the road turning left along the main road as you exit the dirt track from the Astoria. The Sunrise restaurant is also fairly good and local. It can be found by following the track left as you exit the Astoria front gate and follow the signs through the countryside behind it along tracks past apartment blocks through the charming, rough, flower trellised pathways serenaded by the cicadas which whirr endlessly around you.
Unlike the popular resorts of Corfu, Crete or Cyprus Skiathos retains a Greek flavour as it is still a popular holiday destination for the Greeks who live on the mainland. Many of those from Athens who come to holiday rather than work here are evidently more sophisticated than their British counterparts and the art gallery and open air theatre of Skiathos town seem undiscovered by most of the latter, though well worth a visit even if you don't speak any Greek. Also worth a visit is the Evangelistra monastery, which transports you back in time with its medieval style courtyard and beautiful tranquillity and simplicity, quite awe-inspiring. You don't need to pay Thomson or Thomas Cook 30 euros to get there, just get the bus to town at 1.8 euros then get the municipal bus from the bus terminal at the new port for even less. You can get there and back to Troulos Bay for less than 6 euros and your experience will be better without the hoards!
Also book boat trips from the old port, this is all the tour operators do and then charge you extra for nothing more than you would get booking direct. The trip to Scopelos and Alonissos island is wonderful as they are so unspoilt that here you'll find picture postcard Greece with white walls framing cobbled streets, pink sprawling creepers and a backdrop of perfect blue sea and sky endlessly reaching into the stretches of your imagination. To perfect the experience see the film Mamma Mia, which was filmed on Scopelos. We watched this at the wonderful open-air cinema in Skiathos town and I was moved to tears despite the upbeat theme!
Another good activity is exploring the many small mountains on Skiathos by motorbike, beach buggy, quad or car, but beware of rough roads and poor quality vehicles. Fun if you don't mind a little risk. Otherwise there is little to do and in 38 degrees of heat (which will increase to above 40 in August) you can't do much during the day anyway. Skiathos is famed for its many beaches and you can reach enough of them by bus to not need a hire car or bike. Don't try and walk along the pavement-less roads unless you have a death-wish though. The Greeks don't stick to the speed limit and I witnessed one nasty crash in Troulos Bay whilst there and am sure its one of many. The bus is crowded to an extreme and some don't even stop for you if they are full, but they come and go every 20 minutes outside the supermarket on the main road near the Astoria so you'll get on one eventually. It's quite an experience having Greek armpits in your face as you go out in your evening dress on the same bus that transports the sweaty Greeks that leave the beaches as late as 7 or 8pm! The conductor with the deep voice is also very amusing in his mildly aggressive manner.
There's plenty of free pantomime to be had on Skiathos, but this is an island more of rough and ready adventure than elegance. Although there are blessedly few 20-somethings here the beaches are often still invaded by horrendous dance and drum and bass music played by the Greeks who run the bars and water sports huts there. They are oblivious to the lack of desire the mostly older British guests have for this music and speaking as a thirty something from Brighton and Hove I can assure them people of my age don't welcome it either! They are too obstinate to turn it down now and the general attitude on the island is definitely not a polite one. That said, we did meet some friendly Greek people and made much more headway once we showed we were savvy to the rip-off tactics. The Greek term for respect me is 'Sevasmos', emphasis on the 'mos'. I learned that whilst living in Cyprus with the local people when I was 21. This is a phrase you may find useful here at times, though generally if you show a friendly interest and a touch of intelligence they will treat you reasonably anyway. You don't need to speak Greek on Skiathos as the Greeks mostly speak English but there's no need to be lazy and you'll get more from your trip if you try; when in Rome............."
- Travel date: Sun 27th of July 2008
Nice quiet hotel, not a great island
"We moved to the Astoria Hotel after leaving the accomodation that we'd originally booked for with Manos, which was a horrible apartment with blaring bar music day and night, and the speakers for it right outside our front door (not to mention the crumbling rooms with open electric wires hanging out of the walls!). Manos were incredibly unhelpful and refused to find us somewhere else to stay, so we walked round the resort and found the Astoria Hotel.
The Astoria was much better. Our room was clean and we had no problems with insects or anything like that, and it was very quiet - we couldn't hear any of the noise from the rest of the resort. It had a fridge and reasonable decor, so we had no complaints there.
We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis, and the breakfast was nothing special, usually consisting of pears, bread and some strange hard cake. We generally ended up going down to one of the beach front bars for a cooked breakfast.
The pool area, however, was lovely - never crowded even though it was peak season, and getting a sunbed was never a trouble. The pool bar was nice with a friendly barman, and music which was always unobtrusive and quiet, thank goodness! We often got a lovely plate of chips or a toasted cheese sandwich and icecreams or drinks from him throughout the day, and they were reasonably priced.
One word of warning though: I would recommend wearing earplugs in the pool because within a day of using it I got an ear infection. Apparantly that's reasonably common with Greek pools though?
Location wise, the Astoria is in a good place, on the road down to the beach. The small-ish beach in the resort is alright - very rough sand, very expensive sunbeds and a couple of bars above it selling not very nice food. There were some watersports available - ringos and parasailing, but the people operating them didn't speak english and didn't seem concerned about safety so I avoided them.
I wouldn't recommend the resort itself as particularly nice - it didn't seem friendly and most of the restaurants we tried weren't that nice, which is unusual for Greece. We did discover the Hotel Troulos Bay overlooking the beach which did some nice food, though expensive by Greek standards, with friendly waiters and lovely views. However many restaurants served up stuff that was almost inedible. There's also none of the nice souvenir shops that you'd expect from a small resort - it seemed a bit soulless really.
So - nice hotel, not a great resort."
- Travel date: Mon 27th of August 2007
"Hotel Astoria is an amazing hotel, the outside is beautiful, the grounds are covered with decorative flowers and there is grass areas all around. The pool is a perfect size and not too packed at all. The hotel is a two minute walk from bus stop 20 where you catch a bus to other amazing beaches around or into town, which takes around 15 mins. Although the buses get VERY packed at around 8 in the eveing so be prepared to squash in!! Beach troulos is just down the road from the bus stop, another short walk to a lovely sandy beach with great tavernas.
Beach 26 koukouanaries is amazing with a wide range of water sports! In troulos there is a great bar called the Victoria Bar on the left hand side of the road was a recommend, the people are lovely and they have a great quiz night on Monday! The night life in skiathos town is brillant, although no clubs really start up till 12pm, but once the clubs are off they have great music and become very packed and fun!! The last bus home is at 1.30pm but there are taxis running all nite for around 8-10euros
The bar strip in town is VERY pricy, so its best to drink before you go into town and save money. There are endless restaruents to choose from, it may take a couple of days to get yourself around and setteld in but the second week will soon fly by and you will know everyone and everywhere by the end of your holiday!!!
A fantastic trip and a beautiuful hotel, well recommended!!!!"
- Travel date: Fri 12th of August 2005
Modern, established and well run hotel
"Clean comfortable rooms with modern decor. Bathroom is a proper wet room , however could do with a squeegee or mop to dry floor.
Beach nearby is excellent as are they all on skiathos. Predominately english guests whilst we were there and most return each year. Breakfast was good however room is cramped when hotel full as not a very big breakfast room. Good location for walking around the village and tavernas/bars and only minutes to the beach."
- Travel date: Mon 26th of August 2013