Maybe to Porto Carras Sithonia • Neos Marmaras, Greece • Iva Says

Porto Carras Sithonia Review

Well, here I am thinking what to write about Porto Carras Sithonia. This hotel was one of the best hotels in Greece in the past, widely known for its casino and salt water throughout the hotel. It is part of the famous Porto Carras Resort (affiliate link) that features a marina and yet another luxurious hotel – Meliton. However, time did its deed here. It went from a renowned travel destination, to possibly only a regular family-friendly place to stay.

Where exactly?Neos Marmaras, Sithonia, Chalkidiki.
Means of Transportation?Car.
How Many People?2.
How Many Nights?3.
Type of Vacation?Relaxing, swimming, sunbathing.
Trip Date?June 2015

 

A yacht at the marina at Porto Carras Sithonia
A yacht

I am personally a huge fan of Porto Carras Sithonia, and I’ve stayed there once prior to this visit, but I went off-season and couldn’t really catch the true image of the hotel when it’s full of guests. Therefore, I decided to give it one more try and booked three nights in June 2015.

I traveled by car and certainly enjoyed the trip. As you may know by now, I love Sithonia and I always find pleasure while driving through its green forest that offers a stunning view of the sea. The nature is exactly what makes the Porto Carras Resort such an attractive place to stay, even when the staff or the accommodation aren’t as top class as you would hope them to be.

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First Impressions

Porto Carras Complex from above a hill
Overview of Porto Carras

When you first get in the Porto Carras Resort, you must show a reservation or room card in order to be allowed to enter the property. I found this to be really cool and safe, even though I’ve read that it is possible to access the resort through the beach since there is no fence.

Anyway, we arrived and a valet offered to park the car, while we went inside to check-in. Generally, everyone was nice and the atmosphere was good; even though it wasn’t as dramatic as in the Sani Beach Resort where you are welcomed with a glass of champagne. We were given our room keys and left on ourselves.

I think it’s fair to notice that just like all other large hotels in Chalkidiki, Porto Carras Sithonia needs more elevators because sometimes it gets too crowded and you waste time waiting for the elevator to arrive. 

If memory serves me right, we were given a room on the fourth floor, and luckily for us, it was close to the elevator. The first time I was there, I got a room that was so far away from the elevator that I got tired just getting to it, let alone wait for it forever.

The hotel room in Porto Carras Sithonia
The hotel room.

I wasn’t surprised by the worn-out carpets since I was quite familiar with them, but my travel partner did comment that these old-fashioned halls don’t suit a 5-star hotel.

Comments on:

  • Building – the building itself is quite attractive. It kind of reminds me of a ship and seems luxurious especially at night. However, it definitely needs to be refurbished on the inside i.e. the carpets need to be changed, walls need to be repainted etc. Maybe this was done after my visit, I cannot say for sure; however, during my stay, the things needed to be modernized;
  • People working out in the pool
    Aerobics in the pool

    Surroundings – I always say that the thing that is the best about Porto Carras Sithonia and the entire Resort, in general, is its surroundings. The nature is wonderful and picturesque. There is a lot to be seen, beautifully maintained gardens, sandy beaches and lots of swimming pools. Regardless whether you are exploring the resort grounds during the day or at night, you will certainly enjoy everything it has to offer;
  • Parking – the hotel has a nice asphalted parking. Considering the fact a valet shall park the car instead of you, there’s no need for you to bother with it. Plus, there’s a guard monitoring the parking, which is a great thing to know;
  • Room – the rooms are pretty standard in size and furniture. I would say they are old fashioned as well and could be improved. For example, during my stay, I was satisfied with the bed and the bathroom, but the rest of the furniture seemed old. Also, a thing that really pissed me off was the broken refrigerator, which was never repaired even though we reported it several times;
  • Staff – honestly, I don’t even remember the staff too much and that could be both a bad and a good sign. Majority of the employees were nice and friendly, but there were some of them that didn’t know English well, which naturally made it hard for us to order things or ask questions or communicate in general. Other than that, I don’t think I had any bad experiences with the staff.

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During the Stay

Three nights isn’t a long stay, but we came to some conclusions anyway. The water in the pools is from the sea, thus don’t let it surprise you. Some people hate this, while I personally didn’t mind it. At the time of my stay it was mandatory to leave a 20 EUR deposit in order to get cards to pick up beach towels by the pool; at the end of the stay you return the cards and get the money back. We were told this was introduced because people used to steal the beach towels.

The pools at Porto Carras Sithonia
The sea water pools.

One negative thing, I could mention is the fact that finding a free sunbed was next to impossible. The guests at the hotel were really selfish, and the staff wasn’t interested in solving this problem.

Relaxing at the beach at Porto Carras Sithonia
Relaxing at the beach

Therefore, you could see a single person getting up early and then placing towels over most of the sunbeds both by the pool and on the beach so they can later go wherever they felt like; the result was obviously tens of empty and yet occupied sunbeds while other guests weren’t able to enjoy either place.

On a positive note, the hotel has an adorable train tour taking its guests around the Resort. The hotel train takes the guests from Sithonia to Meliton and then to the marina, to a beach or to the Porto Carras Vinery. Taking this tour is free of charge and therefore a nice way of spending the hot afternoon. I am a huge fan of the winery where you can buy Porto Carras vines, with the Rose being my personal favorite.

Crystal clear water at Porto Carras
Entering the sea at Porto Carras

In terms of food and drinks, nothing special. There was a nice variety of dishes, but they could get boring after a while.

This wasn’t a problem for me this time, but it was the previous time when I stayed longer. The drinks included soft drinks, local alcoholic beverages, and coffee from a machine. You can’t expect too much though. I prefer frappe and it was a disappointment to either have to pay for it or drink a hot cappuccino when outside was 35oC. There are several other restaurants that guests can use, but they need to make a prior reservation first and I believe it was allowed to use them only once per stay.

Naturally, I must mention the Porto Carras Casino located in the main building. First-time visitors are given a 5 EUR coupon (at least that was the case at the time), but they must register as guests first and pay a registration fee of 15 EUR (I think). Anyway, inside the drinks are free and the atmosphere is nice, especially during busy hours when its filled with elegant guests. I wasn’t lucky to win any juicy prize, but I enjoyed my gambling experience nonetheless.

Sad to Check Out

The Porto Carras Sithonia Complex
The beach bar and rec area.

Even though I pointed out several cons of Porto Carras Sithonia, I must confess that I am always sad to leave this place. However, I would recommend possible future guests to carefully consider all the positive and negative aspects of this hotel because it’s not a cheap mistake to make.

After the addition of slides on the pools and creating additional kids’ areas, Porto Carras Sithonia has become a perfect getaway for families and thus it may not be the best option for young travelers that want to party. Moreover, the weak Wi-Fi signal may be a problem to those that need the Internet for work, while the salty sea water in the pools could be a turn off for those that prefer freshwater pools.

ProsCons
Wonderful beachSometimes impossible to find a sunbed or place by the pool
Beach towels providedNeed to leave security deposit for using the beach towels
Great foodFrappe isn’t included in the all-inclusive package
Large swimming pools and slidesBuilding needs refurbishing
Top all inclusive offerService could be better
Lots of areas to discoverPoor Wi-Fi signal

 

Nevertheless, the gorgeous nature, the luxurious casino and the stunning view from sea-view rooms are more than enough to put a smile on your face. Therefore, as long as you have your priorities straight, you will know right away if this hotel is for you or not.

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The famous Porto Carras Sithonia hotel complex in Greece (Chalkidiki).

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