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Santa Marina Beach Hotel 3.5

Agia Marina, Crete, Greece

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Family-friendly, beachfront hotel with all-inclusive packages
  • Sandy, swimmable beach with loungers and umbrellas
  • Pleasant rooms with AC, hairdryers, and furnished terraces
  • Large pool with adjacent bar and well-sized relaxation pool
  • All-day buffet restaurants with outdoor seating, and Cretan a la carte eatery
  • Three bars -- one beachside and two serving snacks
  • Ultra All-Inclusive plan adds free massage, daily free minibar, branded alcohol
  • Daily activities and evening entertainment several times a week
  • Decent gym, kids’ club with hosted activities, and kiddy pools
  • Mini-market stocks beach and food basics
  • Free private parking

Cons

  • Hotel divided by main coastal road (access via underground tunnel)
  • Beach sunbeds and umbrellas, and Wi-Fi not included in all rates
  • Some rooms are on the small side and have old-fashioned decor
  • No on-site spa (located at sister hotel)
  • Fee for in-room safe

Bottom Line

The upper-middle-range Santa Marina Beach Hotel is a family-friendly all-inclusive offering direct access to a lovely beach with loungers and umbrellas. The hotel is split into two halves by a main road, but an underground tunnel allows guests to walk between the two easily. The 212 rooms are likewise split, and poolside units in the Pearl Wing rooms are more modern and spacious than others. However, all have air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and outdoor spaces. All rates include breakfast, plus all-inclusive packages are available for the buffet restaurants, a la carte Cretan eatery, and three bars. On-site features include two pools, a gym and games, and a kids' club. Unfortunately, the spa is at a sister hotel and Wi-Fi sometimes requires a fee. For an adults-only option, try its sister hotel Santa Marina Plaza.

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Scene

Family-friendly, oceanfront all-inclusive with pleasant, neutral-tone decor

Set on a prime stretch of sandy coastline, the Santa Marina Beach Hotel stands out for its family-friendly atmosphere and all-inclusive packages. Traditional decor in the lobby may feel a bit dated, but neutral tones, pottery, and artwork give it a welcoming vibe. Additionally, panoramic views of the garden and oceanfront are lovely, and the picturesque beach with tamarisk trees is only steps away. Both pools and two of the three room blocks are separated from the beach by a busy road, but an underground pedestrian tunnel allows guests to walk between the two sides safely and easily. Being a family-friendly establishment means the hotel can get busy at times, especially during evening entertainment sessions and peak meal times, when kids may overflow into the adjacent lobby area. In contrast, the beach and surrounding gardens are generally peaceful during the day, while the main pool with daily activities has a livelier vibe.

Location

Coastal setting near many restaurants and other hotels

Split into two sides, the hotel is divided by a busy main road that runs along the coast. There are numerous other hotels and restaurants within easy walking distance, but Agia Marina's most bustling town center is about a 15- to 20-minute walk away. A car rental and local tour agency are across the street from the hotel. A bus stop just outside the hotel makes frequent 20-minute drives to Chania, which has a wealth of shops, restaurants, and nightlife in its historic old town and Venetian harbor area. It’s a 30-minute drive to Chania International Airport, and just over an hour drive to the lively city of Rethymnon.

Rooms

Rooms with either old-fashioned or contemporary decor, plus furnished terraces

The 212 rooms at Santa Marina Beach are spread across three different buildings: the 66-room beachside complex (which also houses the reception), the 122-room pool complex, and 24-room Pearl Wing also by the pool. The Pearl Wing is the most modern and spacious, all rooms have tea- and coffee-making facilities. Rooms in the remaining complexes are on the dated side, though across the board they're clean, comfy, and done in a soothing neutral palette with pops of color in artwork. All rooms have furnished outdoor spaces, with either pool, ocean, or garden views. Standard amenities consist of desks, small sitting areas, flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and minibars. Safes incur an additional charge. Lower-category bathrooms have shower/tub combos or half-bath and shower combinations, plus quality toiletries and hairdryers. Superior Rooms have walk-in rainfall showers. Family Rooms with bunk beds are a bit small, so travelers with kids may prefer the Family Maisonette, which is set over two floors with a second bedroom and bathroom. 

Features

Lovely beach, two pools, buffet and a la carte restaurants, and daily activities

Santa Marina Beach Hotel’s main attraction is its charming beach, which is lined with lovely tamarisk trees and bordered by a pretty garden with plenty of beachside seating. Its shallow water is suitable for children, and a beach bar serves drinks and daytime snacks. Two pools are both well-sized and have separate kiddy pools. The main pool hosts daytime recreation for adults and kids, and is accompanied by a poolside bar serving drinks and snacks, while the second pool is located in the Pearl Wing and has a quieter atmosphere. A kids’ club and evening entertainment several times a week -- including a Cretan night with traditional music and dance -- also keeps guests busy. The gym is basic but sufficient, though guests will have to go to another hotel for spa treatments and facilities. 

All-inclusive guests can have meals either at the main buffet restaurant, located in the beachside complex, or at the buffet restaurant in the Pearl Wing, which serves similar local and international basics with a few different dishes. A third a la carte eatery serves Cretan and international dinners alfresco by the beach. All-inclusive guests are entitled to one free meal at the a la carte restaurant, as well as a daytime snack buffet and local drinks and cocktails. The Ultra All-Inclusive plan adds unlimited visits to the a la carte restaurant, as well as a free beachside massage, daily minibar, and branded alcohol. 

Wi-Fi may or may not be included in the rate, depending on the booking site or tour agency. Free private parking is spread across three different lots.

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Address

Aghia Marina Beach, Agia Marina, Chania Prefecture 730 14, Greece

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