We’ve just got back from a fortnight in Greece at the TUI Sensatori Rhodes resort and I wanted to share a review.
The Sensatori Rhodes is a new hotel, which opened last summer, and bills itself as an all-inclusive luxury “experience”.
Why Choose Sensatori Rhodes?
We booked the Sensatori Rhodes basically because it was half the price of booking a villa in Greece, and I’ve just bought a house, so… budgets.
That said, this isn’t what I’d consider to be a “cheap” holiday. We paid just over £5,500 for 14 nights at Sensatori Rhodes (including return flights and private taxi transfers between the airport and hotel).
For that you’re getting a brand new, 5* hotel with lots of activities, from archery to HIIT classes and candlelight yoga. You can eat at six different restaurants, and swim in multiple pools. There’s an on-site spa, diving school, gym and dance studio. Along with a massive theatre and nightly entertainment.
For families there are kids clubs for under 12s, lots of sports and entertainment. There are two family pools plus a splash park with slides, and an adjacent family “sports hub” bar, and playground area.
It’s a LOT. But does it live up to the promise?
Accommodation at Sensatori Rhodes
The hotel has 330 rooms and virtually all ground floor rooms have swim-up pools.
I’m not keen enough on a swim-up room to pay for one (yes, I am cheap), so we booked a twin room with a balcony promising a sea or pool view.
We were situated in Block 9, which was lovely and peaceful, a little way apart from the main building. The views are nothing to write home about, if you care about such things (we really don’t).
In this photo, taken from our balcony, you can see the sea. You can also see the restaurant’s trash area and the building site next door.
That said, the balconies on this block do have a slight, definite odour. I asked TUI and hotel staff about it, and everyone did a great impression of having NO IDEA what I was talking about. Hmm. The fitness instructor later told me there’s a drain next to the archery centre (directly in front of block 9) that smells a bit, and everyone on-site is aware of that.
That said, the room was great. We had a twin room on the first floor. Some things we noticed:
- The size is really lovely, with a big seating area
- Two large wardrobes, one containing an in-room safe
- Marble bathroom with waterfall shower
- TV with the usual news and Disney channels
- Mood lighting
- Mini bar (everything’s free once, after that you pay)
The housekeeping is brilliantly random. There’s a do-not-disturb button on the door but we were woken up at 8.30am literally EVERY morning with a cheery, “Housekeeping!”
One day we would have two flannels but no shampoo, the next day six shampoo bottles but just no flannels. Somewhere around day 5, the housekeeper took our beach towels, they were never seen again. Weird. Oh, and for some reason the housekeeper ALWAYS seemed to leave the balcony door unlocked – so be sure to use the in-room safe for your valuables.
The Pools and Beach
We spent the first six days at Sensatori Rhodes doing nothing but hanging out at the beach and pools.
Honestly, the pools at this resort are nothing short of brilliant.
First up, the complex is cleverly designed so the splash park and kids clubs are well away from the other areas. In the main resort area there’s a series of inter-connecting pools that snake down the length of the resort. Little bridges, restaurants and bars sit in the middle of the pools, dividing them.
The net result is that there’s a family pool with a swim-up bar but just a minute further there’s an adults-only patio and swimming pool that is BLISSFULLY quiet, and incredibly relaxing.
There’s a family pool, with a swim-up bar, and whirlpool. Just around the corner, under a bridge, this flows into the “quiet” pool, and then this flows into two adult-only pools, with peaceful, adult-only terraces for sun-bathing. There’s also an indoor pool and a second activity pool set further back into the resort. This means that nowhere at Sensatori Rhodes ever feels too hectic, or crowded.
During the day you can get drinks, snacks and ice cream from the various bars and restaurants. A waiter also occasionally stops and offers to bring you drinks. It’s pretty much perfect. And I know this because I read six books on this holiday. I know! SIX!
The beach is stony, as with many beaches in Rhodes.
The water is warm, clear and beautiful but I would absolutely recommend water shoes if you want to avoid a painful hobble down the beach to get in the water. There are lovely grassed areas with bean bags and loungers that you can sit on here, too.
There’s a water sports centre on the beach where you can do the usual inflatable rides, hire boats and jet skis and even go diving (there’s an on-side PADI centre). These all cost extra, from around 15 euros per person.
Sensatori Food and Drink
There are six restaurants to choose from at Sensatori Rhodes:
- Buffet restaurant
- American restaurant
- Greek restaurant
- Healthy restaurant
- Adults-only restaurant
- Italian restaurant
There’s also a sports bar next to the splash park, and a beachside bar on the waterfront.
We missed breakfast at least 50% of our stay as it finishes at 10.30am and teenagers on holiday rarely surface in time – especially when they’re adjusting to a two hour time difference. But when we did have breakfast, it was good – the best bet are the freshly made omelettes, and Flea appreciated the effort made to serve British bacon.
At lunchtime you can choose from hot dogs and burgers at the American restaurant, gyros and pitta at the Greek restaurant, or fish and chips at the beachside bar. Snack-wise, everywhere serves chips, the pool bars offer ice cream, and you can get Crepes and ice cream at the sports bar during the afternoon.
For our money, the beach bar is the prettiest spot for lunch, and there’s not much better than fish and chips with this sort of view, is there? (The upstairs of this bar is for over 16s only).
How about the evening options?
The dinner buffet is fine. I’ve had better, I’ve had worse. For me, I thought it was a little bland, and repetitive.
The a la carte restaurants ranged from okay to really good.
The dinner reservations system is ridiculous, though. To book a table, you log onto the hotel’s website at 10am TWO DAYS ahead of time. You need to be on the site at 9.58am and have chosen your restaurant, ready to click “make a booking” the very second it hits 10am.
At this point, you may or may not get lucky. If you’re unlucky, it’s a mad clicking exercise to try and find a restaurant that does have space for you.
We got into the Italian restaurant 3 times. We ate at the adults’ only restaurant once (nobody questioned Flea’s age) and at the Greek restaurant once. All the meals were fine, the adults restaurant was the best by a mile. We tried to eat there again but the website told us we’d have to pay, so we didn’t bother.
I do get that dinner reservations are tricky at this sort of resort. Even so, this is the worst system I’ve seen. I’d much prefer a system that said you could dine at each restaurants once during your stay, or you could eat a la carte on a specific number of nights. This system is just frustrating and besides, who wants to plan dinner two days ahead of time?
Luckily we are very much not the sort of people to want to eat dinner on a resort every night.
The local area around Sensatori Rhodes has loads of great tavernas. Head 1.5km into the village of Gennadi for some lovely tavernas (our favourite was the garden at Mama’s Kitchen) or to the beach. We tried Antoni’s for seafood, and the Sposa Beach Club is unbelievably pretty with beach views at sunset.
A little further afield, we enjoyed the beach tavernas at Tzambika, and the Garden of Edem restaurant just behind the beach has the prettiest garden and some great Greek food.
What We Did at Sensatori Rhodes
There’s a Sensatori App that lists all the activities available day by day. If you fancy it you can go from morning meditation to dance class to HIIT classes on a surf board.
Lots of activities need to be booked 2 days ahead and will fill up quickly, so you need to be organised. Also, most of the activities are for adults or under 12s. There aren’t masses of options for teens.
That said, we felt very well entertained at Sensatori Rhodes. The indoor pool was a lovely quiet space to do my morning laps, and we both enjoyed the candlelight yoga classes.
The on-site spa is excellent, and they have no issue offering treatments to teens. The only requirement was we both had to have treatments, so I forced myself because sometimes a mother has to make sacrifices, am I right?
We each had an Elemis English Garden Massage, and a facial. They were divine, and what a great way to help you relax at the start of a holiday.
What I will say is that the staff at the spa are perhaps not as warm and fuzzy as you’ll find in the UK. I certainly got rushed and bossed about a lot, and spoken to quite sternly. I like to think when you’re spending close to 300 euros (the massage treatments range from 65 to 110 euros and facials were around 50 euros), you should get a little bit more warm and fuzzy.
I wonder if there’s a cultural aspect to this, though. The charming restaurant manager (who we nicknamed The Angry Man) seems to find his job very stressful and does not like people who want to eat outside when he only has tables inside. And we adored the Sports Hub barman who sighed when I asked how he was. “Every day the same,” he said, with a shrug. “People come, people go.”
Oh and I can’t call this review done until i mention one last thing – the WiFi at Sensatori Rhodes is very, very good. It’s free and works everywhere, we had no problems downloading films, streaming Netflix etc.
Days out in Rhodes
Although Sensatori Rhodes is a little out of the way on the South East coast of Rhodes, we definitely wanted to explore. The island isn’t huge, so we wanted to hire a car.
Luckily there’s an on-site car hire service, which is WAY cheaper than Avis with no excess and no deposit. We paid 65 euros a day for a Nissan Micra and it was perfect for exploring the island and getting out and about in the evenings to eat.
Where to Visit if you’re Staying at Sensatori Rhodes
This ancient town is hot and crowded, so my advice is to go near the start or end of the day. Explore the tiny little white streets, climb the hill to see the ancient acropolis, and reward yourself with an ice cream afterwards. Do us all a favour though, and don’t pay a donkey to take you up the hill, it’s just cruel and not necessary.
There are two pretty, small beaches to explore, main beach and St Paul’s Bay. Both are really pretty.
Sun and Swim Trip:
We did one excursion with TUI which was a full day boat trip down the coast, stopping at various swimming spots. We basically sunbathed and swam and did a lot of jumping off the boat and snorkelling. Very highly recommended.
Rhodes Old Town:
If you’re a history buff, you’ll love the ruins of the ancient city here, but there’s plenty more to see with museums and live music and street entertainers along with a maze of cobbled streets lined with tiny stores, many run by local artisans and artists. There are loads of places to eat, and it’s possible to do so without spending a fortune.
The village of Gennadi is just over a mile from the Sensatori Rhodes resort and you’ll find a beach, along with a small town with restaurants, bars and a mini market. We had dinner at the charming Mamas Kitchen here, and the food was GREAT. Also don’t miss Sposa Beach Club for beautiful Greek cuisine, and amazing views of the beach at sunset.
If you hire a car, you can basically drive up the coast checking out beaches as you go. Our favourite was Tzambika which has loads of free parking, a few decent restaurants and bars, a beach shop and LOADS of activities.
There are no fewer than three water sports companies here, plus two of those giant inflatable water play parks.
You can easily spend a day here and not even do the half the things. We opted for parasailing which was about 5000 times more frightening than I remembered.
We also went on some sort of weird inflatable spinning top which you had to cling onto while being towed behind a speedboat. As an added bonus, I got to stand next to a HUGE Greek man who squashed me every time we tilted onto our sides. It took about an hour to regain sensation in my fingers, I was clinging on so hard.
Garden Edem: If you go to Tzambika then we recommend stopping on the way back to the main road at Edem restaurant which has quite the prettiest little garden, great food and the loveliest staff. And I still think it’s a miracle we didn’t steal the tiny puppy that was fast asleep in the ladies’ bathroom.
Sensatori Rhodes Review: Our Overall Impression
I think that Sensatori Rhodes is an expensive holiday, but it felt like we got value for money. Would I recommend this resort? Yes, without any hesitation, I think it’s fabulous.
If we could recommend some small improvements they would be:
- Improve the restaurant booking system, it’s awful
- Housekeeping is a bit hit and miss
- Add some activity options for kids over 12
- Sort out the weird drain smell
Our favourite things, and reasons we’d definitely recommend the resort to other families were:
- Amazing pools, and lovely relaxing adult-only spaces
- Great snack and lunch options, especially at the beach bar
- The resort is just beautiful, and so thoughtfully designed
- Super helpful reception staff, who rescued us numerous times, even printing Flea’s birthday card for us
- Even in the middle of August, the resort never felt crowded or too hectic.
Our review is based on a holiday we bought and paid for ourselves, and although I’ve worked with TUI previously, this post is completely independent. Holidays at the TUI Sensatori Rhodes start from around £950pp for 7 nights, including flights. If you’re interested in all-inclusive, check our reviews of similar resorts in Mexico, Dubai or Mauritius.