My Parents celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in May this year, and rather than have a party, my Dad decided to treat our immediate family (him and mum, me and my 5 year old twins and my sister, her husband and my 7 year old niece) to a short break. The pre requisites were that we needed to be there for the big day, have good weather, not have to fly too far and stay in a high quality all inclusive hotel (good old dad!) with something for everyone!
Through posting a recommendation request on Mini Travellers, I was introduced to Ikos Olivia in Halkadiki and as soon as I looked at the website I was hooked!
Ikos Olivia is a 5 star all inclusive resort with its own sandy beach, 4 swimming pools, half a dozen different restaurants and a plethora of sporting activities, all surrounded by beautiful lawns, olive trees and lavender bushes (the scent as you wander around the complex is divine!).
It is easily reached from Thessalonika airport – which is just over 3 hours from Manchester, and the hotel then provide chauffeured Mercedes’ to transfer you directly there.
We booked 5 nights for my sister and I and our families and a few nights more for Mum and Dad (so they could relax quietly once the celebrations ended!) and off we went. We chose to book through Catherine MacKey who is a Travel Counsellor, as this meant that she handled everything for us and liaised directly with the hotel on our behalf regarding room requests, dinner reservations and the all important Golden Wedding celebrations. This didn’t cost any more than us booking the whole thing independently, but gave my Dad peace of mind if something went wrong and meant that Mum had continuity if she wanted to discuss any element before departure. It also meant someone checked in online and printed the boarding passes for us – not a difficult task in this digital age, but a nice touch when you are normally the one who has to do all this (and everything else!!)
We haven’t holidayed together since my sister and I were teenagers, and whilst we wanted to be together, we all like our own space too, so we opted for rooms in the main hotel (on separate floors!!) rather than one of the bungalows or villas that are also on offer. The rooms were spacious, luxuriously furnished, and very comfortable with large bathrooms and decent balconies. My children and I had a stunning view over the resort and out to the sea and the sunsets were wonderful. A well stocked mini bar was in the room, as well as water, wine and a fruit bowl and as with everything else at Ikos Olivia it was all included in the price.
That’s where Ikos Olivia really did excel. Absolutely everything really was included. There were A la Carte Greek, Italian, Asian and French restaurants, all very family friendly, but serving delicious food, most with stunning beachfront locations and all offering over 100 different wines to choose from, brought to you and topped up as required. Forget queueing for a tumbler of house wine on tap – this is all inclusive at a different level! There was also a Mediterranean style buffet restaurant for when you fancied something a little more relaxed – again with the same wine list and this time with a dessert table guaranteed to keep every child full for some time! You did need to book into the a la carte restaurants in advance and it was worth noting that most people seemed to do this before they arrived, particularly if you were a larger group, so do get organised to avoid disappointment.
Breakfast and lunch were equally as delicious and again could be taken in any one of the restaurants. If you didn’t want to go down for lunch or dinner you could order from a good room service menu and indeed I did this for my children on a couple of nights so they ate early relaxing on the balcony and then were quite happy to just have a few nibbles and a mocktail or 2 (there was a great kids cocktail menu and my little Martha became quite a fan of “Shirley Temples”) whilst we had dinner.
And if 3 delicious meals a day wasn’t quite enough, whenever you were lazing on one of the plush sun loungers (on which fresh towels were immediately put down for you the minute you approached one), a waiter would appear and offer snacks, olives, fruit etc as well of course as whatever drink you could think of.
For her Golden Wedding dinner, my Mum chose the Greek restaurant, and we had a large table, beautifully decorated with rose petals and right on the edge of the beach. Champagne flowed for those who wanted it (and Shirley Temples or fanta lemon for those that didn’t) and the staff couldn’t have been more attentive. It was perfect!
There was a great kids club for little ones, which my daughter and my niece happily went off to for a couple of hours each morning. It was run by qualified English speaking staff and I particularly liked that they made use of the resort grounds and facilities, so they kids went out on nature hunts and picnics and played beach volley ball etc. My son was less keen on the kids club idea – and preferred to have some rare (when you are a twin) one to one time with me on the tennis or basket ball court, cycling and taking out pedaloes – which was actually great fun and was again all at no extra cost.
We met up and ate as a family for lunch and happily spent the afternoons together by one of the large pools or on the beach.
There was also an adults only pool and spa, with pilates and yoga classes to join in with, a variety of evening entertainment across the resort after dinner and if your shoes were too high to walk home in, (or you needed a ride for a more genuine reason!) a golf cart would take you wherever you needed to go.
For me, the ultimate luxury was when a white gloved young chap approached me as I relaxed by the pool, held out a silver tray and asked if he could polish my sunglasses! Wow – yes please, can you do my reading glasses too?
For a multi generational holiday for two 70 somethings, three 40 somethings and another 3 little ones, Ikos Olivia offered beautiful surroundings, great sports, lovely swimming, fabulous dining, fun kids clubs and a chance for some rare time together, celebrating a very special milestone and relaxing in real luxury. It met our needs on this occasion perfectly. My only complaint was that I couldn’t stay longer! But I’ll have to return soon, as my sunglasses are looking a little grubby!
We booked Ikos Olivia through Catherine Mackey – www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/catherine.mackey and travelled with jet2holidays.com during May bank holiday 2018.
We paid full price for our holiday and all the opinions are my own.
Whilst you are here why not read these other posts from Extraordinary Chaos about her trips to Ikos Olivia and Ikos Oceania