Published: 30 August 2017
We’re back from our second family holiday at the luxury All Inclusive resort Ikos Olivia in Greece. So good, that I’m already planning our return in 2018 … Here’s why.
All Inclusive might conjure up an image of mass market, poor quality and 'sunbeds at dawn'. But nothing could be further from the truth at Ikos Olivia in Halkidiki. Here are 5 reasons why Ikos Olivia should be at the top of your European beach holiday wishlist for 2018.
1 Time to Stop Thinking
We’re all busy. Super busy. Perhaps even Oh my God, I don’t know where to start’ busy. Planning, organising, thinking constantly. Racing around trying to fit everything in. Lives filled with work, home, children, animals, school … Simply sitting down & taking it easy isn’t an option.
It’s fine, we choose that way of life and despite the complaining, actually enjoy it. However, it’s only possible to carry on at this level when we take the time to recharge and let someone else do the graft for a change. That’s where Ikos excels. You don’t need to think, you don’t need to plan. You can simply turn up and just be.
2 Home from Home
A member of staff explained that the Infinite Lifestyle concept is designed to be a home from home. I had to point out to her that Ikos Olivia is nothing like a home from home. Not mine anyway.
It’s a beautiful bubble of peace and simplicity where I feel valued and my comfort is someone else’s priority. It takes a few days to fully immerse in this, but by day 3 you’ll learn that it’s not your job to drag sun loungers into the shade/sun. So, don’t even try. Bliss.
The accommodation is contemporary and stylish. Choose from a room in the main building to one and two bedroom suites in the beautifully managed grounds, some with private pools. We stayed in a one bedroom garden suite which was perfect for a family of four. Next year I’m hoping to go Deluxe …
3 Food Glorious Food
For me, food is just something we eat to keep going. Churning out 3-4 edible meals each day is a chore, not a passion. Especially when you have fussy eaters to contend with. Of course, Ikos offers the traditional All Inclusive buffet which caters for everyone. But even here it takes the concept to a new level. Food is presented as art, think installation rather than canteen. And as for the Parmesan Pasta, OMG … unbelievable.
But what if you can’t bear to buffet? Certainly, it’s not to everyone’s taste.
Easy. Go a la carte at any of the four immaculately designed restaurants – Anaya (Asian fusion – jaw-droppingly good Hoisin Duck), Provence (French – perfect veal), Fusco (Italian with a menu created by a Michelin star chef) and Ouzo (contemporary chic Greek – my favourite). And to make your evening easier, each restaurant provides a children’s menu which your smaller ones can dip in and out of.
Want to venture out of resort? Ikos also supports three local tavernas in Gerakini village which you can visit as part of the All Inclusive package.
3 The Ikos team
These people are superstars. Everyone is incredibly friendly and efficient and they want your Ikos experience to be faultless.
A constant service of drinks and snacks to your lounger, served by delightful people. An unlimited supply of pool & beach towels brought to you. An emergency trip to the pharmacist. Nothing is too much trouble.
The evening entertainment schedule includes musical theatre shows (produced in house – we were amazed by how good the team are!), the beautiful ‘White Night’ beach party and live bands. Something for everyone.
Even after departure the team are amazing. We managed to leave a bunch of stuff behind (this was the point at which I realised that if I didn’t start thinking again, we were gong to be in big trouble). Not only did they try to get it to us at the airport before departure, but have sent it back to us at no extra charge.
4 Lots to do, nothing you must do
This is a good thing! For me, a holiday is where I do almost nothing. I don’t want the pressure of feeling that I should be doing something to make the most of my time. I am making the most of my time by doing nothing. I want to lie down, swim a bit and read. To rest and switch off.
Not everybody wants that though. And Ikos caters perfectly to those looking for some activity. Motorised watersports*, scuba diving*, fitness classes, loan bikes, football sessions, tennis lessons* or courts and kids clubs are right there and easy to arrange.
If you want to get out and about, the nice man at the car hire desk will arrange your car. The nearby amazing caves at Petralona are a must-see if you do want to venture out. If car-hire is too much to contemplate, the wonderful guest relations team will arrange a trip to Greece’s second city Thessaloniki. One of the best kept secrets in this part of Europe. Or perhaps a private boat trip around the coast.
Need Wifi? The excellent complimentary service runs throughout the resort and on to the beach. No need to give up on the outside world completely.
And I haven’t even mentioned the Anne Semonin Spa … you’ll just have to discover that jewel for yourself.
* Extra charge
5 The Practicalities …
Fly with easyJet from Gatwick (I know, but honestly, LGW is the only downside to the whole holiday) to Thessaloniki in about 3 hours. It’s a very early doors flight, so let us book your airport hotel for the night before.
The private Ikos Resorts transfer will scoop you up on arrival with ice cold bottles of water and pop you in their car. You will be in resort by lunchtime and by the pool or beach immediately afterwards. Have your swimwear ready to go in your hand luggage!
Book early (easyJet flights are out in October). You get the best discounts and the full choice of dates and accommodation. Ikos’ reputation means that it sells out in some room types very quickly.
Want to hear more about the best All Inclusive in Europe? Get in touch and let me tell you all about it in even more detail!
Catherine Hordern travelled to Ikos Olivia in August 2017 with her husband and two children. All travel arrangements were made by Feel Good Holidays.