Ikos Olivia *****
1 free airport transfer per stay (round trip)
Jérôme, aged 35, married, father of Achille, 3 years old, from Brussels
We spent ten wonderful days at Ikos Olivia – I will try my best to tell you about our experience, even if the best is to live it on the spot!
From Brussels, a short 2 hours 30 minutes flight takes you to Thessaloniki Airport, Greece’s second largest city. Many daily connections allow good schedules, which is always more pleasant with children.
According to the other holidaymakers we met during our stay, from Germany, France, the United Kingdom and other countries like Russia or the Netherlands, it is very easy to reach Thessaloniki with direct links.
The price of the flights is democratic: at the beginning of July, our round trip cost us 175€ per person, with the airline company Tui.
A driver chartered by the hotel was waiting for us at the airport. He had a child seat in his car: a must! Fresh water was also at our disposal.
The Wifi in the taxi allowed us to follow the quarter final of the World Cup on the driver’s tablet. The footballer dad that I am was delighted! Olé! Less than a 40-minute drive away is Ikos Olivia, a beautiful resort on the Aegean Sea, in a private nature reserve.
We were looking forward to this holiday because we had heard a lot about the Ikos Olivia hotel and its recent Trip Advisor win: Best All-In Luxury Family Hotel in the World!
I spent 10 days there in family: my wife, our 3 year old son Achille and me.
Upon arrival, we received a special welcome with a glass of champagne and a personalized check-in. Our son received a fresh fruit juice.
More than 90% of customers are families with children, which is great because you have the feeling that everyone is on the same page as you. In addition, this favors friendly meetings.
The resort consists of a main building containing about 50 rooms, and various private villas and bungalows, some of which have their own private pool and garden. We opted for a Superior Room, perfect for 2 adults and 1 child since it contains a super comfortable king size bed and a sofa bed for our son. The room also has a large furnished terrace overlooking the sea or overlooking the gardens. This room is comfortable and very large. A Nespresso machine and a mini-bar generously restocked every day offer a little extra.
The minibar, like everything else included in our rate, adhered to the principle of Infinity Lifestyle, a kind of ultra-all-inclusive luxury formula!
Meals, activities (yoga, pilates, access to the spa, paddle, kayak, pedalo), drinks at the table and at the pool…everything is included! Only the nursery has a charge for children under 4, but the mini-club and club-teens are free.
The hotel has a main restaurant that is open on the beach, serving delicious dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a fine buffet. On the menu: freshly caught sole, suckling lamb, mixed salads, crayfish, sushi, pasta and pizzas, truffle risotto, Greek mussels, fresh vegetable purées for babies and a wonderful dessert buffet.
There are also 5 themed restaurants whose menus are prepared by Michelin-starred Chefs and the wine list by a sommelier champion of Greece. French, Thai, Greek and Italian gastronomy … there is something for everyone and à la carte menus always offer meals for babies and children.
The wines are of high quality and come from France, Italy, Greece, but also from South Africa and Argentina. Champagne is also complimentary, with a special mention for the Taittinger Brut.
Original idea: the hotel has signed a collaboration with 3 restaurants nearby (located a 3-minute walk away) and if you wish, you can go there for free dinner. That’s how we spent an evening at a typical Greek restaurant.
Each restaurant has a play area and coloring for children, but also many designer baby chairs by Stokke.
What we particularly liked in Ikos is the exceptional infrastructure reserved for children, but also the luxury available to parents. It reigns in all the field a feeling of peace and quiet incredible. An absolute calm that brings relaxation.
The various children’s pools are very practical and very secure, with depths of 30cm or 60cm and a lifeguard watching over the apprentice swimmers. Balloons and inflatable objects are at your disposal free of charge. Delicious fresh fruit smoothies, milkshakes and perfectly made cocktails refreshed us during our days at the beach and at the pool.
I enjoyed taking water skiing lessons (40€ per session), and also windsurfing. In the meantime, my wife was enjoying free sports classes. In the morning, we sometimes participated in water polo matches! My son loved the football games organized every morning at 9:15 for children under 4 and supervised by a teacher.
But what Achille particularly enjoyed was the free loan of a bicycle! He cycled by bike for the very first time in Greece. An eternal memory! With his little bike with stabilizer, he wandered all day in the green alleys of the field, between lavender and olive trees. Bicycles are available for all ages and adult bikes with baby seats are also available.
My wife took advantage of the spa and hairdresser. The spa is stocked with Anne Semonin products. Each week, the spa offers guests special promotions on products and treatments such as couples’ massages.
There are several very useful shops in the area: a supermarket, toy stores, clothing shops, sunglasses… and a beautiful jewellery store that sells gold and diamond creations and also watches from major watchmaking factories such as Breitling and Mont White. One evening, a cocktail was organized at the jeweller’s shop and a voucher of -25% was graciously offered.
A doctor is also present on site. This service is very convenient and the medicines are delivered directly to your room. In the doctor’s office are postcards of children thanking the doctor for saving their holidays.
Tip: Take your mosquito lotion with you or buy it at the hotel’s shop, because the resort is located in a natural park – in the evening, mosquitoes like to come and tease you!
Ikos Olivia offers 3 clubs adapted to the different ages of your children: the nursery (2 months-4 years), the mini-club (4-10 years) and the teens-club (10-16 years). Activities are varied: drawings, dance classes, sports tournaments, treasure hunts, arts and crafts, painting, cooking classes (your teenagers will love making their own sushi), and so on. The indoor and outdoor facilities are modern and very clean. As my wife said: « The nursery is even more beautiful than the one where Achilles was when he was little! »
In the evening, a Mini-Disco evening is organized in the hotel’s gardens and children can romp with their parents and assistants! Achilles loved it!
The animators speak several languages: Greek, German, Russian and even sometimes French and Dutch. These girls and boys are very nice and their training is provided by an English organization specializing in the supervision of children in hotels.
Our ten days of vacation went at a crazy pace! I understand better why some families that we met on the spot come back here every year.
Achille has made many friends from France, Belgium, Switzerland and England.
Here the luxury is in every detail, but it is a discreet luxury, based on a return to nature, moments of happiness shared with the family, good healthy meals and the pleasure of the beach.
I still remember the wonderful parties organized on the beach where parents and children dance in the light of candles and the moon, and also shows given at the theatre and the kindness of the staff.
This memory that we will keep for a long time and which allowed us to relax.
Oh yes, I nearly forgot two great services: a charming assistant is specially dedicated to cleaning your sunglasses on the beach and at the pool! In addition, a facilitator keeps your children occupied on the beach for 30 minutes every day so you can swim or take a nap on your deckchair. The great life!
Monday-Sunday: 9AM - 6PM.
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