Reading other reviews, I think how much you enjoy staying here depends on what you are looking for in a holiday and if you've researched before booking~ why tripadvisor is such a good idea.
We stayed for 10 days from September 15th and had travelled from 2.30 am when we arrived so were looking to wind down. We couldn't believe that the transfer coach managed to get up the tiny, steep roads to get us there as it is on the way up the mountain and so the views are spectacular and unspoiled.
We were given a warm welcome by Tracy who showed us up to our rooms ~ there isn't a lift but you could always use the little road that runs up the side as a ramp instead of the stairs?~ we didn't mind lifting our cases as she is heavily pregnant, but Chris and Dimitris helped people with their luggage when they were on reception.
Our room was as expected~ this is Greece, who have had an economic collapse~ it was clean, with simple facilities and a bit dated, but this is exactly what we wanted~ a total break from the grind. There aren't ovens, microwaves or tv's but the bar has sky and a tv room so you could watch anything you really wanted there. The fridge was quite loud, but in a comic way, and we didn't mind heating water to make coffee or boil eggs~ there are shops up the hill after a five minute walk and we liked seeing the cats and chickens on our walks up there to get tomatoes and bread and so on. We liked the bar for snacks and only had one evening meal there~ it was like having a home-cooked dinner~ they were the only place we found that would sell you a litre of the fantastic local wines, everywhere else only does it by the 1/2 litre.
The shower was a pleasant surprise in that it was always hot with good pressure but, if you hadn't got the curtain across enough you could easily flood the little bathroom!
The towels were changed very regularly, the bins everyday ( no tissue down the toilets so necessary!) and the cleaner was very sensitive to our lie-ins!
Initially, we opted not to buy air-con and slept with the doors open with the shutters and curtain closed but this led to us being treated to the dawn chorus of dogs having a bark-off and multiple cockerels crowing~ which was quite funny~ but also being snacked on by mosquitoes, which wasn't. In the end, we bought the same mosquito-repelling burner that was burning in the bar and lit it before we went out at night then had air-con and, given how bitten some people were, this worked out as a good call; only down-side is that everything stank of smoke and had to be washed when we got home! Definitely take insect-repellent as they are sneaky and we got bitten when we were out too, even in jeans.
Overall, the whole complex was in great condition given that it's family run and that Chris and Dora are older and Tracy expecting. The pool was immaculate, the loungers are getting on a bit but are fine, the gardens are brilliant with oranges and pomegranates growing and lovely flowers. The area itself is a typical Greek mix of stunning flora and random half-finished buildings, derelict houses and rubbish but, depending on whether you mind this, this is part of it's charm! The people are generally really friendly but older men in particular can be quite dismissive of tourists ( we had a few weird experiences in shops where they made their disapproval clear) . We found that Dimitri and Tracy were really affable and chatty and it is a popular spot with the ex-pats who hotel-hop to visit friends~ there was a pleasant personal-touch to the bar service, possibly because it was quieter as nearing the season-end?, we felt that we were able to do as we pleased. If you can't stand passive-smoking this may not be ideal for you, it did irritate us a bit, but it seemed to be quite normal for people to smoke in restaurants.
Food-wise, there are some great places to eat and the hill-walk to and from Ipsos' main-strip was probably good for our waistlines! We particularly rated 'Squirrels' for their absolutely delicious traditional-Greek food, most of it home-grown, their amazing husband and wife team who run front of house and kitchen respectively, and the free dessert which you get when you ask for the bill! ( yummy apple fritters). This was just down the hill from Dominoes and Dreams who were party-central in the middle of nowhere!; one night we were able to gate-crash a Greek night at Dominoes (whose pool and grounds are gorgeous) and another we wandered into Dreams where the super-friendly barman Statis gave us free shots because he'd seen us walk by so much he felt like he knew us!
On the sea-front we really liked Phoebus because the maitre d' was really nice and was happy to talk to us about events in Athens at the time; the food was above average, the kleftiko particularly fresh tasting, and again there were freebies with the bill in the way of shots.
Moby Dicks was exceptional too~ really delicious, freshly-prepared and their pasta well worth trying~ all with a stunning view of the bay and under grape vines.
It was quite sad to see how many bars were mostly empty, the club was shut and there were quite a few completely closed bars and restaurants. It would be interesting to see how different it is earlier on in the season.
In terms of shops; There are lots of supermarkets open for food and sweets and so on and also a few for gifts. The gift shops were hit and miss and we were disappointed at how expensive it could be to buy t-shirts and local-sourced toilettries. But there is a brilliant atelier for art-lovers and some gems in the oddest of places.
The beach was disappointing~ right next to the road and only a few metres wide~ but there are water sports if you feel like mono-boarding or ringos and the view is stunning.
We did very little apart from eat, swim a bit and laze about and would go back but maybe a bit earlier, and would make more trips out, to Corfu town for example.
It was good for the money and a typical Greek holiday. If you want to switch off from the hectic 9-5 of the UK, it is a great way to unwind as it is a slower-paced, more basic way of life.
If you are not keen on walking up and down steep hills but don't want to stay in the apartments all the time, it won't suit you so it may be worth hiring a moped or a car; if you are looking to party all the time it won't suit you either because Ipsos is no longer the busy nightlife-centred place it apparently was 20 years ago~ Paliokastritsa or Kavos would be better for Corfu plus clubs.
We enjoyed our relaxing stay and really hope that things continue to go well for Chris, Dora, Dimitri and Tracey.
- Also Known As:
- Margarita Apartments Hotel
- Margarita Apartments Hotel Ipsos
- Margarita Apartments Ipsos, Corfu
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a family run hotel in a quiet area but only 900m from the beach, the hotel is surrounded by peaceful gardens and amazing mountain views. ... more less