We arrived at the hotel with some trepidation as there had a been a spate of mixed reviews shortly before we were due to take our holiday (a week at the end of August). However, any misgivings were quickly dispelled. We had a fantastic time.
We had a family suite with a separate bedroom for us and a sofa-bed in the living room which was big enough for our boys of 15 and 10. The room had two bathrooms too and room size was excellent for a resort hotel.
Breakfast was very good quality with a massive choice. It is true that one has to pay for anything other than normal coffee but if everyone ordered different coffees the staff would never cope (which incidentally the staff did cope to bring out enough food and replenish items as they disappeared). Normal coffee was just fine for me and there was a good selection of teas. My fussy eldest son found plenty of things to eat for breakfast and the non-fussy one had to be told to stop eating!
We dined in Inbi, Flame, Da Luigis and the buffet restaurant at the Romanos and had room service one night. Inbi was wonderful, especially as the kids stayed in for room service. The barman at Inbi made excellent Mojitos and the food was tasty and well presented. In fact we were given a free cocktail after the meal. Flame was also very good. Da Luigis was not at the level of Inbi or Flame but still good and the room service was of a good standard, well presented and hot (which can't be easy given the size of the resort). The Ramanos buffet was pretty good too with plenty of things like crab, prawns, salads, pasta, and many desert choices. The food was expensive but no more expensive than other 5-star resorts. You will probably have to book restaurants but we'd done that before we travelled - all of our bookings were exactly as we'd asked for by email.
The resort has loads to do, water sports, cycling, table tennis (free), gym (free), tennis etc. Plenty for boys of 15 and 10 to keep them occupied. There are 3 large swimming pools with plenty of beds, each with their own character, one playing music and a little more lively with a swim up bar, one quieter one and one for kids with the water slides and small kids water play area, so you can take your pick.
The beach is beautiful. People have complained that the waves were too strong but it was not our experience. When we arrived there were waves, but the sort that would make it fun. We hired kayaks and asked to be able to surf but the forecast was for the sea to be like a lake for the remainder of our stay (and it was). The sea was so warm.
We booked the snorkeling trip which was great fun. A short drive, a short boat trip to Proti Island and guided snorkeling. We saw some beautiful fish and had the added bonus of a little local history.
We also booked a cycle ride to Voidokilia which was led by a charming guide (sorry can't remember his name) who was also proud of its and the local area's history. The ride is pretty easy and we were lucky to be with some really nice people. The beach itself is beautiful and worth a trip on its own.
We found the staff to generally be very warm and friendly and service was generally of a good standard. We had one poor meal experience when we went to Barbouni (at the beach). There was a wedding due to take place the next day and the guests descended upon Barbouni and the restaurant struggled to cope, meaning a long wait for tables and food and a not very orderly allocation of tables (I'm british so queuing is important!). But that is a small gripe as the food was very good, I especially enjoyed the calamari.
The boys loved to go off on their own and enjoyed getting their lunches at the Souvlakerie. The resort is away from it all and feels incredibly safe so we were happy for the boys to make their own way around, play table tennis, tennis whatever. They also enjoyed visiting the ice cream shop in the village area. There is a large sports hall for basketball/football/badminton which the boys also did. As a suggestion, it might be useful if the hotel planned some of the activities so that kids would turn up and play together and they'd probably also enjoy that. The sports hall is air conditioned so it is a great place for the kids to get out of the sun occasionally.
One thing I definitely enjoyed was the relaxed atmosphere.
My wife used the spa for a massage and really enjoyed it.
We would definitely go back again and I guess that's the main benchmark.
Some other points to clear up from other reviews. We had no mosquitos/gnats or other flying insects. The gardens were in good order, the planting is in keeping with the local area so they're not nice tidy flower beds. We didn't struggle for towels, although after a few days the hotel became much quieter so it wouldn't have been a struggle for them, although it was full when we arrived.
We had hired a car because we flew into Athens from Rome. The drive was pretty easy in the main part but we left the end of it to the SatNav which took the shortest route via some very windy roads. Part of the purpose of the car was to perhaps explore some of the local area. We enjoyed it so much on resort that we never saw the car again until we left. We would probably have more of a look around the local area when we return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Inspired by old Messinian mansions, the resort’s low-rise villa clusters use natural stone and local design elements to create a motif in perfect harmony with virgin sandy beaches and the pristine hillside landscape. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino Hotel Messenia Region
- The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino Greece/Peloponnese