Hi, I have not long returned from beautiful Kefalonia and the excellent Blue Horizon Hotel. I'm glad I listened to the majority of good reviews on this site and didn't believe the two bad ones.
I traveled to Svoronata with my wife, it's a quiet, laid back village with less shops and restaurants than most places I have been to. This did NOT disappoint me, it added lots to the charm. If you are looking for a brightly lit, crass and tacky Magaluf or Blackpool style resort this is not the place for you. Different places suit different people. This place and pretty much the whole of Kefalonia are for people with a bit more class who want to relax and enjoy some sun, sea and culture. Lassi, 20 mins up the coast, has a little bit more 18-30 style; not too bad but if you like Playa de las Stella then don't go to Svoronata and spoil it for others.
The Blue Horizon, is in my opinion, charming. It's not the newest of accommodation complexes but it is very clean and absolutely made this holiday for my wife and I. It is ran by an absolute gentleman by the name of Kosta. He speaks flawless English (or should I say Australian) and works tirelessly to keep the hotel and his guests happy.
Almost the first thing that he said to me was that he was upgrading us, for free, to one of his larger rooms, with a fantastic pool and sea view. A genuinely honest guy, he gave us all the information and tourist advice that we asked for and a lot that we hadn't realised that we needed. Very knowledgable about the island, he helped me to formulate all of my itineraries, giving me advice on where to stop, what to see and even where and what to eat.
Breakfasts were prepared by Kosta and he was very flexible on what time we could eat which was fantastic as sometimes I'm an early riser...and sometimes I'm hungover!!!
Now understand, this hotel is not the Hilton and it has no delusions of grandeur. I'm rating it 5 stars because I loved it, I am not giving it a Michelin-star rating. The breakfasts were fantastic, in my opinion. The choice was limited but it was exactly what I wanted, nice, healthy local fare. A small bowl of cereal with cold local milk, fresh Greek yoghurt with delicious Kefalonian honey (you will see the hives as you tour the island), fresh bread, butter and jam, fresh seasonal fruit and lovely fresh eggs from Kosta's farm. My favourite was his ommlettes but he does make the eggs to order. I really liked the fact that all of the food was fresh, natural, unprocessed and good for me.
The rooms were nice enough. Simple, plain and clean. Air conditioning and a fridge cost a little extra but I didn't begrudge paying at all. Nothing special, just a place to sleep. I go on holiday to visit places, not sit in a room, I have a house at home for that. Now if you're like me, then this place is perfect for you. If you like bell boys, monocled maitre-d's and room service with champagne and caviar I suggest you try somewhere else. The balconies are larger than usual, with greater than average depth, they have a table and chairs which are great for having a cold drink and doing some reading while your wife dries her hair...
The beds were comfortable enough, although in fairness to a previous review I did notice that all of the mattresses are brand new, like the fridges. I'm 6ft 2in and had no complaints about the size of the double bed.
The pool was great, every time I used it, it was empty, just the way I like it. If you prefer singing red coats trying to force you to play volleyball you'll be disappointed.
Now back to Svoronata. There are 2 beaches within easy walking distance. If you have difficulties with ambulation, change that to 1 beach within walking distance. If you have no problems walking, though, you have a choice of 2. Ammes beach is the closest, 5 minutes if you are fit enough to take Kosta's secret short cut, otherwise an 8 minute stroll. The next beach is further, a nice walk through some quiet roads, it will take you about 15-20 minutes. As mentioned in a previous review there are steps to negotiate to reach this beach. Not an issue to my wife and I but if you've had a few too many kleftikos you'll need to catch your breath as you climb back up.
If you are an absolute sun worshipper or beach bum then you can stay in Svoronata for a week happily. The majority of people, though, will want to explore Kefalonia and I think it's a shame for those who don't. It is the most beautiful island I have seen in Europe and that is not empty praise. Kosta put me in touch with a car hire company who gave me a jeep for 3 days for 90 euros. I was very happy with this price. An air-conditioned car would of been fine for the roads and a little cheaper, I just love the open top jeeps. If you do hire one, be aware of the handling characteristics, there is a lot of body roll on initial turn in. Other than that though, it was fine and a lot of fun to drive, I would of preferred my wife's MG but now I'm just being picky. Another thing to note, if you aren't a confident driver keep your trips local and join a coach party for the longer excursions. I loved the roads and driving but I can understand how others would be put off by the cliff edges.
For excursions I recommend Atheras beach, beautifully quiet and isolated and Melissani Lake, a geological wonder.
The Blue Horizon Hotel: Quiet, friendly. Great for couples or families who can entertain their own children.
Svoronata: Again, quiet and friendly. Hire a car too see the rest of the island and if you like eating in different places.
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- Also Known As:
- Blue Horizon Cephalonia