I read all the reviews before I went and was really looking forward to going and am really pleased to say that I was not at all disappointed. The hotel is set on a lovely little beach with the most fabulous views towards Kefalonia, is within a couple of minutes' walk of a family-friendly authentically Greek village with enough restaurants to keep you going for 2 weeks and has everything to keep the kids entertained. The management (Gloria and her staff, including reception, bar staff and cleaners) are an extremely well-run team who can't do enough to help. Gloria provides a personal touch and made you feel welcome and looked after, unlike some hotels who make you feel like just another customer. The Thomson reps were very helpful and onsite at all times.They also did a 'Towel Patrol' every morning - I've never seen it done before although they always threaten it but the reps actually took away the towels that were 'reserving' sunbeds if people weren't sitting on them each morning which I think was brilliant and alleviated the sunbed envy that we've all experienced.The Kids Club enabled my husband and I to have some free time during the day (2 hours) and several evenings where we were able to drop the kids off for 2 or 3 hours and head to a romantic restaurant (Neraida is one where you can sit overlooking the ocean watching the sun set) on our own which we've not been able to do for the last 5 years. The pools are great, with a new splashpark. There is a covered play area too, a softplay for under 3's, creche, etc. Basically it is VERY kid/parent friendly. The rooms are of a good standard (especially for Greece) - we had a 2 bed apartment which had an OK sized kitchen but the most fabulous view over the sea-pool. The sheets seemed to be clean every day and so did the towels but I think it was just the way the lovely cleaners left everything immaculate every day. The food at the cafe was good value and tasty enough for breakfast or lunch. It closed at 6pm so no good for dinner. The horse and carriage service awaits you not far outside the hotel and will take you to most of the restaurants for 5 or 10 Euros - not strictly necessary as everything is within walking distance (The Lemon Tree is the furthest but that only took around 20 mins) but the kids enjoyed the experience. On restaurants, we tended to go to the ones that had play areas as we have 3 and 5 year old boys (who find it impossible to sit still for the length of a meal) ... we visited Mantalena 3 times (great playground, nice food), Neraida (on our own, very nice authentically Greek with live music and a sunset overlooking the beach), Paradosaiko (towards Alkyes - no playground so on our own, very nice authentically Greek), Memories (OK playground and OK food), The Lemon Tree (great playground, inc, bouncy castle - good food but not as great as all the reviews seem to indicate), The Taj Mahal Indian (also Chinese) - bizarrely had a trampoline inside the restaurant ... great Indian food, fresh and cooked by an Indian chef ... we went there 3 times! - well the football was on!!), Apollo 2 (went there twice ... kids seemed to love the play area although it didn't seem much) - food was very nice and they also do the best currency exchange in the area (the only place we got 1.20 for our Euros rather than 1.18 that everybody else was offering, Vagis (OK play area and very nice Italian food although there was obviously a Greek menu on offer) and last but not least, La Caretta (very good play area for smaller kids) with good food, a very gorgeous looking Greek waitress (had to kick my husband a few times to stop him gaping) and a free half litre of wine and ice-cream for the kids. There didn't seem too much free drinks being given away which is unusual for Greece but bearing in mind their financial worries I'm surprised they haven't all packed up and given up. The economy doesn't seem to be impacting the islands too much - the only real thing I thought was evident was the lack of gold and silver jewellery in the gift shops which are usually very tempting.
Anyway, I could go on ... but basically, we had a lovely relaxing 2 weeks in a great hotel with perfect weather and we'll be booking to go again next year.
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- Also Known As:
- Alykanas Village Hotel Zakynthos