Just returned from an 11 night stay here via Thomson with two children aged 3 and 9. First the good bits; a wonderful beach - very shallow, mostly calm like a millpond, hardly any tide/currents, good water-sports offered on either side. Went to the excellent "To Paradosiako" restaurant between Alykanas and Alykes on the river three times and was not disappointed.
Accommodation - Took our own pillows thank god but coped with hard beds. Slight smell from bathroom drain hole on arrival and soon found that bubble bath is a no no because the foam starts coming out of the hole and soaks the bath mat - also had to get the hole cleaned after slight flooding when emptying bath too fast. Took a few days to realize that all hot water used up by 8PM and not available until next morning - trying to save on electricity I guess! Perhaps worse however was the lack of a thermostatic shower control which required constant adjustment during a shower. Could go hot extremely quickly to the point of scalding - very dangerous for children! Paid for air con which was a little hit and miss until they came along and bypassed the door contact - all fine after that. Hairdryer cable is taken through the back of a drawer in a bizarre way such that you have to sit on a stool to dry your hair because the lead is too short. TV choice terrible (only English channel was BBC World service). Use of energy saving bulbs throughout was commendable but left it feeling like a cave when you return from outside. Only just enough light in the bathroom to see what you are doing (eg. makeup etc)
Pools/beach - Plenty of pool space but spent more time in the sea as time went on - much warmer; annoying that the loungers/umbrellas on the beach seem to be owned privately - no way to tell the difference between hotel owned and private. Hired a 4 person pedalo twice, a Yellowjet once and a wave rider. Beach bar charge a huge premium on ice-creams - just go out the hotel gate and buy at the little mini market on the left. General quality of paving around pools etc not good with a multitude of kerbs with plenty of sharp edges, plenty to trip on etc.
Entertainment - Thomson the dog is mildly amusing but hard to understand who thought up the entertainments schedule. Nothing done in the morning before too hot (a pool workout for the oldies would have been really good), main poolside entertainments start just when you go back to your room for lunch and then whilst having a siesta (highly recommended for old and young alike) you are blasted by a quiz being read out. No pool entertainment at the end of the day when cooler either (eg. 5PM). Went to see Cinderella one night but it was far too late at night for most children and the sound levels nearly damaged our eardrums. Can't comment on the childcare clubs since came for a family holiday, not to get rid of the children! Splashpool beautifully done but far TOO COLD - almost no one using it due to temperature. How hard would it have been to have added some solar water heating on the plentiful land nearby?
Area/shops - Truly dreadful. Pavements are appalling with wires sticking out, bits of concrete here and there, half finished buildings etc. No culture whatsoever. Food shopping dire - we can only conclude that it is a conspiracy to ensure that you eat out every night. Almost no fresh meat and their sausages are so salty. One decent fruit/veg outlet which appears to be the front shop for a fruit/veg distributor.
Trips - took the trip to Kefalonia; apart from the Melissani lake and Drogarati caves, there is very little to recommend this trip. Tour guide certainly knew her stuff but since most dwellings were destroyed in 1950s there are simply almost no original buildings to see (other than in the north where the coach doesn't go). Very quick trips to the caves/lakes. Pushed into a quayside restaurant where space was very cramped and service lacking. Lastly taken to Argostoli and dumped on quayside where nothing was open since a Sunday but saw a turtle swimming around which looked like it had been deliberately released from an aquarium to amuse us. Ferry was slow and smelly and equipped with air con but not turned on. This was one of the few trips suitable for children and yet absolutely no consideration was given to them. No information given on toilets and hardly any time given to use them even if you knew where they were.
Conclusion - if you want to eat English food, watch football, drink, smoke in restaurants and work on your tan, then this is the place to go. If you want culture, coffee shops, nice trips then perhaps try somewhere else.
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- Also Known As:
- Alykanas Village Hotel Zakynthos