This is a large-ish attractive complex of low-rise apartments built I believe around 20 years ago. It is a little way out of town in a very quiet rural setting. Around is all green and pleasant with good views to the bay to the south and the hills to the east. It is set in a good-sized plot and feels quite open. There is plenty of parking for hire cars. It is family run and has that feel - everyone is very helpful.
The room we had was in Block 'C'. This is furthest from the pool and amenities but the quietest and has the best views. We had a ground floor apartment which had a lovely bit of garden by the patio (see photo), a glimpse of the sea and stunning views up the hillside. For great sea-views you need an upstairs room. Decor is a little bit dated but although not in the full flush of refurbishment the rooms don't feel ready for a refit just yet. Still got a few years in them. Our room was huge with a dining table and 4 chairs and 2 massive sofa-beds. A large twin room was separate. Studios are smaller we believe. The apartment was kitted out well with a mini-cooker and kettle, toaster and coffee percolator and so on. All you need to self-cater but we ate out every day anyway. Breakfast was fresh fruit, yogurt, toast and coffee on the terrace.
The welcome-pack was one of the most generous I have seen! Coffee, tea, honey, olive-oil etc,! Fantastic! Enough to keep you going until the first shopping trip. We were self-catering so whether everyone gets this I don't know. The room was nearly perfectly clean except there were a few dead flies in the light fitting which one would have cleaned out in your own home. No issues with the supply of loo rolls etc.
Guests were a mixture - one family group and some young couples and a few middle-aged couples like us. There is plenty of space for kids to play including a play park with swings etc.
The pool is a big plus point! Very nice indeed. Clean and well maintained (they drain it every winter). It is very picturesque - and huge, with a swim-up bar open much of the time. Topless sunbathing was acceptable by the pool. The pool is very deep at one end - 3m at the deep end so good for diving (there is a spring board) but children need supervision. This is Greece where they are not too health and safety conscious (you often see a whole family on a motorbike, no one with helmets on!) So it is down to you. The pool has a toddler's end which is enclosed. The pool is well away from the 3 blocks of 2 story apartments. 'A' block is nearest (if you have older kids who want to use the pool but be near the apartment) - 'C' block furthest away (about 150m). Some people have said the music played by the pool was too loud - when we were there the music volume was quite low or there was no music on at all.
There were plenty of sun-loungers when we were there (late June). Whether there would be enough in high season - not sure. Some did get 'reserved' by guests which is annoying (by leaving personal towels/hats etc. overnight). The management should prevent that as it is intensely irritating, appears to be 'catching' (if one couple do it others think "We'd better grab some or they'll all be gone!") and extremely selfish.
There is a huge covered terrace right by the pool so if you get unlucky with the weather you could be by the pool but out of the rain. Likewise there is a vast living area inside the main building with loads of books, some games and toys, a TV area and so on. Even a piano! So if the heavens opened you would at least have somewhere to go other than your room.
They do a decent breakfast but we were self-catering so made full use of the nearby good-sized supermarket which sold all you need. This shop is no more than a 5 minute walk away.
There are more shops in town including a very good dive and snorkelling shop. This island is great for snorkeling and if you haven't tried it then give it a go! It really does open a whole new dimension to your holidays. Put a mask on and look under the water! Stunning! Put flippers on and you'll soon feel super-confident in the water as you can go so much further - it's like having Bionic legs! It doesn't take too long to learn how to use a snorkel. Practice in the bath! Anyway with those 3 things (get decent ones as they last much longer) you are set to explore a whole new world! I paid about £20 for goggles, £30-40 for good quality 'fins' as the pros call them and £16 for a snorkel. I found that my suitcase was still under the 20Kgs limit even with plenty of clothes and my snorkelling kit packed.
One slight downside is that the hotel is a fair walk from Skopelos town. Whilst you can walk in and back - about 15-20 mins each way - there is no footpath and it is not a particularly pleasant walk. Remember as they drive on the right you need to walk on the left - facing the traffic. It is never too busy though: not many cars. We took 2 small pocket torches which are about £5 each and offer a bit of safety/visibility. The hotel runs a shuttle bus but that stops at 11pm. High season - July onwards - 11.30pm. However that is not that late in Greece - you may need a taxi which is €5-7 one way. But as we discovered the taxis stop about 1am whilst bars remain open to about 2am (there is an all-nighter for the younger folk!) so you may get caught out. We were lucky and a very nice Australian girl working in the bar we were in gave us a lift and refused any payment. But you can't rely on that!
Car hire is fairly cheap - we paid €30 a day for a brand new baby Hyundai 110 which did everything we needed. You don't really need a jeep unless you are happy to pay the extra for the image - and the chance to explore the dirt tracks that are fairly common on the island. The staff will arrange car hire for you and the car delivered to your door. And we were able to deliver ours back to the harbour on the day we left which was convenient.
Boat hire on the other hand was expensive in our opinion - €90 the cheapest, €130 for a better boat - and you need to book ahead at least one day. We decided against it as we felt if all we did was find a remote beach accessible only by sea, where we stayed all day then it would be a bit of a waste of money to pay for a boat to get there. A nice idea but a bit of a luxury.
People have mentioned sleep quality and the barking of dogs and the crowing of cocks. Well - dogs do bark and cocks do crow. But they never bothered us. If you have a real issue with being woken then I genuinely suggest ear-plugs. I for one am quite ok with waking up and thinking - hey, still got loads of sleep time before I need to get up! And - back to sleep! The cocks have a very lethargic crow - I found it quite soothing! And the dogs bark in the late evening - saying their doggie goodnights to their doggie friends dotted all over the island - and in the morning too. But this is common on Greek islands particularly the less developed ones such as this one (you need to drive very carefully as you may turn a corner and find goats all over the road or come round a bend and encounter a man on a donkey!).
The island is very noisy as far as wildlife is concerned - cicadas are a continuous aural backdrop wherever you go on the island, "singing" from early morning to mid-evening. The chirruping is amazingly loud - 120 decibels I read somewhere for each one! And they are joined all day by the softer sound of the crickets. When the cicadas decide to stop the crickets carry on for another hour or so. We loved sitting on our terrace having a gin and tonic just listening to the evening sounds. Then the dogs are woofing for a bit, and then you may even hear a screech-owl as there appears to be one nesting nearby. And bats silently flit by as night falls. With the sights, sounds and smells it is all very magical!
There are mosquitos on the island of course and we had a regime to combat them. When we went out in the evening we sprayed the room as we left - to kill off any lurking mozzies. Then when we returned we plugged in an anti-mozzie device which you put a tablet in and this ensures the mozzies are not active in the night. When we go out we spray exposed skin with anti-mozzie spray. We got about 3 or 4 bites all week which is not too bad.
Beaches were fantastic and in our opinion definitely a big plus. The best one in my opinion was LIMNONARI BEACH which had exactly the right balance of remoteness (not a town beach) & Bohemian atmosphere: but facilities such as 2 great bar/tavernas right behind. The loungers nearest the road were free as long as you frequented the adjacent bar - no great effort! You usually pay €5-7 a day for 2 loungers with umbrella. The sea is very benign and safe swimming for children, no real tide or currents and waves were tiny. But we would never swim these days without wearing swimming shoes ever since my wife stood on a scorpion fish a few years ago and ended up in hospital. These are about €6 in the supermarket. As there are many sea-urchins here which can cause serious harm if you stand on them these are a good investment.
This is the 'Mamia Mia' island but don't let that put you off. They don't make a big thing of it at all and the only slightly touristy bit is the very picturesque chapel on the massive rock with a Jacob's ladder up it that (apparently!) features in the film but that was a nice visit anyway - just a normal chapel up a great big rock.
The only downside to this island is that you need to transfer from Skiathos and if you are not a good sailor then you might not enjoy the transfer - on the way back we had heavy seas and the crossing on the catamaran was particularly unpleasant. If you suffer from seasickness best go somewhere where you don't need to make a sea crossing. We enjoyed the trip over mind you on the ferry which was great and we saw dolphins following the ferry.
Certainly you will not be disappointed if you choose this island and this hotel!
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- Also Known As:
- Alkistis Hotel, Studios And Apartments
- Alkistis Hotel, Studios & Apartments Hotel Skopelos