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“Great experience, watch out for the steps”

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Neilson Retreat Beachclub
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Syvota
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed August 27, 2013

Great place for a family holiday, plenty of water sports available, good bike rides (some challenging hills) exceptionally friendly staff. There are a lot of steps, so not really accessible for unfit people.

Room Tip: The gardens are away from the bar, so quiet, but will require you to navigate the steps.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Colin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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440 - 446 of 639 reviews

Reviewed August 27, 2013

We have stayed at The Retreat twice now and cannot fault it. We stayed on a Stay and Sail hoilday with Neilson. The garden rooms where we stayed are simple but clean, with everything you need (you need to pay extra for tea/coffee in the room)

However the main attraction of this hotel are the stunning views from pretty much every room, the food in the self service restaurant is fantastic, a real taste of Greece and so varied you will never be bored. The hotel has access to an incredible spit of land leading to the watersport beach on the opposite island which you wade across to.

There is a large choice of activities to get involved in, water skiing was top of my list and all the staff so friendly and helpful, they are a delight. Alternatively just relax if that is your thing. The Spa also affords amazing views and is very relaxing.

The village is a short walk down the (steep hill) but is charming and has some lovely places to eat.
If you are unfit or disabled the steps and hills may be a bit difficult, if not they are a great form of warm up to your activity!

Room Tip: The garden rooms have more character.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Phoenix123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2013

Wow, what a holiday. The location and facilities are stunning, we went with our two teenage kids, aged 14 and 16 who went into the clubs and thoroughly enjoyed it ~ we hardly saw them all week, as they made many good friends and tried many new activities.
The food provided was absolutely fantastic, and plentiful, cooked to a very high standard, and the evenings where food is not provided meant a pleasant 10 min walk into Sivota town, where the choice was vast and very reasonable.
All the activities provided were superb and expertly tutored by the very professional Neilson staff, who couldn't have been more courteous or helpful.
In summary this place is a must for all 'active' families,although as the slogan says you can also 'relax as hard as you like'
We will certainly be going back.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank karl r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2013

We have just returned from a fantastic 2 weeks at the Retreat in Sivota with Neilson. The staff are really helpful and friendly, the food is excellent - it is served buffet style which is a little like going through a school canteen but there is probably no other way - once you get to your table over looking the bay - it tastes delicious.

There are activities for everyone. I had older teenagers ( who moaned like mad before we left) who made great friends In the TAG group, they all got together in the evening and walked into town which seems to be very safe and allows them the freedom they wanted. I would recommend it to any family - particularly when everyone has different interests and 2 weeks in a villa would not provide enough excitement.

We would definitely go again!!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Review collected in partnership with Thomas Cook
1  Thank JGudge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2013

Best holiday EVER!
Why?
*Our first ever Neilson holiday - expensive, yes - but sooo worth it!
We have two kids 12 & 9, and we did the 'stay & sail'. Was a little anxious at leaving the kids every day 9am - 5pm at the kids club while we were out on the boats - but we needn't have worried. The staff are OUTSTANDING.
STAFF
From the very first 'welcome' meeting - which is pretty compulsory, so don't miss it, we could see that the staff to visitor ratio was very high and the rapport the staff have amongst themselves was very apparent.
It is so true, if you have a happy staff team, you have happy customers.
Our kids were well looked after, cared for and sometimes challenged to go out of their comfort zone. This was fantastic as we could all get together at the end of our day and sit at the bar with a beer and a milkshake and talk about what we'd achieved out of the day. Brilliant - our 12 year old has matured so much.
While learning to sail, Dave was a very patient teacher and the lead crew on our sailing week were great too.
FOOD
We cannot fault the food in the buffet - our kids loved the independence this gave them.
In fact, the food on the learning to sail week was lovely also - a fab picnic lunch provided!
We opted for paying for the full board as we knew with learning to sail, it's a full on day every day, so we decided to stay at 'home'. We are soooo glad we did. The view from the restaurant is amazing, the service was brilliant - wine is included in the package and the food was simply outstanding! Loved it - we would have eaten here more if we could!!
ACTIVITIES
Kids club is the best ever - I have it on good authority.
They are given a bag at the start of the week with a coloured sun vest to wear every day - so if you do go, pack the kids stuff lightly - they'll never wear all the clothes you take!
As we were learning to sail, we couldn't participate in the on site activities .... we will need to go back to do that!!
The learning to sail was fantastic - I've never sailed before and found it all amazing - even more amazing that we were in charge of our own boat during the second week!!
LOCATION
Perfect. Can't really say much more than that. It was stunning - and sailing around the north ionian was right up there as one of the best things I've ever done.
Syvota is lovely - my son found a fishing shop and the guy prepared the whole rod for him to use during our second week - brilliant!
We had an interconnecting garden room which was clean, basic and had air-con (unlike the boat!!!!!!!)
SAILING
The excitement starts to build as the boats return from the week's sail on the Saturday and you can go down and have a peek at the boat you will have as your 'home' - On the Sunday afternoon, you meet your lead crew and go down to the boat and go through the various 'lessons' with them where everything is.
Couple of things
Ask if there is one or two water tanks and where they fill from (we weren't told there were two tanks you could use, so when we ran out, we didn't realise there was actually another one to access)
If you have a Dufour 34...ask about emptying the bilges....we had an experience with that!!
Make sure you pay attention to parking!!

Once you get going - it's brilliant.
The lead team will go through where you are going each day at a breakfast / coffee meeting (there's always a coffee shop! - Except Corfu Town!!) and then you're off to sail the North Ionian for the day and meet at the agreed place by 5pm.
We loved ALL the places we visited for lots of different reasons - Lakka has stunning clear waters, Parga - the restaurant we all ate in was AMAZING - the prawns are to die for! Corfu Town was different..we had a nice meal in the town square. I'm so glad we went, but ironically too touristy and we ended up back at the boat drinking gin & tonics on the boat under the beautiful setting and the peace and solitude of the place - much nicer as far as we were concerned!! Gaios - my personal favourite - you have to go there - it is simply one of the most beautiful places you'll ever go. It did help that we were ' parked' right outside the yummy bakery and a trendy bar - not at all noisy late at night - no issues with this anywhere we went.
The shower facilities are pretty basic in each place - but you know, if your signed up for a sailing holiday - you've got to accept 'basic' in return for waking up somewhere new every day that YOU sailed to!
Every place we went to had a fresh bakery and amazing coffee shops - we didn't have any supplies on the boat - we simply bought breakfast/coffee in the harbour we were in, bought enough supplies of water and yummy food for lunch and had dinner in a restaurant every night - we never even had our stove on!! No need.

All in all the best holiday ever.
Would we go again. Yes - but we are looking at Turkey next year as we've been told there is more wind....
Although, part of me wants to go back to Syvota as we didn't get to make the most of the facilities......oh the dilemnas we have........

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank LAitken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2013

Our first Neilson holiday, and it was better than we expected - and we went with rave reviews from friends. Well run activities, with good gear and friendly knowledgeable staff, a lovely setting, great food and a chilled atmosphere. You can opt in or out of eg bikes (road & mountain), sailing, skiing, kayak, volleyball, yoga, swimming. I don't usually like a 2 week package, but this was excellent. And the town of Sivota is charming, close by, and reasonably priced. It is not a cheap holiday, but if you like activities, then it is better than eg Club Med or Mark Warner
We'll do another Neilson

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Review collected in partnership with Thomas Cook
2  Thank alastair r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2013

We have recently returned from our 6th annual summer holiday at the Retreat - and have just booked up again for next year. This indicates how much we like the hotel and the format. Before finding the Retreat we went to different places each year.

As with all previous years, the staff were superb - with special praise for Ben and his ski team, Abi, James and co on the bar and Georgie on fitness/cycling. We hope to see you all again next year!

We were a little apprehensive as to whether the refurbishments this year would take away some of the special feeling of the hotel - the old bar, whilst a bit grotty, had "character". Overall, the refurbishments have worked, although we found the bar area noisier than previously so would suggest the music is turned down a notch (and ditto for the live entertainment). Gripes are few, but some suggestions are: 1. whether it's the quiz or Miss Sivota etc, the evening entertainment goes on too long (and the quiz itself was fairly dire as regards questions) and needs to finish earlier (ie start on time and cut the overall duration by 45 mins); 2. the live entertainment was far too loud and prevented conversation in the bar, whcih was a shame; and 3. Neilson need to allow booking of specific rooms to remove the annual uncertainty as to which room we will be in. This latter point I make each year to no avail!

Overall, we cannot recommend the Retreat and the Neilson experience - including the very special atomosphere created by the hard-working staff - highly enough.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Arinley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Neilson Retreat Beachclub

Address: 10 Min Walk From Harbour, Syvota, Greece
Location: Greece > Epirus > Thesprotia Region > Syvota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Syvota
Number of rooms: 119
Also Known As:
The Retreat Hotel Syvota
Retreat Hotel Sivota
Neilson Retreat Beachclub Greece/Syvota

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