Just returned from our second visit to the Aresti Villas in Zakynthos. Having stayed at villa Andouan in Oct 2009 and had a wonderful time, we were looking forward to our second visit. If you are looking for a quiet relaxing holiday in a peaceful location then you couldn't choose better than this location. It was so peaceful that when the pool filtration system switched on from time to time it made us jump ! The downside of a location like this is of course that you do need to use your car to go anywhere - supermarket, tavernas, beach etc. so it is a trade off.
The taverna on site is reasonably priced and will deliver an order to your villa (breakfast & dinner only). However, I am assuming due to the problems with the economy in Greece, we found a real drop in standards of food, choice and quality this year. The greek evening every Saturday is good value for money @ 12 euros pp and Thomson and the Dutch tour operator now bring clients from other hotels/villas so it is a much better atmosphere especially towards the end of the season when there are fewer villas occupied.
Tips on choosing which villa:- 3 villas (built in 2007) are south facing ; Andouan, Illia and Maritina and get sun all day until 6pm (prob later in summer) then if you want sunset, go up to the roof terrace seating area (fantastic views on 3 sides) and have your ouzo & sprite ! Villa Ionnis (Johanna) stands alone but is east facing and I wouldn't imagine gets much sun on the pool area at all - maybe good choice if you have very young children. The other villas (I think built slightly earlier are west facing, get lovely sunsets towards the mountains, but probably dont have sun on their pool terrace until late morning/lunch time. These villas though do have a slightly bigger terrace area and some have steps down to their pool so choose these if there are more than two adults as I think you will have more outdoor space. There are newer villas built in a little cul-de-sac furthest away and quieter which I understand are marketed exclusively by a dutch tour operator. Having said that we had a dutch family in villa Illia just on the last day (prob just a courtesy let for a late flight) and we were glad they hadn't been there all week as they were the neighbours from hell.
Niggles this year:- Again maybe due to the terrible economic situation or maybe due to end of season, but despite having space for 6 adults we only had 4 sunloungers all of which were broken. Lounger cushions were positively a health hazard (pool attendant did hose them down each morning but because they were torn, the filling was soaking wet and mildew) The paint is also peeling/disintegrating from the base of the pool so we constantly had blue feet !The cooker in Andouan was rusty and had been painted the paint had run down the oven door ! Not sure if it had got inside so only used the hob for making breakfast items etc. Worst of all we never had any hot water in the mornings, only in the evenings so plan your shave gentlemen in the evenings ! Aresti have apparently switched to solar power (admirable of course) but rather a pain when you have to keep boiling the kettle and cannot take a morning shower oh well you are on holiday I guess ! A lot of the outside lighting around the villa wasn't working and so if planning outdoor dining take some nice citronella tea lights in your suitcase for a candle light supper. It would be a nice touch if Aresti could supply a couple of candles for the villas - they do have holders, but buy your own candles ! That said, we did "scrounge" a nice lantern from Marlene in the restaurant who was most helpful. Beds & pillows still as hard as previous stay but thats greece !
Right Ladies:- Leave at home your; make-up, hair straightners and posh frocks. This is a real chill-out zone and after a hard day catching the rays you can catch up with face packs and painting your nails while hubby pops along to order your greek salad and bottle of wine! Of course the other important things us girls need to know is....... critters ! On both times we stayed we never saw any Cockroaches, rodents, mosquitoes etc, so relax ! Though we did have a very loud chirpy cricket in our bathroom one night because the window had been left open - so close before sunset when they start calling for a mate !!! There are a few gekkos but they are sweet and too shy to come near you. Wasps were a bit of a nuisance, but no more so than an english summer would be. Water as always in Zante is a problem so dont drink, clean your teeth or cook with it and you will be fine. Your rep will tell you this anyway.
Talking of reps; Beverely from simply travel is great; really helpful without being pushy and will leave you information if you dont want to be disturbed. Simply Travel also leave you a useful welcome pack with the basics so you dont need to rush out the first day if you dont want to. A real critical thing to know is that Aresti do not now take credit cards (as is the case with the tavernas etc. again presumably due to the economy situation, so do make provision to have/draw plenty of cash to pay for extras, supermarkets and petrol etc.
To summarise then, a few standards have dropped, probably throughout greek resorts but if you want a lovely away from it all quiet spot to recharge your batteries then this is the place for you. With all that extra space you have in your suitcase from leaving the make-up etc. at home bring; some decanted washing powder/gel so you can do all your washing and take clean clothes home with you (such a bonus when travelling in winter) Sun products and toiletries cost a fortune here so buy them at the airport. Enjoy & have fun.
- Also Known As:
- Aresti Villas Hotel Agios Dimitrios
- Aresti Villas Agios Dimitrios, Zakynthos