Ikos Olivia in Halkidiki is a luxury family resort located on the beautiful Torneos Gulf, boasting luxury accommodation and award winning premium service with picturesque sea views and a beach front location.
We have just returned from a 10 night stay with our free-range brood, including our two children and three grandchildren aged 8 years, 4 years and 17 months.
Our private transfer from the airport kicked off with a fun surprise and a taste of the comforts yet to come. We were transported in a rather funky Mercedes people carrier (think limousine on a larger scale) with a starlit ceiling, TV’s, reclining seats, refreshments and air conditioning. It made for a great journey compared to the customary underwhelming arrivals elsewhere and was a welcome complimentary inclusion as part of the Ikos Infinite Lifestyle concept.
On arrival at the resort we were warmly welcomed in the reception lounge with champagne and soft drinks to quench thirsts then efficiently ferried by golf cart to our rooms. We ordered 24hr room service, where the staff were more than accommodating with a full menu late at night… all inclusive. We were starting to appreciate this might be a great holiday from the get-go, with staff showing such attention to all ours and the children’s needs.
Ikos Olivia in Halkidiki was the perfect choice for our multi-generational family holiday (especially with younger children) – the entire ethos and vibe of the resort is geared towards families. Too often, taking the family away to a luxury resort one would be forgiven for thinking children should be seen and not heard, but not here at Ikos Olivia. The atmosphere was life-affirming, children able to simply be children, playing, laughing and splashing in the pool and on the beach, with any tantrums soon addressed with the magic cure of unlimited ice cream. This is no circus either, just a well manicured ultra luxury family resort where fun, sun and leisure prevails and family comfort takes priority.
We had two different room types; a ground floor garden bungalow and a 1st floor panoramic suite. Both room types were beautifully refreshing and modern design, both stylish and spacious. Personally I would recommend the ground floor garden bungalow for families with younger children accommodating pushchairs and naps during the day. It worked perfectly to luxuriate in our own private garden to enjoy the sunshine, a bit of privacy and to play with the older children whilst the baby(ies) slept. It’s a great set up.
The panoramic suites are more suited to couples or families with older children as they are on the second floor but I would also highly recommend the Deluxe two bedroom suites if you have older children or teenagers who like their own privacy. There are also beach bungalows, larger villas and an Uber-exclusive wing that suits the poshest of us, but also any families with special needs.
You will also be impressed by the epic mini bar in every room, replenished daily with your refreshments of choice and a full 24 hour room service again, all included with the Ikos Infinite Lifestyle concept. No surprise bills!
The food and dining experiences are phenomenal too, with five different restaurants to cater all tastes. This is not traditional all inclusive fayre! Flavours, the buffet restaurant is located directly on the beachfront and like no other buffet you have ever experienced. I know this place isn’t cheap, but good grief you really do appreciate the value for money when you have this sort of experience. Freshly prepared food with different styles everyday oozing genuine five star excellence. The a la carte restaurants offer Asian, French, Italian and Greek also, nearly all sporting Michelin Chef designed menus that are the pinnacle of the resorts success.
All of this you can experience without limit. You can enjoy exquisite and/or child-friendly food at the pool, beach, and in your room all at no extra cost. I can highly recommend the ‘dine out’ option too during your stay, given the opportunity to experience a local restaurant with traditional Greek cuisine, again with no additional cost.
Activities and Entertainment
We really were impressed with how much emphasis and consideration is offered to quality family time. The staff go above and beyond… from sterilised baby equipment to high chairs ready and waiting when and wherever needed. No request is too much trouble, no matter what time of day.
Children aren’t just accommodated, they’re sharing of the luxury experience demonstrates the core culture at Ikos. Activities are extensive so no reason to ever be bored – you choose from a wide range of sporting activities including two floodlight Tennis courts, Beach Badminton and Football, Aqua Aerobics, Pilates and Yoga. There’s a whole raft of non-motorised water sports also included to enjoy… Windsurfing, Canoeing and Pedalos. Motorised water sports are at extra cost, but high quality and with plenty of choice. Catamaran, Inflatable rides, Water skiing, Jet skiing, sports boats and charters. All on tap.
They also offer at additional cost – Football Academy training and Swimming lessons. Our 8 year old adored the Mermaid Swimming experience (approx $30). We have about 4 million photographs to prove it!
Adults can also enjoy down time if the children choose to visit the complimentary kids club that runs three sessions daily – 10am to 1pm / 1pm to 3pm / 3pm to 6pm and exhausts every participant. Another great addition is plenty of available bikes for both children and adults. Some with baby seats so the whole family can enjoy. Our little pickles had a bike every day exploring all four corners of the immaculately manicured and secure resort.
Evening entertainment was outstanding quality, a professional theatre show. Children and adults both mesmerised by the performers, costumes and children’s complimentary face painting a prerequisite. The cocktails weren’t too shabby either! Each week also the resorts’ renowned beach bar ‘white party’ is a must for us cool hedonists.
Beach and Pools
There are four pools, one dedicated family pool, great for babies and younger children which was shallow with a splash pad, a main pool perfect for all ages and a deluxe pool for the deluxe villa guests. Finally an indoor pool in the spa and gym complex.
Kids Inflatables are readily available for all to share. There was never a shortage of sun-loungers and no need to bring your own towels for the pool or beach as all are provided and regularly refreshed. It’s worth mentioning, and certainly welcome, that if you are not using your sun-lounger it cannot be reserved so there’s no need for that hideous early morning dawn raid to secure your sun beds. They have a much more civilised policy, that works! The resort was 100% full when we stayed, and there were always loungers available, restaurant and cafe tables, poolside and bar seating and adequate shade. A very relaxed and enjoyable experience with no worries that you won’t be able to sun-bathe at either pool or beach.
The beach, is on your doorstep.. quite literally if you book one of the stunning beachfront suites. The sand isn’t the soft white powder of the Maldives but it’s as good as it gets for the Med. Although this is the Aegean! At both pools and beach the service is exemplary, the staff ensured we were never short of refreshment and there’s even a guy whose sole job is to clean your sunglasses poolside. Oh boy, we did NOT want to come home.
It has to be said also that happy stimulated and freshly fed and watered kids also behave well, and life chills when they know they’re in heaven. The cool family friendly vibe permeates throughout this stunning high end property.
If you are looking for even more exclusivity and the budget allows, then upgrade as a guest of the Deluxe Collection. Celebs glitterati and sporting icons rub shoulders here enjoying private butler service, one and two bedroom villa suites to choose from, dedicated deluxe swimming pool, private beach areas, and all the exclusivity you can imagine… and believe me, we can imagine a lot! Talk to us if you’d like to know more but for example, a local surgeon friend with two special needs children had a second dedicated carer flown in specially by the resort with Ikos compliments and all included. No added charge. Pretty impressive customer care.
On to the resort itself, it’s set in beautiful architecturally manicured grounds spanning 22 acres with an array of beautiful flowers and foliage and plenty of olive grove shade. There are onsite shops for children’s toys, grown ups jewels, newsagents and casual summer wear.
Opposite the hotel there’s a variety of shops and restaurants but in all honesty, the food in resort is to die for, so it’s highly likely you won’t leave. There are complimentary BMW Minis you can book for free to drive out should the spirit of adventure overwhelm you, and it is a beautiful place in a gorgeous region.
In summary: There is no denying that Ikos Olivia in Halkidiki is a top of the line luxury resort with a phenomenal and uniquely comprehensive all-inclusive concept. But for us, what made this great holiday outstanding was the people, exceptionally trained, totally guest-focused with a family vibe and an eye for detail. The staff worked impeccably to look after us from the moment we landed and nothing was too much trouble. So for families, this is the resort of choice and one we will be sure to re-visit because of the quality and attention to detail and, as the Dalai Lama once said, ‘anyone who believes small things don’t matter hasn’t shared a room with a mosquito!’ None of those here to report either, thankfully!
For more information on the hotel, its facilities and room types click here…