I adore going on holiday. I mean, who doesn’t? We spend 50 weeks of the year looking forward to those precious weeks away in the sun, where quality family time and relaxation go hand in hand. There’s very rarely dishes to wash or cooking to be done, just plenty of time to work on your tan and enjoy plenty of splashing in the pool or sea.
As a parent, or just an adult in general, you’ve always got to be prepared for the worst when it comes to travelling. What if there’s nowhere that sells nappies/sun cream/your child’s favourite snacks?? The world will most likely end. Similarly, the stress of booking the right hotel with the most perfectly timed flights whilst not breaking the bank could easily send the calmest person in the world into a full blown meltdown.
We decided that, for us, booking through a travel agent would be the easiest route to a stress-free holiday. The friendly staff and swish store interior at our local Thomson’s was a winner for me, and they ended up finding us a two week holiday at Holiday Village Kos which landed bang on our budget.
The Holiday Village we chose was situated about 2km from the village of Marmari on the north side of Kos (although Kos is so teeny it doesn’t really matter where you are if you’re looking to travel around).
So, how was the holiday?
The room was perfect. I love hotel rooms, they’re always so shiny and clean. However, this means that whenever I’m in charge of booking one I break out in a cold sweat as I turn that door handle. What if it’s tiny/dirty/dated/uncomfortable? The stress is real. We’d booked a Family Room with Partition, and it was exactly like the website pictures. A spacious room with two single beds separated by a wall with a sliding door from another large bedroom with a king-size bed. Both rooms had their own flat screen TVs and storage. There was also a bathroom featuring a large walk-in shower, a mini fridge and plenty of wardrobe space. Having bedrooms we could easily separate meant we could all sleep soundly without waking one another, and me and Frankie could easily enjoy some relaxing drinks on the balcony without worrying we’d wake George. The only downside for me was that showering a sandy, suncream-covered toddler every evening can become a bit of a battle. Especially when their favourite thing to do in said shower is wriggle around whilst shouting ‘I’m a slippy dippy fish!’ 9/10
All Inclusive buffets are the things of dreams when they’re done well, and luckily for us Holiday Village Kos knew how to put on a good spread. There was a huge selection of well made food at every meal which Frankie and I took great advantage of, George ate chips and icecream the entire time – classic toddler. The drinks were also self service which was great because it meant that when you were filling up your glass of beer for the
5th 2nd time then there was no ‘should you really be having that?’ looks to answer to. The busyness of a buffet isn’t for everyone, and we needed a break a couple of times, but it was really easy to bring food back to the room for a balcony breakfast or even walk down to the village for some amazing Greek food, so we never felt trapped by the ‘but I’ve already paid for it!’ feeling that All Inclusive can sometimes cause. 9/10
If you don’t like big, busy resorts then a Holiday Village is not for you. On site there was four pools, a beach, four bars, a spa, a football pitch, a climbing wall and high ropes, a park, an amphitheater and numerous Kid’s Club for ages 0-15. For us, the amount of activities, facilities and entertainment meant that George was always busy and we never had to worry about the possibility of him being bored. When he wasn’t ‘diving’ in the numerous swimming pools, he was dancing along with the Widgets (First Choice’s current kid’s characters), playing toddler football or enjoying a quiet, air-conditioned play in the Creche’s Stay & Play session. I think a Holiday Village would be even better suited to family’s with slightly older children as George was a bit young to make the most of everything on offer. A special mention has to go to all the absolutely lovely First Choice staff we met through the Creche, Toddler Football and in particular the Entertainment Team. They were all great with George and their enthusiasm for their jobs really did make it so much more enjoyable for all of us. 10/10
ALL THE BITS IN BETWEEN
The flights (roughly 4 and a half hours long) and airport transfers (about 20 minutes) were everything you’d usually expect from a package holiday. Bonuses for us were that the flight was on time, we were the first to be dropped off/last to be picked up during the transfer and George was perfectly behaved (thank you toddler Gods!) The only downsides for me were that on the outbound flight the card machine wasn’t working and they couldn’t accept Euros so I wasn’t able to buy a second glass of prosecco to take the edge off my ridiculous flight nerves. Also, Kos airport is roughly the size of my front room so it can become a bit claustrophobic if there’s a few flights leaving on the same day. 7/10
TIPS & RECOMMENDATIONS
- DO NOT PAY FOR LATE CHECK-OUT. We had 7 hours to fill where we knew we would be roomless but as we were unwilling to part with 90 EUROS to keep our room we easily figured out another way to make sure we enjoyed our final day as much as possible. Shower rooms! Although not mentioned on the late checkout info we were given, you were able to book a half hour slot in a shower room (an empty hotel room) at any point during your departure day. Bingo. We had a normal morning, left our suitcases in the luggage room, carried on with our day as normal eg. swimming, naps, meals, and simply went to the shower room to get cleaned up and ready for our flight just before we left. I’m so glad we didn’t pay the 90 Euros.
- Go and see Kos! We went on the bus to Kos Town, it took around 25 minutes and only cost 2.10 Euros per adult – bargain. Kos Town was beautiful, and despite the day being a bit of a bust thanks to an over-tired toddler, I’m so glad we did it. Staying in a resort can sometimes lull you into a feeling that you could be anywhere in the world, so it was great to get out and see a bit of the island.
- Ditch the hotel beach. 3 rows of sunbeds on a 20m deep stretch of sand is not ideal. However, if you wander about 500m up the beach you’ll find an almost secluded stretch with only 1 row of about 30 sunbeds where you can spend the whole day (for only 5 Euros for 2 sunbeds, a table and a parasol). If you’re lucky a Greek man named Steve might even bring you watermelon for an afternoon snack.
- The on-site shop has everything you might forget. And about a million other things your child will definitely NEED. Commodities for a captive market never come cheap though, so set aside a chunk of spending money if you plan to buy inflatables/buckets & spades when you’re there.
We had a really amazing time and I would whole-heartedly recommend Holiday Village Kos to anyone looking for a brilliant family holiday, although be warned, you’ll be singing the Widget song for months to come…