ToyDrop on Tour:

Ekies Resort, Halkidiki

13th August 2019

Words by Anna whitaker

This was last year. One newly-turned-three-year-old, one bouncing bundle of a five-month-old, one holiday-starved hubby and me; head foggy with postnatal blur and body admitting defeat to bikinis.

This was our holiday to Ekies Resort, Halkidiki.

This is my very belated review.

The trip really started the moment we gave up on the idea of a long-haul, choose-your-own-adventure style getaway. We probably should have realised our days were numbered a couple of years’ previous, when food poisoning in Mexico left us totally incapacitated with a newly-mobile baby, in a hotel that had run out of cots. Arlo spent 24 hours in a makeshift cushion fortress while we took it in turns to throw our guts up/build the courage to attempt a Spanish SOS.

A resort in Europe felt like a beautifully welcome cop-out.

The journey was ridiculously easy. Too easy. We flew from Stansted (which is about 25 minutes from our house) to Thessanoliki, where a transfer was waiting with car seats for the boys and a lovely, chatty driver who safely delivered us to the door of Ekies around an hour and a half later. Seamless.

The next seven days were a tiny whirlwind of under exertion. Set in the lapping bay of Vourvourou, there’s very little to distract you from a hard day’s rest. It has one shop, I think, and maybe three restaurants outside the hotel, one being a pizza place, which was handy, seeing as we don’t normally go more than eight hours without such fare in this household.

Thankfully the food at Ekies was brilliant too. Arlo has always been a pretty good eater so would happily split his meals between fish and potatoes, tapas and the classic tomato pasta. He also quickly discovered the secret ice cream counter, which took a good hammering most days, whether we’d OKed it or not.

For me, who hovers somewhere between veggie and pescatarian (on my more anaemic days), the Greek Salad was a winner. The feta came in a fancy mouse-form, which was probably a bit OTT but delicious none-the-less, and the Aperol Spritzes were so good/strong that the rest didn’t matter. Apart from the breakfast.

Now this breakfast is deserved of its own paragraph. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. Fruit, salad, eggs of every kind, bacon, sausages, hash browns and pancakes, pastries, local preserves and freshly baked cakes, yogurt pots, berry bowls, every cereal under the sun, and the coffees, teas, juices and smoothies to wash it all down. I still dream of those breakfasts today. It was almost worth the nightly fee alone.

But what also came with that nightly fee was a room *gasps*. We went for a suite, putting Arlo on the sofa bed in the living area and Rudi in his travel cot next to us in the bed. In theory, this was a great idea but in practice, the space wasn’t set up that well. The rooms were only separated by a curtain, so it meant being super quiet after the stroke of bedtime. We still managed a few Netflix marathons but would have definitely benefitted from being able to properly turn the lights off in Arlo’s “room”.

Saying all that, we were really impressed with the design. The ceiling beams were beautifully exposed, we had an awesome little climb-up cubby hole that older kids would have loved and two bathrooms meant that when Arlo kept pooing himself, one could become a laundry room. What an unexpected win.

Another unexpected win was the jacuzzi; a small, shallow kid-magnet of a pool that entertained toddlers for hours without them escaping to more dangerous waters. The parents would take it in turns to sit nearby while everyone else could actually read a book. Or you know, drink an Aperol Spritz.

Annoyingly, there seemed to be a wasp problem while we were there so once enough became enough at the pool, the general vibe was that you’d hit up the beach until they found you there (where the circle continued). The beach was equally safe though and lined with enough parents to always have a few on lookout. There’s no tide there because of the shape of the peninsula and it’s shallow for miles, so the main danger was really making sure none of the toddlers kicked off about whose beach toy was whose (most of them belonged to the hotel anyway).

Weather wise, we were unlucky. It was the last week in September, which we thought was strategic, in that the prices were lower but we’d still get the sun. Alas, no. Aside from a few pockets of sunshine (in which I took 90% of all the photos below) it pissed it down. We watched many a children’s film bundled up in our room, taking naps and filling up on room service. It was probably one of the most indulgent things we’ve ever done. Not least because for the first time since I’d had Rudi five months before that, I genuinely felt relaxed.

You can’t put a price on that.

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