A week away at an all inclusive resort is worlds apart from last year’s adventures around Dubai, Australia and Bali, hopping between £10 a night hostels and living off Tim Tams and chips, but as much as I enjoyed that trip, I must admit I was looking forward to seven days of pure poolside relaxation. We toyed with the idea of jetting off to Fuerteventura or Cape Verde, but we ended up settling on Zakynthos, aka Zante, after spotting a good deal at the Atlantica Eleon Grand Resort & Spa.
We arrived later than planned to the hotel due to a flight delay, but despite this the staff couldn’t have been more helpful. Before checking in, they told us to drop our cases and enjoy food in the restaurant before it closed, which was extremely appreciated given that we’d been on the go for thirteen hours by that point. Energy restored, we checked in to find that we’d kindly been upgraded to a sea view room, which is always a fantastic start to a holiday.
The room was lovely and spacious, and despite a slightly damp bathroom, it was beautifully clean. Aside from the thin walls which often sounded as though half of the hotel was in their with you, I was grateful to have such a lovely room to relax in, as due to two days of horrendous storms we spent a lot of time lazing around and reading on the balcony, watching the waves thrash about in the distance.
The Bar & Restaurant
With the all inclusive aspect paired with the poor weather, a lot of time was spent in both the bar and restaurant. The food was delicious and varied every day, which isn’t something you always find with all inclusive resorts. A real high point for us was the staff. They were so attentive and just lovely, genuine people. You’d barely be sat down ten seconds before a waiter/waitress would be at your side ready to take your order. A couple of waiters in particular even grew to knew our typical order towards the end of the week. There was also a lovely restaurant down by the olive groves, however as that wasn’t included in the all inclusive package, we didn’t eat there during our stay.
There are three gorgeous pools, and a children’s pool slightly to the left of the others. The top one flows into the second one, which has an infinity design, with the water flowing over the edge and crashing down into a feature below, where pool number three, the largest of them all, then began. We were a bit concerned at the rate sunbeds disappeared from what we’d read online before our trip, so we got up at 7am every day to make sure we got a good spot, though I didn’t ever see people struggling to secure a place, particularly as there are plenty more sunbeds dotted around the olive groves and beside the beach. The pools were missing a few tiles, but apart from that they were immaculate, and once again the pool side service was faultless with complimentary drinks and fresh fruit being handed out daily. The pool bar was open from 10am until fairly late, with a snack bar beside it opening from 10am-12pm, and then again from 3pm until late afternoon.
Although slightly rocky, it was a gorgeous little cove which welcomed in the crystal clear Ionian sea. We didn’t spend any time on the beach as I’m more of a pool girl, but I saw a lot of people taking advantage of the warm waters with their little ones. Also, if you walked a little further up towards the slides, there were stone steps leading directly into the ocean where you could paddle in the shallows.
Whilst I didn’t go on the slides myself, Darryl did on a couple of occasions and had a whale of a time, despite then breaking a toe on the step in the pool during water polo. Oops. These are a really great feature for the kids, and big kids like Darryl, of course.
There is also a spa, however unfortunately we didn’t get to use the facilities as we were too busy either soaking up the sunshine or watching the terrifying storms from the warmth of the bar area, but what we saw of it looked inviting.
In terms of entertainment I believe there was a fair amount on for the children daily, with various events taking place in the evenings for both children and adults. One evening we watched two musicians play beside the pools while an impressive lightning storm took place out at sea, and then the night before we went home we sat and listened to two of the entertainment team sing on the beach, which was made even more enjoyable due to the drunk dancing that was going on courtesy of the other guests.
Location wise, the hotel is located in a pretty remote area of Zakynthos known as Tragaki, though it’s only a ten minute drive from the more lively town of Tsilivi, which you can get to by taxi for seven euros. We decided to venture out one day, which you can read all about in an upcoming post.
Oh, and if you’re a cat lover like myself, this resort is for you. There are three adorable cats that mill around the hotel, snuggling up in the sofas during the storms, lazing about on the sunbeds along with the cat-friendly guests and chasing butterflies in the bushes. Unfortunately while we were there, there was one staff related issue with regard to the cats, however this was handled brilliantly by the manager. Seeing a hotel so passionate about animals is incredible.
Thank you to everyone at the Atlantica Eleon Grand Resort & Spa for making us feel so welcome.