Deciding to make the most of free flights for under-twos, we booked a week’s family holiday with our ten month old and three year old at the Sani Beach Hotel in Halkidiki Greece. We travelled during the last week of September in a bid to avoid Europe’s soaring summer temperatures.
After a stressful flight (the ten month old was sick, the toddler wet herself five minutes after boarding the plane) we were delighted with a smooth and easy transfer in two taxis complete with baby seats, which we had booked through the hotel. Within in an hour from landing we were in the hotel reception, cool drinks in hand.
The five star Sani Beach Hotel is located with five other hotels in the Sani Collection. It sits between two stunning stretches of beach of Halkidiki and is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. The beaches in particular were ideal for our family – just a minute’s walk from the hotel, and complete with clean white sand and warm, shallow water, perfect for splashing in with a toddler. An added touch was the availability of blow-up beach toys for the children to use. And Mum and Dad weren’t unhappy either, as Sani has built some uber-stylish beach bars on the water front.
We made good use of a couple of small outdoor playground areas, a fantastic indoor pool (part of the hotel’s spa complex, but available for family use during certain hours) and an impressive, professionally-run childcare facility (staffed by British employees of childcare company Worldwide Kids). We opted for some half days of childcare in the crèche and children’s club, but other parents we chatted to in resort were happily leaving children all day. The same staff who manned the crèche/ children’s club could also be booked for evening babysitting.
Our rooms – an interconnecting pair of doubles – were small, but more importantly for me, clean, functional and stylish. Both had small balconies overlooking the outdoor pools. The two outdoor pools (a huge lagoon style one complete with little bridges for adults, and a smaller pool for children) were the only let down at Sani: both were ridiculously cold. We saw very few people using them, and it seemed incongruous that a hotel in which great attention is paid to detail has overlooked the need to heat its swimming pools at certain times of year.
We enjoyed the variety of restaurant and meal options available through the hotel’s ‘dine around’ policy (part of the all-inclusive meal package). This meant that we could dine in any one of a number of restaurants in our hotel and in the other hotels across the Sani Collection. A few minutes walk from the Sani Beach Hotel is a little marina (stuffed with private yachts) which is home to several eateries (Italian, traditional Greek and Sushi fusion, to name a few), most of which we could eat in at no additional cost, as part of our package. After a few days we did find our hotel’s buffet-style meals repetitive and we ended up booking up different restaurants at the marina each evening. Throughout the resort we found restaurant staff friendly towards our children; they were also impressively kind and patient about the inevitable toddler mealtime mess.
Will we be going back? I hope so – but I will be asking whether the Sani Beach Hotel have installed that pool heating before I book anything.
The Sani Beach Resort Hotel in Greece is part of Thomson Holiday Platinum Collection Group. To learn more about this hotel or book independently, click here.