Greece – Halkidiki – April 15

This was our first ‘family’ holiday with our 8 month old son. I was so nervous about taking him abroad that I had put it off till now!  We chose  Ikos Ocenia in Halkidiki after reading so many positive reviews and Greece’s proximity to the UK ( a short flight away) I must have read every blog and article on travelling with babies, how to manage, what i would need, travel essentials etc. I had lists upon lists and I think I packed everything minus the kitchen sink! We had an early morning flight which went of without a hitch. Dylan was happy taking in the new surrounding and drank his milk for take off  which made him sleepy and he napped for most of it. He started waking on descent and we gave him the bottle again, he didn’t drink so much but still suckled- which was the main thing as the motion is supposed to help with the pressure and ear pain.

From the moment we arrived everything was just great. We arrived early afternoon and were given a glass of champagne and taken straight through for our quick induction about our room/ site info etc. By the time we had finished our bags were already on a golf buggy waiting to take us to our room.We had to stop by the reception to ask for a microwave for our room so we could sterilize the baby’s bottles and food and this was dealt with quickly. Our room was in block 5 and it was lovely. A cot had been placed in the room and it did not feel cramped. The rooms mini fridge was fully stocked with top grade alcohol and drinks which were included in the all inc, this was a nice touch!

We quickly made our way to catch the last of the lunch service and whilst I was feeding my son jar food the chef came out to our table and said that if we wanted any fresh food blended for the baby he would be happy to do it and that he did it for others and it wasn’t a problem. I was so happy hearing this as I normally fed him freshly cooked dishes at home and he was still weaning so can’t have full solids. He had brilliant meals for the rest of his trip 🙂

The resort is split into 2 main areas.The main area and the club side. The club is an exclusive area with its own pool and bar. Its the hotels upgraded package which offer a few extra perks over the already 5* experience they provide. We were happy to find on arrival that we had been upgrade to club so got to use the facilities. The main area has 2  larger outdoor pools and the bar with balcony looking over the view to the sea.  The walk down to the beach is only a few minutes away but the hill road is steep and the walk up is tiring. There is a wonderful spa with an indoor heated pool which families can use till 11am then its adults only.  This was perfect for us as we found the outdoor pools still too cold for Dylan so he would swim in the morning after breakfast then nap in time for me and Dee to enjoy some mid day sun. We would either take it in turns to stay in the room if it was really hot, but most days were nice so Dylan would nap in his buggy under shade whilst we lounged by the pool. On one afternoon where we hadn’t gone swimming we took Dylan’s bath onto our balcony area (ground floor so had a slight garden) and gave him is bath outside- he loved this!

I can honesty say the resort did not disappoint!  For an all inc resort , the variety of foods during breakfast lunch and dinner is good quality and tasty. The hotel also offered room service as apart of the all inclusive which was a great touch and my favourite treat was that champagne (not cava or prosecco but real champagne) was available all day! We were never bored of the food in our weeks stay. We managed to book 2 of the 4 restaurants – the Greek and Italian,  the food was superb in both although I think we both preferred the Italian. The Greek restaurant had a very relaxed dining experience giving you lots of time between courses to chat and enjoy the wine but for us we found it very difficult keeping the baby occupied after he had hoovered his food!!We had chosen on the Italian night to book one of the baby sitters from the on site creche and found the evening more relaxing. The baby sitter was wonderful! She arrived early and my son took to her immediately. I was apprehensive at the start as we have never left him before but he didn’t even blink at us going. We called through the evening and she said he was fine.( we were only away for 3 hours hehe)

The sites creche is amazing! Its a large area separated into rooms aimed at children of different age groups so the little one are getting the attention they need and the older ones are being kept entertained with age appropriate activities. They also have an indoor soft play room for the creche kids.

The hotel also offers a dining option in the town (as apart of the all inclusive) and that was a lovely evening out! The food was tasty and the restaurant felt very authentic! They drop you off and the shuttle arrived on time for our booking and picked us up as we finished.

The resort is lovely. We spent most of our time at the block 5 club bar and pool as it was quieter and closer to our room. We also had some treatments in the spa and they were lovely. The walk down the beach path takes you into the harbour town in a relaxed 15 minute walk. there was not much to do in the town but I get a yummy kebab! There is not much to do in the area and we didn’t want to travel out further with Dylan but the resort had enough to keep us entertained for a relaxing week. The weather at the end of April was not very hot (low to mid 20’s) and in the evenings we still needed a light jumper, but it was pleasant and due to it being just the beginning of season we got good flight and hotel prices.

All the staff really go above and beyond, the pool side service was great! The restaurant staff were great! The reception staff were great- so much so they organised an Ikos car to take us to town as we missed the shuttle.

I would love to go back and I’ve been telling my family to visit. Ikos made our first trip with our son so easy that all future holidays had a high standard to meet!

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