Having joined the ‘real’ world of full-time work some time ago now, I do get to travel quite regularly on business. However, I discovered relatively early on that travelling for business and travelling for pleasure can be two very different things.
Two weeks ago, however, I felt that it was high time for mom and I to get together again for a well deserved vacation. 3…2…1…and relaaaaaxxxx.
We had originally been planning to travel to Tunisia this year to explore the deserts and exotic landscapes of northern Africa that neither of us had yet to experience. Unfortunately, following the devastating attacks in Tunis and Sousse in March and June 2015, we decided it was not the right time to venture into this part of the world just now.
Instead, we decided to head off to the dashing Greek island of Kos for 7 nights for some classic sun, sea and beach relaxation. The hotel of our choice was to be a lovely four star half-board hotel just outside Kardamena town called ‘Lagas Aegean Village’.
Always one to look at Tripadvisor before booking a hotel, I was anticipating a great experience at the Aegean Village given it’s average 4/5 star ratings. However, it was only upon entering the hotel itself that it became evident how truly beautiful it was.
The lobby was spotless and tastefully decorated and whilst the check in lady did welcome us in somewhat broken English, she made sure to let us know all about the various services offered by the hotel and encourage us to call the 24 hour reception in case of any problems.
Following our check in we were directed outside to the mini-bus which would take us up the hill to our room. We were located in room 506, which was almost all the way up the hill and although it was pitch black when we arrived around 11pm, the individual apartments were a gorgeous sight to view, as they were all romantically lit up with beautiful winding paths leading the way to each individual entrance.
Once in our room we found an elegantly decorated double bed, a convertible single sofa bed, a desk, chair, a refrigerator (empty) underneath and a reasonably sized double cupboard with a safe in it. The bathroom had a bathtub with a shower head as well as providing an assortment of towels, body wash and soaps, but sadly no shampoo.
Budget Tip: The room safe did require extra payment to be used and was activated through a pin available at reception. At 10 Euros for the week, the price for this was pretty reasonable though and it came with an operating sheet which made using it super easy.
As we hadn’t eaten on the way to the hotel, having flown with Thomas Cook Airlines where food isn’t included, we were somewhat peckish on arrival. After placing our luggage in the room we, therefore, decided to wander back down the hill to the main hotel clubhouse to see if we could find anything to eat.
Despite being around 11:30pm at this point, we found that the hotel bar next to the lobby was still open. We took a seat outside on the patio overlooking the beautifully lit up swimming pool and ordered delicious ham and cheese toasties with crisps on the side for a fairly reasonable 3 Euros each.
We later found out that the bar was open from 5pm until 1am every day excluding Sunday, which made it a very convenient place to stop when you didn’t feel like walking the 20-25 minutes into Kardamena town.
The following morning we made our way down to breakfast (7:30- 9:45 am) to see what was on offer and found a deliciously set up buffet with a huge variety of food.
There were different types of bread, pastries, fruit, cakes, bacon, eggs, beans, potatoes, pancakes, yoghurt, cereals and more and we made sure to fill our plates to the brim. There’s just nothing better than freshly cooked food and the Aegean Village hotel definitely had plenty of that!
Later on we made our way to the pool to see if we could burn off those extra calories with a round of Aqua-Gym advertised for 11:45am on the lobby activities board.
Unfortunately, it seems that on that particular Monday this activity didn’t take place, so we ended up simply dipping into the pool to cool down and listening to the cheers coming from the darts competition being held by the poolside bar. With free cocktails and caricatures up for grabs, the poolside DJ announced that some German tourists (of which there were many) darted their way to victory that day. Go go Germany! Later on in the week we did manage to join the Aqua Gym several times, which was a lot of fun too.
On our first day, however, we spent a lazy day by the pool and in our room reading books and magazines available from the hotel TV room. We then gradually trundled down to dinner at the restaurant in the clubhouse around 7:30pm.
Similar to breakfast, dinner which was available from 6:45pm- 8:45pm, was a buffet affair with an array of delicious dishes on offer.Unlike breakfast though, the menu for dinner did change every evening across the week.
The type of food available remained roughly the same every day though, which did make for a somewhat repetitive experience towards the end of the week. Nevertheless, the food was of excellent quality and freshness each night, which meant it was an enjoyable experience each time we went.
The food on offer typically included breads, salads, multiple meats (pork, lamb, beef, chicken), fish, pasta, potatoes, cooked vegetables and a number of desert options. It was not necessarily traditionally Greek as might have been expected and did seem to be somewhat geared towards a German taste palate.
Drinks at dinner were not included and needed to be ordered from the charming waiters at the table. The same waiters were there each morning and evening across the week, which meant we got to know some of them quite well. It did seem that the work was quite tiring for them though, given the number of customers they had to serve and the speed at which they cleared and set the tables.
Budget tip: Bottled water in the restaurant was 2.50 Euros and we would take what we didn’t drink over dinner back to the room as it was generally quite hot and the tap water in the rooms was not meant for drinking. We found out, however, that the bottled water from the shop by the poolside was only 0.70 Eurocents which was significantly cheaper. The shop was open until 10pm each night.
After dinner, starting at 9 or 9:30pm, there was always some form of entertainment on. This was not necessarily exceptional, but it was great to have the option to not have to go elsewhere.
The best night was definitely the Greek night on the Friday though, which offered a show of traditional Greek dancing and yummy looking Greek souvlaki from the grill by the pool bar. Unfortunately, mom and I didn’t know about the souvlaki until after we’d eaten dinner already, so we can’t vouch for how good this was. It did look pretty delicious on the grill though and the chef was very friendly!
All in all the Lagas Aegean Village hotel provided a great hub from which to enjoy a relaxing week on Kos Island. One thing that did let it down, however, was its internet access.
Up by our apartment there was no wifi at all, despite the fact we were given a password for a network. Down in the clubhouse, there was a TV room which provided an area from which to use the internet, however, save for a couple of hours on one day, it was impossible to surf the internet pretty much all week, despite apparently being connected to the network at full strength. If we had brought a laptop though, we’re told their would have been the option to connect to wired internet, which may have been better.
Apart from the internet and the fact that towels need to be rented for the poolside in case you didn’t bring your own, the hotel really provided all the amenities you could wish for to spend a fun week on Kos.
Local buses to Kardamena and around Kos ran from just outside the hotel. A little way down from the clubhouse there was also a beach, which had an activities store on it allowing for the rental of boats, rubber dinghies, jetski’s, parasailing and more.
Further, the hotel itself also provided the facility to rent cars, scooters, bikes and such (although the rental stores in Kardamena would likely be cheaper) which was very convenient. The lobby also provided catalogues of excursions, which showed what trips were on offer although again the shops in Kardamena would likely be somewhat cheaper.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a real beach holiday and it was the first time I experienced the half-board lifestyle instead of the bed and breakfast. I can honestly only say good things about the Lagas Aegean VIllage though. It really was a fantastic week and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking to visit Kos anytime soon. The views were just spectacular!
For reference: I paid £404 per person including flights and Half Board for 7 nights with lowcostholidays.com. Flights were with Thomas Cook on the way there and Ryanair on the way back. We did end up paying £24 per person more for Hand Luggage (online) with Thomas Cook Airlines as their hand luggage is apparently only 6kg instead of 10kg as with Ryanair.
We met a couple who booked last minute with Thomas Cook the night before who paid £315 Half Board for the week including flights with on board meals, so shop around RJunkies. It’s the only way to do it!
What is your experience of Kos? Can you recommend any other places on the island? Do you have any tales of living in Greece? Feel free to share your experiences below!