Warm weather, sandy beaches, crystal clear waters within a couple of hours away from the UK, and all in a reasonable price? This may sound unachievable to many, especially knowing how high rates can go during the summer period, but it only takes a little bit of “digging” to discover the hidden gems across Europe. Thinking of Greece, there is always a few islands that cross people’s mind (Santorini, Corfu, Mykonos to name a few) which, don’t get me wrong, are very beautiful and definitely worth visiting but can get very busy and pricey in the months between May to September. Not many people know that Greece has many, many destinations that are even more picturesque than the famous islands and don’t end up costing an arm and a leg.
If you were to make a list of those “secret spots”, Chalkidiki would definitely be on that TOP 3. Loved by the Greek locals, the beaches there are the best you will find in the country (yes, I am serious!) as they are completely covered in white sand and the sea has an amazing turquoise colour. In addition to that, the nightlife is still very vibrant and there are so many options for day trips and exploration. These among others were a few reasons why I chose Chalkidiki and Ikos Oceania for my recent trip to Greece and little did I know, the list would have extended even more by the time I left.
Ikos Oceania isn’t like any other hotel you have been to. I think I say this in almost every blog review I do, but every time I mean it in a different way. Usually, it is about a particular feature that drew my attention, or maybe the design/architecture of the hotel but in this case, it is the whole concept that is unique from the others. You may be thinking, what is so special about an all-inclusive resort, there are everywhere! And you are right, the concept has been overused and overconsumed so much to the point that not only doesn’t it attract people anymore but it makes them shudder every time they come across one. Ikos Resorts have realized the dissatisfaction around all-inclusive boards and they decided to reinvent and elevate them into a concept that they call ” Infinite lifestyle” whose main focus is on quality. Think fine dining, branded alcohol/spirits, spa facilities and everything you would expect from your 5* hotel, all included in your pre-paid price. No hidden charges whatsoever (trust me, I asked… many times).
The hotel is the first one from the Ikos chain and doesn’t follow the same layout to the newest additions ( Ikos Olivia, also in Chalkidiki and Ikos Dassia in Corfu) which are consisted of many buildings scattered by the beach. Instead, most of the facilities in Ikos Oceania are based in one central 3-story building but the open-air floorplan in each floor doesn’t make it feel congested, even when the communal areas are full. The style is consistent within the hotel grounds and fits perfect with a beachside resort. A colour palette of whites, blues and beiges bring you that nautical feel you need in your Greek holidays!
The 290 rooms are separated into three buildings and they all include Nespresso machines, rain showers and of course, floor-to-ceiling windows with beautiful views. If you want to make the most of your stay, I highly suggest you book one of the rooms from the Deluxe Collection which provide you with sea-front views, a private pool for Deluxe residents along with upgraded drinks and snacks and a bottle of champagne on arrival, that’s what I am talking about!. With the deluxe package, you also get your personal manager for any help you may need during your stay and (…saved the best for the last) a complimentary spa treatment and a private dinner on the beach. And when I say on the beach, I mean tables, chairs.. everything on the sand and by the sea. The dinner even comes with your own private chef and waiter and it really is an unforgettable experience! You can find more about the perks of the deluxe collection here.
The hotel’s main attraction, the infinity pool, has amazing views of the endless blue Aegean sea and it’s the perfect spot for that Instagram vacation photo. However, it can get quite busy with families around lunchtime so your best option is to go to the smaller infinity pool in the “Adults only” area where you can enjoy your refreshing cocktail in a quieter atmosphere. The Ikos Spa by Anne Semonin is also a great way to relax on-site, either by choosing one of their treatments or by just using the spa facilities such as the sauna steam bath. Towels, flip-flops and robes are available in all the pool/spa areas which I found really helpful as I didn’t have to worry about these little details. If you are feeling sporty, the hotel also provides the guests with tennis, volleyball and squash courts, all included in the price.
I can’t end a post on an all-inclusive resort without talking about the most important thing, the food of course! Because let’s face it, food and drinks are one of the deciding factors in choosing a hotel on a full-board basis, and they have every right to be hah. But if you are a true foodie like me, then you will be amazed by this place. Ikos Oceania focuses a lot on the quality of food with most of its restaurant menu’s created by Michelin star chefs. And with five restaurants to choose from for your meal (including a Greek, an Italian, a French, a Pan-Asian restaurant and a Mediterranean buffet), you are not going to bore your taste buds. My favourites were the Pan-Asian restaurant (you need to try the spring rolls and duck) and the Greek restaurant which organized the amazing dinner on the sand! The hotel also provides its guests with a “Dine Out” option where it pairs them with quality restaurants in the nearby town for a free dining experience. A truly revolutionary option for an all-inclusive resort and a great way to explore the town of Moudania.
Overall: I am not going to lie, I had high expectations from the Ikos Oceania. The pictures online looked great, the amenities included felt like I dream and the reviews were all very high. And to my surprise, it only took a few hours at the resort to fell in love with it and exceed anything I ever imagined. Ikos Oceania is undoubtedly one of my favourite hotels I ever been to, and I have to attribute it mostly to its staff which did everything to ensure that I enjoy my vacations as much as possible. A great and refreshing way to see an All-inclusive resort and I will be definitely coming back to enjoy the Greek sun.
Rooms starting from 163 EUR | Book online here
Disclaimer: I was offered a two-night complimentary stay for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.