Dwor Barocco (Reszel)
~~~How did I find out about Dwor Barocco?~~~ My son must have come across their website when he was surfing the web looking for accommodation a month ago. He wanted to take the children and his Mum and Dad to the Mazury region of Poland for a weekend. He contacted the owner by phone and reserved an apartment. He told the chap ... that we would arrive from Warsaw around 9pm. When he told me that he had booked an apartment I thought he meant a flat in a block, like we live on. I was in for a big surprise!
~~~What and where is Dwor Barocco?~~~
Dwor pronounced D-vor, Barocco because there is a little squiggle over the o turning it into a u sound, is a large house named after the manor estate that existed here 200 years ago. It is situated in a small village, like a French hamlet called Worplawki in Warmia and Masuria which is in Ketrzyn County. Basically, it is out in the sticks, two kilometres from the historical town of Reszel and very near to Swieta Lipka, a famous Baroque church and convent that has attracted pilgrims since the Middle Ages.
The area is peaceful, you can smell the scent from flowers in the meadow, hear cockerels crowing, storks flapping their huge white wings, birds twittering and fish making that plopping sound as they come up to the surface of the water in the river. It's like stepping back into a lost world.
Driving down the dusty track was a tricky one as my son's car has low ground clearance and with the number of pot holes he had to contend with we were worried the exhaust might snap off. Eventually we arrived at a huge gate and I could just see the top of the house, I was excited by this time. The gate was closed. We weren't sure where to go so we turned left down a farm track where there was a dog yapping to ward off strangers. From a small side door, a man appeared, he was the owner. He shook hands with my son and told us to drive to the large electronic gate and he would let us in. Once through the gate I was surprised at the house and surrounding gardens. Everything looked so perfect. The garden was impeccable with flowers, small trees, statues, wooden chalets, hanging baskets and a clipped lawn.
Once we had lifted the children out of the car, the owner and his wife greeted us and asked if we spoke Polish or English. The lady could speak a little English, the man understood English but I think couldn't speak it. Still, it didn't matter we managed to understand each other, my son did most of the talking as his Poilsh is very good now and speaks quite well. The owners were both friendly and took us to the house to look at the apartment.
~~~The Manor House and Rooms~~~
Opening the big door and stepping into the hallway, I had a strange sensation as if I had been here before but I think it was only my imagination. There was something about the atmosphere, I knew I was going to love staying here. Walking up the stairs clutching on to the old rail I couldn't help notice all the black and white and sepia portraits hanging on the wall. I wanted to know if they were members of the family or paintings that the owners had picked up from art sales. At the top of the stairs we were shown 2 very large rooms, beautifully decorated with pine furniture, lots of original art work, interesting ornaments dotted everywhere, everything you would expect in a very old house. I think my son thought that the accommodation would be one apartment to fit 3 adults and two children with a small kitchen and en-suite bathroom. Instead we had two wonderfully decorated rooms with a lounge area in the centre where there was a chaise longue, two armchairs, standard lamp with crystal light bulbs drooping down like fuschia flowers and beautiful antiques including an old sewing machine, doll's pram with a very old doll that looked freaky. My granddaughter was a bit scared of the doll at first but she soon got used to it and I could see her little mind wandering, she wanted to know who the doll belonged to and kept asking me did the lady have any children.
My husband and I took the first room which had a gabled window overlooking apple trees and old farm buildings. I could see the stork's nest from here too, perched on a telegraph pole. My granddaughter decided she wanted to stay with us in this room too. This was fine because there was a Chintz sofa and armchair in the room as well as a double bed, beautifully covered in a satin patchwork quilt in colours of gold, orange and brown. I loved the wardrobe which was decorated on the doors with hand painted folk scenes, the rest of the furniture including a chest of drawers, a bureau and two bedside units were made from heavy, old pine and were in immaculate condition. There was also a celestial armchair with matching stool, my son liked to sit on here and pretend he was king of the castle or in this case, manor house. A woven tapestry hung behind the bed head and the walls were covered with original art work that the owners must have collected over the years. The en-suite bathroom had only a shower which was fine, all the taps and fittings were expensive and of a high quality, like they had been imported from Germany. The mirror, wash basin and tiled floor shone. The whole room and bathroom were immaculately clean and well looked after, I was very impressed. In fact, everything was so perfect I was a bit scared of touching anything in case I marked the furniture. I knew I would have to keep my eyes on young Alex, I didn't want him breaking the porcelain vases.
My son's room was similar in style with pine furniture, again, lots of paintings and knick knacks. He had a separate bathroom which looked on to the garden. This was an elegant room with a free standing bath, brick walls and wooden beams. There was a small, well presented kitchen with cupboards, cooker, fridge and sink. We used the fridge and sink but had no need for the cooker on this occasion.
The rooms were fabulous and we were all happy about our accommodation which was very individual if a bit eccentric. I have never seen so many objects and paintings in such a house. The owners use the term Baroque but in this case the word is used as an adjective to describe the furnishings and fittings; extravagant, complex, or bizarre and not to describe the style in art and architecture developed in Europe from the early 17th to mid-18th century.
The large garden has a lawn, lots of flowering plants and small trees. The garden is fenced so there is no need to worry about children running off and escaping. There are many cats wandering around, they belong to the owners and are tame, well fed and friendly. There is also a rabbit but we didn't see him as he had gone hop about, his hutch door was open. The garden has swings, a hammock which my grandchildren loved, and slides, outside swimming pool, gazebos and benches. It also incorporates a gym and fitness room which is housed in a wooden cabin near to where you park the car and also in another cabin there is a mini spa based on the Russian banya with a sauna and a hot tub. We didn't find out about the spa until we were leaving, we assumed it was a chalet to rent to guests. My husband did look at the gym and said it was well equipped.
~~~Breakfast time/summer kitchen~~~
The highlight for me was eating breakfast in the summer kitchen, a lovely house made from wood and brick and painted green. I love summer kitchens and in this part of Poland they are traditional. Guests can use the kitchen to cook food in at any time or they can eat meals prepared and cooked by the owners. It is well equipped with hi-tech cooker, wooden stove for heating, plates, pans, cutlery, and fridge, everything you need from a kitchen. You were allowed to help yourself to a beer from the fridge or any of the drinks that were available free of charge.
Inside the décor is so pretty with flowery curtains, pine tables and chairs, a dresser filled with crockery, plants and flowers. It has an old world feel to it and is delightful to sit and eat in while listening to one of the local radio stations churning out Blues riffs. The morning we ate in the summer kitchen the owner had put on an enormous spread of food including cereal, platters of cold meats, sausages for the grown ups and frankfurters for the kids, various cheeses, and bowls of cottage cheese, basket of fresh brown and white bread, jams and honey, yoghurts and fruit. Coffee was fresh off the stove with fresh juices for the children and a pot of tea for my husband. The display looked wonderful on a clean, linen tablecloth. There was no rush, we could take as long as we liked and we did.
We stayed two nights in the manor house and enjoyed every minute. It was great to be in such a peaceful environment where you are awoken by birdsong and a cockerel crowing. Living in a busy city like Warsaw, as I do, these simple sounds are a joy to my ears, much better than cars screeching, buses rasping as they let the air out of their brakes and trams honking as some daft motorist tries to crash into the tram. It was heaven.
I'm not really sure how much we paid as my son paid the bill but I think it was something like 420 zloty(£83) plus 45zloty (£9) for breakfast. Breakfast is 15zloty (£3) per person, we didn't pay for the children as they don't each a lot but on the 2012 price list that comes with the brochure it states that kids up to 10 years pay 7 zloty (£1.40). All 2013 prices are on the website, I will post the link at the bottom of the page. Oh, before I forget, if you like a game of billiards or snooker there is a gentleman's room which is included in the price of the stay as is the use of the gym.
I recommend the Dwor Barocco whole heartedly. It's a terrific house in a beautiful situation with owners who care about their property, garden and guests. The only concern I have is that parents with young children might be neurotic about all the lovely treasures in the house and not be able to rest for worrying about little Johnny pulling a cloth off and breaking ornaments even if he didn't mean to. It's also a bit off the beaten track, so I think a car is necessary although there is a bus from Reszel that stops on the main road at the top of the dirt track.
My advice is, if you are planning a trip to this area of Poland get in touch with the owners of Dwor Barocco as they are very accommodating and offer all sorts of discounts for longer stays. You will love the house and garden.
Address: Dwor Barocco
Tel: 602 331 457
Currency rate - 28/06/2013 1 PLN = 0.197862 GBP 1 GBP = 5.05404 PLN
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Majesty Club Tuana Park (Turkey)
Majesty club Tuana park is very much a family resort mainly catering for families with (or without) children. The reason I state this is that it's a place you would definitely not come across the odd loud or rowdy group or hen or stag doo which is one of the most important things for me when considering where to spend my family vacation. ... It is an all-inclusive resort so there are no half board/self-catering or bed and breakfast options. The upside to this is that you don't have to wear ridiculous wrist bands which I have so frequently come across at other all-inclusive resorts.
Club Tuana is situated just outside of Fethiye in Turkey. It's a large family resort, similar to that of a holiday village. Its location is somewhat questionable however as it really is in the middle of nowhere. It's the perfect place to kick back and relax, not so great however if you are looking for a base to go and explore. There are ways to access the local area but the journey is long and it isn't something you would want to do every day.
There are several busses that come by that can take you into Fethiye and there is also a boat that can take you there plus to other locations such as a boat trip over to Rhodes in Greece but like I said the immediate area surrounding the hotel is pretty much deserted.
Having booked through Thomas cook we had a transfer ready from the airport to take us to the hotel. We were the only people from our flight that were going in that direction apparently as we had a coach to ourselves (party of 10) and therefore didn't have to make any stops along the way. It took approximately 45 minutes to get to the hotel. After the 4 ½ hour flight however this particular journey seemed much shorter. We arrived at the hotel around midday and was greeted by reception staff who's English was questionable, despite communication difficulties however check in was quick and easy and we were then greeted by some very smart and professional bell boys who loaded our suitcases onto golf buggy's and took us to our rooms, all in all this was an impressive start to our holiday.
The hotel is rated as 5* and has a quite impressive reputation on trip advisor. It's a large complex with 3 different areas, Park 1, park 2 and the main club area. If you are after a quieter holiday you would be best staying in one of the two park areas, both of which have their own pool and bar. The main club area is situated in the thick of the action right next to the main pool, restaurant, entertainment and a verity of different bars. We stayed in park 1 and spent several days in that area, on the other days we travelled over to the club area which has (in my opinion) a much better atmosphere.
The hotel is made up of a collection of different complexes, in that it's not one large hotel block. These little - almost houses - are very lovely and make the place look a lot nicer than if there was just one block. Each block has approximately 6 different apartments in them rising only two storeys high. We were situated on the ground floor and this suited us perfectly with a 5 year old.
The rooms themselves are ok, we have stayed in better but they were adequate enough and ours had a brand new bathroom which was lovely. In terms of floor space, there isn't much - we had 3 beds all in a row next to each other and a dressing table and wardrobe. The storage was plentiful for the three of us however and the beds were adequately comfortable. The room also has a hairdryer, TV, a variety of mini compliments for the bathroom including slippers and boot polish, a safe and also a mini bar which was welcome. The air conditioner was good, usually I find them not powerful enough but this one was more than fine and the temperature was adjustable. Rooms are cleaned daily and towels replaced. The maids are lovely and very friendly, despite my daughter being violently sick in bed on her first night and had a little accident on the second night she still always had a nice smile for us every time she came. She even made pretty designs with the bedding on my daughters bed which she loved. It's safe to say we left her a generous tip when we left for all of her hard work. She even cleaned my daughter sicky and dirty pyjamas which is definitely beyond her job description. We travelled with family and they stayed in a club room because there was 4 of them and despite them paying extra for this room it wasn't much different, just another bed crammed into the corner and there bathroom was rather dated, although there balcony was larger than ours, ours was, although small big enough for two chairs and a small table so just what we needed really.
Grounds & pools
For me, the grounds at this hotel are what give it the wow factor. Everywhere was miraculously clean. The gardeners work extremely hard and their efforts really show, with it being such a large complex there is a lot to maintain but that doesn't affect the overall quality of the grounds. The grounds are full of pretty flowers and palm trees, there is also a lovely pond in the middle of the complex with some ducks and frogs. At night time the pool bar lights up and it looks spectacular. As I said previously the grounds are extensive so you are looking at a 10 minute walk into the main area if you are staying in one of the park rooms, it is a lovely walk though so it's not too much of a pain.
There are 3 pools at this hotel as well as a slides pool. The main pool is the largest and it has a separate children's pool which has a mushroom and a small slide. Both park areas have pools with separate children's pools however these are not as large as the main pool area. Admittedly the water is very cold but as the weather can become very hot in Turkey it does make for a very welcome cool down. Park 1 also has a climbing wall in the pool which was a big hit with the children and it was really safe too. The slides pool was the biggest hit with both adults and children and has 3 large water slides, all of which offer a different experience. Sun beds around the pool were plentiful however beds around the main pool can fill up rather quickly, especially if - like us - you need 8 beds next to each other. The sunbeds were extremely comfortable and if you are lucky to find one there are a couple of extremely large cushions for extra added comfort. Beach towels can be picked up from a stand at the beginning of each day meaning you don't have to lug your own around.
Food & drink
This all-inclusive is one of the best buffet style all inclusive that I have been to. The main restaurant is open for breakfast dinner and lunch and there are various snack bars located in the main area and in both park areas which offer a range of different foods. The breakfast for me was the best meal of the day, because I am a fussy eater I often find all inclusive rather challenging so the chocolate covered pancakes that I so feverously demolished every morning was my largest meal of the day. The rest of my party who are not as fussy as I found the rest of the food choices quite extensive and of a good quality. Breakfast choices offer everything you could think of wanting for a full breakfast, the only negative was the absence of bacon and the poor quality of the sausages. There is also the option of every type of fresh fruit, toast - with a variety of condiments, a wide selection of cereals and a wide selection of pastries and cakes.
There was also a great selection for lunch, you could chose to eat either in the main restaurant area where they serve food similar to dinner or you could eat in one of the three snack bars where they serve full sized pizzas which were delicious. Snack bars also serve burgers and chips as well as cakes and donughts although the opening times for serving differ for each item. Ice cream is also available at the snack bars and come in a wide range of flavours. Personally I didn't like the ice cream, the texture was rather chewy, but they went down a treat with the children.
At dinner there is a great selection of food to choose from, there are pre-prepared dishes and they also have different food stations where they cook the food fresh in front of you such as kebab's, fish, pizza and a range of different meats such as chicken and pork. Side dishes were plentiful including a very lovely salad bar, chips, rice among many others. The bread and butter selection for me was the best, having an extensive selection of baguettes to choose from you can cut your own slices or even take a full baguette.
The dining areas were superb, there was plenty of space for us to get a table to fit 10 and you can choose to sit inside or out, tables are kept lovely and clean and the staff in the restaurant are very attentive. There are also three restaurants on site, a Turkish, fish and Italian. These have to be booked in advance but are still part of the all-inclusive. The food was lovely at the restaurants however it's a set meal so you pretty much get what you are given which can be difficult if like me you are a fussy eater.
So on to the more important stuff - the alcohol! The main reason we chose this hotel was the excellent reviews on the all-inclusive drinks. Most all inclusive's we have been to haven't offered a great selection of alcohol - or normal drinks for that matter. This hotel however didn't let us down, the quality of the drinks were excellent and not like your usual all inclusive's. There are 7 bars in total at this hotel, most of them offer the same drinks however the main pool area ones differ slightly. Each bar has fridges full of bottled water which is on a help yourself basis as well as bottles of wine. There are also a couple of help yourself beer pumps which are mainly Carlsberg, if you want any other drinks you have to ask at the bar. The majority of drinks are branded such as Effes beer which you can get in draft or cans and also the mixers are branded such as coke a cola and tango and Schweppes. The spirits are not branded but it's not the cheap stuff either, all was rather nice and didn't feel as though it was stripping a layer of skin from your mouth! There is one cocktail bar which is located on the beach, this was quite popular in the evenings as it's nice to sit back and watch the sun set. Children's drinks were plentiful, having fruit juices, slushies, milkshakes and children's soft, non-alcoholic cocktails.
The hotel, being in the middle of nowhere an all, has its own private beach, this however was really the only thing that lets this wonderful hotel down. Being a manmade beach its more rock than it is sand. It's a decent size for the hotel guests to use and there are no shortage of sunbeds but its defiantly not your average golden sands beach, I think Blackpool beach could even top this one! Its saviour however is the lovely jetty which leads from it. From the jetty there are plenty of options to go swimming in the sea with stairs leading down into the deeper water for those that don't want to jump, there is even a diving board right at the end. It's a lovely place to go at the end of the night and watch the sun set over the mountains; it truly is a beautiful setting. It's not safe for children however as there are no railing etc so beware with that, I didn't like taking my daughter on it, even when holding her hand I was on edge all of the time.
The entertainment, where to start; this hotel must have the most energetic and fun animation team ever. They work such long hours and are always upbeat and cheery. I have never met entertainers like these before and they truly made our holiday wonderful. We were greeted on our first day and they all seem to have an uncanny ability to remember names and faces. They would come and see us every day and have a quick chat.
During the day there are many activity's going on from 9am around the main pool such as water polo, darts, aqua zumba among many others. The animation team do a club dance everyday round the pool and people are encouraged to join in however they are not pushy about it. This hotel, I noticed is great for teenagers as the teenage club rep Neyo was amazing with them, he would entertain them all day, eat lunch with them and take them on boat trips etc and he wasn't too bad on the eye for us mums to sit and watch him all day either!
Evening entertainment is varied, some were good, some not so. There is a large amphitheatre where the evening entertainment takes place. It starts with the kids club which all of the children love, and I'm still singing German songs as I'm doing the dishes! As the hotel caters for different nationalities (lots of Russians) the evening shows are expressed mostly through physical performance rather than spoken. Some of the shows included Shrek, grease and there were the usual holiday participation shows such as battle of the sexes.
There is an evening beach disco which is on from 11pm-2am every night, this was mostly for the young'uns however we decided to venture over that way on our last night and there were some questionable old men 'watching'! The disco was ok, the animation team go every night making me question just how much sleep they actually get with them having to be up and round the pool at 9! The music is ok, and the atmosphere is good, but really it's a place for the teens.
There are loads of activities on site such as a mini zoo - although this wasn't too good! A tennis and basketball court and beach ball court. There is also a water sports centre although this isn't included in the all-inclusive. It runs activities such as diving trips, fishing trips, island tours, parasailing, speed boats and jet skis. Prices were reasonable and we went on a 7 island tour which was amazing and highly recommended. At around £14 per person we got a 2 hour trip which included drinks, and snorkelling gear. What is included in the all-inclusive are the canoes and pedalo's, which was lovely to take a nice bottle of wine onto a pedalo out into the sea and to relax.
Busses run regularly into Fethiye and are reasonably cheap. We went on market day (Tuesday) and had a really nice time, the market is one of the best in the area apparently and we were able to pick up some decent things. The only thing to be wary of is the men, one was insistent on marrying my 5 year old daughter! At first it was laughable but when he started kissing her hands I was ready to test out my kung-Fu skills!
The complex has a small shopping mall offering mainly souvenir type items however there is also a hairdressers, what looked like an estate agents?, a spa and newsagent. They are mainly overpriced but you don't really need to buy much from them anyway. The spa was rather rated by other holiday makers however we didn't use it so can't really comment on that. There are also professional photographers who go around taking your pictures during the holiday and there is a photo shop to purchase them from if you so wish to.
Overall we had a fantastic holiday and I would definitely recommend it if you are after some relaxation, again I wouldn't recommend it if you are after some Turkish culture as they don't even want paying in Turkish lira here, or at the market for a matter of fact, they much prefer English money. Being out of the way of the touristy things I would recommend a hotel much closer if that's what you're after.
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Meltemi Suites (Santorini)
My husband and I stayed at the Meltemi Suites for our 1 week honeymoon in June 2013 on a bed and breakfast basis. If you stay here on a half board basis, you have dinner at the Atlantis Island Restaurant, just a minutes' walk from the hotel and situated on the beachfront. We booked with Thomson, who state that they are the only British ... travel agent offering this hotel. Thomson rate it as a 4 star hotel.
The Meltemi Suites are situated in the resort of Perissa, Santorini. Before we travelled, we read that Perissa isn't one of the best resorts on the island of Santorini, and after looking at images and descriptions of the other resorts, I can imagine that this is true. However, we still found Perissa to be an enjoyable place to stay. The Meltemi Suites are in the perfect location in the resort if you don't want to hire a car, as most things are within easy walking distance. Walking out of the hotel complex, to your right within about a minutes' walk is Perissa beach and to your left within a minutes' walk is the main road. There are a large number of restaurants and bars located along the beachfront and there are more to choose from along the main road. There is also a mini market on the main road within easy walking distance, and a bigger supermarket with cheaper prices is about a five minutes' walk away from the hotel. There are a few clothing and souvenir shops located on the main road and the beach, but unfortunately the shops weren't as nice as we were expecting.
On arrival at the hotel reception, we were greeted by the manageress, Athena, who was very friendly and welcoming, and we were given a small glass of homemade wine each while she showed other guests to their rooms. My husband and I thought this was a nice touch, and it's a good job the wine was only a small amount, as strong isn't the word! Athena soon returned back to reception and after a quick check-in, she showed us to our room, kindly carrying one of our suitcases up the stairs for us. She gave us a quick tour of our room, pointing out anything she thought we should know, and showed us how to use the air conditioning. When she switched the air conditioning unit on, it made a loud noise and straight away she said she would make sure someone would come to fix it (which they did). We were straight away made to feel at home by Athena and you could tell she really cared about the hotel and that guests enjoy their stay there. We also had a little note on our table congratulating us on our marriage, which was really sweet, and a small bottle of complimentary red wine. I'm not sure if the wine was given to us because we were on honeymoon, or if everyone staying there receives this, but I think it was because we were on our honeymoon and it was a nice touch.
We had room number 11 and I would really recommend this suite to anyone else who is considering staying at this hotel, particularly because of it's terrace. Our private terrace had a table and chairs, 2 very comfortable wooden sunloungers and a lovely jacuzzi, which we often used as a plunge pool in the Greek heat! I think this is only 1 of 4 suites that have their own private jacuzzi, and there is also a shared jacuzzi at the hotel, but we never visited this because we had our own. It is a shame that the view from one side of our terrace was into next door's garden, but the other views were of the mountains, and so it wasn't too bad.
In terms of our suite, we had a very comfortable double bed, large sitting area with a coffee table and a kitchenette. We loved that there was a little kitchen area, as we wanted to make our own lunches and having a fridge, plates, cutlery and a sink meant that we could do this. I have to say, this was the tiniest little kitchen area I have ever seen, and although there was a small hob and a couple of saucepans provided, I think it would be pretty impossible to cook a full meal here. However, for making small salads and sandwiches, it just about did the job. There were a few drinks inside the fridge, such as bottles of water, Fanta and beer, which you could purchase from the hotel if you wished. The room had a telephone and a TV, but the TV was tiny and the only English channel we could find was BBC World News! I don't go abroad to sit and watch TV, but it is nice to be able to have a choice of channels to watch when getting ready to go out in the evenings, and we were disappointed that there was no choice available whatsoever. There were 2 very small wardrobes containing a rail each with a few hangers, but the shelf in each one was very high up and there were no other drawers in which to put clothes, which was a bit strange and quite annoying. Dressing gowns and slippers were provided, but the dressing gowns looked rather old and tatty and looked like they needed replacing. A safe is provided for a charge of 2.50 euros per day. The bathroom had a hairdryer and we were informed that we could borrow a stronger one from reception if we wished. When we booked the holiday, we were told that there was a shower in the room, but there was no mention of a bath, and so we were pleasantly suprised to find that we did have a bath with a shower over the top. I found it strange, however, that there was no shower screen or curtain, and so whenever either of us had a shower, the water ended up going all over the floor!
I have to say that we were fairly happy with our room, but I did feel slightly disappointed with it somehow, as it wasn't as luxurious as I was expecting. I thought a few things were looking very tired, and if a few small things were sorted out, such as the bathroom door being repainted and the very rusty bathroom bin being replaced, then the overall feel of the suite would be greatly improved, and it would feel more luxurious. It was disappointing to put on the dressing gown and feel like it was tatty, to have only one channel available to watch on the TV and to have no set of drawers in which to put your clothes in. All of this was a shame really, but these little issues in no way ruined the holiday, they were just things that would of made the holiday more special. I will also say here that I would definitely recommend getting a room that isn't on the ground floor, as the ground floor rooms are not as private as the upper rooms.
Breakfast was from 8:00 until 10:00. All food and drink was laid out just past the reception area and the seating area was in the shade next to the pool, with a few extra tables inside. It was lovely to sit in the shade looking at the pool area every morning while eating breakfast, and the paper placemats showed a map of the island, which was a nice touch. There was coffee, tea and orange juice available every morning. There was a variety of food available usually consisting of cereal, greek yoghurt, bread and butter, ham and cheese, croissants, and biscuits to name a few. There were a number of homemade items as well, such as marmalade, and some gorgeous apricot jam-filled pastries a few mornings. There were some Greek specialities that Athena would describe to us and encourage us to try, such as various egg-based dishes, boiled apples and a sausage and tomato dish. Many of the Greek specialities really didn't appeal to me at breakfast time, but my husband tried most of them and he really enjoyed trying something new.
The pool area at this hotel is tiny, but it is only a small hotel. The pool itself is small, and there are a few wooden sunloungers dotted around it, with parasols. There is also a small sun terrace with a couple of sunloungers located up a few steps next to the pool. I'm not sure how busy the pool area got, as my husband and I stayed on our private terrace during the day. I think the other guests with their own sun loungers also did the same. The Meltemi Suites is part of the Meltemi Hotels and Resorts Group, and I think guests are able to also use the pool at the Meltemi Village complex, which I believe is within walking distance.
The rooms are cleaned every day by the maid, who is polite and always says 'hello' when you see her. After being in the room a few times when she cleaned, I can say she appeared to do a thorough job, dusting, sweeping and mopping every day and cleaning the bathroom. I think our towels were changed every day and bedding every other day. She also swept and mopped our outside terrace every day, so it always felt very clean. If we had left any dirty plates, glasses or cutlery in the sink she would wash these up for us. Someone also came to take care of the jacuzzi every day, and he often sponged around the side of it too, so it looked nice and white. We noticed that the maid took good care of the public areas too, sweeping the path leading from the pool to the rooms every day. We got the impression that the staff really cared about the hotel looking clean and tidy, which was nice to see.
I mentioned previously that Athena was friendly and helpful at check-in and explained the different Greek breakfast dishes to us, but I thought I should really write a section about her, as she is a real asset to the hotel. We found her to be the best hotel manager that we have ever known. You could tell how much she cared about the hotel and her guests staying there. One day, a couple staying at the hotel were getting married and so she arranged, without them knowing, for all of the other guests at breakfast time to sign a card for them. I say a card, it was actually a huge map of the island with space for us all to write our well wishes and congratulations, and I thought this was such a lovely thing to do to make their day even more special. As well as celebrating our honeymoon whilst at the Meltemi Suites, it was also my new husband's birthday while we were away. I mentioned to Athena it was his birthday and she said either she would bring him a bottle of wine or a Greek-style homemade birthday cake, and which one would he prefer? I thought he would like to try the cake, as he likes to try authentic foods and so later that day she herself brought a homemade cake up to our suite to wish him happy birthday. I presumed the cake would be tiny but it was huge! She had decorated it with a few sprigs of lavender tied with a blue ribbon, and she had written him a note wishing him happy birthday. I couldn't believe that after our surprise bottle of wine and note for our honeymoon, she also went to all this trouble to give my husband a birthday to remember, and it really touched us. We went to check-out on our last day, as were many of the other guests that day, and we were greeted by a tearful Athena who said she hated saying goodbye to everybody! It was so touching to see how much she cared about all of her guests and she set me off too! Instead of us waiting outside the hotel for our taxi to the airport, she made us sit down at reception and told us they would come to us. You could tell how fond of her the other guests where, as another couple who came to check out presented her with a big bottle of alcohol to say thank you. When the taxi arrived, she gave my husband and I a big hug and a small bunch of lavender to say goodbye. I can honestly say I have never said goodbye to a hotel manager with eyes full of tears before but she made our honeymoon so special and it was so emotional to say goodbye. I'm getting choked up now thinking about it!
I have been struggling with what rating to give the Meltemi Suites. I think the most suitable rating for our honeymoon would have to be 4 stars. This really is a lovely hotel, with clean rooms and public areas, a wonderful hotel manager and it is within very short walking distance of bars, restaurants and the beach. I do feel, however, that I have to knock one star off, due to my view that some aspects of our suite needed a little sprucing up. If you are looking at staying at this hotel, I would recommend a suite with a private jacuzzi and sun loungers. I don't think that Perissa is the most amazing resort to stay at, but we still enjoyed our stay here and there are plenty of great places to eat in the evenings. The proof of Athena's excellent hospitality and the many great things about this hotel can be seen in the number of guests that return here again and again. We heard her telling some guests when we were leaving that she had a couple arriving that day who were visiting for the sixth time, and another couple were staying there for the 12th time, and if that isn't proof of a good hotel, then I don't know what is.
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