In the early hours of yesterday morning, ST and I returned from the most marvellous week in Kos. We’re tanned, we’re happy, we’re a good few inches wider (oh hi, fives types of cheese with every meal) and we’re already trying to figure out when we can possibly go back. It was dreamy.
I’d never been to Greece before and it was all very last minute, I only booked it ten days before we flew out, but out of what seemed like *endless* holiday options I’m so pleased we booked what we did.
It’s a very “my diamond shoes are too tight” thing to complain about, but I’m always surprised by how difficult it is to book a holiday if you don’t mind where you go. Nearly every holiday company insists you have a destination in mind before you can start searching for deals, whereas we didn’t mind where in the world we went as long as it matched our dates.
In the end I just stuck to looking for deals on Voyage Privé and Secret Escapes, as the hotels on there always seem lovely and they have the smug factor of being discounted. I (rather ridiculously) spent nearly two full days looking at different hotels, cities, flight options and package deals but I couldn’t stop thinking about the very first hotel I’d seen on Secret Escapes: Aqua Blu in Lambi, Kos.
The photos looked amazing and whilst I wouldn’t have said Kos was on my radar as somewhere I wanted to visit, I was quickly won over by the TripAdvisor reviews. Everybody who had been to Aqua Blu said it was perfect.
And guess what? It was.
We stayed in room 102 which is a “Pool Experience Suite” and it was the idea of having a private pool which totally persuaded me to book this hotel over the hundreds of others I looked at. (I literally did look at hundreds of hotels, I don’t know how travel agents do it without going suite blind).
The room was modern and comfortable (something that doesn’t always go hand in hand) and exactly what we were after. We used the private pool and loungers every day but the main pool was gorgeous too and there were always beds available, so we often went up there as well for a change of scenery.
All the loungers and double day beds were seriously high luxe, the type of thick mattresses that you could lay out on for hours without getting fidgety. (Princess and the pea much, but I do find some loungers really uncomfortable for reading whereas all the loungers here were incredible).
The pool service and snack menu was to die for. It’s not often that you find expertly crafted espresso martinis and gorgonzola, mushroom and fig marmalade pizzas poolside…but we did here. The cocktails were some of the best I’ve had anywhere in the world, which was the last thing I was expecting.
Food all round was fabulous though. Breakfast was a dream (def my fave hotel breakfast of all time) with various a la carte options cooked to order included in the price and then a buffet to put all other breakfast buffets to shame. The cheeses, yoghurts, cereals, pastries and cakes were truly out of this world. If I could only eat one meal ever again, it would quite possibly be the Aqua Blu buffet breakfast.
God, I want to book a flight out there now just thinking about it.
We ate at the hotel’s upscale restaurant one evening too, on a night where there was traditional live music and dancing. It was completely brilliant and galatopita is my new favourite thing.
But to be honest everywhere we ate in Kos was fantastic. I thought I may have to eat a lot of the same things or spend a lot of time explaining being veggie to waiters, but I didn’t even have to mention being vegetarian or ask for adaptations of dishes. There is SO much to choose from as a veggie in Greece, it’s astounding. ST is pescetarian and he said the fish he had was the best fish he’d ever had anywhere in the world.
We tried to stick to Greek options where possible, ideally from Kos where we could. I am now a big fan of Greek wine…which is something I never thought I’d say.
The hotel had a private beach which was also serviced, so you could lay by the sea and have drinks and snacks too. We stuck to the pool mainly, but the sea was divine.
I’m embarrassed that I can’t recommend a bunch of “things to do in Kos” that aren’t….errrr….eating and drinking. Kos seemed like a beautiful island and we really should have rented a car and explored it or at least done one of the famous boat trips, but this holiday was really just for us to hang out with each other and do NOTHING. I know some people may think that’s a waste of a trip, but it’s been a bit of a crazy year for ST and we essentially just wanted to lie down in the sun for seven days and spend time together. Playing cards and reading books was the height of our exertion. And it was perfect.
I can’t write about the trip without mentioning the staff at Aqua Blu as they are what really make this fabulous hotel so one-of-a-kind. Sure, the design is gorgeous and the location is pretty phenomenal…but a lot of hotels have those types of advantages these days. What really made Aqua Blu so memorable for us was the fact that every guest is treated like royalty. Everybody knows your name, gets to know what you like and makes sure you have everything you could possibly need to have a great holiday.
We had fantastic recommendations from reception for places to eat, the bar staff looked after us impeccably, the girls in the spa were lovely, the housekeeping staff were wonderful (and seriously efficient, I’ve never stayed in such a clean hotel) and absolutely everyone we met just seemed to genuinely want us to have a good time. Nothing would have been too much trouble for them and we saw a few guests celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with great fanfare.
It was just amazing for a week of pure relaxation in the sunshine. And we’ve promised ourselves we’ll go back.
Location: Aqua Blu is in Lambi, about 20 minutes walk from Kos Town and about 30 minutes drive from the airport. It’s lovely and quiet (seriously, all you’ll hear is the waves and the birds) and as the hotel is adults only, it’s wonderfully chilled. We were surprised by how quiet Kos Town itself seemed and I’m not sure if that’s because it’s early in the season or if people are generally avoiding Kos, but it did seem very run down in parts and you can see that the tourism industry has been badly affected which is a shame for the island.
That being said if you know where to go on the back streets of Kos Town you’ll find the most wonderful restaurants and welcoming service, you just need to perhaps avoid going to the places where you order by pointing at laminated photos. Standard advice really!
How we got there: We flew with Thomson (the less said about that the better but in sum it was disgustingly expensive, delayed both ways, chaotic at both airports and I’ll be doing my utmost to not fly with them again) and then got taxis to and from the airport at 35 euros each way. Once there we got around on foot, with occasional taxis home from Kos Town after dinner (7 euros generally).
Cost: We booked the hotel on SecretEscapes which meant we paid a reduced rate of £176 per night. It may be cheaper outside of half term (although an adults only hotel, so perhaps not) and it would definitely be cheaper if you didn’t have a pool experience room. We showered on the last day in a lower category room and it was still to die for, it just didn’t have a private pool.
Our flights were £650 each but that is not representative of flights to Kos, we were just unlucky in that we had to travel on Saturdays during half term. (To any parents reading this, I don’t know how you do it! Such an unfair system…you have my sympathies). Apparently you can get very cheap flights to Kos, so I’ll be looking out for them if we do indeed go back at a time where we’re not so restricted on when we travel.
Once in Kos, the restaurants and drinks are cheap.
Restaurants that we’d recommend in Kos:
Taverna Mike: http://www.mike-kos.com/
Nick The Fisherman: http://www.kosrestaurants.nl/en/rest/nick-the-fisherman/
More info on the hotel:
A full blog post on what I wore out there:
And lastly, a little bit of footage of where we stayed is in this vlog…