Anyone been to Periyiali, Zakynthos with Simply Travel?
anto · 16/06/2003 10:53
We desperately need to book a summer holiday for the first week in September with DD1 (will be 2yrs 11 months) and 2 (will be 5 months). Am trying to find somewhere self-catering with some childcare available, near a nice beach and close enough to cafes/restaurants that we dont' have to drive if we want to eat out. So far have been considering Mark Warner & Simply Travel. Has anyone been to Zakynthos with Simply Travel & used the kids club? Any feedback would be gratefully received.
bettys · 16/06/2003 11:18
I think Willow2 is at Zakynthos right now, and will be back at the weekend. If you do a search on Zakynthos you'll find what she had to say about it when she went last year with Simply Travel.
anto · 17/06/2003 14:10
Thanks Bettys, that's really helpful. Have now done a search and found Willow2 raving about Zakynthos all over the shop! Sounds fantastic. Hopefully she will post all about it on her return. In the meantime have just rung Simply Ionian and ordered a brochure. Definitely sounds better than Simply Corsica, which got quite a few negative comments about the quality of the accomodation. We have got friends with 2 kids (2.9 yrs & 6 months) at Mark Warner San Agostino at the moment so am looking forward to hearing their feedback on their return.
janinlondon · 20/06/2003 10:00
Anto - I would be really very interested to hear about your friends' experience with MW in San Agostino. As its a new resort have not heard any reports on it. So please do let us know!
willow2 · 20/06/2003 20:04
anto. Just back. Still unpacking. Will post later once I've found the vodka.
tigermoth · 21/06/2003 09:28
I see you have your priorities in the right order, willow. Mumsnet first, then the unpacking
tigermoth · 21/06/2003 09:29
...then back to mumsnet again with drink in hand, I meant to add.
anto · 21/06/2003 21:34
Blimey Willow2, I am waiting with bated breath! What's happened to you?
Got the Simply Ionian brochure today so am looking forward to getting the full sp. Am already put off by the thought of a 4-hr flight with a nearly 3-yr-old and a 5-month-old.
Janinlondon, our friends have gone to San Agostino for 2 weeks so won't be back till the 1 July but I'll post then and let you know what they thought.
Right, off to try and persuade dd2 that she does actually, at some point, need to go to sleep.
willow2 · 21/06/2003 23:23
Sorry, ran out of steam last night. Long review coming up based on last year and this year....
Ok - first things first. Flight is more 3 1/4 hours, but it is with Britannia who are shite. More importantly, if you are travelling from Gatwick, the flight leaves at 6.55am - so check in is 4.55! Sounds horrendous, but both this year and last ds (who is now 3 1/4) was so shell shocked by it all that he behaved very well.
Secondly, have you checked availability yet? It does get very booked up.
Right, the review. I love it at Periyali. I think there are eleven little stone houses set in several acres of ground. It is very "simple" but very pretty - lots of flowers, olive trees and, outside the house we stay in, an apricot tree - so if you go don't buy any in the shops!
There is a decent pool (which was actually getting too warm by the time we left, but was blooming freezing when we went in May last year) and a very small "kids" pool - although ds is only just tall enough to touch the bottom of this; it certainly isn't a paddling pool. There is also a pool bar - staffed by the lovely Sandre who couldn't be sweeter to the kids - where you can get drinks, ice creams and a selection of snacky meals (fish fingers and chips to calamari to greek salads).
The villas are relatively basic - but the one we've stayed in had everything we needed to get by (except a cooks knife which we asked for and got). They all have a terrace/patio. Some have a fenced in patio, good for crawling babies - others just have open terraces looking out on to the gardens. I prefer the villas at the front - Erato, Artemis, Cleo and - I think - Dafni. These have open terraces but are well designed so that when you sit out on them you don't feel overlooked.
The downside is that the villas are not air conditioned (the power supply apparently couldn't cope) the electric fans supplied make little or no difference when it is very hot and mosquitos are a major pain. So you either shut your windows, whack on the mossie killers and bake - or open your windows, bake a bit slower and get eaten alive. The last two weeks saw Zakynthos experiencing unseasonally hot weather in the 40's (more like August temperatures) and a lot of people were finding it hard to sleep. I ended up getting up in the middle of the night and having a cold shower on two nights, it was the only way I could get cool enough to get back to sleep. Several of us suggested to the rep that mossie nets over the beds would be a good, cheap way to make nights a bit easier - but even if they take up the idea I doubt it will be till next season.
Having said that, the night we left there was the most incredible thunder storm I have ever seen (the first bit of cloud or rain we had) and when we woke up it was threatening more of the same - so current occupants may be finding it a bit easier!
Now the really important bit. Childcare. The creche is run by british nannies. It is air conditioned - vital - and also has a decent sized outdoor area with sandpit, blow up paddling pools, football net etc. There is a separate baby room for under two's. At the time we went nearly all the kids were under the age of four - and the older kids (including ds) were kept busy with free play, water fights, lots of painting and activities, walks to see the goats etc etc.
You have to book for either half days (9 - 1 or 1.30 till 5.30) or full days. We booked full days - 9 till 5.30 - simply because ds is prone to bad heat rash and it meant he had somewhere cool to escape to. The plan was to spend most of the morning with ds at the pool or the beach, then pop him in to the creche for the hottest part of the day; 11 - 3. That way we still had time to do a beach trip or major pool attack in the afternoon as it began to cool down. This worked out really well and also meant that we were able to go sailing for the day by ourselves (having already taken ds on a more child friendly "turtle seeking" version).
Ds loved the creche, having quickly cottoned on that he could have a riot there with other kids. (Lord of the Flies anyone?) In fact, in the second week he started asking to go before it had even opened! The current head nanny, Maria, is lovely and can organise babysitting - although it is at the nannies discretion so you aren't guaranteed a night out by yourself.
The kids all bonded quickly and, as a result, we got to know most of the other families there. As with last year, we found virtually all the other families very friendly. Everyone seemed happy with the set up and we were not the only second-timers. Most people said they would happily return.
Finally - location: Set in Vassilikos (very pretty part) on the South Western tip of the island, the villas are right on the sea - although the only sea view as such is from the pool, but it is a hell of a view. There is direct access to a very little pebble cove (good for skimming stones and a quick dip) but you can walk to Gerakas beach in about five/ten minutes. This is a very long, gently shelving, sandy beach. Perfect for small children, it is where the turtles come to lay their eggs so there are no facilities actually on the beach, other than sun loungers and parasols, although there are a couple of tavernas just above on the cliffs. There's probably about a dozen or so tavernas within ten minutes drive - but as they all have more or less the same menu that is kind of irrelevent. Suffice to say I will not be making a greek salad for a while.
Right, that's your lot. Hope this helps - but just post if you have any other queries.
anto · 22/06/2003 11:24
Many thanks Willow, that's great. Sounds absolutely perfect for my dd1, aged 2.9 months, but I'm not sure about the baby - she's struggling with the hot weather here at the moment. Perhaps 5 months is a bit young and I'd be better holding off till next year when they can both go in the creche?
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