Despite feeling refreshed and relaxed as I write this blog post, I can’t help but wish I was still sat poolside in our stunning swim-up room at the Sunprime White Pearl Hotel in Kolymbia, Rhodes. Attempting to prolong my tan with the English sun, and making myself jealous of my own holiday pictures, I attempt to get back to reality and put some routine back into my life. The thought of 6.30am alarms, meal prepping and work – eurgh, work – makes me want to book another holiday ASAP. Anyone want to join me in getting a one-way ticket to Bali?
Joe and I have both been to Rhodes before when we were little’uns, but neither of us had stayed in the Kolymbia resort, situated 10 minutes away from Faliraki. We booked the Sunprime White Pearl back in January and it was advertised as a brand new hotel, opening April 2015. Apprehensively waiting, the hotels opening was pushed back until the beginning of June, just two weeks before we were due to travel. Religiously reading through reviews at least twice daily, teething problems had been brought to my attention, while some people were even told their room wasn’t ready and transferred to another hotel!
As we hadn’t received any information from Thomas Cook, we rightly assumed everything was to go ahead as planned.We arrived at the stunning White Pearl Hotel late Wednesday night following a 3 hour delay due to Michelle Obama flying out of the same airport – thanks for that, Mish! We arrived into Rhodes airport and were greeted one of many beautiful sunsets.
Because we arrived at the hotel later than scheduled, we were told the kitchen wasn’t open for us to have some food – a little disappointing start to our stay – but we hopped in a cab and went to the local ‘strip’ and enjoyed our first Greek meal!
Stunning. The only word I could use to describe the overall look, design and decor of the hotel. As given away by the name, everything was as white as it could be; all the building walls were white, the rooms were white, the restaurant was white – okay, I’m sure you get the idea. As standard, all the rooms at the White Peal are swim-up rooms. We had never had this type of luxury before and was what sold the hotel to us; we were not disappointed! Being able to walk out of your room, on to your private veranda, and have two comfortable sunbeds just waiting for you – the worry of waking up early to reserve sunbeds was something we were happy to avoid. The rooms were of a standard size – not huge, but big enough, with plenty of storage for clothes and accessories. The room was full of the amenities you’d expect, including a mini fridge and hairdryer, and was cleaned to a high standard daily.
Being the fitness fanatic I am, it would have been rude not to check out the hotels gym a few times during our stay. There are no windows surrounding the gym so you were open to a fresh air breeze which was nice. Some days were windier than others but there was always a good enough breeze to stay cool during your workout. The hotel itself is a bit of a wind tunnel which made for some chilly evenings, with a few people opting to use their bathrobes when sat at the bar. During the day however, the breeze was welcomed in the 30 degree heat.
The beach nearby was a small stretch of pebble stones so we opted to jump in a taxi and visit Tsambika beach, considered one of the best beaches on the island and was only 15 minutes away from the hotel. With soft – but burningly hot – golden sand and crystal clear waters, we spent the whole day relaxing to the sound of the waves and enjoying the atmosphere of the 1km long beach.
Food & Drink
The hotel provided a full buffet at breakfast which had a huge selection of cold and hot foods, juices and fruit. Both lunch and dinner were a la carte; ordering from a set menu. Lunch included 3 daily specials which included English delicacies like burgers and chicken nuggets.
Dinner was themed which changed every night. Unfortunately, this is where the hotel let itself down a little. My only negative comment to make about the whole hotel is the standard of food during the dinner service. Small portions of sometimes very bland food made for unsatisfying dinners on a few occasions. There are 5 courses on the dinner menu to which you have to eat one from each course in order to feel somewhat full up.
Joe and I went out to eat 3 times during our week-long holiday to ensure we finished dinner satisfied. While the food at lunch provided decent portion sizes and flavoursome foods, dinner focussed far too much on the presentation and not enough on the portion size and taste. Anyone that knows me will know I’m all for a bit of pretentiousness here and there, but when you aren’t given the option of a buffet, you expect to finish your dinner at an all-inclusive resort comfortably full up and happy with the food you have just consumed. Perhaps a standard Greek buffet selection or menu that people could choose from as well as the themed night menu, along with an increase in portion size so people aren’t forced to eat 5 courses every night, dinner would be a much better option. The glass of champagne upon arrival at dinner was a lovely touch, so with these changes to the food at dinner, this hotel would be completely faultless.
Basic drinks were all included at the hotel; bottles of water, house spirits and wines were endless. Some cocktails and selected branded alcohols were not included and were quite pricey for an all-inclusive resort that would most likely only ever serve residents of the hotel. Also, the bar started charging for all drinks after 11pm – I’m not entirely sure why, but people just ordered multiple drinks at 10.50pm and called it a night when they finished.
The dress code was quite varied for the evening. As expected, for breakfast and lunch, people wore their swimming costumes with a t-shirt and shorts, or a dress etc. For the evening, I liked to wear something relatively smart and outgoing, which most others did too. But on a few occasions some people wore nothing smarter than a pair of casual shorts, sandals and a t-shirt. As it is a la carte I feel people should make an effort with evening clothes – as it is quite windy men would be comfortable in jeans or long trousers, but smart shorts are just as welcome. Not many women wore heels, but I did a few times and didn’t feel overdressed in the slightest.
The staff at The Sunprime White Pearl could not do enough for you; from check-in to check-out we were treated well by friendly and helpful staff. From the restaurant and bar waiters, to the cleaners and reception staff, everyone was always smiling and more than happy to help in any way to ensure a relaxing stay.
We went on holiday with the intention of pure relaxation, and we were not disappointed. The hotels maximum capacity at the time was no more than 80 guests which made for a very peaceful stay. There were plenty of trips and excursions that you could book onto through the Thomas Cook rep which we were tempted by, but opted for pure relaxation this time! As we were only there for 6 full days we only made one trip outside of the hotel and visited the Rhodes old town for the day. We wandered around the castle and ruins before enjoying dinner at a Greek taverna with stunning views of the harbour.
While we were in Rhodes town we went to the Minos rooftop bar to watch the sunsets. Put me in front of stunning sunset and I will be so content. I love them, everything about the colours and how they make you feel as though nothing else in the world matters apart from what your eyes are seeing. I’d heard about this particular bar on Trip Advisor. It provided panoramic views of Rhodes, including the harbour and Rhodes castle. I was blown away by the sunset we saw; happily just looking at the pink and yellow skies that were in front of us.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our week of doing very little, drinking quite a lot, and eating a little bit more than that. It was a week of pure luxury and indulgence and – aside from the dinner – I couldn’t fault it. I understand completely that the hotel is still very new and will experience inevitable teething problems, but I can only imagine how much better the hotel will be in around a years time. For anyone booked to stay at this hotel you will not be disappointed!
The sun was setting as we came into land at London Stanstead. As you could probably guess, I am a lover of all that is sunsets, so I sat in awe and looked out of the window as we landed. How could you not when this is all you see?
It was an amazing end to what was an incredible week.