As the weather gets colder & the days shorter, my best friend and I decided it was a perfect time to get away for a week; it was by far the best idea we’ve ever come up with! Having only booked it 6 weeks before we went, the excitement was high from the get-go. The last few months have been non-stop busy, and quite stressful, for us both, so the thought of spending a week in a 5* resort and spa on the Greek island of Kefalonia sounded like absolute bliss. Oh, how we were so spot on…
Due to short delay on the flight out to Kefalonia airport, and getting lost driving to the hotel, we arrived at the Apostolata resort at around 1.30am. We checked in with no problems and were lead to our rooms by the porter and given two plates of food – never has cold pizza and sausage rolls tasted so good. The curtains were closed when we entered the room so we put our bags down as the porter talked us through the rooms amenities. Just before he left he turned and said the three words every woman longs to hear, swim up room. Remaining nonchalant and keeping our cool, we waited for the porter to leave before opening the curtains and running outside to see that we’d been given a free room upgrade! Our week of relaxation just got that little bit better.
Located on the ground floor, and less than a 10 second walk to the lobby bar and reception, our room was spacious and well equipped with the hotel room essentials: a mini fridge, hairdryer and complimentary toiletries. We put in a request for twin beds which was granted; the beds themselves were slightly hard, but not uncomfortable. Two types of pillows were provided and the sheets were changed daily. We had a problem with the shower that was in the toilet cubicle (yes, there really was a toilet and shower in the same glass cubicle) that leaked into the room, but there was no need to complain and we just used the shower over the bath tub for the duration of our stay which was absolutely fine. Generally, the room was spacious with plenty of storage and cleaned to a good standard every day.
[Note: we were allocated a room to freshen up after check-out before we left for the airport in the evening free of charge; only having the two rooms to compare, I think the swim-up rooms are slightly bigger than the standard rooms]
One word: faultless. Before we went, I read some of the latest reviews on Trip Advisor and noticed a few people had commented that there wasn’t enough choice, and throughout their weeks stay there was far too much repetition. In what world does having the choice of eggs cooked 5 different ways not satisfy someones preferences? They laid out a choice of hard boiled, scrambled, fried, whole-egg omelettes and white-egg omelettes. And that was just at breakfast! (The choice at lunch and dinner was just as varied). Alongside the choice of eggs, you could choose from other cooked pieces such as bacon and sausages, or opt for fresh fruit, yoghurt or a selection of cereals, which you could top with an option of 4 different kinds of milk (including chocolate and almond). Please tell me again that this isn’t enough choice to cover someones breakfast needs!
It is important to note that during every service, everything was kept really clean and tidy, while there was never an empty tray of food that had been left out for too long. The salad station was always replenished and replaced before you could see the bottom of the bowl. Surfaces never had spilled food baked on to them and the staff around the restaurant were all happy to help.
For the main restaurant, there was an outdoor terrace which has both covered and open areas which provide shade from the sun during the day, and shelter from any rain. The views over the glass panels were stunning at any time of the day.
Lunch and dinner were also in buffet form; perfect for food lovers like ourselves, never leaving you hungry and what you’d expect to find when you’re all inclusive at a 5* resort. There was always a chef cooking fresh meats which included pork, chicken, burgers and lamb. A selection of vegetables were always available alongside an option of potatoes in the form of chips, boiled or roasted. Desserts and fresh fruit were served at both lunch and dinner, and was enough to satisfy anyones sweet cravings.
Walking around the hotel you are constantly blown away with the views of the sea; a tremendous benefit of having a hotel on a mountain side. The obvious downside being the stairs going up and down to the pool or restaurant; while there was a lift, it was never too much of a chore to walk. Oh, but maybe only after a large dinner meal…
As part of the all inclusive, one meal at the a la carte restaurant was included. We were given the 4 course all inclusive menu, as well as the half-board menu (which you would have to pay for) which we could mix & match with. We each chose the soup and salad course from the all inclusive menu, a starter from the half-board menu, mains from the all-inclusive (my friend paid extra for the steak) and the desert was included in the all inclusive menu. That evening we dined like kings and it was the best we ate all holiday. The bill came to around 35 euros which included 5 courses, a bottle of water and a bottle of red wine – an absolute bargain if you ask me!
Aside from the main buffet and the a la carte restaurants, there was also the option of eating at the pool restaurant, which was located next to the pool – shocking, I know. They served quick meals like salads, pizzas, chips and sandwiches throughout the day. We didn’t eat at this restaurant but from what we saw, and what others told us, it looked really nice with generous portion sizes. Again, it was included in the all inclusive option. Adjacent to this was the gelato bar – a small ice cream bar serving a variety of flavours. You had to pay an extra 3 euros for certain flavours (e.g. lemon, bubblegum) but the basic vanilla, banana, strawberry and chocolate flavours were unlimited throughout the day.
The entire pool area is absolutely huge! It was big enough to accommodate everyone, even at the hotels full capacity; sun loungers were always available, even when going down to the pool in the afternoon. People would still reserve sun beds, but there wasn’t any need. The pool water is slightly salted, not necessarily a problem but a bit of a surprise if you’re not expecting it. As we had a swim up room we only ventured down to the pool a couple of times but it was a great atmosphere with Greek music playing from the pool bar, which is open all day and evening. There is also an infinity pool on the roof next to the lobby bar which some people chose to swim in and take in the breathtaking views – there aren’t any sun loungers, only outdoor chairs, but people were happy to sit and enjoy the views with an ice-cold drink in hand.
There is a small beach area at the base of the hotel; it isn’t sandy but it is great for snorkelling. Really close to all the rocks, it’s essentially a little cove which has sunbeds and a ladder into the water. The hotel provides pool towels which, they say, can only be changed every 3 days – we were never asked for our room number so we changed them as often as we needed to.
We felt welcomed by the staff from the moment we checked in; everyone is kind, friendly and always happy to help. We didn’t request anything out of the ordinary, but when we did (booking a room for the day we checked out for example) nothing was ever too much; the reception and lobby bar staff deserve a special mention for all of their hard work! They were always smiling, ensuring everyone was enjoying their evening.
The Entertainment & Nightlife
The lobby bar and outside roof terrace were always busy; the atmosphere in the evening was always enjoyable.There was a fire show one evening (next to the pool), and live music played other evenings. However, even when there was no entertainment provided, Greek music would always be playing and people enjoying their drinks outside on the main terrace. People would have dinner throughout the evening, even right up until 10pm, so there was always a nice atmosphere on the restaurant terrace too. There was a menu of drinks that were included in the all inclusive option; house wines, beers, sparkling wine, own brand spirits some cocktails. Other cocktails and branded spirits would cost extra – around 3 or 4 euros a drink. Half board prices are slightly more.
Outside of the hotel, there is a small town called Skala which is about a 20 minute walk from the resort. As we hired a car, it took around 5 minutes to drive there; a taxi was 6 euros each way. There is a small strip of shops, bars and restaurants which are open throughout the day and the bars are open right into the early hours. We were told to go to a bar called Captain’s by a couple we met in the hotel; the bar was small but had always a lively atmosphere. We went there a couple of times during our stay, enjoying the delicious cocktails they served and the English music they played.
The strip is really the only night life near to the hotel, with any other towns at least a half an hours drive away. We spent an evening in the capital city Argostoli which I would recommend doing if you do hire a car, or don’t mind paying for the taxi.
The Gym & Spa
Surprisingly we didn’t use the spa at all during our stay. We even had a free 20 minute taster session AND a 10% off voucher that didn’t get used. What type of people are we?! Instead we chose to use the gym, an obvious one for any regular readers of my blog. I went for 3 two hour-long workouts during our stay as I tried to keep as close to my usual gym routine as possible doing a session each for legs, abs and upper body. My friend joined me twice and I felt like his personal trainer, putting him through his paces combining cardio with some BBG circuits and weights machines. The gym was fairly small and basic, but it had everything you would want for a holiday session to keep your body ticking over.
The island itself is fairly small but it is packed full of gems. Hidden beaches and coves with clear waters are located all over the island. We had a cloudy day before a thunderstorm was forecast which we chose to spend driving around the island. We hired a car before we flew out through the Hertz car hire company and were thoroughly impressed with our little – but very nippy – Hyundai i10.
My friend has been to Kefalonia before so had a rough idea of where to go and what to see. As the island is made up of so many mountains, the scenery as you travel around the island is beautiful; I was blown away with the views!
We travelled first to Petani bay, a beautiful beach tucked away in the quaint town of Lixouri.
We then drove on to Xi, a stretch of stunning red-sanded beach for a spot of lunch and a stroll; as the weather was overcast we couldn’t really sunbathe, but we enjoyed the views and the fresh clay that could be picked from the rocks and used as a body scrub – it doesn’t get much more organic than that!
We jumped on a ferry to save some time driving back to the hotel, but also to see the island in a different way. Driving away from the capital city, Argostoli, the colourful houses running down the side of the mountains reminded me of Italy.
On Friday afternoon, once the thunderstorm had cleared and the weather brightened up, we decided to drive to Myrtos beach to watch the sunset. Along the way we stopped by one of many little coves of white pebbled beach; the water was crystal clear and was a beautiful spot to spend the day, as a few locals chose to do.
One of the most photographed beaches in the world and Kefalonia’s most well-known view, with stunning turquoise waters and white sands, the beauty of Myrtos beach speaks for itself.
We stayed here and watched the sunset which was absolutely incredible. We then drove to the capital to meet a friend for dinner and enjoyed some delicious gelato before driving back to the hotel. We stopped off in a lay-by to watch the stars as the sky was so clear; without any street lights we surrounded by complete darkness, and even got to see the milky way! It was a lovely way to finish a long but thoroughly enjoyable day.
Still relishing over the fascinating views of the previous nights sunset, we woke up early to watch the sunrise. I’ve never woken up with the sole purpose of just sitting and watching the sunrise, but waking up at 6.30am was definitely worth it. With our hotel bath robes on, we were both in awe as we sat and watched – and took a lot of pictures of – the stunning views developed in front of us.
Our last views of the island was this incredible sunset as we drove back to the airport. As sad as I was to be leaving the stunning island, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer send-off. I’d love to return to Kefalonia in the future; there’s a lot of places that we didn’t get the chance to visit, and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at this hotel again!
We both had a beautiful time away – it was just what we wanted and needed. All in all I couldn’t fault this hotel; from the service, to the food, to the atmosphere during the day and night, this hotel was faultless. In my opinion, while there can always be upgrades made, the Apostolata resort is perfect for a break away form the hustle, bustle and stressors of every day life for a week of seamless relaxation. We were treated like royalty from the moment we entered the hotel right up until the moment we left and I cannot thank every single member of staff enough for making our break so perfect.