Kivo Art & Gourmet Hotel

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Accommodation

Location

Kivo Art & Gourmet Hotel

Date of travel

July, 2016

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Partner

Reasons for trip

Relaxation

We enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing two-week break at this welcoming boutique hotel in late June/July. We booked a package through Thomson as the cost of flights, accommodation and car hire worked out cheaper than purchasing independently. We also opted to pay an additional £28 a day in advance for half board as we feared the British pound might fall in value against the Euro post-Brexit referendum (as indeed it did.) This turned out to be an excellent decision: the hotel offered us a different 4-course menu each evening with a choice of two starters, salads, mains and desserts carefully selected from their a la carte menu. We calculated that every night we ate meals valued at between 74 – 110 euros (currently £60 to £90.) Water was included in the price and we quenched our thirst with refreshing draft Mythos beer.

Mealtime service was prompt and charming, and the outdoor seating around the pool, overlooking the sea is absolutely magical. The food is healthy and delicious using fresh produce from the hotel gardens and grounds. (My review of the food is in a separate entry for the restaurant as it is available to outside diners.) Breakfast is taken on an upper terrace and offers a good range of freshly-cooked hot and cold food. I enjoyed thick Greek yogurt, honey, mini pancakes, fresh fruit and the occasional cake (the pear and cinnamon bread pudding is irresistible!)

Finding the hotel was easy, thanks to clear driving directions from Thomson. However, the hotel also runs a transfer service to and from the airport and port and, had we known that, we probably wouldn’t have bothered with a hire car. We simply wanted to relax around the pool, recharge our batteries and amble along for a leisurely dinner every night without driving around in search of a place to eat and having one of us unable to enjoy a beer or wine with our food.

The staff and management team at the hotel are very customer-focused and extremely hard-working. Anna, from guest relations, goes out of her way to welcome and support hotel guests, offer advice on local activities, arrange car hire and to solve any issues that arise during the stay. My partner has mobility problems so I had contacted the hotel in advance to seek advice. Anna took care to locate us as near to the reception/restaurant/pool area as possible as the accommodation blocks are set on a steep slope.

Check in was straightforward but I was not at all happy with our first room. It was a tight squeeze for the two of us – two single beds put together but made up separately – and just one chair inside; the shower was broken so we had to take baths, and the safe did not work. Fortunately, after a couple of days, we were able to move to a larger room with everything working and a proper super-king sized bed made up from two singles pushed together with a thick mattress topper. I also requested additional hangers – the hotel is only allowed by Skiathos law to place 4 hangers in each room – and these were made available. I later found out that these better rooms are described as the “Aegean View” rooms. When I made our booking, Thomson only gave an option of two identical-looking “sea view” rooms for two or three people. Apparently we should have booked the sea view room for three to get a larger “Aegean view” room.

The pool is kept very clean and we had no problem getting a sunbed with umbrella every day of our stay, but then I am an early riser, even on holiday, and was up at 07.00 every morning to carry out my pool-side yoga stretching. Many guests ventured out to discover the numerous beaches around the island, take boat trips or visit the Old Town using their hire cars, scooters, or the hotel minibus service. At 6.00 pm on warm, dry evenings the restaurant staff clear away the sunbeds and carry out the tables and chairs for the evening meal service around the pool. Each evening during our stay every table was taken so it is worth making a reservation as the restaurant is open to outside visitors and the hotel runs a transfer service for those who book online. There was a Jazz/Funk band playing in the bar one evening during our stay and some wine-tasting but otherwise entertainment is pleasantly low-key, with guests sitting around enjoying a drink and chat.

It was fiercely hot during our stay but, being set high up in the hills, the hotel enjoys a cooling breeze as night falls and a couple of times during our evening meal I had to get a jacket to cover my bare arms. I’d love to return to the hotel in Spring or early Autumn to explore the island and follow some of the 25 well-marked hiking paths. As it was, we simply enjoyed catching up with reading, sipping in the pool to swim and cool down, and being looked after by the friendly staff.

yorkshirecat

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