Olive Grove Trees Apartments is in the ideal location, because it's far enough away from the noise of the strip at night if you want to sleep, yet it's in easy walking distance of all the bars, restaurants, clubs, shops and the beach.
The sea is about 2 minutes away on foot. Walk down the drive, turn left at the end and immediately right, walk down past the laundry and there is the sea! The beach is about 6 minutes away on foot. Walk down the drive, turn right at the end and walk down the strip to The Beetle Nightclub, turn left, head 50 metres down towards Roussos Fish Restaurant and the Kavos jetty – and there's the beach! The beach isn't particularly clean, but at least it's a sandy beach.
One advantage of booking a last minute deal with Olympic Holidays is that they usually include your transfers to and from the airport on Corfu, whereas transfers are excluded from many other tour operators' last minute deals. The transfer took just over an hour. Our Olympic Holidays rep was quite bossy but he did get the job done, which is what really matters. Small Planet Airlines are totally professional but somehow manage to be a lot less pompous than some other airlines, and the flight crews that we encountered were all Brits. They were flying Boeing 737s, the same as all the other airlines on these routes.
The Greeks make great hosts and Olive Grove Trees Apartments is no exception. Our transfer from the airport arrived at about 2am and we asked whether there was any chance of any food, and the guy behind the bar (Christos) kindly agreed to cook us some pizzas. Not sure what a British hotel would say in the same situation.
They kept the glasses behind the bar in the freezer, so every time they served us a beer or a cocktail it was cool and totally refreshing, very welcome in the heat of the day. We were a little concerned by the fact that Olympic Holidays classified Olive Grove Trees Apartments as “lively”, but actually we needn't have worried. Kavos is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde resort, in the sense that after the schools go back in the first week of September it completely changes. Far more older tourists (i.e. over 30) turn up, prices noticeably drop and there are plenty of special offers to be found as stores try to clear out their remaining stock, as the end of the season looms. The downside of that is they will run out of some items, or might not have your size.
It won't be as scorchingly hot in September, and when it rains here you definitely know that it's raining. We averaged 28 to 30 degrees when we were here in mid-September, with two out of the seven days being cloudy/rainy. If you are turned on by Manc, Scouse or Geordie/Mackem accents then you are going to love this place, and the vast majority of people here were Brits. For some reason the Greeks seem to really like Brits, we generally found them to be very generous and honest and if you take an interest in their language/traditions/food they really appreciate it.
As Kavos is at the southern end of Corfu island it doesn't have the benefit of a central location, but it's quite a small island and Kavos does have the benefit of being cheap. In late season you could find a two-course evening meal for six or seven Euros in Kavos, so we generally ended up having a cooked breakfast around midday and then another cooked meal around 8pm. If you want the best possible price for your breakfast you need to do a bit of walking, as the places nearest to Olive Grove Trees Apartments (Net Bar, Big Max etc.) tend to be a bit more expensive, and it's only once you reach Hungry Hippo and Zest that prices start dropping.
The Greek kebabs (gyros) were a little different to what we have in the UK. Even if you think that you are getting a doner kebab, it is extremely unlikely to be lamb and will almost certainly be pork or chicken. They roll the pitta around the contents, and Greeks like to have chips in their kebabs. As well as the standard UK kebab fillings you will also be offered a choice of tzatziki or mayonnaise. The best kebab house that we found in Kavos is Nikos, and this is where a lot of the PRs buy themselves kebabs.
We only had two negative experiences in the whole week. Roussos overcharged us for three different items on our bill, and short-changed somebody at another table with change for 40 Euros after they had paid with a 50 Euro note. Why they would risk such a long-established reputation I have no idea, but please don't try to tell me that overcharging of three separate items on the bill is accidental. I would still go back there, however, as the food is absolutely gorgeous, but I will be checking the bill carefully and also checking my change.
One place that I will NOT be going back to is Big Max Diner. There were half a dozen places in Kavos offering a “small” breakfast (which was big enough for us, and wasn't particularly small) for one Euro fifty, but Big Max Diner was offering a breakfast with jumbo sausage for two Euros fifty. For some reason I fancied a jumbo sausage that morning, so decided that I was prepared to pay nearly twice as much as usual for my breakfast.
Anyway, when the breakfast turned up it had a normal sized sausage, I wasn't rude but I pointed out that it wasn't a jumbo sausage. After trying to tell me that it was a jumbo sausage he then told me “If you don't like it you can go! What do you expect for two Euros fifty, anyway?”. There are three answers to that. Firstly, I expect to be served what the board outside says I will be served. Secondly, I don't want to pay two Euros fifty and only receive what other places are selling for one Euro fifty. Thirdly, if I am polite and respectful to you, I expect you to be polite to me.
I realise that these guys might have had three months of working 16-hour-days at this point, but things like that can spoil your whole holiday. To balance out these two negative experiences we had dozens of great experiences, and we really love the Greek people and their outlook on life. We enjoyed our holiday in Marmaris in Turkey but this holiday in Greece was definitely better, and we will certainly be coming back again. PRs are a great source of useful information, so don't be afraid to ask them plenty of random questions when they are trying to entice you into the bar or restaurant that they represent; both Yiannis of The Real Greek Souvlaki Bar and Amanda of Restaurant Olympia, for example, provided an enormous amount of useful advice during our stay.
You will be bitten by insects, so take plenty of insect repellent and something to soothe bites (aftershave worked surprisingly well to stop the itching). They only provided one toilet roll for a week, but we took some out with us anyway, we also took some towels and a pillow with us.
Staying in an apartment suited us much better than having a hotel room, we felt far more in control and although we didn't cook anything ourselves, we still saved a lot of money by sitting out on our veranda, drinking cheap cans of lager from the “supermarket”, nibbling on paprika-flavoured TUC biscuits and watching the world go by.
Our cleaning lady was brilliant, she didn't ever come in whilst we were in the apartment, even though we stayed in bed until midday on some occasions. There was no cleaner on the day that we had arrived at 2am, but for all the other six days our floor was mopped with bleach, the sheets were changed, rubbish removed and the used bog-roll bin was emptied. When we had gone on a day-trip to Paxos/Antipaxos it rained in Kavos, we had left a couple of our T-shirts out on the line to dry and the cleaning lady brought them in for us when it started raining. Small touches like that make all the difference.
We considered air conditioning to be essential, so we paid 45 Euros for that for the week. Christos initially set it to 18 degrees but we found that was a little bit too cold, so we adjusted it to 22 degrees which suited us a lot better. The air conditioning unit was beautifully quiet, and certainly much quieter than in our hotel in Turkey. Our apartment had double glazing, which helped to reduce the night-time noise from the clubs on the strip.
We decided to also invest 20 Euros for a safety deposit box. To extend our accommodation on the last day was 10 Euros per person to extend it until 6pm, or 15 Euros per person to extend it until 9pm. We paid 20 Euros and kept the room until 6pm, but it was quite feasible to leave your luggage out by the table tennis table from midday until your transfer coach arrived, if you preferred.
This is not luxury accommodation but it is not priced as luxury accommodation, either, and for what we paid we consider it to offer amazingly good value for money. We love the laid-back Greek attitude to life, they make excellent hosts and we will definitely be coming back again.