One of the most exciting European hotel openings of the year, Ikos Odisia on the Greek island of Corfu began welcoming guests in early June.
This is an upmarket hotel that is family-friendly without compromising on style. As one of the first to check in, Citizen Enfants finds out which suites are most suited for families, explores the varying cuisine and tests out the unique activities at the kids’ club.
Ikos is as synonymous with luxury family holidays as Stokke is with highchairs (Stokke can be found at the hotel, too). Known for their high-end all inclusive beach holidays, the brand has steadily grown since 2015 with seven resorts now spread across Greece and the Iberian Peninsula, two of which opened in June 2023. The new Ikos Odisia is their second resort on the island of Corfu, and summer 2023 is booking up fast.
A half-hour transfer from the airport, this private resort is set on 60-acres of fragrant forest, with low-rise buildings sunken beneath their cliffs boasting panoramic views across the crystal-clear coastline. It has the signature aesthetic of all Ikos resorts – neutral interiors, olive grove gardens (albeit still growing) and friendly staff whizzing around on golf buggies.
At check-in, take a seat in the lounge; they will ask for passports over a glass of champagne or juice. There’s plenty of beige upholstery begging the question: how is it child-friendly? But essentially, anything goes. The staff genuinely love smaller guests and help in any way they can: collecting and cleaning your baby bottles or blowing up your pool inflatables – nothing is too much trouble. With ramps for pushchairs, many shallow splash pools and infinite drinks and ice-creams for toddlers to spill, parents can truly relax.
The two-bed deluxe garden view suites are stylish, spacious and perfect for families, with cots and any necessary baby kit available on request. They come with all the mod-cons, comfortable yet stylish furnishings and an all-inclusive mini bar stocked with all the kid’s – and grown up – favourites.
THE CHILD’S PLAY
Not all kids’ clubs are made equal and Ikos Odisia is one of the most fantastic. This is what the hotel is all about: keeping kids happy and, therefore, ensuring their parents feel the same. There’s a large playground, a magical indoor den with a hidden space-themed room and fun daily activities for kids aged four and up. The manager, Anastasia, and her brilliant team run this incredible area, the use of which is included in the cost of your stay. The crèche (for younger children aged six months to four years), is an additional cost. So much time and thought has been put into catering for younger guests here, for example, the mini ice-cream parlour and the gated sand-play section of the beach.
Older kids will love the Just4Teens club and milkshake menu. Ikos is also famous for its Football Academy run by professional coaches, and Football Escapes with sessions run by ex-Premier League Ambassadors including Peter Crouch. Or try out the windsurfing or tennis academies. No one is getting bored here. Due to the expansive setting of the hotel, it’s a large resort for little legs but if you don’t want to wait for a golf buggy, you can hire pushchair trikes or bikes.
Deluxe or not to Deluxe, that is the question. Choosing a Deluxe room at any Ikos Resort gives you a slight upgrade on every aspect of your stay – better suites, better menus, access to a secluded stretch of the beach and the well-located Deluxe pool. You can WhatsApp your personal concierge at any time of day and enjoy a complimentary mini massage. When booking make sure to ask to get a tailor-made package to suit your families needs.
THE FOOD + DRINK
With six restaurants to choose from, you can experience a vast selection of cuisine without the fuss of leaving the resort. From Asian fusion to contemporary Corfiot, menus have been created by Michelin starred chefs and can be paired with a 300-long list of delicious wines. Try Ouzo for a quiet breakfast or BBQ lunch (followed by a siesta in one of the cabanas on the beach afterwards). Book into swish Elia for cocktails: perched high on a clifftop and with a vibey outdoor bar, it’s best to book a babysitter for this one.
Every restaurant has a kid’s menu and a selection of homemade baby purées, but families will flock to the convenient main buffet, Flavors, at kid’s meal times. It has a speedy service and a huge variety of dishes alongside an Insta-worthy dessert section. Sea Grill is more of an upmarket kebab shop but guests on the Deluxe package can book dinner on the beach for juicy prawns and fresh fish with a sunset backdrop. There’s also a great initiative to support the local community with a Dine Out Programme where you can eat at a local restaurant at no extra cost (and drive one of the complimentary Teslas to get there).
THE TO-DO LIST
From sunrise yoga to a sunset cruise, there is a long list of activities to tempt you off your lounger. Fitness fanatics will love the gym classes including TRX, as well as tennis, volleyball and watersports which are all included in the rate. If being active on holiday is not your bag, then head to the spa which has stunning views and an equally fabulous treatment menu. Plus there is an indoor pool and blissful thermal suite to relax in. The open-air theatre is yet to open, but the hotel makes a huge effort to provide live music options from DJs to traditional Greek music. This really is a family resort that ticks all the boxes for everyone.
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