A question we are often asked is which resort is better, Ikos or Sani? Our very own Josie was invited by Classic Collection Holidays to visit and experience these beautiful resorts… read on to find out if one is better than the other or if it is simply down to personal preference and holiday needs.
The exclusive Ikos and Sani Resorts, a group of luxury 5* hotels set on the beautiful peninsular of Kassandra and Sithonia on Mainland Greece.
For years we have been selling and recommending these fantastic family resorts, yet none of us had been out to visit them.
Our first day started bright and early at London Gatwick where EasyJet and BA offer a direct service to Thessaloniki. The flight time is just under three hours from London so makes it an ideal flight for people travelling with young children.
Incredible Ikos Resorts
Ikos Olivia Hotel
The first hotel we visited was Ikos Olivia – aptly named after the numerous Olive trees found around the extensive hotel grounds. The Ikos Olivia is located on a beautiful sandy beach and offers a great range of water sports and activities for adults and children. Rooms here start at a Double room – a spacious 25 square meters, One-bedroom Bungalow suites all the way up to Two-bedroom Bungalow suites with a private pool and the prestigious Deluxe collection with Deluxe benefits such as a Deluxe Pool area and your exclusive section on the beach.
Like all family resorts, Ikos Olivia offers a great kids club however it’s advised you pre-book (it’s that popular) of which you can do at the time of booking. At Ikos, you’re on an All-Inclusive basis meaning all meals, drinks and snacks are included. There is the main buffet restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, some fantastic A La Carte restaurants ( again pre-booking is advised) and their amazing Dine Out Plan where Ikos Olivia invites guests to discover the delights of some of the best local restaurants at no extra cost.
Our next hotel was the Ikos Oceania, a sister to the Olivia however quite different. The Oceania sits quite high and has the most amazing panoramic views of the Ocean. This hotel is based on the side of the hill. it’s quite steep down to the beach, however the ‘Grooms’ are always on hand to give you a lift on the resort electric buggies.
Here the rooms are a little different. Lead in rooms are the Double rooms, and then there are the Junior Suites, Suites with Gardens, One- and Two-bedroom family suites and the Deluxe collection as well. The Deluxe guests still have their own pool, section of beach and private check in.
Ikos Activities and Experiences
Both Ikos resorts offer a wide range of land and water-based activities at no extra cost so there’s something for everyone.
Another great thing to book is the Mini Drive adventure, where guests can hire a brand-new Mini Cooper to explore the local areas for the day. Download the Ikos Mini app, and you’ll have a full library of directions and local things to do and see. Best of all, this is part of the Ikos’ Infinite lifestyle offering so there is no extra cost to do this.
Stunning Sani Resorts
The next stop on our trip was Sani, a collection of five 5* properties situated around a Marina and golden sands that could compete with the Caribbean. We stayed at Sani Club, one of the original resorts.
The Lead in resort for Sani is Sani Beach, which is perfect for families with young children for its kids clubs and splash park. Next, it’s Sani Club and Sani Dunes. Sani Club is the original resort and Sani Dunes is the newest at two years old. Lastly, we have Porto Sani which is set away from the beach and the most prestigious of them all, Sani Asterias.
Lets start with Sani Beach, this resort may look like a 70’s apartment block from the outside, the interior paints a different picture. The rooms here start at Double rooms, up to suites with sea views, Two-bedroom family rooms and again those Deluxe collection rooms with the Deluxe amenities.
Sani Beach has two outdoor pools, an indoor pool and a kiddie’s splash park making it ideal for families. Along with the splash park, there’s also a kid’s playground, the renowned kids clubs and over 6 bars and 4 restaurants on site. Sani Beach is in a great location, as you are a short walk to the Marina which hosts more bars and restaurants that you can use your dining plan in, along with some boutique shops, and some rather large Yachts.
Next along is Porto Sani, set back from the beach, this hotel is better suited for families who love the pool and is known on site for having the best Spa. Porto is an All-Suite hotel, from the lead in Terrace suites to the Two and Three-bedroom suites, it’s ideal for those with larger families or those who prefer a larger room.
Located right next to the Marina is the stunning Sani Asterias. Now this resort does come at a premium cost, however the minute you walk in the gates you feel how exclusive this resort is. It’s a lot smaller than its sisters with only 57 rooms, but they are 57 of the best rooms on site. We were lucky enough to look around the Three-bedroom deluxe suite with pool – which will set you back around £60,000 for the week but furnished to the highest standard and really has the WOW factor. Sani Asterias has one main restaurant, the award-winning water restaurant with gorgeous views of the Marina. And if boats are your thing, book yourself into the Deluxe Suite Marina view.
A little further down we have the newest property – Sani Dunes, which was by far my favourite. This resort has the largest pool in the Mediterranean which cascades from reception all the way down to the beach. Here the rooms start at Double rooms with private garden, up to those Marina Suites and Deluxe family rooms. Dining here you have three fabulous restaurants and the fantastic Wine bar which features over 200 different Wines around the world. This property I would say focus’ more on adults and couples, or families with older children.
Lastly, we have Sani Club, with the most private pool rooms on the property, this resort is perfect for those families who like to have their own space. Being the first resort, Sani Club feels like the hub of Sani, and it’s where you meet for a lot of the activities. I spent two nights at Sani Club in one of the suites on the hillside, but here it’s all about the One and Two-bedroom suites with private pools or private gardens.
Sani Club has some of the best restaurants on site from Ouzerie the traditional Greek restaurant to Cabana, a fine dining experience.
Sani Experiences and Activities
Sani is not all about what resort you stay in though, although there is a resort for everyone, one of the main reasons people stay at Sani is for the wide offering of things available in resort.
To start with, the most popular, is the Rafael Nadal Tennis academy and the Chelsea football academy. You can book yourself and the children onto a 4-7-day course where they really get to embrace the sport and learn from the professionals.
If the Academies are not your thing, then why not try the all new Sani Adventure park. Complimentary for all guests (pre-booking required) Sani Adventure park offers guests an exhilarating combination of zip lines and challenging courses high in the treetops of Sani’s pine forest.
Along with these, there’s also the Bike Academy where you can hire KTM bikes to adventure the local hiking trails. Scuba diving lessons, various water sports, Beekeeping lessons, bird sanctuary, forest walks and sunset cruises on Sani’s very own fleet of yachts.
Sani also offers a fantastic dine around programme, and complimentary shuttles all around the resort which run every 15 minutes.
Moving with the modern times, when you book to stay with Sani, you can download the Sani App from the App store. Here you can book restaurant reservations, childcare and see the daily resort schedule should you wish to join in on some of the activities.