This post was written well in advance of publishing. Therefore, in light of recent events in Greece, I didn't want to post this review without acknowledging the devastating fires of Attica. I thought it only just to post this review with a very important message: if you would like to donate to the Greek Relief Fund, established by the Greek Reporter, please see this link to the GoFundMe page and learn how your donations will provide aid for the families affected by the tragic Attica fires. Thank you.
This is not a sponsored post. I was not paid by or given any incentives from Alantica Hotels or any afiliated parties to write this feature. Any sponsored content will be clearly marked with a statement addressing so and will always be reflective of my opinions only and not that of the afiliated parties.
While searching for all-inclusive late deals with Tui First Choice, I came across a hotel that had everything we were looking for. Atlantica Porto Bello Beach is a 4* Premium hotel, just over 3km from the resort village and port of Kardamena, Kos. I fell for the garden views, grandiose swimming pool and beautifully decorated bars and reception area. Denis fell for the waterpark, which is no surprise.
We arrived late at night and were greeted by a sprightly gentleman on reception. His humour and the kind welcome was exactly what we needed after hours of travelling. He told us that when we got to our rooms there would be refreshments waiting in the fridge because we came late and had missed the 'midnight snacks' session in the restaurant. Yes, you heard me correctly.
We left with our wristbands, room keys and a voucher each for the spa. We also had luggage tags given to us with our room number. If we had remembered to tie them on in our sleepy daze, I have reason to believe we could have left them with the concierge, who was waiting outside with a golf buggy. Looking at Atlantica's portfolio of hotels, they appear to do accommodation tastefully and with the knowledge that comfort is of the utmost importance. Because we booked on a late deal, our room was a family room, which came with a double bed and two singles in a bunk bed style. The room was pleasant and comfortable, with warm earthy tones and the most comfortable of bed linen. We were particularly glad for the memory foam mattress and air conditioning.
Our balcony had a garden view, facing a cluster of palms with a shimmering glimpse of the swimming pool. If you turned to the left, you'd be faced with the caramel building wrapping around towards more rooms, all embellished with stunning climbing flowers in hot pink.
As in every hotel with a pool, you might have a job to find a group of sunbeds that haven't been 'reserved' with towels. While we were staying, a determined employee came often to wheel out more sunbeds. We managed to find some for the first two days but the pair of us sometimes being late risers eventually led to us becoming beach haunts.
We were not complaining. I've spent quite a lot of time on beaches in the Canary Islands and, as much as I like the Canaries, I've not been anywhere yet that matches a stunning and true Greek beach. Sunbeds on the beach were always available and, as an added bonus, they were free! The hotel has its own private section of beach with a bar and volleyball net to keep you hydrated and active. You can also take advantage of the watersports on offer, with a free half hour on a jet ski or pedalo. If you prefer lazing on the beach, the amount of sunbeds doesn't detract from the peaceful atmosphere. Every pair of sunbeds on the beach and around the pool have their very own parasol so you won't have to bother with any rows occurring over a stolen one, too. In fact, we never saw any major disruption of the sort all week.
If beaches aren't your thing though, you can still cool off and stay fit swimming in the pool. It's salt water, so it is a little bit on the cool side, but in the peak heat of the day there is nothing better. If you want to try something different and get more active, pop over the road to Aquatica Water Park. If you are staying with Atlantica in either Porto Bello Beach or neighbouring five-star Porto Bello Royal, you are granted free, unlimited access to the water park with your wristband. While drinks and snacks at the water park are not all-inclusive, you can spend as much or as little time as you like in the water park with an unlimited entry per day, meaning you can head over to the restaurant in your hotel for lunch and go straight back to the slides as soon as you are done.
If you are visiting from any other hotels, who are equally welcome, the cost of entry is very reasonable. The water park is in its establishing phases, meaning that there are never any queues for the slides and a good amount of deck chairs and sun loungers are vacant when you arrive. Some of the slides, by the way, are pretty hair-raising, even if they don't immediately look it!
We never went hungry while staying at Porto Bello Beach. The hotel has four in-house restaurants which mean there is plenty of choices: Andromeda, the main buffet restaurant, 'Elia' Greek, 'Limoncello' Italian and 'Meze-Meze', for Mediterranean lunch. The latter three can be booked a day in advance of your meal. There are also three bars: Poseidon pool bar, Aphrodite bar just off the reception and Aegean Blue beach bar, each of them open and serving drinks and snacks until late. Much of the food and drinks were marked as locally sourced, a sign of an all-inclusive resort doing its bit for sustainability and the local economy. One of these locally sourced delights was a tray full of sliced feta cheese. If you've read my recent post about our first day in Kos at Porto Bello Beach, you'll already have some idea of the amount of feta I would consume that week. They always say local produce is truly the best.
For the children and the 'big kids', there's a wealth of entertainment. Immerse yourself in various sports and evening entertainment shows held in the amphitheatre. If you'd rather spend your time relaxing and pampering, make the most out of the spa vouchers you are given upon your arrival. Each adult is entitled to a free 15-minute treatment of their choice in the hotel's branch of Aegeo Spa. As this is quite short, take advantage of their spa packages and use your voucher to extend your treatment for free. We picked a couples massage off of the extensive list of treatments, all named romantically after Greek islands, and just thinking about it makes me feel warm and meltingly calm. I shared a post on Instagram about the experience - sometimes a copywriter who has worked on content for the spa and wellness industry needs some spa time herself! I wish I knew what the scents from the incense sticks were, but I knew I would be investing in some at home to try to recreate that light, airy and spiritual atmosphere.
Every employee we spoke to was friendly and polite, with diligent staff in the restaurant and helpful receptionists. They will happily phone a cab for you and help you if you have any problems. They will also take requests for packed lunches if you are heading out the next day and, if there's a big game on, they'll pull out some huge flatscreen televisions for you to watch in the Aphrodite bar. We thoroughly enjoyed England's victory over Sweden on a beautifully balmy Greek evening, even though it eventually transpired that football wasn't quite coming home. The television mounted in the reception lounge area is always on and quite often has films and TV shows on for the kids to keep them occupied, but while the World Cup was on the chairs were always arranged so that you could watch the football inside the cool lounge.
If you are going out after dinner, check out the hotel grounds and surroundings. On the hill beside the water park, you'll find this classic, sugar cube-like Greek church. I love this type of architecture so much. I think it's very humble and dainty looking, especially when you can go up the steps, right to the door of the church and watch the sun go down over the resort. If you can handle a forty-five minute to an hours' walk into Kardamena, you'll pass a long stretch of beach that, despite the attraction of tourists, has remained remarkably clean and well maintained. If you don't want to walk, book a cab for €9 at reception or catch the bus from outside the hotel on the main road and pay just €1,90 to experience the long lanes of Kardamena's market streets and flashy, luxuriously decorated and, yet, traditional seafront bars.
If you enjoyed this post and hearing about our time in Kos, I've written more about our stay at Atlantica Porto Bello Beach and Kos island here. The content won't stop there though because there's plenty more to share about Kos and neighbouring Nisyros, so stay tuned to discover more.