Ah Greece. Land of a million islands, sunsets and feta. There is truly something for everyone in Greece, including on the mainland!

Yes, the mainland, which often gets overlooked by us travellers (except when we’re hopping to Athens for some Parthenon and Acropolis instagram action), but that actually has some incredibly beautiful spots for holidaying.

The Ikos Olivia hotel in Gerakini, Halkidiki promised to be one such destination. With nearly 2000 5-star reviews on Trip Advisor, we had high expectations of what was to come.

Were they met? Read on to find out…!

The Resort itself

So, I’ll lay it out really simply. Ikos Olivia is a stunning resort. Every space has it’s own feel, from the bar in the lobby to the gardens that landscape the property.

Ikos Olivia resort's main lobby bar and pool view

Aside from the beauty of the surroundings, one of the things that struck me the most was the cleanliness – it is absolutely spotless, no small feat for a resort that has lots of different buildings, walkways and spaces dotted around everywhere.

Outside the resort, the region is beautiful. We took a day trip to a nearby, very picturesque town, and couldn’t get enough of the incredible views:

Outside Ikos Olivia

The Rooms

There are a bunch of different room options, depending on your price point. For those who don’t want to break the bank, a room in the main block is your best bet. There are also some more decadent options, including an apartment in a mini shared block or your own bungalow, complete with private pool.

We first stayed in a room in the main block:

Ikos Olivia's Superior Double Room, sea view, bedroom and bathroom view

The room had a balcony that looked out over the sea and one of the four pools. The view was lovely but be warned that it can be a little noisy if you’re sitting out during the day when people are in the pool. Here’s a photo from our balcony to show just how close to the pool you can be:

Glass of champagne overlooking a pool at Ikos Olivia at sunset

Later in our stay, we stayed in the more luxurious and spacious Double Bungalow. As well as being bigger and in its own building, it is also situated closer to the sea – perfect for a quick pad down to the beachfront. The rooms themselves are stunning:

The bedroom in the double bungalow in Ikos Olivia all-inclusive resort

I love the style of the rooms – clean, minimal and sophisticated. The rooms also have your comfort as a traveller in mind – I’m always on the lookout to make sure that there are plenty of plug points in a room, particularly next to the bed on both sides!

The Beach

One of the most important aspects of any holiday resort is the quality of the beach, and Ikos Olivia’s private beach does not disappoint.

ikos olivia private beach

The beach hits all of my five key elements for a good resort beach, namely:

  • Comfortable sun loungers
  • Prompt and attentive service
  • Soft sand
  • Kid-free areas for maximum relaxation
  • Close proximity to clean toilet facilities

There are also plenty of activities that you can do actually in the sea, although I don’t play with no water! My girlfriend, who has no such fears, had a lot of fun kayaking, pedalos and riding on inflatables pulled by a speedboat – however some of the sea activities do cost extra, so be aware.

The food

I’m not ashamed to admit that I think about the food at Ikos Olivia all year round while I’m not there. There are 4 a-la-carte restaurants, one incredible buffet and dine-out options where you can eat out of the resort at local tavernas for free.

My favourite restaurant there is Anaya, which serves asian-inspired food, like this delicious hoisin duck:

Food at Ikos Olivia

A close second is the Italian restaurant, Fusco, where I ate the nicest arancini that I’ve ever eaten in my life:

Food at Ikos Olivia

I found that the menus at each restaurant had a fair bit of range – most nights there would be 2 or 3 different options for a main course that I would debate between. Here is a selection of some of my favourite meals I ate across all the restaurants:

Food at Ikos Olivia

A note on portion size! You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I feel like all-inclusive resorts can skimp, but there isn’t any of that here. The portion sizes are healthy (see a typical salad starter below for example), and you can order basically whatever you want. Sometimes we ordered three starters between the two of us because we wanted to try a few things, and they were more than happy to oblige.

Food at Ikos Olivia

I couldn’t write this post without mentioning one of my favourite things at Ikos Olivia – their delicious range of flavoured water! I couldn’t get enough of the stuff – a good thing as it helped keep me properly hydrated in the heat! These flavoured waters are in the buffet, by the pool, and you can just help yourself. So damn good.

Food at Ikos Olivia

A final note on the restaurants – do do do take advantage of the dine on the beach option if you can (I think its only available to guests on the deluxe package). You can eat dinner on the beach in a secluded spot and its mega romantic – as long as the weather holds!

Food at Ikos Olivia

The food is one of the greatest things about Ikos Olivia. You’ll want to revisit each restaurant multiple times, which more than makes up for the potentially small number of restaurants it has compared to other resorts. Another upside of a smaller number of restaurants is the waiting staff in each restaurant will remember you personally and go out of their way to make your stay extra special! We had some really lovely encounters with waiters and waitresses in each of the restaurants that really made us smile.

Food at Ikos Olivia

The Pools

There are four pools at Ikos Olivia: two are regular pools, one is the spa pool where no kids are allowed, and one is an exclusive pool for people on the deluxe package.

Ikos Olivia main pool

The regular pools are apt to be quite noisy as there are families and children about so the spa pool is your friend if you demand absolute relaxation and quiet in your pool experience. For us, we actually enjoyed sitting by one of the main pools thanks to the Aqua Fit that happened every day at 11am, and also due to the fact that there is no waiter service at the spa pool (and we do enjoy our poolside cocktails!)

inflatable fun at ikos olivia

Speaking of food and drink, the menus by the pools are good but not super big. I’d love a little more diversity in the pool menus personally but thats not to say you’ll be going without. Ikos Olivia provides poolside menus but it was only a little later in our trip that I realised that you could order plenty of things off-menu, for example, my new poolside favourite, the banana rum milkshake:

banana rum milkshake poolside at ikos olivia

Aside from waiter service, Ikos Olivia staff do make every effort to make your poolside experience as relaxing as possible. There are plenty of towels available for your use, and people who come round to set up your umbrellas and even clean your sunglasses! It really is idyllic.

sunset over the ikos olivia pool

The Staff

I couldn’t write this review post without mentioning all of the hardworking people at the resort who made our stay so special. Every single staff member at Ikos Olivia that we met was so lovely and really made an effort to make every moment amazing. From Fotis the waiter who made sure that my favourite foods were on hand, to Costas the chef who took the time to explain how he made those stir-friend vegetables so delicious, all the way to Koralia who patiently taught us a Greek game on a rainy afternoon – you’ll really come away feeling extra-special thanks to the attentive staff.

Can I go back please?

I hope this post has given you a glimpse into the incredible beautiful Ikos Olivia experience. I feel like because I’ve been so positive, I must mention that this post is in no way affiliated or sponsored by Ikos Olivia – its just my honest opinion! If you have any questions about anything here, please shout in the comments!

 

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