Travel review: Kos is a little taste of heaven

THE man who walked in front of me to the all inclusive buffet said to his friend, “This is how I imagine what heaven will look like”.

I’m sure he also meant the location of the TUI Blue Oceanis Beach & Spa Resort, as well as the endless supply of fantastic free food and drinks. Not to mention the glorious sunshine and breathtaking views.

The hotel, with its golden sandy beach, is located in Psalidi in the east of the Greek island of Kos with a beautiful view of the Turkish coast on the other side of the water.

We intentionally booked an adults only hotel with TUI (the company tailors holidays for different groups – see fact file) because we wanted a quiet, relaxing holiday where we wouldn’t be woken early by the sounds of over-excited children at the swimming pool .

However, they also offer a wide range of family-friendly resorts on Kos and elsewhere.

Oceanis Beach & Spa Resort is a great base to get a real feel for life on the island of Kos and to visit the many archaeological sites that surround it.

Kos town is about a 15 minute taxi or bus ride away (we took the bus as it seems just as difficult to get a taxi there as it is here). There are plenty of shops and restaurants to visit where you can buy gifts such as hand painted ceramics and jewellery, as well as locally made honey and olive oil.

If you are a history buff, a trip to Kos is heaven for you. Be sure to visit the 14th-century Neratzia Castle at the entrance to Kos harbor and the Tree of Hippocrates, under which the father of Western medicine is said to have taught his students.

A short distance from the city are the Odeon, a Roman theater from the 2nd century BC and the Asclepion, a temple and shrine to Asclepius, the god of medicine.

Make sure to download the TUI app as this makes booking excursions so easy and I found them reasonably priced. While you can use a representative at the hotel, it was so easy to choose and personalize excursions in the app, from wine tastings to island tours and cruises.

During the boat trip to the volcanic island of Nisyros, visit the 3,000-year-old Stefanos Crater, which was used as a filming location for the James Bond movie Moonraker.

But there’s so much to do (as well as eat and drink) at Oceanis Beach that you won’t have to leave if those ancient sites and some shopping aren’t on your to-do list.

Psalidi is incredibly popular for paragliding, boat trips and a whole range of water sports. But if you’re more than happy to just soak up the sun, you won’t be disappointed. During our week of early June, temperatures remained around 31C.

Set amongst tranquil, secluded gardens, Oceanis Beach is one of the jewels in TUI Blue’s crown with three restaurants, three bars, a cafe and two outdoor swimming pools. You do have to get up early to get a spot by the pool, but sun loungers are always available towards the beach.

We still preferred to sunbathe there with the view and the gentle breeze. With waiters on hand all day, it was rude not to take advantage of the complimentary cocktails and stare out to sea with a pina colada in hand.

In terms of food, you will always find something to satisfy your hunger during the day. The day starts with a buffet breakfast, with a huge variety of dishes from freshly cooked omelettes to pastries, cereals and fruits, with a buffet lunch offering an amazing range of salads, freshly prepared pizzas, pasta, meat and fish dishes, as well as Greek and Asian specialties.

If you’re still hungry, the cafe offers pancakes or toasted sandwiches as part of your all-inclusive package. Trust me, you won’t go hungry.

During a week’s stay you also get a visit to one of the two à la carte restaurants included. We used ours to enjoy an Italian dinner in Meltemi.

After serving yourself to a buffet all week, the a la carte experience is a real treat. So much so, we paid (only €30 extra per head) for a second a la carte dinner. This was for the timeless Friday night dinner at the Mediterranean themed Culinarium restaurant, where we were sung by a saxophonist all evening.

As part of the all inclusive package, the drinks menu is excellent with a huge choice of cocktails as well as spirits, wine and beer.

Be sure to try the local Ouzo (a dry anise-flavored aperitif commonly consumed in Greece). Raise a glass and give the usual Greek toast of “stin uyeia sou” (steen ee-YEE-ah soo, meaning to your health).

If you feel like shedding all those excess calories (most of us aren’t on holiday, of course!) there’s a well-stocked gym on site or you can take a long walk along the sandy beach. On the property there is also a spa, two tennis courts, beach volleyball and a mini golf course.

Our accommodation for the week was a sea view room with a balcony where you could sit in the evenings watching the sunset and enjoying a glass of Greek wine (my first time trying but it was really good).

If you want to splash the cash, there are a number of other rooms, including suites with a private pool.

But every holiday at TUI Blue Oceanis Beach makes you feel like Euphrosyne, the Greek goddess of cheerfulness, joy and merriment.

FACT FILE:

Offers at TUI Blue Oceanis Beach
Departure 17 September 2022, for 7 nights, on an all-inclusive basis from £1,079 pp (junior suite with garden view, balcony and jacuzzi).
Next Summer: Departure 13th September 2023, for 7 nights, on an all-inclusive basis from £839pp (double room with garden view and balcony).
Included in your holiday:
Direct flights from Dublin to Kos;
Transfers to your hotel and 20 kg of luggage;
Transfer time from Kos airport — 75 minutes.
Visit www.tui.co.uk/destinations/europe/greece/kos/psalidi/hotels/tui-blue-oceanis-beach.html
More info about TUI Blue at www.tui.co.uk/holidays/tui-blue

TUI BLUE FOR EVERYONE
This is to cater to the preferences of travelers who want to discover and explore their destination of choice, with an emphasis on the local culture and authentic encounters with the holiday country. Hotel decor and menus are also inspired by the region. The hotels also offer a comprehensive and holistic fitness program.

TUI BLUE FOR TWO
These stylish residences are exclusively aimed at adults aged 16 and over, designed for two – couples, siblings, friends and parents. They emphasize relaxing, reconnecting and spending time together in a peaceful atmosphere, so you’ll find them by the sea and in other scenic locations. Experiences here are also meant for two, think bali beds and massages for two.

TUI BLUE FOR FAMILIES
These hotels are all about spending time together as a family, whether babies or teenagers, parents or grandparents – families can participate in activities together, have fun together and strengthen their sense of belonging without sacrificing service and hotel comfort. Fitness courses for the whole family, professional care in the Baby or Kids Club and spacious, family-friendly facilities are part of the package at these hotels.

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