All Rhodes lead to 5* Amilia Mare: Part 1
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GREEK politics might be volatile, but some things - like the sunshine and the endless blue of the sea and sky of its islands - will never change. And most important, neither will the spirit and endless hospitality of the people.
After many years of at least twice yearly visits - a great excuse, having a daughter living out there! – and staying in anything from small hotels and rooms above tavernas
to a spare room in a fisherman’s house, we set out to enjoy a new side to Greece
that we found to be a stunner for Silver Travellers.
With posh frocks packed as well as sunscreen, we headed for the
unashamed luxury of the all inclusive 5* Aldemar
Amilia Mare at Kalithea on the island
of Rhodes, just a few kilometres from the walled Old Town and a world away from
what many tourists would expect of Greece.
The differences started after we drove through familiar rugged,
dusty countryside to be met by
electronic gates and security guards at the start of a curving drive through lush
gardens, before arriving at the imposing, pillared entrance to the main
building, one of five making up the Amilia Mare on an east-facing beach within
the sweeping bay.
A huge, palatial, polished marble reception hall set the scene for
an equally polished reception from the smart, uniformed staff, even though it
was pushing midnight when we arrived after a spot on flight with Northern based
from Manchester Airport.
We were shown to our room on the top, fifth floor; and as late arrivals, we found in lieu of dinner a tempting
selection of meze, lavish salad plates, dessert nibbles, an eye opening choice
of fresh fruit and even a bottle of rather nice wine.
The view from our double balcony was impressive enough in the moon
silvered darkness enough to make sure of a dawn alarm call to see
the glorious sunrise and a view over the complex to get some idea of what the
Amilia Mare had to offer with its pools, themed restaurants, relaxing areas and
private sand and pebble beach, with watersports from sailing in a glass bottomed
boat to jet skis and wakeboarding.
Then breakfast beckoned, with an almost bewildering choice of help yourself hot and cold goodies in the main Sympossio and smaller VIP Dionyssos restaurant, along with cooked to order omelettes, fried eggs and pancakes.
No excuse at all for going hungry, with the American/Continental
buffet catering for every palate no matter which country you happened to be
from (and there were lots!) and with snacking and grazing options available at
various other places like the self-service Albatros beach bar and Italian themed La Pagoda poolside restaurant for the rest of the morning and all
through the day, with unlimited help yourself soft drinks including the likes
of ‘real’ Pepsi and 7Up, local beer
and wines and all kinds of ice cream available.
And that’s the huge plus of an all inclusive break – the basic price tag may look a tad on the high side, but just add
up all the times on an average sunny day when you and maybe your grandchildren
might want a cool drink or an ice lolly, at a good few euros a time, and it
starts to make perfect sense.
If you can resist the lure of early morning yoga and the water
aerobics in the shallower of the two linked main pools, or even the water slide
leading to a plunge pool by the beach bar, you can sneak up on lunchtime with
an exploration of more activities and facilities, like the indoor pool and spa
with full pampering potential, along with hairdressing and nails etc and even a
full fitness gym if you feel the need. I must confess, I didn’t feel the need.
Before you know it, lunchtime has duly arrived, again a
cosmopolitan affair, with a choice of atmosphere and scope as well as all
manner of hot and cold food on offer, as at breakfast, but with a slice of
handmade pizza with the thinnest of crusts from La Pergola a favourite with an
awful lot of Italian and Greek visitors as well as us.
While on the subject of food, we can cover dinner as well, and the
Aldemar website will give you a clue as to just how many eateries and watering
holes are available at the Amelia Mare and its adjoining companion resort, the
Aldemar Paradise Village.
Let me just say that in a week of dedicated indulgence and trying
to cover all bases, my wife and I didn’t manage to have a meal in
them all. Our first dinner was in the main Sympossio restaurant, which has a
corresponding Byzantine restaurant in Paradise Village, both with an inspired
Club Med style separate dining area for ankle biters, as well as an option for
dining indoors or on an outside covered verandah. The sumptuous buffets feature
a soup of the day and enough salad for Noah’s Ark in many, many
varieties; which can then be followed by a variety of
Greek and international dishes starring fish, meats, pasta, rice or veg, with
chefs on hand for carving, serving and some cooking to order. As at every
mealtime, there is help yourself red, white or rose house wine or beer - or an
extra charge list of finer wines - plus juices and soft drinks, tea and as much
coffee as you want.
Before the coffee, though, it’s dessert time and this is
where the diet goes so far out of the window you’ll never find it in a
month of Sundays. You could always stick with a spoonful of fruit jelly, or a slice or two of fresh
watermelon and a few strawberries, but that’s not the way to go when
there’s the most caramelly creme caramel you’re ever likely to encounter; or super thick yoghurt with gloriously gloopy Greek honey; as well as gateaux of all
complexions, delightfully light fruit tartlets, and the downfall of many a
Slimming World resolution, tray upon tray of baklava, dripping in honey or
scented syrup and daring you to have just the one.
Staying ‘local’ for an after dinner drink
led us to the Chevalier main bar, where Vasilis and Giannis were on hand to
deftly prepare the cocktail of the day and where, to my astonishment, there were covered, chilled displays
with even more sweet nibbles on offer if anyone had left a corner unfilled, and
even savoury wraps for people who might suffer a late night snack attack. From
the main bar, it was possible to look down on the ground level theatre area, where
there were live shows staged every night after early evening entertainment for the
youngsters, some of which featured an animation classic I now can’t get out of my head. Watch
Highlight for me was a traditional Greek night, which sounds a
touch corny, but which differed from the norm by having two couples going by the
informal name of Rhodian Balet setting the stage alight with their dancing,
backed by a chap on keyboards and the best young bouzouki player I reckon I
have ever heard, a lefthander, no less, rejoicing in the name of Thodoris
A toast in local Rhodian ouzo was the least I could offer, before we made our way past the Eva sunken cocktail bar and the Sahara nightclub (open until 2:00am) and called it a night with big plans for the rest of our stay.
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