I think the most I have ever won in any sort of competition was an Easter Egg colouring-in contest, at the ripe old age of 6 at the local library. That was until January, when flitting from site to site first thing on a Saturday morning, I answered a question in a chance giveaway hosted by BritMums, and sponsored by HolidayGems. They wanted you to divulge your holiday plans (or dreams) with a chance of winning a not insignificant sum of money to spend on the HolidayGems site – and I only blinking won! I couldn’t believe it when I heard, and my first thoughts were where shall we go??!?! I had originally said that I would love to go back to South Africa, where Mr R and I got married all those years ago – but time constraints (i.e. Mr R’s work!) decided that we use our voucher somewhere a little closer to home instead. Neither of us had been to Santorini before (although both of us have been to Greece in the past), and it was somewhere that appealed to all of us (especially the history fans!). On top of that you can fly directly from Munich, so our decision was made…
The booking process with HolidayGems was a first for me as we usually do everything ourselves, but it was nice to be helped with suggestions (and the booking itself) by our friendly (and incredibly patient) Agent! German friends always think I am strange for arranging all of our travels anyway, as unlike at home, visiting a Travel Agent is still very much the norm here!
Santorini is exactly how your mind’s eye imagines (if not a little busier – it’s a beautiful place, so it’s to be expected!), and a short taxi ride later we arrived at the quiet little town of Imerovigli where we were met by one of our hotel’s enthusiastic porters. These guys make you feel fat and lazy before your day has even begun by the way – a huge proportion of Santorini is built on the side of a cliff, so this isn’t your typical holiday resort. Paths wind their way across the cliff-face with hotels dotted either side, and it’s quite typical for a porter to cover 20km delivering the fantastic breakfasts of a morning (I did put my second croissant back down as I was told this one morning!)!
Our Cave Suite at The Gorgona and Krokos Villas proved much more glamorous than a previous cave dwelling we had stayed in (a damp gite in the Loire Valley, surrounded by mushroom growing caves!!), but this one was huge, stylish and comfortable with a ceiling high enough to keep the place cool even when the air-conditioning was off. It also had a lovely terrace looking out to sea, which turned out to be where we spent a lot of our time.
Staff here are super friendly and dedicated, and it’s not an overstatement when I say nothing but nothing is too much trouble. I hasten to add that Gorgona/Krokos Villas wasn’t what we had originally booked – our accommodation changed due to contractual differences a couple of weeks before, but I think we lucked in. The only slightly sad point for the children was the lack of pool to splash about in here. Whilst the hotel does have a small plunge pool, let’s just say that on the one occasion we did use it (straight after lunch on our first day!), we most definitely destroyed the peace of two American honeymooners, one of whom was very sweet about the arc of water sent into her face by Small Boy (I hope she didn’t mind her wine being watered down either)! Conscious of not ruining anyone else’s holiday, I spoke to staff about this conundrum, and they very kindly arranged for us to use a much bigger pool at a nearby hotel – problem solved!
First swim dealt with that first afternoon, we wandered back (actually we wandered up, down, left, right and round the corner – you might want to consider a beach hotel instead of a cliff side place here if you don’t like walking up steps – or more importantly if you can’t!) we sought the solace of the roof top sun-terrace (an added bonus with our room!) and spent a happy couple of hours relaxing in front of the most magnificent views before Sunset time…
Gorgona & Krokos Villas,
PO Box 97,
Tel: +30 22860 25223