Ekies All Senses Resort

Sithonia, Macedonia, Greece Book from

A funky, family-friendly retreat with playful design, 2 restaurants and a noteworthy spa, set on a secluded bay near Mount Athos
The antidote to an overbooked life? Space to play, freedom to do what you want whenever you want, and a peaceful place to come back to your senses. Ekies is that kind of place. Growing up, owner Alexandra Efstathiadou spent her summer holidays here, overlooking the crystal-clear Vourvourou Bay on the peninsula of Sithonia, Chalkidiki's 'second finger'. She jumped at the chance to buy the hotel for herself, and her whimsical reinvention layers various design styles, ranging from minimalist to homespun, over legendary Greek hospitality.

Everything you need to restore your stress-battered psyche is within these compact grounds. Follow a path across the landscaped lawn to the juice bar by the swimming pool, before continuing to the open-air spa, where staff can prescribe personalised treatments for whatever's ailing you. Claim a sun lounger on the beach, where the shallow water is safe for small children, then sip cocktails on the deck as you marvel at sunsets that bathe the sea and pine-forested mountains in a silvery glow. Irresistible extras - a romantic tree house, a hammock dangling above the water - take you beyond relaxation to the carefree days you knew as a kid. True rejuvenation!

Highs

  • A picture-perfect location close to magnificent beaches and the famous Mount Athos monastery - and only 80 minutes from Thessaloniki airport
  • A fresh design concept with iconic furnishings and lots of fun details - Acapulco and Panton chairs, oversized light bulbs, parasols that resemble lampshades
  • Ideal for family holidays, and a good option for couples during the quieter shoulder months
  • A holistic spa with highly trained staff and a range of massages, beauty treatments and alternative therapies
  • A choice of Greek restaurants, plus the option of private meals in the tree house or at the water’s edge

Lows

  • The décor is worn in places, some rooms have low ceilings and poor storage, and the many rooms have open-plan bathrooms which won’t suit everyone
  • The hotel has added a considerable number of rooms since our visit, so we can't personally vouch for all of them
  • The hotel beach is narrow with a limited number of loungers and can get noisy during summer; there are plenty of others nearby, though
  • Mosquitoes can be a pest in this area, however the hotel provides natural insect repellent and tabs in all rooms
  • Service is friendly but inconsistent

Best time to go

The hotel is open from April to October. It’s busiest during the summer months, which are particularly popular with families. Spring (late April-May) and autumn (September-October) are perhaps the best times in terms of weather - warm but not too hot - and are popular with couples. It's wise to book early, especially for Easter, July and August.

Our top tips

The passage between the islands of Diaporos and Agios Isidoros is known as the 'blue lagoon' for its tranquil blue-green water. Rent a motorboat and spend the afternoon exploring and swimming. Further down the coast, there are secret coves - accessible only by water - tucked into the pine-covered slopes.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Spa
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Resort
  • 78
  • 2 restaurants and a bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 2 Dec 2016 - 27 Apr 2017
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Pool Table
  • Bicycles Available
  • Children's playground
  • Yoga classes
Room:

Rooms

The imaginative rooms and suites come in various styles and categories. Décor runs the style gamut - some rooms are minimalist white-on-white spaces or whimsical playrooms with tinted glass partitions, others are attic lofts with retro, homespun furnishings.

Comfort goes hand in hand with design, especially when it comes to sleep. All of the air-conditioned rooms and suites are outfitted with hypo-allergenic Coco-Mat mattresses and a choice of pillows. Amenities include free WiFi, satellite TVs with CD and DVD players, minibars, free coffee and tea, bathrobes and Ekies' signature flip-flops. The simple functionality and the open-plan shower bathrooms in many rooms (loos are separate) are meant to break down barriers - "We don't like separate areas," the manager told me. It’s often not what guests are expecting, but it quickly grows on most so come with an open mind.

Some rooms have sprawling terraces and views of the sea, others overlook the forest with patio access to the pool. Space is also a factor. Standard Double are the smallest (24-30sqm) and I had to duck my head in mine, set under beams in the attic. Superior Double are a little larger (up to 36sqm) and have small sitting areas. Large Suites (36-80sqm) are perfect for families of 4; all have hydro-massage tubs set beyond sliding glass doors, with screens for privacy.

Since our visit, the hotel has been rather busy expanding the property and as such we are yet to personally view the following roomtypes: Family Suite, Family Suite with private pool, Pine Suite, Evergreen Suite, White Suite, Cabana and Penthouse Suite.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Flip-flops
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Pillow menu
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The 2 restaurants and bar flank the sprawling beachfront deck. Breakfast is a mega-buffet served in Koutali, the Mediterranean grill. Counters and farm tables overflow with traditional Greek fare - feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, yoghurt, fresh and dried fruits - along with eggs, meats and cheeses, cereal, pastries and bread, homemade marmalades and 3 kinds of honey. A cook is available for made-to-order omelettes.

During the day, the sea-facing bar, Kanata, is open for snacks, drinks and light lunches. There’s also an organic juice bar by the pool.

As darkness falls, people drift down for cocktails under the deck’s white lights, before heading off to one of the restaurants for dinner. Between 7 and 9pm, Koutali offers a buffet of Greek appetisers, salads and desserts to accompany the changing main courses - your choice of meat or locally caught fish such as sea bass and prawns. The quieter waterfront Kouzina has an à la carte menu of seafood and traditional Greek dishes interpreted with gourmet flair. My salad was stacked with 3 kinds of bruschetta, and my delicious main course was a seafood tortellini in a delicate herb foam.

On Sunday evenings, guests are treated to a Greek-style barbecue on the beach, with prawns, chicken and potatoes on the grill. Staff can also serve private meals anywhere, anytime. A romantic dinner in the tree house? Done. A picnic on nearby Diaporos Island? Just say when.

If you fancy a change of scene one evening, there's a pizza restaurant within walking distance of Ekies, and a handful of casual restaurants dotted around the bay.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Juice bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Relax at the hotel. Linger over a cappuccino at breakfast, sunbathe on the beach, curl up with a book by the pool, stretch your muscles with a yoga session (staff can arrange) and play pool or table tennis
  • Indulge yourself at Ekies' spa, a destination in itself. Book an Ayurvedic massage, a facial or a pedicure (all based around local ingredients like olive oil, red wine, seaweed, bitter orange, wild juniper and lemon), or ask the trained practitioners to assess health issues and recommend alternative therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology or cupping. Multi-day packages are also available
  • Get out on the water. Rent a motorboat and cruise over to Diaporos, an uninhabited island 1500m offshore, for a private picnic and a swim
  • Stroll (or borrow a bike) to Karidi Beach, one of the most beautiful in Chalkidiki and only 300m away. There’s also a chain of sandy coves just over a rocky headland at the eastern end of the bay
  • Visit Mount Athos. All-day cruises to the oldest surviving monastic community in the world depart nearby. Sadly, women and children are not allowed in the grounds, but the rugged scenery of the Athos peninsula (including the snow-capped 'Holy Mountain') is worth the trip even if you can’t visit the enclave itself
  • Day-trip to Thessaloniki. Stroll along the waterfront, visit the White Tower and legendary Church of Hagia Sophia, and browse art galleries and boutiques in converted Ottoman hammams

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Pool table
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Yoga

Kids

Ekies is a paradise for children and their parents - the grounds are safe, with few steps and no dangerous drops, and the sea is shallow. Common areas are compact, so you can easily keep an eye on kids playing with their new friends while you relax on a lounger. Many of the design elements are colourful and playful, and there’s plenty to engage children on site, including a playground with swings and a playhouse, and toys and games in the library.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Family Suites can sleep up to 6 people (2 adults + 4 children). Junior Suites each have a daybed which can be made up for a child (best for infants). Large Suites are larger and can accommodate families of 4 with kids of any age. Note that most rooms have showers only, and many bathrooms are open-plan

Babysitting:

Available if you give at least a day's notice

Baby listening:

Baby monitors will work from the Junior or Loft Suites nearest the beach to the restaurant, you'll need to bring your own

Baby equipment:

  • Cots and bedding
  • High chairs
  • Plastic crockery and cutlery on request
  • Blackout blinds

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The buffet meals in Koutali are useful for fussy eaters, the kitchen can adapt dishes on request, and there’s an organic juice bar by the pool. Snacks are available all day and picnics can be made up for you with 24 hours' notice. There's a mini-market just five minutes' walk away if you need to buy baby food

Kids Activities on site:

  • Safe beach
  • Swimming pool
  • Toddlers' pool
  • Kids’ playground
  • Toys, books and games to borrow
  • Table tennis
  • Pool table
  • Bikes to borrow
  • DVDs to borrow

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Boat trips
  • Safe, sandy coves

Families Should Know:

There's a lifeguard on duty June-September

Distances:

  • Airport: 80 minutes (Thessaloniki)
  • Shop: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
8/
Service
9/
Value
8/
Overall

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