Saturday the kids and I embarked on a little adventure…an all-inclusive resort in the Peloponnese for Labor Day weekend. I’d taken Liam on a similar vacation when he was three in Florida, and despite the challenges (we were potty training at the time, as I recall), we had a lot of fun. I was hoping to recapture the magic.
Turns out that taking TWO kids on a beach vacation is about FOUR times more work. Coupled with our lackluster opinion of the resort, and the weekend was pretty much a bust.
The afternoon started out promising. Our room at the Barcelo Hydra Beach Resort was much bigger than expected, and we had three beds plus a proper crib for Violet. But when I sat on the beds, I realized only one of them was even remotely comfortable. I seriously thought they’d mistakenly put the box springs on top of the mattresses. Liam claimed the bed by the window, the only soft mattress, and I wasn’t about to argue with him. So I was already dreading bed time.
We headed to the beach for the late afternoon, and the kids had a wonderful time digging in the sand. It was rockier than I would have expected from a resort, but the Greek beaches have continually disappointed me, so I should have known. My recent vacation at Grand Cayman and our time in Florida have made me a bit of a beach snob, I’m afraid.
I was indeed impressed by the variety at the buffet — the kids could eat somewhat nutritiously while also indulging in french fries. And they had wine on tap, so everyone was satisfied. I wish my kids were a little older and more capable of getting their own plates. Liam can hold a plate, but couldn’t seem to get the food onto it. And Violet couldn’t manage it at all, though she certainly tried. (“Put the plate back where you found it, Violet!”) I spent most of our time ferrying food back and forth to our table, like that mom on A Christmas Story who hasn’t had a hot meal in eight years. At least the views from the dining room were lovely.
I had originally planned to book us a ferry from the resort to Hydra island for a short excursion, but much to my disappointment, there weren’t any ferries until Tuesday evening. The helpful desk receptionist suggested we take a ferry from a stop 15 minutes down the road, but after consulting the times table, I realized I’d be trapped on an island for eight hours with two children, one of them in serious need of a nap. No thanks!
Instead, we rented a sun bed and sat on the beach all day. Conveniently, I had received a coupon for 16 Euros for joining the Barcelo’s rewards club, which just about exactly covered the cost of a sun bed rental. If I’d been staying longer, I would have been annoyed by this little financial jab — pay for an all-inclusive resort, then pay extra for the only spots in the front row on the beach. But staying on a Sunday in the off season has its perks — we easily secured a bed in front of the beach bar. There wasn’t any wait service (another gripe), but I could easily run to the bar for snack and drinks while the kids played in the sand. The kids had another enjoyable day digging in the sand, though our spot was even rockier than the day before, and every foray into the surf left my feet aching from sharp pebbles. Liam wouldn’t swim by himself, so I was constantly in and out of the water. A few Mai Tais later and I didn’t mind it too much.
We spent a little time at the pool, which offered some lovely views. Liam wanted to swim to the very edge near the ocean, so I dutifully followed him while Violet screamed in my ear. Apparently she wasn’t in the mood for swimming.
After we’d had our fill of the sun, we cleaned up and took the camera on a walk about the resort. I got some great photos despite Liam and Violet’s sour moods.
The walk was hillier than I had expected, and it didn’t take long for the heat to drive us back into our room. We had to wait around for dinner to be served at 7:30. I regret not bringing more food of my own, or at the very least snagging some food when they decided to serve it.
That evening I managed to trick Liam into sleeping in the big bed, so at least I could enjoy a soft bed for one night. Of course, I also had the annoyance of a hot room. I complained in vain at the front desk about the thermostat stubbornly locked at 25C — a balmy 77F — apparently a hotel policy. One of many cost-cutting measures that left me disappointed in this resort. We were also limited in the number of towels we could have for the week. It wasn’t a problem for our short stay, but I would have been annoyed by this if I’d stayed the whole week. Who wants to bring a sandy towel back to their room to reuse the next day?
I had considered staying an extra night, but by Monday we were ready to just be home. Besides, you’d have to pay me to sleep on that hard bed in that hot room for one more night!