After hearing so many amazing things about Ikos resorts, we paid a visit to the newest resort Ikos Aria in Kos during October half term.. Here’s what we thought.
Our children now have a two week half-term holiday in October, so we thought it provided the perfect opportunity to go away for a week.
We haven’t really been to Greece as a family, so we fancied visiting. We originally looked at the Sani Resort. I’d spotted it in a brochure and it looked right up our street. When I’d looked to go in the summer, prices were really expensive, so was pleasantly surprised that the prices in October were much more reasonable. However, after having a chat with a friend who had previously been, she said that the cost of drinks were quite high and suggested we looked at Ikos.
Ikos is all inclusive (or as Ikos like to call it, ultra all inclusive), which definitely swung it for us. Plus, their newest resort is in Kos, which is more southern than the Sani resort and the other Ikos resorts. Given that we were going in October, we thought that opting for a more southern island, would give us a better chance of getting decent weather.
We booked a package with Jet 2 Holidays, who were quite reasonable. We went with my mum and dad and booked two junior suites with private gardens.
We flew to Kos, from East Midlands airport, which is only 15 minutes away from us, so it’s always a bonus when we can fly from there. The flight was at 4pm in the afternoon.
We landed in Kos at about 11pm and even though Kos airport is very small, we managed to get through passport control, customs and collect our bags pretty swiftly. We then headed to our transfer bus and were soon on our way.
The Ikos resort, was the first stop. It’s only about 15 minutes from the airport, so didn’t take long at all – perfect when it’s late and the kids are tired.
As soon as we arrived, we were welcomed with amazing service. Ikos staff took our bags and led us inside to the lobby bar. We were shown some seats and asked if we’d like a drink whilst we checked in. One of the reception staff then came over to do the official check in and give us our keys before showing us to our rooms.
Ikos Aria overview
The decor at Ikos is beautiful. Classy and contemporary with lots of greys and beiges. Lots of bright airy spaces and amazing views as it seems the whole resort is built to overlook the sea and take advantage of the beautiful views. It definitely made me want to redecorate my house on my return.
The outdoor areas are spacious, clean and luxurious. The pools are big and we never struggled to find a lounger. The views are breathtaking. The whole resort makes you feel instantly calm and relaxed.
We stopped in a junior suite with a private garden, which overlooked the sea. Our room was situated just off the main hotel building and was well situated to allow us to easily access most of the main facilities.
The rooms are bright and spacious and the pale grey colour scheme is bright, classy and calming. I particularly loved the grey tiles on the floor and the abundance of gorgeous cushions.
Our room had a huge kingsize bed and a double sofa bed for the twins. Initially I was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough storage for all our stuff, but if you get creative there is ample storage.
The bathrooms are really modern with two sinks (always a bonus) and a huge walk in shower. There wasn’t a bath in our room, which was fine for us as the twins are happy to shower, but if you have younger ones it might be worth looking at other room types.
Outside we had a small garden with a table and chairs and two loungers, along with gorgeous views of the sea – it was lovely just sitting out there with a book and a glass of fizz.
The Food and drink
There are seven restaurants at the Ikos, as well as room service and lunch service round the pool.
Most mornings we went to Flavours for a buffet breakfast, which offered a large selection of hot and cold options. The kids particularly loved the smoothies and the honeycomb. Personally, I had a bit of an obsession with the gorgeous carrot cake (yes, there were multiple cake options for breakfast!).
A few of the restaurants offer al la carte breakfast, with a mini buffet. One morning we ate at Fresco. We weren’t overly impressed with the al la carte options, so we went back to eating at the buffet every day.
For lunch, we would either order snacks such as toasties and burgers, which we’d eat on our loungers by the pool or go to Fresco, which offered gorgeous Italian al la carte. One day, we ventured a little further and went to Ouzo for lunch where they offer a BBQ with a selection of help yourself bits such as salad, breads, veg and chips. It was delicious. I love the view from Ouzo too as you’re right next to the beach.
In the evening, we tried each of the restaurants, all of which offered a three-course a la carte menu. They were all fabulous. I think my two favourites we’re Ouzo, which offers Greek cuisine and Olivia, which is Spanish inspired. I wasn’t a huge fan of Provence as the portion sizes were quite small. To be fair though the quality of the food in all the restaurants was impressive.
One night we took advantage of the dine out option that Ikos provide and we dined at a local fish restaurant called Limonious, which was lovely. The hotel put a bus on to take us and bring us back. I had the Moussaka, which was delicious and probably the best I’ve ever had.
You could also order room service, but we didn’t take advantage of this as we were so full from our other meals. The kids did order ice cream a couple of times though.
In terms of drinks, literally everything is included – champagne, cocktails, mocktails, premium spirits, soft drinks, wines. I love a cocktail and the cocktail list certainly didn’t disappoint. And sipping champagne by the pool was definitely something I could get used to!
Ikos is renowned for its amazing service and it was pretty faultless. The staff were polite and attentive. They would help you find a sun lounger, fetch you towels, polish your sunglasses and fetch you copious amounts of drink. Although attentive, they weren’t over bearing. They were also great with the kids, encouraging them to eat their dinner in return for a “special” dessert!
Activities and entertainment
There’s plenty to keep you occupied at the Ikos Aria. There’s watersports, most of which are included, a fitness programme and gym, tennis courts, volley ball, bike hire, indoor and outdoor pools, as well as wine tasting and a programme of evening entertainment.
To be fair, we didn’t really do much as the kids were quite happy playing in the pool. We did however take advantage of the free pedalo hire and I also visited the gym.
In the evening, we would have drinks at the lobby bar before heading to dinner. Following dinner, we were usually all tired and would head to bed. We did go to one show, which was a Disney inspired performance from a range of Disney movies, which was really good.
On Wednesday nights, the hotel holds a white party on the beach. Many of the guests wear white and the hotel set up pop up bars on the beach where there is also a DJ. It was good fun and the kids loved running around in the sand at night. The tunes were pretty good too.
In terms of activities for children, the hotel has a kids club, which the twins went to once and really enjoyed. The programme is really varied and has a range of activities that are really suited to their age group (the twins are 6). It’s worth noting though that the kids club is better suited to younger kids. Oscar is almost 10 and the kids club didn’t really cater that well for this age group. It might be better in the summer as I know they run a football academy, but there wasn’t a lot going for him during our stay. Our three definitely preferred to play in the pool though and to be honest we like spending time all together on holiday.
One activity that is quite unique to Ikos resorts is that you can hire one of the hotel’s minis for the day at no extra cost. We paid an optional 11 euros for full insurance and then went out for the day exploring Kos. I particularly recommend visiting Zia, which was my favourite place. We also went to Kos Town, which was ok. We definitely preferred the charm of Zia though.
On the road back to the hotel there is a honey farm, where you can try a selection of different honeys. You can buy honey and honey-related products too. The kids really enjoyed it and it was something a bit different – I definitely recommend a stop there too.
The local area
The Ikos Aria is situated just outside Kefalos and one day we decided to have a wander in. The hotel said it was about a 20 minute walk, but it actually took more like 40. When we got to the main bit of the town, we were quite disappointed as there was hardly anything there (apart from lots of wasps). We ended up having a quick drink and then getting a taxi back to the hotel.
There are a couple of shops and a little mini market about 10 mins walk from the Ikos, but unless you need to pick up something specific I probably wouldn’t bother venturing out. You definitely stay at the Ikos Aria to enjoy the hotel and everything it offers rather than using it as a base to explore Kos.
Would we go back?
We absolutely loved the Ikos Aria. It’s one of the nicest hotels we’ve ever stayed in. It’s luxurious, but not intimidating and very family friendly. The food and drink is fantastic and the hotel decor is absolutely beautiful. We felt that is was also really good value for money. We visited in October and got a good deal. I have heard that it’s very expensive during the peak summer months, so it’s worth looking at April, May and October if you want a more reasonably priced holiday. We’ll definitely be back. I’d also like to try out one of their other resorts. I’ve heard the Dassia resort is just as nice as Aria.