Greece may be the perfect destination for island hopping, but if you’re looking for a place to settle on the main land that has it all – you’ll love the Mandola Rosa Grecotel Resort.
This family ‘mega resort’ has an outstanding array of facilities, luxury accommodation options – and a long list of top-notch restaurants and eateries.
There is so much to do; you can have any kind of holiday you want. And, while there’s plenty of family activities and kids’ clubs, you’ll also find adult-only beaches and high-end dining spaces.
Woman&Home was invited to celebrate the newly refurbished Mandola Rosa, an exclusive hideaway that’s part of the much larger Riviera Olympia complex.
Style and design: 9/10
Upon arrival at the grand Colonial-style lobby, you’ll be greeted with a colourful cocktail and a cooling moist hand towel, to wipe away the journey.
Drinking an iced cherry sour, elderflower champagne or mojito (just a few of the delicious options on offer) you can enjoy the stunning beachfront views – with miles of sandy beaches, and sweeping steps down to the eternity pool.
During our welcome, the hotel manager advises us to “savour every moment and look everywhere”– and there certainly is a lot to take in. Throughout the resort, you’ll find eye-catching curiosities, artworks and historical pieces.
In the reception building alone, look up and you’ll find taxidermy birds ‘flying’ overhead, wander past the larger than life Greek sculptures – and children can even sit inside a bright red aircraft, that once belonged to a young Prince Charles.
Throughout the resort interiors are modern and sleek, combining Colonial style with classic Greek aesthetics. Think oversized sofas, rattan chairs, mirrored surfaces, distressed wooden trunks, exotic textiles, botanical print wallpapers, palm trees and large overhead fans.
This mega complex is made up of four hotels – Mandola Rosa, La Riviera & Aqua Park, Olympia Oasis & Aqua Park and Ilia Palms & Aqua Park – each offering their own unique styles of accommodation.
Lodgings range from large double rooms and family suites to private villas with up to five bedrooms, an indoor jacuzzi, walk in wardrobes and one or two private pools. Guests staying at the most exclusive hideaways also have their own private beach area, butlers and chefs if needed.
Even in the more modest suites, you’ll find everything you may need – including a well-stocked mini bar and and bathroom, with fluffy white robes and slippers. Each bedroom has a large screen TV with international channels, WiFi and unbelievably comfortably king-sized bed.
For most people, indulging in delicious foods and cocktails is one of the most enjoyable parts of any holiday. And, with 24 unique restaurants & bars around the Riviera Olympia resort, you’ll find many of your favourite meals on offer – as well as plenty of new and inventive dishes you’ve probably never tried.
To cater for the most inquisitive pallets, the Cap Voyage Restaurant specialises in Greek seafood with a contemporary twist. Nestled on the hillside, overlooking jagged cliffs and the sandy beach below; this is the perfect spot to enjoy a sunset or romantic candlelit meal.
The five course Signature Aphrodisiac Menu is highly recommended – and included (at the time of our stay) steamed shellfish of carrot and orange soup with pine nuts, followed by king crab with iced olive oil and oregano dressing, Gorgonzola ravioli with pear, and finally pineapple and passionfruit with coconut ice cream. Absolute Heaven.
For a more relaxed dining experience, head to the Sea Dunes restaurant, which offers traditional Greek a la carte – as well as live music in the evenings. During the day, kids will love the old-fashion ice cream parlour, burger bar and souvlaki hut.
There are so many facilities available at the resort, for both adults and children, it’s almost over-whelming. Even with a packed agenda, the most adventurous of guests would struggle to experience even half of what the resort has to offer during a one-week stay. Attempt it, and you’ll probably be so exhausted you’ll need another holiday.
Feeling active? There’s a high-tech gym and plenty of high-energy activities, including volleyball, tennis, basketball as well as aqua aerobics, and even aerial yoga (the kind where you hang from trees upside down). You can also go horse riding through the resort’s Kyllini’s forest, or take a ride around the nature trails on a mountain bike. Family fun cycles are also available.
Thrill-seekers will love the water sport school, which offers sailing, water-skiing, kite-surfing and much more – including diving and paragliding. Impressively, there’s even a paint-balling park, where teams can hide behind abandoned cars, piles of tyres and ramshackle fences as they take aim at each other.
Youngsters will be spoilt for choice as well. As most parents know, family holidays are often spent around the hotel pool. Not only does Grecotel Riviera Olympia offer a complex collection of pools, rapids and waterfalls dotted around the complex – there’s also a separate waterpark, exclusively for hotel guests.
This record-breaking fun zone, the largest hotel waterpark in southern Europe, spans across 20,000m2 – almost the same size as four football pitches. Filled with high-speed, adrenaline pumping slides, rockets, flumes and water coasters, it’ll keep the kids entertained for days rather than hours – and with plenty of lifeguards, families can relax in safety.
The park is not just for kids, but the young at heart as well, we’ve been told guests in their 80s have been known to brave the Looping Rocket, which climbs 20m before descending back to earth!
But if you’re more in need of some rest and relaxation, head to the Elixir Thalassotherapy Centre. From sea mud wraps and body scrubs, to illuminating facials and Ayurveda massages, the spa offers a vast range of treatments and therapies.
And, while a jacuzzi and steam room might be enough for some hotel spas – the Grecotel takes the ideas to another level… In the Olympic-sized sea water pool, you can work our way through a series of water cannons, jet-streamed massages, rapids and bubble seats aiming at relaxing your entire body, while improving circulation and skin tone.
Kalamata International Airport is two hours away and Athens International Airport is four hours away by car. Many guests chose to rent their own vehicles and make their own way to the resort – but the hotel is happy to arrange a transfer, if preferred. If you’re planning to spend a night in the capital beforehand, consider the Cape Sounio. Part of the Grecotel portfolio, the resort is a 30 minute drive from Athens airport.
Of course, for the super-rich, there’s another way to travel – helicopter. Yes, the resort has it’s own helipad, and rumour has it it’s been used by all sorts of royalty (monastic and Hollywood). And, if you did want to explore a nearby island, you could pop over to Kefalonia during your stay. The picturesque island is situated opposite the resort, and can be reached in an hour-and-half by boat.