There’s a list of luxury, family friendly resorts that family travel aficionados reel off when asked for European recommendations… the Martinhal, the Abama and the Sani. My sister-in law visited the latter in May last year and having booked to return this year, I felt it was high time to share her review!
Where did you go?
The three of us (including our 2.5 year old son Freddy) went to the Sani Resort, which is located on the Kassandra Peninsula in Halkidiki. The weather was hot every day but got cool in the evening.
How did you book it?
We knew we wanted to go to the Sani as so many people had recommended it. We ended up booking directly through the hotel online as there was special deal and we opted for half board.
The Sani comprises of four different hotels, we chose those the Porto Sani Village (as recommended by friends). The Porto Sani is the second most expensive of the four.
How did you get there?
The nearest airport is Halkidiki and we flew direct from London with British Airways. However, you can get cheaper flights with Ryanair.
We organised the airport transfer through the hotel. A really nice limo car came to pick us up, including a toddler car seat. This was great as it is a 45 minute drive from the airport to the resort.
On arrival at the hotel we were greeted by the Manager which was a nice touch. We were taken to sit by the pool while they checked us in (our son was so excited by this, he wanted to go in the pool immediately!) From the outset this set the high standard of service that we encountered throughout our stay.
How was your room?
Our room had a living room with balcony, separate bedroom and bathroom. Our son shared our bedroom but because we had the sitting room and balcony, it meant we could relax after he had gone to sleep. Overall the room was lovely, clean and modern.
We were really pleased with our choice of a room overlooking the port as we thought if we were by the pool it would get a bit claustrophobic. Rooms on ground level get a garden and sunloungers and on the upper levels, a balcony.
We would wake up and go down for the buffet breakfast in Porto Sani. The Porto Sani Village is a large open plan space with loads of pools. Although the buffet was huge, the food tasted fairly average. However a nice touch was a staffed kids activity table at breakfast which meant parents could eat in peace!
We would station ourselves by the shallow kids pool. Being at the hotel the week before half term, it was busy but not crowded. They offer lovely little touches like towel straightening, cleaning sunglasses and the lifeguards are very friendly.
Would have an early lunch in the Lagoon Restaurant which is right in the middle of the pools. It has a relatively good kids menu. Then we’d return to the room for nap time and just chill out in the living room.
For a few of the afternoons we booked our son in to the Kids Club. They would head to the adult pool (next to kids club) or to the Spa which was excellent.
Make sure you pre-book the Kids Club in advance. The Kids Club consists of Creche for the young kids, Mini Club for 4 to 11yo and a Teenagers Club. There are various sessions throughout the day including a Lunch Club. The Melissa Creche is open for kids up to four years old. This is operated by UK childcare professionals and cost us 12 Euros an hour. The Creche itself is set up like a nursery with a playground. They run scheduled activities and take them to the beach etc. We thought the Kids Club facilities were great but the women running it were a bit halfhearted.
The Kids Club usually closes at 6pm but a couple of nights they have kids disco at 7pm.
It took us a few days to discover the beach as the one directly in front of the Porto Sani is not that good. However, if you head to the ‘Sani Beach Club’ you’ll find one that’s the most picturesque in terms of beach and landscape. There’s a shuttle bus that runs every 15 mins (about 5 mins drive).
Each beach has a ‘babe watch’ where childminders can entertain your kids for up to 30 mins. There are also free beach toys.
The water was very calm and still which is great for toddlers. There are also fun rock pools.
There are bikes for rental and you can cycle around the resort. The Hotel set in expansive greenery with loads of lovely paths.
One day we hired a pedalo with a slide.
There are also fishing trips, boat trips, snorkelling and scuba dining.
It is difficult to get restaurant bookings – make sure you book 3 or 4 days in advance. However, the weird thing was that when we arrived at the restaurants, they would seem empty. The Sani has many restaurants but overall the food was good not outstanding. Our favourite restaurant was Ouzerie at the Sani Beach Club.
In the middle of whole bay is a local’s beach bar sandwiched between the hotels which is good. There is also a supermarket on site.
The whole Sani set up is a bit like Disney in that it’s all gleeming and artificial and jam packed with fun. There’s activities like an open air theatre which is a great fun. We watched the Blues Brothers Show which was brilliant and all the kids were up dancing. If you’re looking for culture and the real side of Greece, this is probably not the place. But for us, what it lacks in culture, everything else is amazing. Embrace it for what it is – a relaxing family holiday!
We absolutely see why everyone raves about the place and as our holiday unfolded, we became more and more smitten by the Sani. In fact we loved it so much we are going again this year!
Tips for the Sani Resort
- Book your restaurants in advance
- Stay at the Porto Sani Village, we thought it was best option for family and had nicest pools.
- Book kids club in advance