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Neilson’s Vounaki Beachclub in Greece – Review

I was lucky enough to visit this delightful resort recently. Here are some key reasons to add Vounaki to your holiday wish-list! I’ll be delighted to answer any specific questions you may have, or just for a general chat about the resort – Please contact me on 0121 213 0012 or [email protected]. Zoe Franklin.

1: Location

Just under a 3-hour flight from the UK & then a 40-minute drive from Preveza airport. Vounaki has an enviable position on the Greek Peloponnese. Having made the 10-minute walk into the traditional village of Paleros, I felt like I was stepping into a scene from ‘Shirley Valentine’. Nestling in a large, sheltered bay makes the perfect spot for water sports (all included, but Premium packages have a supplement). Fair winds a-plenty for sailing & windsurfing, along with protected areas for safe kayaking. The bay is large enough for even the most enthusiastic water-skier to experience a full tow.

2: Accommodation

Vounaki Beachclub has a range of room types and sizes to meet the needs of all pockets & parties whether singles, families or groups. Economy rooms (located furthest from the main hotel) look onto either the mountains behind or over the resort & sea-facing. However, these have the benefit of being near to the kids’ club area & are great for families whose budgets may be stretched by the little ones! Closer to Reception are the Club rooms, which comprise of twin/doubles, mezzanines & interconnecting rooms. The block immediately nearest Reception hosts Premium rooms, which also have the 4 disability-adapted accommodations, with wet rooms.

I was pleasantly surprised with my room. The bathroom was large and modern with a huge ‘rainfall’ shower with power attachment – perfect for easing your aching muscles after a day of activities! All rooms have plenty of storage space for a 2-week holiday & with the added bonus of a fridge, to keep your drinks ice cold.

3: Sustenance

Such an important part of any holiday, especially for the active. The Vounaki Beachclub main restaurant is, in the main, al fresco. Here you can have a hot buffet breakfast from 7.30 to 10.00 (‘Continental’ available from 10-11) & buffet lunch between 12.30 and 2 pm. Dinner, on inclusive nights, is also served here from 7.30 through to 9.30 pm. There’s a wide selection of delicious dishes to suit all tastes, with gluten-free options also on offer. Other dietary requirements can be catered for by the chefs, on request. A wonderful Greek lady called ‘Dimitra’ has worked in the restaurant for over 15 years & cooked us the most amazing fresh omelettes to order every morning.

A beach barbecue is available to book for one of the non-inclusive nights & will be a highlight of your trip.

The popular ‘Kirki Bar’, near the waterfront – which we regularly frequented! – offers a menu for non-inclusive nights, including fresh pizzas, pasta, salads & more. This beach bar also provides the location for a ‘mix & mingle’ gathering on the first night & daily happy hours, prior to dinner. The main bar is located next to the restaurant, with a wide selection of soft & not-so-soft drinks to suit all tastes.

4: Activities

This is where Vounaki comes into its prime. Two main pools – 1 adult-only & a family pool located next to the separate children’s pool. Nearby is the bike store, offering road & mountain bikes individually, or as part of group outings. Here you will also find the Temple Spa treatment rooms & gym & tennis courts. There are 2 tennis courts with Mark Petchey (Andy Murray’s former coach!)-trained coaches available if required, or you can play freely in groups if you prefer.

The watersports beach has an array of kit for you to use as & when you choose – dinghies, sailboats, single & double kayaks, paddleboards and windsurf boards, along with water-skiing and scuba facilities. If you wish to make use of the water sports activities there is a ‘beach-briefing’ on Monday mornings. The Beach Manager will give you the low-down of the sailing area, the kit, the team and safety procedures. Buoyancy aids, helmets & harnesses are freely available.

This was my first experience of an activity holiday and I loved the fact that you are free to come & go as you please & not feel that you must take part in the group sessions – I actually became a huge fan of kayaking & can’t wait for my next chance to get out on the water again.

Group bike rides & tennis sessions are colour coded into four levels – Green = Beginners, Blue = Intermediate, Red = More Advanced & Black = High-Level Advanced so that you can easily choose the correct sessions for your ability.

5: Yachting 

Vounaki has a large yacht marina (with a shop), that makes it the perfect base for Southern Ionian ‘stay & sail’ options, along with day charters and sunset sailings. The yachts on offer range from 2-8 berths.

6: Childcare

Neilson Holidays is renowned for its excellent childcare and Vounaki is no exception. The dedicated childcare centre covers 2 floors – downstairs being for the younger groups of Starfish, Sea Urchins, Surf Busters & Sharksters, with upstairs being for the older groups. Each room has indoor activities & age-appropriate facilities. You are able to sign your children in & out of the clubs as often as you wish throughout the day. Wave Riders & Tag Team sign up for their chosen activities at the main welcome meeting. Kids lunches are generally taken with the childcare team as is high-tea, where you are welcome to join them.

Watching the little ones around the resort with the childcare team made me realise how much this is part of the holiday enjoyment for all members of the family – parents can take part in their chosen activities safe in the knowledge that their youngsters are having fun in a safe environment & learning valuable, new, life & social skills too.

Each child is provided with a rash vest for sun protection & the little ones have a sun hat & drawstring bag to keep their kit together. All clubs operate as standard, even if there are only 1 or 2 children in resort. A special & welcome feature is that one-to-one child care can be pre-arranged for a small charge for children with special needs (subject to availability).

7: Resort Staff

Neilson’s team at Vounaki made our stay just perfect! Panayiotis is the General Manager (Totis, when you’ve been introduced!) who presents the welcome meeting & is active around the resort during the week, mingling with guests & making sure everyone is happy & comfortable. Front of House Manager, Chloe, ensures all guests’ needs are looked after & any issues resolved without fuss. Simon is the Hospitality Manager, in charge of the food & beverage provision, so any dietary requirements can be discussed with him. All of these & heads of departments such as tennis, bikes, spa & water sports etc. introduce themselves to all guests at the welcome meeting & are always approachable around the resort. The waiting staff & housekeeping team are all locals, who have great pride in working for Neilson & ensuring guests have the best holiday.

From my experience, I feel that Vounaki should be an addition to everyone’s holiday list – whether you want a beautiful resort where you can relax all week, lounging around the pool and enjoying the food & drink on offer, or if you want to take advantage of the sporting activities from dawn to dusk.  This is the perfect resort for all.

About the Author: Mrs Zoe Franklin is a travel expert with over 30 years’ experience. Zoe has a special focus on family & activity holidays, weddings & honeymoons & worldwide travel. Recent travels include Cambodia, Vietnam, Ecuador & the Galapagos & family holidays to Greece. Zoe will be delighted to answer any travel enquiries on Neilson, or anything else that has beds, wheels, or wings!

Please call 0121 213 0012 ext. 204 or [email protected]


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