I am not quite sure how we have got to this point in our lives without ever having been to Greece but we just got back from a trip over to the breath taking island of Skiathos, the famously beautiful island where they filmed award-winning musical Mamma Mia, and we have completely fallen in love! The island is even more spectacular than it looks in the film, it’s the most picturesque location and couldn’t be more perfect for a family holiday.Just a 3 hour flight from the UK, Skiathos is home to a collection of family run 5* boutique hotels called the Santikos collection. We came out to Greece to visit their brand new Marpunta Village hotel, which is located on Alonissos Island inside Greece’s first national marine park and is only a 1 hour boat ride from Skiathos. We were invited to come and have a sneak peek at the new property ahead of its launch later this month.
Alonissos is one of those picture perfect islands that still has all its original charm. The site of the new property used to be an old fishing village back in the 70’s and they have kept the authentic style of the village in mind when designing this property. All the white washed rooms and suites are scattered around a ‘village square’ and there are windy little lanes leading around the property, it feels very secluded and safe for little ones to run around having adventures.
Surrounded by the breathtaking marine park, the property has a real air of peace and tranquility. It boasts 110 rooms and 15 family suites, many of them with magnificent views out to sea. They are all decorated in a chic Greek style and have lovely terrace areas with tables and chairs for relaxing in the sun. There is a lovely restaurant where you can dine Al Fresco while you enjoy taking in the views over the marine park and there is even an old open air theatre. It boasts 3 private beaches, a pool and tennis courts all overlooking the crystal blue waters, so plenty to keep both you and the little ones entertained. We cannot wait to come back and stay at this property once it opens it’s doors to guests.
As Marpunta Village had not officially opened yet, we stayed at their sister hotel the Skiathos Princess Hotel, which is situated on the beautiful Agia Paraskevi beach, one of the most stunning spots on the island. Set amongst lush gardens with direct access to a white sandy beach this hotel is just as beautiful and you can’t help but feel all your stresses slip away as you sink your toes into the sand and stroll along the pristine beach.
All 131 rooms and suites are elegantly decorated and some of the suites even have their own private swimming pool, which is ideal for families. We even got to have a look at what I like to call ‘The Brosnan suite’, where Pierce Brosnan stayed while filming Mamma Mia. It was a remarkable, stylish suite which was bigger than our whole house! It had two terraces with magnificent views overlooking the beach, one with a large table and chairs for Al Fresco dining and the other with sun loungers, a Jacuzzi and its own private staircase leading down to the beach.
The hotel offers a fantastic crèche club for babies and toddlers from 6 months to 4 years old and “The Little Seals Mini Club” for children between 4 and 12 years old. Both run morning and afternoon programmes, providing a safe, stimulating and enjoyable environment for children, operating under OFSTED standards. The crèche and mini club both offer an extensive range of entertaining and enticing indoor and outdoor activities, so the majority of children will want to use the Clubs everyday of their holiday, which means mum and dad are free to relax. Evening mini-club service, and babysitting are also offered, as are a la carte excursions & activities for the entire family.
The pool area and all the restaurants overlook the beach, so you always have a picture perfect view from wherever you choose to sit back and relax. Speaking of relaxing, you will need to make sure you make time for some pampering treatments at the spa. The massage I had was so relaxing I could barley make my way back to my sun lounger afterwards.
One of the other things we loved about this collection of hotels was the mouth-watering food we ate. With a number of restaurants to choose from there is plenty of choice for both adults and children. Every single meal in each of the restaurants was of the best quality. With most of the food being sourced locally everything was so fresh, from the delectable sushi to the most divine steak to the traditional Greek meze, each meal was even more delicious than the last. Breakfasts were also great, with a live crepe and omelet station, kids will love trying something different each day.
As for things to do on the island, there is plenty to keep you busy with an abundance of water sports, snorkeling and diving, relaxing boat trips around the Mamma Mia locations and dining at authentic Greek Tavernas. So whether you are pregnant, have a baby, older children or multiple children of different ages, you will be sure to have an amazing holiday in Skiathos!
To find out more about the Santikos Collection properties visit www.skiathosprincess.com or call 0030 24270 49731.
Direct flights to Skiathos are available through www.thomascook.com