Written on: 08/08/2012 by kelherring (1 review written)
At the beginning of July 2012 we got our first inkling that we could have a summer holiday this year (up until then we had not been able to synchronize time off work to be able to go together), so started the mad dash to renew my stepsons passport. The passport eventually turned up on the day that we had hoped to travel; so although we had looked at holidays we had not been able to book at that point and had been getting more glum as all the "best deals" seemed to be disappearing; then we happened across Olympic Holidays.
The site is so easy to use that we very quickly found a couple of enticing deals; the only problem we had was that when we searched for my stepson as a child place the holidays came up as costing more than if he were booked as an adult (he's 15 years old). So I phoned Olympic directly; the agent on the other end of the phone was extremely helpful and reassuring that we could book him as an adult; and to avoid any website conflicts when entering date's of birth, she could do the booking over the telephone and match all the internet prices, so we wouldn't lose any discount. Just over an hour after the passport had arrived we were all booked and the real excitement began. This was lunchtime Saturday - we were due to fly lunchtime on Monday.
Monday morning at Gatwick airport we collected our tickets from the airport agencies desk as we had been advised. This was a very smooth process with the added surprise that our accommodation details were also present (we had opted for allocated on arrival, as we quite fancied the element of surprise, and didn't have any particular need that would be better met at one resort than another). The lady who provided us with our tickets advised us of which check-in desks to use, though these were not yet open as we were nearly 4 hours early; giving us time to have a leisurely breakfast before checking in.
Check-in was handled by the airline's (Strategic) own staff whom were very friendly yet very efficient providing a speedy check-in.
The outbound flight with Strategic was excellent. The seats were incredibly comfy leather seats; and although I'm sure that the seat pitch must have been industry standard there still seemed to be enough room for my husband's legs (he's 6 foot 4). The Cabin Crew were friendly and welcoming throughout the flight.
As we were booked so very late we were unable to book inflight meals so had taken Boot's meal deals on board with us. This did prove to be a smart move as the trolley service selection was very limited (and extortionately priced) in terms of sandwiches; though crisps and chocolate were in abundance; whilst soft drinks prices were reasonable for inflight.
On arrival in Corfu we were greeted by friendly Olympic representatives; there was initially a bit of confusion in establishing transfer details as we were directed to an information desk for allocated on arrival passengers as the rep couldn't find us on his list, this was quickly sorted out when I showed the details we had been given at Gatwick (it turns out this was an anomaly in terms of allocation on arrival details) and our booking details were located and we were directed to a very comfy air conditioned coach for transfer to the resort of Kavos and the Olive Grove Trees Aparthotel. After a 45 minute journey we arrived at our accommodation; and were asked to wait at the side of the pool bar whilst families were individually checked in. Whilst waiting we were able to take in the beautifully clean pool area and bar; overlooked rather dramatically yet elegantly by the hotel owners own property and private gardens. The apartment buildings were all slightly offset from the pool area yet all appeared clean and in a good state of upkeep.
When we were checked in this was done in a reception area that was clean and tidy but does appear to be part way through an upgrade (a bar area looked to have been recently constructed but was unstocked with the appearance that a bit more work would be needed in the close season). As part of the check in process we were offered the opportunity to hire a safety deposit box which unusually (in my experience) was located in reception rather than in the hotel room itself - I presume this was why we were asked to wait outside and checked in individually out of respect for peoples privacy and security in this transaction; I certainly appreciated the extra privacy whilst we were shown how to open our box (it was a 2 key system) and shown which it would be.
We were shown to our room which had been described as a studio though was more a one bedroomed apartment given that the kitchen/dining area could be completely shut off from the sleeping area as they were in fact separate oohs with doors! The kitchen area was a reasonable size but basically equipped with a kettle, 2 ring portable electric hob and a refrigerator with inbuilt freezer compartment. The bedroom area was about the same size as the kitchen so did feel a little cramped with three full single beds; as well as dressing table and nightstand though I preferred this to the third bed being a camp bed or sofa bed as is sometimes the case. The bathroom was a reasonable size though it was initially a little disturbing to see a drain in the middle of the bathroom floor; though it became quickly evident that it was necessary as the shower tray was so shallow that the bathroom would have been a swimming pool extension without it.
During our one week stay however the room proved to be very comfortable; and the air-conditioning unit in the room (cost 45 euros but worth it in the blistering 41 degree heat) was extremely quiet yet very efficient, so much so that we had to ask for blankets as we were getting too cold at 4/5am!
Nothing at all was too much trouble throughout our stay; and when our hob developed a fault within an hour of reporting it, it had been swapped for a new one. Our room was cleaned on 6 days whilst we were there; and the whole complex was kept in a very good state of cleanliness. Not an easy task when you consider most of the guests were there to party.
The welcome meeting by our Olympic Representative Mikey was held the afternoon after our arrival. Whilst some of the information was as relevant to us as the rest of the guests there was a distinct bias towards the partying guests with the excursion selling etc being directed more for those interested in bar crawls and nightclubs; though our welcome packs did give us information about things to do that may be more suited to us; and Mikey had roped in another rep, Saul, so that everyone could have some one to one welcome time and have a more personalized discussion at the end of the meeting. Throughout the week, Mikey was always in the complex at the times he said he would be and was allows approachable and cheerful in appearance with a hello and acknowledgment for guest's even when they didn't need to see him. We only had cause to speak to him once about something not in Olympics control; and he was professional and courteous with the matter.
The hotel location turned out be ideal for us as my stepson has now "grown" out of family resorts and felt like he was being treated in a more grown up fashion by being in Kavos. Due to the resort identity as young and lively there were plenty of sports bars and bars playing music he liked that we could go to as a family in the evening without him feeling bored, yet they weren't too loud or busy as the partying holiday-makers tended not to go out until at least 10/11pm when we liked to be headed back to the apartment.
As we were there for only 1 week and our principle aim was to relax we decided in the end not to join any of the organised excursions; instead opting to spend our days at the pool or the beach. Though we did venture to Corfu town using the Island buses on one occasion for a bit of variety - I would definitely recommend that anyone going to Corfu should visit this lovely vibrant port.
All too soon our holiday was over; yet even then Olympics excellent level of service continued with much more support available in the airport for negotiating a slightly different check in procedure and other needs, than I have experienced with other tour operators.
The flight back with Strategic was as comfortable as when we came although the staff were not quite as friendly or helpful; and one member of Cabin Crew demonstrated severely lacking mathematical ability in being unable to total up my bar order instead telling me he price was 1 x £2.50 and 3 x £1.60 leaving me to do the maths! This same person also rid to tell me 3.2 divided by 1.4 was 4.8 during the same transaction as it had been my intention to use my remaining euros, and instead of checking her figures she just said it's extortionate up here! Needless to say I abandoned my plan and paid in sterling. (For reference she wanted 7 euros and £4.80 sterling for a transaction that had a total sterling value of £7.30 thus suggesting that 7 euros had a sterling value of £2.50; though she stated the rate they used was 1.4 euros to the pound).
Apart from this blip, this has otherwise been a fabulous holiday with excellent customer service and passenger attention. With an excellent choice of hotel by Olympic. I would definitely recommend them to friends and family and look forward to traveling with them again in the future.
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