Review of Costa Navarino, Greece
Posted By Julie Smith on 5 October 2015
Landing at Kalamata airport is like stepping back in time – forget the crush of multiple luggage carousels at Gatwick – here there is only one! You land, and there is your luggage – simple, easy, stress free. What a great way to start your holiday…
The drive from Kalamata airport to Costa Navarino takes about 50 minutes. The landscape is greener than I’d expected, with the roads flanked by row upon row of olive trees. Meandering roads pass through small villages, with road side stalls selling bags of freshly picked oranges, glimpses of the sea sparkling in the distance. Sorry for the flowery prose… I tend to go into ‘Shirley Valentine’ mode whenever I step on Greek soil!
The resort is of excellent quality, which is of course what you would expect for a hotel under the StarwoodHotels & Resorts banner but it’s the philosophy of the owners that I want to concentrate on initially, because that’s what sets it apart.
Guests are encouraged to explore and experience the ‘true’ Messinia. Yes you can fly and flop,& I’ll go into that later but for those wanting to enjoy some of the flavour of the region then there are plenty of things to choose from. Whether it’s tasting the local wines at the Navarino Vineyards, following the olives from harvesting to tasting, or preparing supper in a local home, there’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in Greek flavours.
Sustainability and the protection of the local area are key to the heart of the resort. There is even an interactive zone within the hotel, Hall Natura, which explains all about the nature of the area – migrating bird habits, the protected logger head turtles that lay eggs on the beach, flora and fauna. The gardens of the hotel are beautiful, well established & filled with age old olive trees salvaged from the build, and lots of indigenous plants.
You can dive for ship wrecks sunk during the Battle of Navarino in 1827, sail, or snorkel courtesy of Navarino Sea. It’s about 15 minutes away, the beach at the resort is protected because of the nesting turtles, so only non motorised sports are available ‘on site’. That said there are so many other things to do – bird watching, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, tennis, running gym classes… the list is endless.
For the golf cognoscenti amongst you, I was reliably informed by one of the resident pro’s that the two courses rival those he’s competed at in Dubai & the US. Pity him then, when you appreciate what he endured by taking me for my first ever golf lesson!
There is an absolutely super water park with splash pools for the little ones, and three slides for older children, or the young at heart! Even in low season there was a daily programme of football, volleyball, ping pong, beach games – and this is all in addition to the crèche and children’s club.
The childcare is run by World Wide Kids Club, a UK based company that we work with at lots of our top selling hotels. The Sandcastle is one of the coolest kids clubs I’ve ever seen... There is an American diner by the water play area, where there is a bowling alley, juke boxes, table tennis, and they have a children’s film daily in the main plaza.
If the thought of all that activity makes you feel tired, then there are pools a plenty, a great beach and the award winning Anazoe spa. I made use of all of them during my stay, including the thalassotherapy pools and all the various cabins – sauna, steam room, ice grotto etc.. . never doubt my dedicated research!
There are a host of restaurants to chose from – Asian, Lebanese, Italian to name but a few, but the main plaza also boats the Taverna, a traditional Greek coffee shop and a Greek restaurant where you can feast on souvlaki, (only 6€ ),washed down with an espresso fredo.. for the serious coffee addicts amongst you, it’s a must!
If you like to get out and about there is a choice of beachfront restaurants on the trendy promenade at Gialova village, (10 minutes drive) or the bigger village of Pylos is about half an hour away. Conveniently there is a Hertz office at the resort, so you can hire a car for a couple of days if you want to visit the wealth of nearby historical & cultural sites.
I wouldn’t be doing my job properly, if I didn’t point out the odd niggle. The key one being you have to pay for wifi , except for in the main lobby – but that is a worldwide Starwood’s issue. (NB: Since writing this initially, there has been a change in policy and basic wifi connection is availble in all area of the resort ). The other thing to mention is that if you travel in shoulder season, then there are likely to be conferences on, but the resort is big enough to absorb them without impacting on the service or the space.
So to the rooms – spacious and contemporary, with great bathrooms, all of which have a bath with shower attachment, and a walk in rainfall shower. Masses of storage space, the pre requisite bathrobes & fluffy slippers, luxury toiletries and tea & coffee making facilities – something we’re always asked about!
Note for the ladies - the hairdryer is of a decent wattage, and has the longest lead I’ve ever seen, which meant you could easily see in a mirror whilst drying your hair – sounds strange, but believe me that’s not always the case!
The Westin Resort Costa Navarino ticks all the boxes. It really is quite an amazing place – it’s almost as if someone’s brainstormed everything people might like to do/need on holiday – and it’s all here!!!
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me,