The time was overdue - "thanks" to the pandemic, I haven't swam in the sea for a very long time. Sure, in Africa we had perfect sea views - but it was too cold to swim in it. In Tuscany last year we went to the beach, but even then it was too cold already. Ok, in Denmark I was in it briefly during the hotpot trip, but that doesn't count either. It was effective back in the Philippines in 2019 where I was in the sea for the last time. I know it's a luxury issue and I'm super grateful for all the experiences and trips I get to do. But after 2.5 years of "sea abstinence", it was a great pleasure to breathe the sea air again.
Since travelling is still a bit complicated and uncertain, we decided to book a package for 10 days in a hotel, flight, transfer, breakfast and dinner included. This is a bit an unusual holiday-style for us, but it suited best to what we wanted: Nothing to care about and enough time to relax and enjoy some sunny days.
Our trip took us to Greece, to the Sani Beach Resort in Chalkidiki, Thessaloniki. After spending a few relaxing days at Bettmeralp beforehand, we were already relaxed on arrival. Everything worked out great, we were greeted in a friendly manner and informed about the hotel complex. To be honest, we were a little overwhelmed at first, as a total of 5 hotels belong together, their own marina, 23 restaurants, various beaches, swimming pools, boutiques, shops, bars and countless sports options, from Aqua Fit to a Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy, Scuba Diving Intro courses to boat trips and a musical show in the evening, there was everything a holidaymaker's heart could desire - I didn't expected that when I booked this deal. I can already say that we didn't get bored during the 10 days, even though we never left the hotel complex.
Weather, Pool & Beaches
The weather was pleasantly warm and for us the first time we felt something like summer this year. Which is always super appreciated by me, when you can enjoy breakfast and dinner outside - and that was always the case, in the evening I took a little jacket with me and sometimes needed it, sometimes not.
The accessible beaches from the resort can be found here.
We spent the majority of our time at Bousualas Beach because it is just so beautiful. Super clear water, clean and you can walk out very far. Perfect for my "water-air hammock" to be put to good use.
At Ammos Beach we rented SUP twice - this costs extra. The first time it was less fun because the waves were already a bit stronger at noon. The second time was super nice and relaxing. We passed the other beaches - if they were accessible to us - on walks in the evening.
Activities & Entertainment
As mentioned before, there are countless ways to pass the time here. From a dedicated ropes course, pump track to various group fitness activities, I don't know what there is NOT here, but an overview of them can be found here. What we did:
A TRX session - hello sore muscles
AquaFit - a fun half hour in the pool
A little olive tour - a cute tour around the resort to learn more about the history and uses of olives. Personal highlight and a nice idea in my opinion was when we were allowed to plant our own olive tree.
Beat sometimes took part in the morning jogging tour.
Pilates at the Sunset Deck.
Boat trip - For a few hours we went by boat to swim outside the resort. There were also jellyfish, the big ones were no problem but there was also a small one that burns when you touch it. So the whole thing was not so relaxing. The tour itself was not that special - but you didn't pay extra for it, so it was ok.
We would have booked a sunset cruise (also without extra costs), but because the waves were too high that evening, it didn't take place. This was not a tragedy because we had the same view from Sunset Hill, which is part of the complex, as we would have had from the ship.
And of course there was plenty of time to relax on the beach or by the pool, to read and swim :-).
In the evening, we went to the Garden Theatre from time to time, where there was a musical show, or to one of the bars on the beach, where live music was played - super cool!
Food & Drinks
We had breakfast and dinner included.
For breakfast we could choose from 3 restaurants, for 2 of them it was recommended to make a reservation as the places are limited - which we did immediately. The buffet selection was huge, there was always freshly squeezed orange juice and the quality of the food was excellent in both. Ammos was directly by the beach, Grill by the pool with pool view.
For dinner, we could choose from 23 restaurants. However, it is important to book in advance. At (almost) every restaurant there was an à la carte menu - if you chose something from it, 20 EUR per person was deducted. Alternatively, many of the restaurants had a so-called "Dine Around" menu with a choice of starter, main course and dessert, which was then included in the price and you only had to pay for the drinks. Again, the food was excellent in each of the restaurants. As we were overwhelmed with choice, we left the booking to the hotel staff - our condition was that we ate in a different one each evening :-). We made the following choices - you can have a look at the menu's directly here:
The Market, Sani Dunes
What a great start into our vacation! Super friendly staff, delicious food. No "dine around" menu, but it was super tasty. We kind of regret already that we booked another restaurant for every of the following evenings. Highly recommended!
Alexis Taverna, Sani Marina
A typical Greek Tavern - got my grilled Octobus there - yum! It is one of two (?) restaurants not including a "dine around" nor a deduction of the à la carte menu. On the other hand it is less expensive than others.
Grill by the pool, Sani Beach
Took there the "dine around" option with the possibility to pair a glass of wine to each course. Was good as well - however as this was one of the places we also had breakfast, we would might try another restaurant instead in case we're coming back. Very cool was the live music we could enjoy during dinner.
Tomata, Sani Resort
Delicous as all others as well - has a bigger offer of vegetarian / vegan menus.
Vosporos, Sani Marina
Greek food - tasty too!
Macaroni, Sani Marina
"The" Italian restaurant in the resort, which brings even more variety. However, as you can imagine the Italian is also the famous restaurant for kids - so it's slightly louder than in other restaurants. The food also here - nothing to complain about. If you're into an italian dinner, give it a go.
Beach House, Sani Dunes
Personally, next to "The market" my favorite. Location super super nice, directly by the beach, food super delicious. No "dine around" menu - it was also our most expensive evening during our stay, but it was worth every single cent.
Cabana, Sani Beach Club
Sani Beach Club, where the Cabana was, was the furthest from our hotel complex (Sani Beach). We decided to walk there which was a bit adventurous. There was no direct path on the beach, it started to get dark and we somehow made our way through the camping site, past frogs and barking dogs. We were rewarded with a stunning sunset when we arrived, which could be seen from this side over the whole site.
The food was super fine there too, and the return was a little easier. After a short wait, we were picked up by a golf caddy that took us to the gate of the course. From there, a hotel shuttle bus took us to our hotel.
Psaroyannos, Sani Marina
When we arrived, the only available date in for this restaurant was the last evening before we left. Expectations were high accordingly - a restaurant that is booked up for over a week must be great.
It was also very good, we could spend another nice Greek evening with great food - but it couldn't beat my favourites "The Market" and "Beach House".
Bousoulas Beach Bar & Restaurant
Last but not least, we consumed at this bar because it was our place on the beach. The snacks here are also highly recommended and the beach buddies did a super service on the beach.
Even though most of the restaurants are in the marina, it was a super mix for us to always eat at a different place and explore the other hotel complexes. If we come back again, the Michelin star restaurant is also on the list (it was fully booked during our stay).
As you can see, we had a super time and exactly what we needed: a nothing-to-worry-about-package with an easy and short flight and still enough to do and explore and great food which we loooooveeee. Wouldn't mind to be back again one day :-)