porto sani resort – yes you can have a relaxing luxurious holiday with a super active toddler

My Experience

My husband and I have been on a couple weekend getaways and a holiday last summer to the US with my parents, but we hadn’t had the opportunity for a week with just the three of us . . . and more importantly we hadn’t had any type of holiday since my daughter could walk.  We like staying in nice places with good food and don’t think that parents should have to regress with their hotel, food or location selections just because you are now a party of three.  So I Googled luxury holiday toddler or similar a month ago and came across Sani Resort.  I thought wow yes looks amazing . . . Greece I’ve never been before . . .  more importantly it is kid friendly.  Most fancy hotels and restaurants may claim to be kid friendly as in, we accept and tolerate children as long as they are well-behaved and yes we have high-chairs and cribs.

This is totally not the case with Sani.  They have a day care center – yes I said day care AND they offer in-room babysitting all at comparable to prices that we currently pay for both services.  So this is what sold me besides the beautiful photos.

My daughter turned 19 months on our holiday and she has been walking confidently since 12 months.  Whether you are pregnant, have a tiny baby or child under 5 Sani is amazing for all these ages for different reasons.

Sani Resort has multiple hotels within the resort complex we booked a suite at Porto Sani for a week.  We flew both Ryanair and Easyjet because of flight times but if you can, I recommend flying Easyjet over Ryanair because you not only get 20kg per checked bag (instead of 15kg) you also get priority boarding with a child under 5.

What We Packed

  • We took our amazing travel stroller which made all the difference because we were the only ones who could take a stroller onto the airplane as it fits under the seat or in the overhead compartment and it allowed us to come off the airplane and immediately use it without having to carry all the bags and a wriggling angry toddler
  • For the flight I packed her a iPad with some cartoons, headphones, and Organix Goodies snack bars that she likes – when in doubt with my daughter give her food to make her happy, it’s always preferable to have a quiet baby eating food you wished she wasn’t than a screaming wriggling one that won’t stop and you’re stuck in the window seat in a row of three!
  • I packed enough of her own organic Beaming Baby diapers ( 1 1/2 bricks) and 1 pack of Waterwipes for the week
  • I brought her bib (I still have only this one amazing Modern-twist bib – I think it’s the best because it’s food grade silicon, lightweight, has a bucket which isn’t firm so the whole bib can be easily wiped clean at a restaurant or rinsed with only water and it can hang to dry on your pram) and her cup
  • Two bathing suits, a sun-hat, hooded beach towel, sunglasses, water wings (arm bands) and a float with a canopy
  • Clothing-wise I packed enough outfits for each day and a couple other dressier clothes along with flip-flops, sneakers, light jacket, cardigans
  • Her organic Honest Co bath wash, Brush Baby toothbrush and toothpaste, Organix  and two blankies from her bed
  • I knew I was going to have to entertain her at some point in the room even if it was while we were getting ready in the morning etc. so I bought her two new books, Mrs. Potato Head and Magformers – these were all crucial to our trip!  We brought her little back-pack each day wherever we went with Mrs. Potato Head, Magformers, her bib, cup, sunglasses, and Babyganics sunblock stick.  Every single night we went to a restaurant we had Mrs. Potato Head and the Magformers on the table entertaining her before she started crawling out of the high-chair (I originally bought both of these toys for the airplane because they are small, lightweight and don’t make noise however it was easier for her to be entertained with the iPad on the plane)

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I ended up using all the clothes, food, and toys we packed and there wasn’t anything that I wish we had brought. . . well we did have to buy a pack of swim diapers when we got there because I forgot them 🙂  But I did wish we had bought her some pool toys as she kept taking other kids.  She really enjoyed a bucket and a little watering can that she kept pouring water from into the bucket at the pool and it would have been good for the beach as well.

How Our Toddler Friendly Trip Went

It was amazing . . . the weather was sunny but chilly and windy so it definitely could have been better (April) but it still was amazing because we were at Porto Sani and you couldn’t have a bad time.  Everyone knows your name, says hello/goodnight etc in Greek is constantly smiling, super-friendly, ready to do anything for you – my husband who is English thought it was like the Truman Show at first (everyone overly friendly but it’s all fake) but he changed his mind after a couple days whereas me being American and used to people being friendly and actually meaning it I always thought it was genuine.  I thought it felt more like Disney World without the rides – totally perfect and manicured.

How can anyone be in a bad mood when you are surrounded by smiles and hello’s all around! Breakfast is till 11am!  So being two hours ahead of the UK it totally worked with us trying to stay on UK time. Not to mention the breakfast buffet is amazing and bountiful, but what makes it just that bit even better is the kids table in the corner.  I’m not sure Sani Beach has one as I never went to a restaurant inside the hotel but I’m not sure if it’s possible with the sheer amount of people and I didn’t see one when I ate in the restaurant at Sani Asterias.  So if you have a super active toddler (as in can’t sit still anymore in a high chair longer than 5-10min while they eat) then this small table alone will revolutionize your holiday.  Every morning for breakfast she ate first then got down and ran over to the kids table to play with puzzles, blocks and color with the staff who take turns sitting at the table with the kids.  So this meant that every morning we could have at least 15 -30 minutes of enjoying our breakfast and talking and actually relaxing instead of having your life run by an angry toddler who can no longer sit still.  Artemis restaurant not only serves breakfast but also dinner and it is fine dining but again it’s no problem if your child makes noise or disturbs other guests – because almost every guest has a young child or two!  At dinner the kids table is also open which was the only restaurant we found that actively watched your child during dinner which again is a miracle.  We tried out a different restaurant every night and all the staff were super kid friendly and wanting to interact and entertain with balloons or talking but none of them watched your child so you could both eat besides Artemis.

As the week went by all three of us became very friendly with the staff which made it even easier to relax and let her run to the kids table.  One of the hostesses Antonia and my daughter hung out a little every morning for breakfast and most nights when we ate in Artemis but also when we came back from eating at other restaurants there would be live music in the lobby bar right next to Artemis so she was able to play at the kids table while we sat in the lobby as well.  You may be thinking that doesn’t sound like a big deal and maybe it’s because your baby still sits in a pram or high chair and happily watches you eat!  Believe me it’s little moments like these that actually make the whole trip less stressful and more enjoyable otherwise every meal is a battle and my husband and I never actually get to eat at the same time which is what happened at the other restaurants.  In retrospect we should have booked a babysitter in our room at all the other restaurants besides Artemis so we could actually enjoy the wonderful food and each other’s company.

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Antonia and my daughter.

Here are my top reasons why Porto Sani should be your next holiday

  • Friendly and lovely staff that make you truly feel like you matter and try to ensure that everyone has an amazing time
  • Right size to feel intimate – it’s like being in Cheers, everyone knows your name 🙂
  • Kids table!!!  Peaceful breakfast every morning and if you want at night as well
  • Suites with a lounge which means if your baby goes to bed before you, you still have the ability to actually have lights or the TV on and make noise (regular hotel rooms we end up going to be at the same time!!)
  • Room service comes in to clean your room during the day but they also come back at night for a turndown service where they draw all the curtains, bring you two complimentary bottles of water and chocolate, turn your outside light on, empty the garbage again (yes those diapers get cleared twice a day!) and make sure all the towels and your bathroom are okay

More reasons why it’s so amazing for all hotels

  • Babewatch – every beach has a service where staff will watch your child for 30 min while you talk a walk on the beach or a swim
  • Daycare – one day it rained all day and we knew that staying in the room all day was going to drive all three of us nuts so we took her there for a half day and she enjoyed the interaction with other kids and playing with all the toys
  • If your child is four or older then there are organized kids activities during the day that are complementary
  • ALL of the staff at every hotel and restaurant are all so happy to meet you and your baby – you never feel bad or embarrassed if your child acts up because kids are welcome, most people are there with kids, and all the staff love kids
  • Bike rentals with baby seats, kids bikes and scooters etc in the resort and you can put it on your hotel bill

Now you’re saying to me what’s the catch right?  This is either too good to be true or it’s something on the rich and famous can afford.  Well we went in April when they first opened and the season runs till October.  Rates in April we found out are amazing but when you look at summer months we found out that it drastically escalates to five to six times what we paid for a week in April.  So the catch is you can feel like a celebrity and be pampered for a week or two in an amazing resort with amazing food and staff but you just have to ignore the weather and just relax as a family and enjoy the time together. We definitely aren’t rich or famous so we’ll be going back to Sani again for sure but you’ll only catch us there in the off-season 🙂

Here is more information about the resort so you can understand what I am talking about and decide for yourself whether a Sani holiday is right for you.

Sani Resort = Sani Beach hotel, Porto Sani hotel, San Asterias hotel, Sani Club hotel, Sani Dunes + Sani Marina with shops and restaurants

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Everyone must use the beach and pools assigned to their hotel, however all activities and restaurants at other hotels are free for everyone to use.  And what is amazing is that if you don’t feel like walking, it’s too cold out/raining etc you can ask for a golf cart to take you from your hotel anywhere within the resort (except to Sani Club you must take a bus).

Sani Beach hotel is a large hotel with two large pools and beachfront right next to the pools on two different sides of the peninsula.  It feels like a big hotel and has rooms and suites to my knowledge along with a couple buffet and ala carte restaurants.  It also has a day care center and other activities like yoga in the building (however anyone in the resort can attend).  It is closest to the park, tennis courts, kids club activities, water sports and bike rentals.

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Sani Asterias hotel is a very exclusive gated small boutique hotel with suites only.  It has a main restaurant that has great food.  It feels more exclusive and is less lively because there aren’t as many guests or staff about.

Sani Club hotel was being refurbished and was much further away from the rest of the resort so I can’t comment on it except that if you want to be close to everything else in the resort then it’s probably going to be annoying taking a bus every time as it’s too far to walk and the golf carts aren’t allowed on the main road which is how you get there.  The plus is that it appears to have more houses or mega suites and some with their own private pools.  If you like this remoteness and what Sani Club has to offer then it shouldn’t be an issue.

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Sani Dunes hotel was still being built but it is right on the beach with a mixture of hotel rooms and suites.  The difference here is that all guests must be 12 years old and up.  If you want a babymoon or have older kids I would definitely stay here.  I know for sure at Porto and Sani Beach there is an adults only pool as well.

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Porto Sani hotel is where we stayed.  It is only suites with a balcony or garden terrace with lounge chairs.  The landscaping all around is beautiful and makes it feel like you are staying in an apartment more than at a hotel.  It is a good mix of big enough not to feel isolated but not so big as to lose the personalisation.  It also has it’s own day care center, and live music nightly.  It is the only resort not on the beach, however it has it’s own private beach which is right in front of the marina and is only a five minute walk.

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