The Danai Beach Resort, Halkidiki, Greece
May Half Term in Greece has had a huge surge in popularity thanks to the early good weather and rise of top-level luxury hotels. It means busy pools full of happy kids and a real buzz and energy. But what if you don’t want that? What if you are looking for that old school peace and charm that you wont find in a buffet restaurant at a luxury all-inclusive?
The Danai Beach Resort in Halkidiki has old school charm, service, attention to detail and flair in bucketfuls. The owners are onsite and hugely present in the day to day running and it shows. Mrs Danai is always walking around looking at where to place the latest artworks. Kimon is charming the clients and the lucky agents visiting. My kids were so taken with Julia that they often let us head back to the room while they stayed and played on the lawn with her new puppy Carla. She would then coordinate a buggy to bring them back to us, much to their delight!
In a world of on-line everything, being greeted with genuine warmth every morning as you stroll to the restaurant is so refreshing. They haven’t given up on style to have plastic seats for the kids to spray with Nutella. They have white cushions, tablecloths and napkins. When our son, who is 3, did the inevitable with Nutella the team were relaxed and simply happy he had enjoyed his breakfast. The kids then raced off to the beach where we could watch them play and have a sense of independence while we finish our breakfast.
We had a two-bedroom suite, which was a perfect setup. The children’s room was off the entry hallway allowing us the space of a lounge, balcony, bathroom and bedroom without disturbing them at all. They are a reflection of Mrs Danai’s design taste and her elegant touches can be seen everywhere.
The beach is stunning and with gentle shelving access to the sea it was perfect for the kids. Buckets and spades were all they needed for entertainment and they became friendly with the other kids there. Our chosen pool time was in the afternoon where we shared the space with swallows diving in the quieter deep end. There were, at peak busy times, 8 or so kids in the pool, sharing toys, laughing and being generally well behaved.
The food was excellent and again small touches by the staff made it so special. The bar manager was a dab hand at magic tricks that blew the kids (and if honest me) away. They swept up our kids and made them happy so we could finish our meal.
The girls in the kids club were brilliant and had everyone well entertained. They also did treasure hunts in the garden and took them to the kitchen gardens to learn about herbs.
This isn’t a hotel to see and be seen. This is a place of peaceful days, sleepy afternoons of down time with happy children and couples alike. Birdsong is the loudest music you hear and when they put “entertainment” on it is a classical violinist and pianist at breakfast who were wonderful and kept two small boys (ours included) mesmerized for ages.
We got our sunglasses cleaned by the lovely Nick on the beach and as I was gathering up the various rings, dive sticks, buckets etc he, without prompting, offered to keep them safely down on the beach to save me carrying them back and forth. A cold Mythos or Rose at 6 pm chatting to other like-minded guests is the best way to see in the evening. They have an epic wine cellar and surprisingly good Greek Rose. We researched this thoroughly.
If life is spent on Fast Forward, the Danai is like hitting the pause button. You can breathe and spend time with your kids in a calm environment. I read two books (for me a rarity) and had a brilliant time and so did the kids. Finding that elusive balance of a quiet resort but with enough to entertain the kids is a tough call but look no further as I found it.