Monday, 11 November 2019

Kalyves Beach Resort in Crete

We paid for our own flights but everything else was provided by Seacrete Hotels

During our recent trip to Kiani Beach resort, we spent a day at their sister hotel, the Kalyves Beach Hotel just along the coast in Chania.  Kiani Beach was a very family focused resort and we were keen to see the differences between the two all inclusive hotels as I had heard wonderful things about  Kalyves Beach.

We were greeted with such warmth and the hotel was situated right on the beach.  It was much quieter and calmer than Kiani Beach but still with so much for families. We found it more relaxing and if I was visiting without the children then this is the hotel I would choose.  There were two outdoor pools as well as an indoor one and the kids loved the indoor pool as it wasn't quite as deep as the other hotel and the bigger boys could stand up in it.  I loved the fact that it was right on the beach and couldn't resist a swim in the sea.

A river runs alongside the hotel and feeds into the sea and the hotel restaraunt borders it meaning you can sit outside and watch the ducks as you eat.  They get fed at lunch time and the children loved helping out and throwing in some food.  

The restaraunt served delicious food with a great vegetarian selection and all the desserts looked amazing! There was a bar outside with the same service we had at the sister hotel and plenty of places to sit.  The children love taking Uno on holiday and we had plenty of games sat by the pool enjoying some cold drinks.

There are lots of cats around Greece and we found one with a few tiny baby kittens which the children absolutely loved.  I must admit I was very tempted to take some home with me.  One of the things we really loved about Kalyves Beach is that the small town is right next door so there is much more to explore.  The town is small and colourful with shops and restaraunts and plenty of flowers and you can also walk along the coast.  Everyone we met was so friendly and ladies came out of their houses to offer the children sweets and to speak to them.  As we walked along the coast a man called us over whilst he was fishing and spoke to them in brilliant English about how he was catching the fish and what sort of species you find in the area.  There was such a lovely attitude to families and we loved seeing a little more of the area.

There was lots of evening entertainment at Kalyves beach as well as sports activities and a playground on the sand.  We all loved the hotel and the boys especially kept asking to visit again.  I think that Kiani Beach was better suited to our larger family as it is more family focused but I loved Kalyves Beach and it would be a great hotel to go back to as the children get a bit bigger.

Of course there are plenty more photos from our day at Kalyves Beach Hotel and you can see more from other bloggers who stayed there like Pink Pear Bear and You Baby Me Mummy

You can read about our experiences at Kiani Beach Resort Here and about our day in Chania here.

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Monday, 4 November 2019

Exporing Crete - Chania City

*Car hire was gifted by Kiani Beach Resort*

Our recent visit to Crete and stay at Kiani Beach Resort (read about our stay here) was our first time in Greece and we fell in love with the country and their amazing hospitality.  I have written about our stay in the resort but I wanted to write about the other parts of the island we visited and we spent a day in the city of Chania

Kiani Beach Resort is located around a 25 minute drive from Chania city and we hired a car from Kalives Travel and drove to the city on a Sunday morning.  We hadn't really paid attention to the days of the weekend and as we were leaving someone mentioned that not everything would be open on a Sunday but all the cafes and restaurants would be and we love wandering the streets exploring so we headed over.  We arrived at the port and immediately spotted the famous Venetian lighthouse.  You can walk along to see it up close along the paved wall and we loved stopping at the ruins along the way.  The walk gives you a different view back on the main port too and we spotted buildings we wanted to go and explore afterwards.

All along the sea front there are restaurants and cafes serving traditional Greek food as well as other cuisines and we found somewhere that catered for even our fussy eaters for lunch.  The buildings are bright and full of personality and we found ruins that have been preserved alongside a beautiful Mosque and plenty of space for the children to run around and play with the street cats.  

Walking along the port the children were fascinated by the floating shops selling shells, sea sponges and all manner of things made from shells.  We were passed every few minutes by horse and carts carrying tourists around the main areas.

In the main port there were all sorts of boat trips you can take and we decided to go on a glass bottom boat tour around the harbour and then out to a tiny island with an interesting history.  Cora fell asleep before we made it on the boat (making us wish we had brought a buggy with us!) but the boys loved heading out to see and watching the fish below, even more when the diver came under our boat with fish food to feed them in the clear waters.  All three boys were allowed some of the fish food to put in the water at the back of the boat to feed them themselves too. We paid 30 Euros for the six of us and the trip lasted around one hour.  

 The car we hired made getting home so much easier when everyone got a bit tired! (You might be able to see Finn asleep in the very back.)  They sorted out all the car seats we needed and delivered the car to the reception of the hotel for us.  I would really recommend a visit to the city if you are staying at Kiani Beach and with the close proximity you could go for just a few hours or a full day.

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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Our Week in Kiani Beach Resort, Crete.

As Autumn hit full swing, the rain started falling and the shops were full of scarves and hats, we found the shorts that had been pushed to the back of the drawer, dusted off our sunglasses and flew to Crete to spend a week at Kiani Beach Resort in Chania, part of SeaCrete hotels.  It was not only our first time in Greece, but our first time as a family going on an all-inclusive hotel style holiday too and everyone was excited.

We paid for our own flights but the people at Kiani offered us a stay at the resort in exchange for our honest feedback and they collected us from Chania airport around 3.5 hours after we left London.  We were greeted at the hotel with sea views, spacious areas and wonderful smiles.  In fact, the entire week the staff were so happy and helpful, the Greek hospitality is incomparable. 

Our week was wonderful and the children (and the adults) are desperate to go back again. I will talk later about their favourite bits, but I have broken down our stay into headings so that I don't start rambling.

The Rooms

We usually struggle to find hotels that accommodate our larger family but our room at Kiani Beach Resort was spacious enough for the six of us. Downstairs there was a huge bed for us and a cot for Cora (she isn't in a cot at home anymore but loves the novelty of staying in one although she prefers to sleep right in the middle of my bed).  There was also a bathroom, mini kitchen and plenty of storage space from wardrobes to cupboards.  On a mezzanine level there was three beds for the boys and a separate bathroom.  The boys beds were all close together (Finn was on a fold out bed in the middle) and they loved it, especially as there was a tv that they could all watch.  Despite the fact we were all in one apartment it felt spacious and fitted our needs well.

Our apartment had a balcony with a table and chairs and a drying rack which was perfect for drying off swimwear each night! Our balcony looked over the pools and bar.  Every day our rooms were cleaned and beds made, our dressing gowns were folded and fresh towels were left if requested. There are lots of room options at Kiani Beach.

The Pools and Beach

Kiani Beach Resort is comprised of the original resort and a newer half that is built right next to it.  As well as having a private beach, there are four outdoor pools and one indoor pool.  We found the outdoor pools were a little chilly to spend all day in during our October visit but I imagine they were fantastic in the summer and we still spent plenty of time in them.  Our favourite was the one pictured below which had 50 metre swimming lanes as well as plenty of space to play.  There is a shallow circular kids pool and another kids pool with four slides in.  The indoor pool was lovely and warm, spacious and never busy during our stay.  Each pool was surrounded by sunbeds and we never had a problem finding free ones and on both sides there is a pool bar.

We didn't spend much time at the beach as the children preferred the pools but I loved that there were both options so you can mix things up.  The pools were all so clean and well maintained and all were open from 9am to 9pm during our stay.  All of the pools allowed inflatables and there was a shop on site that sold all kinds from lilos to arm bands and all the crazy rubber rings.

The Play Areas

My children love a playground and there were two at Kiani Beach Resort, one on each half of the resort.  On the side we were staying on was a smaller park and on the other side next to the sea was a larger one with a pirate ship playground as well as swings and playhouses.  We spent lots of time there and the children could play whilst we sat at the bar (both pool bars are next door to the two playgrounds). Everything was well looked after and they were open all evening so the children could play out there late in the evening if they had a little two much energy after the dessert buffet!

The Kid's Clubs

Kid's clubs might not be for everyone but my children love them.  The love the organised activities, the chance to have some time away from us and the possibility of meeting new friends.  The kids club at Kiani Beach is for 4-8 year olds (although younger children can join in as long as a parent stays) and I believe there is one on for older children but mine are all in the younger group.  Every morning between 10.30 and 1pm there were activities outdoors which ranged from crafting and t-shirt painting to fishing in the sea and every afternoon from 4-6 there were activities indoors.  Both sides of the resort had their own kids clubs so there were always activities to choose.  The big two loved creating their own t-shirts (10 euros sur-charge) and they enjoyed playing bowls whilst Cora's favourite was the sandcastles and beach games morning.  Finn loved the games in the afternoon clubs.  We didn't take them every day but they knew when the clubs were on and had the option to go in and out.

Every afternoon at 12.30 a local donkey called Hercules came and the children could feed him and have a little ride in his cart.  Cora loved feeding him apples and carrots and going for a ride around a small patch of grass.

Every evening there was a kids disco at 8.30 followed by a family activity.  We did kids movie night at the bar and watched the belly dancing. We missed the magic show and bingo sadly but every night was different. Whilst one pool bar had entertainment, the other had live music and a relaxed atmosphere and we spent the evenings there sometimes playing games of uno.  The animators (kids club crew) were around every evening in the bars, running the entertainment and spending time with families and the children were over the moon when they came and joined us for games some evenings.  

The Food and Drink

It was our first time as a family trying out an all-inclusive hotel and I must say we all adapted well to the lifestyle. I am still in amazement at how much they can eat! Every morning there was a huge breakfast buffet with traditional cooked breakfast, a chef making omlette and pancakes fresh, cereals, cheese and meat and pastries.  Every lunch and evening there was a huge selection of hot foods as well as plenty of salad and an amazing dessert selection.  There was a specific kids area that had things like fish fingers, chip and peas so the fussier eaters (like Finn) could have their favourites.  As a vegetarian I found there were always options and plenty of salad choices.  Often things like roast potatoes were cooked with ham though so I had to look carefully.  There was always plain pasta with a choice of sauces and the chefs were cooking fresh food to order at one counter with a different choice each day.

We had the VIP bands which meant as well as the unlimited soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and local beer and wine, we could order from the cocktail menu and have some branded alcoholic drinks each day too.  I was a huge fan of the Strawberry daiquiri and these could be ordered at the bar until 11pm each night.  The children were delighted to find out that there was a kids cocktail they could order too although they really liked the self service machine for juices and fizzy drinks too.

At the pool bars, you could order a fresh crepe between 11 and 6pm with either sweet or savoury fillings and this was one of our favourite things to do.  They were absolutely delicious! There was also self serve ice cream and cones out twice a day for the children to cool down with and a fridge full of snack foods like sandwiches and cakes which you could help yourself to during the day if you needed something between meals.

We had such an amazing week at Kiani Beach Resort in Chania and I will be writing more about what else we got up to during our week.  The onsite excursions office can organise trips and hire cars (both of which we used) but as a family we could have happily spent all week at the resort and exploring on foot.  It was such a safe, friendly and family focused resort that we are all hoping we can return to. Check out their current offers here!

You can read about our day at the sister hotel Kaylves Beach Hotel here  and about our day trip to Chania city here. 

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Saturday, 26 October 2019

What the Kids Wore // Maxomorra

I love this picture, despite the fact one child doesn't look overly happy and you can see the messy garden in the reflection of the window.  I made all four of these people and they look more than ever like a little gang here (can you tell who the leader is?).

The reality is the height difference is pretty huge, but the little ones are sitting further forward and they spend just as much time squabbling as they do getting along, but they are so great together when they want to be.   

Maxomorra sent us some of their Winter range and I just love these hooded onesies.  They are perfect for snuggly lazy day at home and we use them every week after swimming lessons too.  Everything is made from the softest organic cotton and you can buy the polar bear print in everything from pants to dungarees as well as adult tops (I still need to get a photo in mine!).

My other favourite print from the latest collection is the pink penguins and Cora loves matching with me.  I might have been a bit optomistic when guessing which size she would be in (Maxomorra sizes are based on height rather than age and Cora is quite petite) but we will get at least 2 year's wear from this hooded dress and Cora loves the pocket on the front. I find organic adult clothing is hard to find and I love wearing Maxomorra as it is so soft!

I need to take more photos of these four as their relationships change, and before they get older and don't want to be in photos together.  The big two are very much happy to be involved on their own terms and so I have to get them on a good day and Cora is definitely calling the shots most of the time, letting me know exactly what she wants to do!

Check out the Maxomorra website to see more and find a local stockist.

 Thank you to Maxomorra for sending us a selection of clothes from the latest collection.

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