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Ikos Oliva – A Comprehensive Review

Grade 4.2 out of 5 Stars 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Overview 

Opened in 2015, the Ikos Olivia was the Ikos chain’s second resort to open in Greece. It has been built on a standard of excellence that the Ikos brand has been built on since the Ikos Oceania first opened. 

This is a 5-star all-inclusive resort that is aimed at the luxury end of the market. The resort itself has a choice design aesthetic, a food offering that you would not expect at an all-inclusive, and a wealth of activities and things to do at this resort. 

The resort is medium-sized with 291 suites. Which is actually a very nice size. It’s not quite small enough that it feels like a boutique hotel, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming and lose its personal touch as you do with larger-scale resorts. The staff here do everything in their power to make sure all of the experiences feel personal, which adds that element of luxury. 

Our review is based on our visit to the Ikos Olivia staying in a deluxe junior suite.  


Location

The Ikos Olivia is nestled in the lovely seaside village of Gerakini in the Halkidiki region of Greece. This little fishing village has a lovely aesthetic to it with some lovely Tavernas and bars to sample. There are also a number of picturesque villages that are close by. Specifically the village of Afytos. Where beautiful cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings are the epitome of Greece’s beauty.  

The resort itself is a 50-minute drive from Thessaloniki international airport. 

If you book through the Ikos website and book 5 or more nights in the resort. You will receive free transfers to and from the airport.  The Oliva is actually very close to the Oceania resort which is just a 30-minute drive away. 


Top Tips 

  • There is an Ikos app which is available on the app and play store which you can use for a number of things throughout your stay. Whether you are booking into a restaurant for the evening, booking a massage at the spa or looking for information about the resort. It can all be done via the app. 
  • If you’re in a deluxe suite or you ask really nicely if you’re staying in a standard room, you can get dishes from the restaurants delivered to your room as part of the room service. So if there’s something you fancy from one of the restaurants menus and you feel like eating in your room it’s worth asking the question. We tried this one of the nights and the staff delivered our favorite dishes from Ouzos which we had sampled earlier in the week. 
  • One of the great features at Ikos resorts is how they enable you to explore the local area with the “Dine Out” feature  and complimentary mini one car rental for the day.  All you need to rent the car is a valid driver’s license. We also recommend trying to book the car prior to going on your vacation. As it can get booked out pretty quickly. They do have 10 or so, but it’s best to book ahead. The car also comes with an English speaking sat nav, so no need to use your mobile data for navigation. We highly recommend driving out to the main area of Thessaloniki. There is lots to see and do here. 
  • If you have ever been to an all-inclusive before, you know getting a table at the more popular restaurants is always a hassle. It comes down to supply and demand and the Ikos are no different. The most popular restaurants on the resort based on the demand are definitely Anaya (the Asian restaurant) and Provence (French). We highly recommend booking into these restaurants before you travel. If you download the Ikos’s app you can make booking for restaurants, spas and most other things before you travel. So, it’s well worth doing to ensure you can experience the whole resort.
  • If you’re a wine drinker the Ikos resorts are the resorts for you. Normally with all-inclusive resorts, the wine selection included in the all-inclusive package is normally quite limited.  With Ikos resorts, they have the wine cellar feature, which gives you the choice of over 300 bottles that are included in your package. There is also a sommelier on site to make sure that the meals you have have the perfect accompaniment of vino. 

Check-In

The check-in process was relatively smooth here. Once we arrived our bags were whisked from us and we were greeted with a glass of bubbly. We seemed to arrive at a busy time and we did have a slight wait for a check-in desk, but once one became available the process only took a few minutes. 

The staff at check-in were great at explaining the layout of the resort and the amenities on offer. As we were staying in the Deluxe room the staff went through the additional elements that we had access to. 


Is the Ikos Olivia family-friendly resort?

The Ikos Olivia is a family-friendly offering with a host of features to elevate your vacation to a luxury getaway. With a number of great room options (you pay on a per room basis here rather than per person). For example, the Junior suites have the capacity for two adults and two children. 

What we really like about the Ikos chain of resorts is that they really do think about pleasing all of the guests that come through the door. No matter what age they are, there are experiences for everyone. One of the elements we really liked was the kids and toddler food menus available at the majority of the restaurants. This makes eating in restaurants easier even for the pickiest of eaters.  

There is also a really strong kids and teens club available. All of the details can be found below. 

Kids Club Options

Heros Kids Club 

(Free of charge)

(Ratio: 1 adult: 8 children)

Open between the hours of 10 am – 6 pm there are multiple sessions that run throughout the day. This kids club is available for kids that are aged from 4 to 11 years old. Although some extra activities may incur an additional charge, such as for water sports or ice cream trips. The majority of activities are included in the cost of the all-inclusive.

Just 4 Teens 

(Free of charge)

(Ratio: 1 adult: 12 children)

The perfect place for teenagers to chill out for the day with an arcade and a host of things for them to do. Just for teens is suitable for teens aged 12+

Heroes Crèche 

(Additional Costs Apply)

(Ratio: Ages 4–23 months: 1 adult: 3 children / Ages 2–3 years: 1 adult: 4 children)

On average the sessions cost around €30 per child, but the price is dependent on the age range. If you book multiple sessions in a day then it only costs €50. This is the perfect option if you want to drop off the kids and have a few hours by the adult’s pool or to go for a nice meal in the evening. 

The kids club here is run by Worldwide Kid, which is an external company that manages the kids club. We found them to be very good. The staff was great with the kids and the entertainment schedule they had in place was great. 


Amenities 

Pools 

There are 4 swimming pools dotted throughout the resort. This was the one part of the resort that we felt was a little lacking. There is a kids pool, which is a pretty spacious adults-only pool, a deluxe-only pool, and an indoor/outdoor pool at the spa. If you want a sun lounger by the pool in the mornings and you are not staying in a deluxe room. You really need to be down at the pool relatively early to ensure that you secure some decent sun loungers. 

Golf 

Let’s start off by saying that Greece is not a golfing country, so you will be hard-pressed to find a course no matter what part of Greece you are in. The region of Halkidiki specifically has only a few options and sadly none of these are near the Ikos Olivia, so you will need to look at an alternative destination if golf is a high priority for you.

Things to do during the day/ night 

This is the main area where the Ikos Olivia doesn’t have the strongest offering. Although there are things to do during the day and entertainment put on during the evenings. The overall schedule is quite small compared to other all-inclusive resorts we have visited. 

The schedule for the days ahead can be viewed on the app and the activities typically center around fitness classes with Yoga, pilates, and HIIT classes throughout the day. The entertainment is normally a musical number that takes place around lunchtime and in the evenings at 7 pm. 

The water activities here were one of the better offerings.  With a host of non-motorized water activities available from the water sports station on the beach. Things like pedalos, kayaks, and surfboards are available for use. They do have jet skis and a number of other toys available, but they do come at an additional cost.  

In saying that the resort doesn’t have a lot of amenities that you can make the most of, there are just not as many organized ones as other all-inclusive resorts we have visited. 

Gym

It’s a solid gym at the Ikos Olivia.  It’s more than big enough to cater for the capacity of the resort and the quality and range of equipment on offer is really good with Technogym equipment. There are loads of cardio machines.  Free weights, machine weights, and a nice stretching area, so you will have no excuse not to be able to get in a good workout on your vacation. 


Beach 

The beach at the Ikos Olivia is very long and quite spacious. There actually could have been a few more sun loungers available. As it did get busy throughout the day. The sand was nice, but there were a lot of small rocks in it. The waters are calm with an array of shades of blue. The waters are very swimmable too, so it’s a great spot for a dip as well as making use of the water activities that are provided by the Ikos. 

There is the beach and poolside drinks and food service, so there’s no need for you to get off the sun lounger if you don’t want to. We found the wait staff along the beach to be super-efficient. Although if you’re sitting at the end of the beach, it’s going to take a little longer for drinks and food to arrive. So, if there’s availability. Try to sit near the main walkway to the beach for peak service. The ocean floor is a little rocky. So, if you have swimming shoes, it’s worth bringing them along. 


Spa 

The Ikos Spa by Anne Semonin has a full spa menu on offer.  An important thing to note is that all treatments come at an additional cost and are not included in the all-inclusive package. The cost of the treatments here is definitely on the pricier side with a 90-minute full-body massage costing 140 euro, but considering this is a 5-star resort it could have been worse.  

Although we pre-booked our massage we did hear that it was difficult to get a booking. So like the restaurants, we advise pre-booking everything we can before traveling to the resort.


The Service  

Throughout the resort, the service was top-notch. All of the staff that we interacted with were super friendly and always looking to see if there was anything that they could do for you to make our trip run a little smoother.  

The housekeeping team were really on it at the Ikos Olivia.  The room was cleaned twice a day and with military precision. This was great as we could plan our day for when we needed to be out of the room.  

It was the small touches that really took the service level from premium to luxury. Things like the staff offering to clean your sunglasses while you were lounging by the beach took this resort to another level. 


Cleanliness

The resort was clean throughout.  There were one or two occasions when the staff was a little slow at clearing away our plates at the restaurants, but we were in no rush, so it didn’t bother us. Although we visited prior to Covid based on how clean the resort was we can only imagine the extent the Ikos has gone to keep their guests safe. 


Booking during Covid 

The Ikos chain of hotels has a number of procedures and protections in place to make sure that you have a safe and enjoyable vacation. Their Covid policy is called the “Infinite Care” policy and has a host of features. Before booking it’s worth double-checking that these are still in place.

Free Antigen testing on arrival 

Once you arrive at the resort you will receive a complimentary antigen test to take. Although guests aren’t required to perform an antigen test, it’s highly recommended from the Ikos that guests do use them. PCR tests can also be organized if you need one before returning to your home country, but this does come at an additional cost. 

Multiple Al Fresco dining options 

One of the great things about the Ikos resorts is that most of the restaurants have outdoor dining options as well as doors that open out to bring the outside in. 

Touchless elements throughout the resort 

The Ikos resort has really thought about the physical touchpoints that guests go through on a day in the resort. They have really optimized every area, by adding sensors to doors that open automatically, regular sanitization to door handles, and reduced points of access to name a few. 

Deposit Refund Commitment Scheme 

Currently, for stays in 2021, there are free cancellations up to 2 weeks prior to arrival as well as the full deposit refund too. There is no information regarding vacations in 2022, so be sure to double-check with the Ikos, to see if this benefit is still available. 


Rooms 

The choice of rooms at the Ikos Olivia is pretty broad.  When you break it down they have four different types of rooms on offer. Each of these rooms has a number of add on that are available such as sea views, private pools, and deluxe status. 

Overall the rooms and suites here are very nice. Particularly the rooms with sea views where the views are epic. 

Double Room

Coming in at 25 sq.m these rooms are on the smaller side, but they are comparable to a normal-sized hotel room. The rooms have lovely decor and there is a light and airy feel to them. These rooms have a max capacity for two adults and one child and are the perfect spot for a couple, group of friends, or a small family.  

Junior Suite 

These are really decent-sized suites with the basic Junior suite coming in at 37 sq.m. There is a nice large bed, a connecting living room, and a perfect balcony. This suite is perfect for a family with two kids or if you’re looking to treat yourself as a couple. 

One-Bedroom Bungalow

This is the perfect spot if you’re celebrating something as a couple or just looking to treat yourself. It’s also versatile enough to be a solid shout for families as there is a nice level of separation between the bedroom and the living area. The level of privacy you get with these bungalows is great. All of these suites have a private garden at a minimum with some of the bungalows having a private pool too.  

Two-Bedroom Bungalow

Although we didn’t stay in this suite we did have a quick peek inside one of them and boy are they impressive. The pictures online really don’t do them enough justice. As they are really special. With two full bedrooms, a really large sitting room and a dining room. The footprint of this room is really massive. You also get a lovely garden with this bungalow that is relatively cordoned off.  There are daybeds and sun loungers here, so it’s the perfect spot to chill out for the day in total privacy. These suites do come with the option of having a private pool too. These pools are actually surprisingly big and are a great option. 


Price Range + Packages 

On average 7 days at the Ikos Olivia will set you back around €3,000 for a standard room. Now you can get a better price than that if you are willing to travel in off-peak months. The resort is only open seasonally and the cheapest months to visit are going to be when the resort first opens up in April and when it closes at the end of November. Around those times you can get a standard double room for as low as €1,800 if you book directly through their site. 

With all vacations, we urge you to shop around to find the best offer. Sometimes buying packages through travel agents can be the most cost-effective, so you should do your research and find the best package for you. 


What’s included in the all-inclusive package? 

All food, drink, use of amenities, and entertainment are included in the price of the package. You literally don’t need to take your wallet out for anything but tipping. The only elements on the resort that come at a premium are the spa, some of the water activities, and childminding for younger kids, but other than that pretty much everything you see is part of the package. 

One of the best features of the Ikos Olivia is how they incentivize you to get out of the resort and explore the local areas. There’s a huge amount to see and do locally and this part of Greece is really stunning. There are two features of the all-inclusive that implore you to explore.  The “Dine Out” benefit, which allows you to eat in local restaurants as part of your all-inclusive package.  

You can also rent a complimentary mini one for a day as part of the package. To do this you will need a valid driver’s license and you must book it at least 72 hours before your stay. Although, the minis can get booked up quite quickly as they only have a few of them. So, we recommend booking a day as soon as you book your vacation. 


Food + Restaurant Options 

There is a nice selection of restaurants here with five different offerings and the “Dine Out” feature which lets you eat in local restaurants outside of the resort as part of your all-inclusive package. 

What we really like about the food offering is that the resort really does cater to every type of guest. In all of the restaurants, they have veggie and vegan options, kids are really taken care of with kids and toddler menus throughout. The standard of the food is also really good.

Ranking the Restaurants

  1. Ouzo

The location of Ouzo is perfect. There are tables right by the beach so the views are really stunning.  The food here was also really good. With a menu designed by Michelin starred chef Lefteris Lazarou there are some really nice flavor combinations on offer.  

The location was also really nice here, located right beside the beach and the atmosphere is on point.  We have to give a shout-out to George at Ouzo who took care of us any time we ate there.  His service was impeccable and he was great fun. This is a must-try restaurant, so book early. 

  1. Fresco

With a menu crafted by Michelin-starred chef Ettore Botrini, Fresco brings guests the flavors of Italian with a wonderful level of execution. This was one of the better spots in the resort.  Serving up all the Italian classics, the pizzas and pasta are done extremely well. The wood fire pizzas are really good. 

  1. Anaya 

An Asian restaurant that offers a range of Asian cuisines. From Indian, Chinese, Korean, and Japan there is a lovely menu on offer. This was one of the restaurants that were quite difficult to get a spot in, but as we had pre-booked all of our meals we were sorted. 

  1. Provence

This French restaurant oozes class. The decor and food options are really nice.  Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner we really enjoyed the slow-cooked lamb as well as the seafood linguini. The only dish we tried that we were a little disappointed in was the Grilled calamari. It was a little bit overdone so it was too chewy. 

  1. Flavors 

The buffet of the resort is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and focuses on Mediterranean-type food. Throughout the week in the evenings, there are themed nights. Normally at all-inclusive the buffets are a little underwhelming, but we found flavors to be quite good.

Dine-Out Feature 

As part of the all-inclusive package, there is the Dine Out feature which gives you access to a number of restaurants nearby the resort. This is a great opportunity to get out and explore and is a feature we really like about the Ikos resorts. Of the restaurants you can choose from Ithaki was our favorite. Just a few minute’s walk from the Ikos Olivia is this traditional Greek restaurant that has top-notch food.


Bars and Drinks Offering 

There are 5 bars on this resort with one of them being a Deluxe guest-only offering. Given the size of the resort, the ratio of bars to people is actually pretty good, so you will never be too far away from a beverage.  

The drinks selection is very good with a wide range of premium spirits on offer. The bar staff is also really well versed on cocktails, No matter what cocktail we named they could make it. This isn’t an all-inclusive resort where they only carry local brands; they have a wide selection of brands in all of the bars such as Absolut Vodka, Bombay Gin, Bacardi, Smirnoff, Pimms, Aperol, and Jose Cuervo to name a few. 

If you are staying in a deluxe room you will have access to some top-shelf options such as Grey Goose,  Belvedere Vodka, Plymouth Gin, Olmeca Tejon, and Johnny Walker Balck label. 


Is the Deluxe Status Worth it?

Deluxe status gives you a number of benefits that really give your experience that premium touch. This status does come at an additional cost. On average Deluxe rooms are 30% more expensive than their comparable standard rooms. The question is, do the added benefits warrant the additional cost.  

Overall, we would say that they don’t. The standard rooms come with such a level of luxury that we think the deluxe rooms just aren’t necessary. Now if you’re celebrating a special occasion, it might be worth pushing the boat, but it’s in no way necessary to have a top-quality vacation at the Ikos Olivia. Some of the benefits you get with Deluxe rooms are as follows. 

Bottle of Bubbly in your room on arrival 

On your first day, there will be a lovely bottle of bubbly on ice in your room when you arrive. It’s a bottle of Tattinger nonetheless. It’s a nice touch and is a luxurious way to kick off your vacation. One important thing to note is that when you arrive at the hotel you are greeted by the staff with a glass of bubbly. Although it may not be Taittinger, it’s a similar vibe.  

Private Pool, beach area, and bar 

One of the negatives about this resort is that it can feel a little too busy when near full capacity, so it can be a little difficult to get places at the beach and pool at peak times. Having a deluxe room and access to these private areas, just makes your life a little easier. The deluxe area of the beach also has really nice day beds on offer. It really adds that luxury touch. 

Private Concierge 

The restaurants at the Ikos Olivia can get a little busy and it can be difficult enough to get a table at your restaurant of choice if you’re booking the day of. One of the best benefits of the Deluxe status is access to a personal concierge. The concierge can help you to get bookings at restaurants, which is key as they are allotted a number of tables that aren’t available via the Ikos app or reception. So, you can usually get a table no matter the occupancy or when you book. 


Tipping 

Greece and Europe in general is an interesting one about tipping. Although it is not considered mandatory to tip in Greece and most of Europe, at InspoVacay we strongly recommend tipping.  When we travel to Greece we typically recommend tipping between 8-12% depending on the quality of service which you get.

Also, mealtime was a factor.  For instance, we would tip less for breakfast than we would for lunch and dinner.  For drinks, we would typically aim for a euro per drink and as opposed to resorts in South America and the Caribbean we would tip at when we were leaving the bar instead of in between each round. 


Conclusion

The Ikos hit it out of the park again with the Ikos Olivia.  it’s got a great balance between luxury and relaxation and the staff here was one of the best we have experienced. This is one of the pricier options from the Ikos chain of resorts, so if you are looking for a more cost-effective option we recommend going with the Ikos Aria, but the price difference will only be a couple of hundred euro.  

There were a few areas of the resort that were a little dated compared to the Ikos newer options, but we are really nitpicking here. 

If you’re looking for a complete 5-star all-inclusive getaway then you really can’t go wrong with the Ikos Olivia. 


FAQ’s

Q. Does the Ikos Olivia offer a shuttle service from the Airport 

A. If you are staying in a deluxe room transfers are included in the cost of your package.  If you are in a standard room it’s not included, although the Ikos website usually has transfers as an incentive offer if you book 5 nights or more through their site. 

Q. Is parking available at the resort 

A. Yes, parking is available for guests and it is complimentary 

Q. Is Wi-Fi included

A. Yes, Wi-Fi is available to you in your suite as well as throughout the resort.