Review of Ikos Dassia Resort
We went to Ikos Dassia resort on the Greek island of Corfu in September 2019. So yes, this means it's taken me a little while to write this review of our stay at Ikos Dassia, but in all honesty, I hadn't even fully realised just how much time had passed until Christmas was here and we were talking with family about where we wanted to go on holiday next year. As it happened, we did mention that we would maybe consider returning to this Ikos resort in Corfu so you can take that as a big spoiler for this Ikos Dassia review; in short, we really enjoyed our stay and would love to return.
But if that's a bit too brief for you and you want to know more detail about what the accommodation at Ikos Dassia is like, what we did in the resort, what the food is like, and what we liked most about our stay at Ikos Dassia, then please keep reading my Ikos Dassia review. I write about all of these things and share lots of photos of the resort too.
While I am going to focus on all the positives of staying at Ikos Dassia, I'm also going to highlight a few things that we felt could still be improved, and also a few tips for making the most out of your stay at Ikos Dassia, because although it really is brilliantly set up for luxury family holidays, it's fair to say that there are a few things we would do differently on our return visit. Because yep, we do hope to return to Ikos Dassia again!
FURTHER READING: I have written a lot about luxury family travel and the best luxury resorts for family vacations, so please do check out this page where you can find all my luxury family travel posts, and be sure to bookmark the following posts too: A list of the world's best family-friendly luxury resorts, or all the best Maldives resorts for families, and there are also my individual reviews of Sani Resort, Point Yamu by COMO in Phuket, and Kandima Maldives. You can find all my luxury family travel blog posts here.
What is the Ikos Brand?
First, let's talk a bit about who and what the Ikos brand are. If you are familiar with Sani resort (and if not you can do so by reading my review of Sani here), then you may already know that Ikos is very much related to the Sani brand and concept. In fact, they are owned by the same Greek family-owned company.
While the Sani resort is a one-off (although it consists of five different hotels within one extended resort) in Halkidiki the Ikos brand has a portfolio of single resorts in a number of different locations.
We first heard about the Ikos brand on our way back from Sani resort. We were in Thessaloniki airport and got chatting to another family who had been staying at Sani. They told us they had been looking at Ikos as well as Sani before they booked their trip. They said it looked really good and that there were a number of different locations in Greece, as well as one Ikos resort in Spain. What with our love of luxury family holidays, to say we were intrigued about what Ikos was all about was an understatement.
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That is correct. There are currently five different Ikos hotels, four in Greece (with two in Halkidiki where Sani resort is and one each on the Greek islands of Kos and Corfu) and one near Marbella in Andalusia, Spain. All Ikos resorts have or are being opened in the last two years with Andalusia opening in the coming season. When we visited Ikos Dassia we were there the second year it had been open, and Ikos Aria on the Greek island of Kos had its first season in the summer of 2019. While new resorts mean new facilities and fixtures, there are other things worth knowinI talk a bit more about what this means
There is one other key difference between Sani and Ikos. Sani is available at different rates and board types, while Ikos is full-board all-inclusive, for everyone. This means that nobody has to pay for any extras at all from any of the restaurants or bars. It also means mini bar drinks and room service is all included. In fact, there aren't many things you do have to pay for once you have paid your all-inclusive accommodation. Again, I'll talk about this a bit more below.
Ikos Dassia: A Luxury Resort Perfect for Families?
As mentioned above, we were really interested in Ikos because of our love of luxury family holidays; the kind of break where the parents feels like they have a holiday just as much as the kids because as well as having excellent facilities and services to entertain the children - like kids club, babysitters, kids' menus and child-friendly restaurants and swimming pools - we seek out luxury resorts that also make it easy for parents to take time for themselves, thanks to the aforementioned kids clubs and babysitters, but also by having adults-only areas or a very good spa with professional treatments.
It's fair to say that Ikos Dassia promised us all of these things. It also offered quite a bit more. As well as being all-inclusive there was the option to stay in accommodation that qualifies you for their so-called Deluxe Collection which gets you a number of special extras from free Tattinger Champagne upon arrival through to access to an exclusive Deluxe Collection pool and cocktail bar (which had different drinks from the other bars). There was also a promise of a packing and unpacking service which made me far too excited when I saw it on the website.
Let me be clear, however, that this was icing on the cake for us. What attracted us most to Ikos Dassia was the facilities and services for children, combined with plenty of opportunities for us parents to relax when they were in kid's club or with babysitter. We also wanted lots of different food options in terms of both restaurants we could eat out at and with in-room dining. So let's talk about if and how Ikos Dassia delivered.
Review of Ikos Dassia Accommodation
Before I talk about what we loved most about the resort, I want to review Ikos Dassia accommodation a bit, let you know about some of the options, and share some photos of what our accommodation looked like. If you've read my Sani resort review, or you've been to Sani before, then basically you will know EXACTLY what to expect.
In fact, some of the furniture, fittings and features are 100% the same as those we enjoyed during our stay at Sani Club. Not that there's anything wrong with this as we really like the aesthetic and feel of the neutrals, blues and whites; it just did make me feel like I was at Sani, rather than at a different resort.
We stayed in a Deluxe Two-Bedroom Bungalow Suite with Private Pool, which was pretty much the same kind of accommodation we stayed in at Sani so we had some idea of what to expect. It was huge (larger than our apartment at home!), very spacious, had plenty of storage, beautiful bathrooms, comfortable beds and was a very calm and easy space to live in.
The pool was HUGE, and we had a lovely seaview (or more footpath-, beach- and seaview) and I loved watching the light change colours at both dawn and dusk as I was often waking up with the boys at the former, and getting them down to bed at the latter!
While the style, layout and decor was almost exactly the same, the actual building itself was not. While our Sani accommodation of the same level had been in a separate row of villas, located away from the main hotel building, the Bungalow Suite was actually in the hotel and down the end of a corridor.
So it was like a hotel room from the outside but inside you felt like you were in your own private villa. I know this sounds a bit ridiculous but it was slightly disconcerting. I just think I was expecting a more secluded or private location so it felt a bit strange to begin with, but I really did get over this quite quickly!
They do have more separate private villas available, some with and some without private pools. However, the majority of the accommodation with two bedrooms and pools seemed to be built into the hotel building, and weirdly, they also had larger pools and slightly bigger, more private gardens with sea views. I did like where our accommodation was located, at the far end of the resort to the Sea side.
We were close to a small marina where boats would come and go so there was always something to watch on the water, and the beach wasn't super busy so we could easily pop down there for a quick splash or play in the sand and then stroll back up to our own suite.
One thing that would have helped with this would have been outdoor showers or even more places to wash your feet as we didn't want to bring sand into the pool or our rooms but it was almost inevitable with two young kids that love playing on a beach and then splashing in a pool.
Now let's talk a bit about the buildings and layout of Ikos Dassia. There are actually two "main" buildings, which yes, is a bit confusing. There is Sea and there is Sky, and each one is like a hotel in itself with reception, concierge, large lobby area, buffet restaurant and two or three a la carte restaurants.
Each building also an adults-only swimming pool just off to one side. There are also hundreds of rooms of various accommodation types in each of these buildings. Our Bungalow Suite was in the Sea building which is where we checked in and checked out.
There is only one spa on the resort (from what I remember) and it is housed in the Sea building. Likewise, there is only one shop (selling snacks, holiday essentials like sun cream, pool inflatables and swimming stuff as well as newspapers, magazines and books and some toys) and that is in the Sea building.
The distance between the two buildings is a five-minute walk and in between is where you'll find two very large swimming pools and the splash pool for kids, the kids club and facilities including playgrounds (see below), the standalone villas, a couple of ice cream bars and pool bars and restaurants.
There were also two Greek restaurants in the resort. One in each of the furthest corners as the resort stretched along a strip of coastline and the beach was parallel to the resort the whole way across.
At first, having two buildings Sea and Sky was a bit confusing. All guests can use any of the restaurants and facilities in each one regardless of where you're staying, and you are encouraged to try all of the a la carte restaurants across the resort.
Because it's really not far to walk, we did manage to try all the restaurants during our stay, and we didn't really have a strong preference for which buffet restaurants were best (be it Sea or Sky), but of course, staying close to our accommodation was sometimes preferable.
By the end of the week I was actually grateful that there were two large hotel buildings and multiple restaurants as this meant we had plenty of variety and options for a change of scenery, something that is often needed when you have small children!
What We Loved About Ikos Dassia
So yes, if you've read the Ikos Dassia review spoiler above you'll know that the resort did indeed deliver on what we were hoping for. But it also delivered a bit extra. To cut to the chase, the things we loved most about Ikos Dassia were the following:
- The kid's club and babysitters, kid's food options, and other facilities for kids.
- Balcony Service!
- The all-inclusive dining and drinking, a la carte.
- The weather!
Let's talk about all these things one at a time.
Review of Ikos Dassia Kids Club and Facilities
Firstly, the kids club and kids' facilties really were well set up but we expected nothing less knowing that this was a brand that is owned by the family company that runs Sani. The kids' club area had several rooms for different age groups, as well as indoor and outdoor play areas.
There was a separate playground elsewhere which we would often play in just before dinner to let the kids burn off some energy before sitting down to eat, and there was also a decent sized kids' splash zone and baby pool, although we didn't actually spend any time there ourselves as we had our own pool.
While the kids club was actually VERY quiet when we were there - there were hardly any other kids my eldest son's age or older signed up to go to the complimentary kids activities - the staff still welcomed our son during his afternoon or morning sessions and they were very creative and committed in doing some really fun activities with him from taking him swimming to baking cupcakes to countless arts and crafts. During many of his sessions there it was just him and two or more of the kids club workers; he loved it!
The kids club and creche are all run by Worldwide Kids, a British registered company that specialises in kids club and holiday creches. It's the same company that runs the same services at Sani and so we felt familiar with how it operates.
They provide three different sessions each day, two 3-hour sessions in either morning or afternoon, and a lunch time session where they take the kids to the buffet lunch (more on this below) to eat while parents can enjoy a kid-free lunch. We nearly always opted to put our kids in the afternoon session which ran from 3-6pm as it worked out best with our baby's naps and killed the time that our eldest son is perhaps most restless after spending all day with us!
Our youngest boy went to the baby and toddler kids' club which is not complimentary so you pay for the sessions they have. The cost of these were €30 for 3 hours but if you signed up for two sessions a day the cost was capped at €45 a day. There were often more staff than babies/toddlers in this group and I always felt confident leaving my son there even though he was experiencing the beginning of an intense clingy phase!
We only put our kids in daycare for one 3-hour session each day with a couple of days off, but it really was a welcome way for them to get some serious playtime in and for us to have kid-free time to relax. During those short but valuable hours we went to the spa (twice!), went wake-boarding, did happy hour (a few times!) and spent lots of time snoozing and swimming in our accommodation.
We had an evening babysitter on two nights during our week at Ikos Dassia, and they were staff from the kids club so they already knew our boys. This was very reassuring. We paid for the babysitters in cash, and that in itself wasn't an easy task as there wasn't a cash machine on the resort and so we had to walk up the road to a cash machine to get them their money.
All of the restaurants welcomed kids for nearly all mealtimes (but there was a wine bar/Greek deli restaurant that was only for adults during the day) and while the children's menu was pretty much the same at every restaurant so got a bit boring by the end of the week, with one very fussy kid who can eat pizza and spaghetti over and over again, and a ten-month-old baby who likes to try a bit of everything but not actually eat huge amounts, it was more than sufficient for our needs.
Because we were also all-inclusive, I would often order something off the kids menu that I would eat (like Greek Salad or the fish dish) and then I wouldn't worry too much if my kids didn't want it as I really don't like wasting food.
The best part, if I'm honest, about the way the resort's restaurants are set up for kids is that there are ample high chairs and kids' cutlery, the staff are very friendly and interactive with children, and we didn't feel completely awful for walking away from our table at the end of the meal with a huge mess under the table. In fact, sometimes I tried to clean up my baby son's discarded scraps of food but staff would stop me and tell me to leave it. They would then swoop in with a dustpan and brush and clean it all up much quicker than I could.
And don't worry! If you want to go to Ikos Dassia as a couple or in a group with no children, you will be pleased to hear that most restaurants have adults-only dining areas, and there is also an adults only wine bar and deli that will only take bookings for kid-free parties at lunch. There were also two adults-only pools so you could easily avoid kids if you wanted to!
Balcony Service at Ikos Dassia
I will write more about the many benefits of the Deluxe Collection status available at Ikos Dassia below, but I want to highlight this one in particular because rightly or wrongly, and perhaps stupidly, it was my favourite. I'm talking about the Balcony Service, which essentially means room service except it was quite a bit more than just room service.
It was effectively a member of the service staff from the nearest pool bar coming up to our garden and asking us if we wanted to order anything. There was a whole separate Balcony Service menu with drinks and food, and all of it was available whenever we wanted. I believe Balcony Service is available to all but within the Deluxe Collection we had access to a different menu of drinks and food.
One thing that was a little frustrating was that the Balcony Service menu was different from the Room Service menu, and we couldn't order food or drinks from the Room Service via the Balcony Service staff. It seems they use a different ordering system and/or kitchen. While the Room Service was equally as efficient and available 24 hours a day, it's true that food took longer to order (sometimes we had to call a few times as the line was in use) and to arrive. And there was just more variety and choice on the Room Service menu. But once we knew this we were more than happy to work around it and sometimes would order from both services if we wanted to eat in our room but we just ordered from the Room Service menu first... I mean, talk about highly privileged problems!
I know it seems ridiculously over-indulgent to say that this was the best thing about Ikos Dassia (and indeed the Ikos brand as it's offered across their resorts) but it was just so nice to be asked if I wanted something, to think, "Hmm yeah, I fancy a coffee" and to then get it within 5-10 minutes, if not quicker. Because of course, this service would only be as fantastic as it sounds if your orders were turned around quickly, and they really were!
And yes, the Balcony Service menu included several options for kids and babies, as well as alcoholic drinks, cocktails and snacks/meals for adults.
Review of Ikos Dassia's All-Inclusive Dining (and Drinking!)
If you're like me, the words all-inclusive may possibly make you shudder. Do images of overcooked food roasting under lights in a buffet of endless trays of fried foods next to limp lettuce leaves and dried out vegetables in a salad bar may possibly jump into your mind? I'm with you! So, yes, I was a bit hesitant and uncertain about having an all-inclusive holiday at Ikos Dassia, even though I knew the company was aligned with Sani Resort where we'd stayed twice and enjoyed mostly brilliant food, even at the breakfast and dinner buffets.
However, it was a risk that paid off. With more a la carte dining options than buffet options, it was clear from the offset that Ikos Dassia's all-inclusive offer was very different from any I'd experienced before.
As mentioned above, there were two buffet restaurants called Flavors (one in Sky and one in Sea) that served buffet breakfasts, lunch and dinner. Dinners had different themes each evening, like Greek, Italian, Asian, Spanish etc, but they always had a few of the same meals on offer (like pizza, pasta, a salad and cheese bar, meats and vegetables) for kids and adults alike.
Then there were the a la carte restaurants scattered across both buildings and the two Greek restaurants were stand alone close to the beach at either end of the resort. In Sea (our building) was the Greek Deli restaurant/wine bar (that was adults only at lunch) and Anaya, an Asian-fusion restaurant.
Over in Sky, there was a French a la carte restaurant that also offered brunch style breakfasts that were slightly later in the day (although you could still go there at lunch time and order pizza or pasta), and a French a la carte restaurant. There were also pool bars at the two pools where you could order food for lunch or during the day, and likewise you could order from this menu if you were spending the day on the beach.
It's quiet strange being all-inclusive at an a la carte restaurant, not least because
During our stay we managed to go to all the restaurants at least once, and I can honestly say that all of them were really impressive in one way or another be it the food, the service, the choice on offer, the atmosphere or all the above! Our favourites were the Greek restaurant near our accommodation for breakfast and lunch, the Italian for brunch/lunch and the Asian for dinner.
So if the food was decent, what about the drinks? Aren't all-inclusive drinks just watered down spirits and bottom shelf wine? Well, not at Ikos Dassia. I mostly drank wine during our stay and it was all really, really good. Surprisingly much of it was local or Greek selections and considering I'd been burnt drinking Greek wine before (not literally, although maybe my taste buds would disagree) I didn't have a bad glass the whole week. In fact, after an evening trying some wines in the wine bar (you can do organised wine tasting) I now have a few Greek favourites.
One thing I feel the need to say is that some of the outdoor dining was sadly a bit stressful for us (and others!) because of lots of wasps. This is just the time of year we were there (September), combined with lots of yummy smells for the wasps, so there wasn't much the staff could do to stop them circulating although they did everything they could with smoke rings under our tables and moving us further inside if this was possible.
My favourite restaurants for dinner were the Asian restaurant and the Greek deli. And for breakfast we liked the Greek restaurant near our place as well as the Italian restaurant brunch, although more often than not we went to the buffet because this was often easier with two young kids who wanted feeding as soon as possible. Which reminds me; most of the a la carte restaurants didn't open until 8am for breakfast and the earliest breakfast buffet was the one in Sky, opening at 7:15, I believe, which we needed on our last day as we had an early departure.
While I'm no foodie, I do enjoy my food and if I'm going to be eating in the same or similar places every day for a week, I like to have plenty of variety and great quality of food. I also want my kids to eat as healthily as possible, and I would say that Ikos Dassia's dining options more than catered to these key needs.
The Weather at Ikos Dassia
It may seem a bit silly to add the weather in here but I feel it's worth saying that our visiting to Corfu in late September really did deliver the best weather. We stayed at Ikos Dassia for one week and during that time the weather hovered around the mid 20s (celsius) with the hottest days getting close to 30 degrees.
We had one day where the afternoon was rainy and stormy but this really didn't bother us as the kids went to their kids club and we had an afternoon in the spa booked. In the evening we could still sit outside to eat dinner and it would only really feel chilly (as in a cool breeze, not actually cold) around 8 o'clock which actually was the boys' bedtime (and sometimes ours too!) so we were happy to head back inside or back to our room then.
For us, going earlier in the season (apart from the very beginning of the season) would have meant the days would have been too hot to be outside all the time without shade, and even with shade it may have been too hot for our boys. We spoke to many members of staff and heard that in the heatwave of last summer, there were many days of 40 degree heat and that is just too hot for us!
Things to do at Ikos Dassia
While we chose to stay in the resort for pretty much the entire week, there was a free shuttle bus to take guests to and from Corfu Town and there was also the possibility to hire a Mini Cooper for free for the day so you could explore the island by yourself. A free sunset cruise was included in everyone's package but we didn't take advantage of this as it took place around our kids' bedtime.
There is a lot to do in the resort and each morning at breakfast a day programme was sitting on each table so you could see what was available. Activities included yoga and fitness sessions (there were also gyms in
There was watersports in the resort - and my partner went wakeboarding one morning when the sea was relatively calm - and there was also the possibility to hire a boat to go around the island. Although these cost extra, they were available right on the resort's beach and were easy to do. I think it's these kind of extras and the included activities that really do set Ikos Dassia apart from other resorts and make it appealing all different kinds of guests.
Is the Deluxe Collection worth it?
So, before we went to stay at Ikos Dassia we saw lots of reviews talking about how if you're not in the Deluxe Collection, it's not worth going to Ikos Dassia; that it creates too much of a "them and us" mentality. I'm not sure if it was because the resort wasn't full when we were staying there, or if it was because we didn't really use all of the Deluxe Collection facilities or services, but we really didn't feel that way. yes, that could also be because we were able to use these facilities.
The beach area and the Deluxe Collection pool bars (but only for the drinks, not actually the pool!) were the main facilities we did use, as well as our free 25 minutes massages in the spa. These were excellent - so much so that we booked to go back for a longer massage.
While I did get very excited about the unpacking and packing service, in the end this wasn't offered to us, and while it's true I didn't ask about it specifically - I ended up forgetting and unpacking and packing myself - it was a little disappointing to realise one key benefit hadn't even been offered up.
The so-called "exclusive check-in and check-out" service also didn't appear to materialise, and I talk a bit about this and what the personal concierge was like below.
Essentially, I see the Deluxe Collection as an up-sell feature. It feels like you're joining a special membership or club when n reality the facilities and service you get as standard is more than good enough. It was also effective in enticing us to get more treatments in the spa. One thing my partner will insist I say is that the cocktails and drinks menu for Deluxe Collection were better.
What Could Have Been Better at Ikos Dassia
So, let's get really honest in this Ikos Dassia review. What could have been better?
Well, as I mention briefly above, the special check-in and check-out just didn't really happen. We've had this kind of service at Sani and I think (although cannot be sure) that it relates to checking in and checking out directly in your accommodation with your personal concierge. Not only did we not have this when we arrived at Ikos Dassia but we actually had to wait in the lobby with all our bags and very over-tired kids (who had been up since 4am to get an early flight) for over 20 minutes before they even started check-in.
We were then only met by a Deluxe Collection concierge when we mentioned how long we'd been waiting and how we'd been promised a special check-in at the front desk. This didn't feel very exclusive at all and honestly speaking, really didn't align with how much money we had spent to be there. And when it came to check out, we weren't offered anything other than just going to the front desk to pay our bill.
Also touched on above, we didn't get all the Deluxe Collection extras that are listed on the website. We didn't have nor were we offered the packing or unpacking service. Likewise with the dinner on the beach, although we were told we could go on a sunset cruise (but we later found out this available to all guests not just Deluxe Collection). There was a bottle of sparkling wine in our room at arrival but it wasn't Tattinger (we really didn't care/mind but perhaps others would be disappointed).
Our personal concierge was very friendly, had great upbeat energy and got us checked in to our accommodation quickly once we chased staff up on this. He spoke excellent English was chatty, and told us that his job was to ensure our holiday was a success in all senses of the word. However, once we did make a few requests for him to help us on, we didn't exactly get the same response. Specifically we asked if our pool temperature could be turned up. It wasn't cold but it could have been a bit warmer to make it more comfortable, especially for our 10 month old son. Likewise, we asked if he could enquire about us hiring a boat for the day, and he basically told us to go to the boat rental place ourselves. This was fine and wasn't a huge inconvenience but it didn't quite match up with what we were promised at our check-in.
I'm not sure if this is a con or even a criticism but Ikos Dassia felt A LOT like Sani. This wasn't really a bad thing, of course, because we love Sani, but it did feel a bit copy and paste in places (even the room decor was almost identical which you will see if you check out the photos in this post) so if you were hoping for a completely different holiday experience from Sani you definitely won't get it by going to an Ikos resort.
More Photos of Ikos Dassia
That pretty much concludes this review of Ikos Dassia, but in case you wanted to have a better idea of what Ikos Dassia looks like, here are some more photos for you to have a look at. If you want to know the best available rates for Ikos Dassia you can find them on Booking or on TripAdvisor, where you can see more traveller photos too.
FURTHER READING: If you want to read about more luxury resorts that are ideal for families check out this list of the world's best family-friendly luxury resorts, or the best Maldives resorts for families, and there are also my individual reviews of Sani Resort, Point Yamu by COMO in Phuket, and Kandima Maldives. You can find all my luxury family travel blog posts here.
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Frances M. Thompson
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