I love a good package holiday. I love knowing that my transfers are taken care of, my hotel is sorted and I’ll have a friendly holiday rep waiting for me at the hotel should I have any questions or concerns. Sometimes, when you’re looking for a relaxing break, these things are important! So I was on the Thomson website looking at last minute deals and found the Princess Golden Beach Hotel situated in the Golden Beach resort of Thassos, Greece. You may be a little dubious about travelling to Greece given the current financial confusion hanging over the country, but don’t let that put you off! Travel with cash, keep that cash secure and wherever you can, pay in advance.
The Princess Golden Beach is a new all inclusive, four star hotel, having opened up in 2015 as far as I am aware. However it is not the typical huge hotel complex all inclusive you may think of. The hotel is comparatively small, with very contemporary, boutique style rooms. The all inclusive options are not available as freely as you may be used to, but nevertheless you can quite easily access drinks, snacks and cocktails throughout the day and most of the night!
The hotel offers twin and double rooms as well as some rooms with the option of a third person on a single sofa bed. There are also larger rooms and suites available, so almost any family or group size can be catered for. The square footage of the rooms, and bathrooms is smaller than you may expect from a four star hotel, but the rooms are well designed with a decent amount of storage space. However, in many of the rooms the hanging space for clothes is not within a wardrobe.
The rooms are modern, clean and have comfortable beds which are kitted out with sheets and pillows when you arrive with optional additional pillows and blankets available in your cupboard. There is a small safe (just about large enough for an iPad, wallets, passports and documents) and a small fridge which is free to use. I find having a fridge in a room invaluable, especially in the summer. I store water, drinks and even after sun moisturiser in there to make sure I quickly cool down after a hot day on the beach! The rooms have powerful air conditioning units in them which I found to be very quiet and very grateful for!
Your travel agent may offer you Mountain View or Side Sea View, with an additional payment required for the Side Sea View room. Don’t be sucked in! The Mountain View is absolutely stunning, and this end of the Golden Beach resort is fairly quiet, particularly at night. The Side Sea View is borderline non existent, as there are many trees and a small campsite between the hotel and the beach, so don’t bother paying the extra!
All three meals are set up as buffets within the main restaurant. At dinner time there are two complete main meal options which are listed at the buffet and you can then order from any member of staff who will bring it to your table.
Breakfast was a healthy mix of cereals, fruit, yoghurt, cheeses, pancakes and a cooked breakfast selection as well as breads and pastries. Lunch was a variety of dishes, alongside a huge salad bar and I found myself enjoying a large Greek salad with a huge helping of tzatziki ever lunch! Dinner had a good mixture of options, including always pasta and sauce as a good children’s alternative. The best food in the hotel was, understandably, the Greek dishes. The moussaka and lamb kleftiko were absolutely incredible – the most delicious food I have had in a very long time!
The pool bar offers ice cream and snacks throughout the day, as well as a selection of cocktails, beers and soft drinks which are available on the all inclusive package.
When you’re paying hundreds of pounds per person for a week or two in the sun, you want to be somewhere that offers exactly what you’re after! The Princess Golden Beach has a fairly large swimming pool, surrounded by sun beds and tables and chairs. As the hotel is only a two or three minute walk to the beach, the pool area is generally pretty quiet during the day. There are pool inflatables available to all at the poolside, and a ping pong table to entertain yourself! The hotel’s entertainment manager is around most of the day offering aqua aerobics, water polo and ping pong tournaments to any willing volunteers!
Thassos is a small Greek island with no airport of its own, so you never need to worry about your hotel being directly under the flight path of the daily package holiday flights landing. Occasionally light aircraft and seaplanes may meander overhead but nothing that will disturb your hard work enjoying the sun, sea and sand! In order to transfer from the airport to your hotel you’ll need to take a ferry (40 mins) so the transfer can take about two hours. However, as this is less than an hour total on board a coach it’s actually a very pleasant way to travel!
Princess Golden Beach is located at the quieter end of the Golden Beach resort, but still has plenty to offer. There are several small supermarkets and souvenir shops within a five minute walk of the hotel and a handful of tavernas. A chilled out beach bar offers shade, free wifi and cold drinks if you don’t fancy walking the two or three minutes back to the hotel. The beach is only a couple of minutes walk from the hotel and offers sun beds (€5 per day), kayaking, pedalo hire and the usual beach activities. If you fancier a livelier night, head down toward the harbour end of Golden Beach where you’ll find bars, street entertainment, shops and games.
There’s a land train which takes you around that end of Golden Beach, and a taxi costs around €6 from Princess Golden Beach to that end of town.
Finally, the staff at Princess Golden Beach were absolutely delightful and constantly cheerful and willing to do whatever they could for you. Whether that’s in the restaurant, on reception or behind the pool bar, you felt instantly on friendly terms with everyone at the hotel which makes your holiday experience so much better.
Whilst the hotel is fairly new and has some slight teething problems, it is absolutely a great location full of great people and I wouldn’t hesitate to return to Princess Golden Beach for another relaxing sunny break!