Out: EZY8791 A320
Back: EZY8794 A320
Rimowa Salsa Air cabin case
Hire car from Europcar
Total travel time 4 hours 20 mins from London
One option is Rhodes. Lined with miles of beaches, a mountainous centre and plenty of history including old crusader castles, churches and medieval towns with over half the year covered in sun. Rhodes is a great option for a holiday, especially in the latter months when it gets quiet as you can avoid some of the crowds as over 2 million people descend on Rhodes every year. In October you still get consistent sun, a dry heat, which isn’t unbearable, plus plenty of space to get around as Rhodes starts winding down for the winter season.
We booked in to the newly opened Casa Cook in Kolymbia, a short drive from the airport thanks to Europcar with the unexpected upgrade to a top-of-the-range BMW rental car. Set in luscious green grounds with plenty of palm trees, Casa Cook is the first boutique “concept” hotel from Thomas Cook. This is about as far you could come from the image most people have in mind when they visualise a Thomas Cook holiday.
Rhodes is lined with miles of beaches, a mountainous centre and plenty of history including old crusader castles, churches and medieval towns and spends over half the year draped in the sun
The reception area is impressive as the complex, containing a store where you can purchase all the cool products you see and use around the hotel. There is a lot of cast iron furniture, wicker chairs, and hammocks across the resort and also in the rooms.
The rooms are decorated in a bohemian way, with Short Motivation offered the split-level suite with large private pool. The room looked great, initially, but we noted certain issues if you enjoy your privacy when you shower or use the bathroom, but these are minor issues in comparison. Although the room had basic tea-making facilities, we also noticed a lack of Nespresso maker, which we’d always expect in the top-end room in any luxury resort.
All the rooms come with a ‘private’ swimming pool by the terrace. Whilst we had a big pool out the back of the room, ultimately it is shared with adjacent rooms. We’ve heard stories where middle rooms within the resort are plagued with swimmers swimming across their pool to achieve their lengths. Our advice is, if you pick a corner room you get enough shielding to give you the feel of a private pool for yourself as it cannot be crossed by other swimmers.
Casa Cook is perfectly set up for you should you want to relax, if you pick the right room. It is also ideally placed should you want to venture for some excursions nearby or hit Ristretto Cafe which provides some the best coffee we’ve tasted on Greek islands by short distance. A rental car is recommended for excursions further afield, although the hotel provides bikes if you want to head to the beach.
Our corner split level suite had a pool with impressive views on to the mountains, where we could see the picturesque Tsambika church right at the top of the mountain. After a large breakfast and ample in the kitchen club we embarked on the hike you can take up to Tsambika church, which takes around an hour and you may well break into a sweat, particularly in the Summer months. Although, the long trek makes the effort worthwhile for views across the island.
For the active, you can use this mountainous terrain to provide plenty of running obstacles, with hill sprints, rock (box) jumps and more! We went out the back of the resort on a couple of occasions to run up towards the top of the mountain.
What Rhodes doesn’t lack is a range of superb beaches with crystal clear water. There is a nice long sandy stretch of beach right around the corner of the mountain, a short distance from the resort, of which Tsambika church resides. Tsambika beach can be reached by one of the practical rental bicycles which Casa Cook provides and on the beach and adding some salt water to the sun provides the perfect ingredient for nourishing your skin.
While Tsambika beach provided long stretches of sands with areas to play ball games, including areas to play volleyball, it really wasn’t a match for one of the island’s greatest swimming places, Anthony Quinn Bay. Pristine crystal-clear water, the perfect temperature and fantastic weather provided a great back drop for a pleasant swim, with plenty of visibility in the water making it ideal for snorkelling.
For the evenings there are plenty of restaurants, but if you want classic Greek fayre at a reasonable price, the Taverna Manolis in Kolymbia serves up a treat. Expect it to get busy, though. We didn’t book and had to wait for a seat, but it was worth the wait.
All things considered, you can still get great weather when heading to the Greek Islands towards the end of the year. A huge positive is that there is a diminishing crowd as well so you have plenty of space to enjoy yourself, take in the sights and recharge yourself for the winter season back home.