Britain’s so-called uncertainty seems to have done wonders for the all-inclusive holiday. New figures show how we’re dead keen to pay up front and then never having to trouble our wallets again.
What’s more, here at the new Ikos Dassia resort in Corfu — about eight miles north of Corfu town — all-inclusive even extends to the mini-bar and dinners in some restaurants beyond the hotel gates.
This is the fourth Ikos Dassia in Greece. It aims to provide the definitive answer for frazzled parents who love their children but yearn for some time away from them.
Ikos Dassia is right on the shore, occupying a long stretch of Corfu’s eastern coastline
What’s more, it remains open until the end of October, when temperatures are still around the 23c (74f) mark.
The rooms — there are 411 spread over 25 acres — are simple but tasteful, decked out in white and blue, with super-smart toiletries in the generous bathrooms. Ikos has plumped for Anne Semonin, an under-the-radar brand long adored by Parisian women, including Catherine Deneuve. A good sign.
Some guests have rooms with their own swimming pools, but for the rest of us, there are seven to choose from, including some which, mercifully, are adults only. One afternoon, I dragged myself away from the private beach as the sun dipped and headed to the spa — a haven of creamy marble and scented candles.
The resort has 411 rooms spread over 21 acres. Pictured is a generous and elegantly appointed suite with views of the Ionian sea
The thermal suite, complete with pretty Bisazza-tiled steam room, was empty when I visited, allowing me to spend a dreamy hour padding between steam and sauna (although I didn’t quite brave the ice cold bucket shower — a fun, but daunting, option). The spa pool was much more my speed. Again, I had it to myself (children are not welcome after 4pm, a masterstroke for mums looking for a some time to themselves). It was the perfect spot for a few lazy laps and a chapter of a novel on the elegant double sun-loungers with billowing white drapes. Then, a Pure Rejuvenation massage using olive oil. Pure joy.
Far, far away from the calm of the spa, there’s an engagingly rowdy children’s area full of little ones playing happily and splashing about under giant sprinklers.
There are kids clubs for all ages — the creche takes babies from four months (at a charge of £32 per session), but from four up to the teenage years, the craft-and-sports packed activity schedules are all included, so there’s no need to worry about forking out for childcare.
For sundowners, we swerved the mini bar and headed to the stylish terrace for cocktails looking out over the beach and the mountains. The next evening we nipped to the hotel’s own jetty for a beautiful, if blustery, boat trip up the coast — lovely as it was, it seemed rather a shame to loop straight back to shore.
The Byzantine castle of Angelokastro sits spectacularly on a cliff’s edge, 1,000ft up
Katherine recommends a trip to Paleokastritsa bay on the west coast of Corfu
Perhaps, mindful of this, the hotel has now added another boat trip option which sees guests sail to nearby Vido island for supper at a taverna.
This so-called ‘dine out’ experience is part of Ikos’s clever ‘escape button’ option. For the island is a delight, and it would be a great shame to stay in the grounds for your whole holiday and miss out.
Ikos has addressed this rather brilliantly: guests looking to explore the island get a day’s hire of a Mini Cooper. And it’s included in the price — so you can whizz round winding roads bordered by olive groves in search of the perfect little bay.
For the more adventurous, there’s the option of exploring the picturesque 17th-century monastery at the top of Mount Pantokrator, which has 360-degree views out over the sea.
Or, if you like, you can nip across to the other side of the island.
Be sure to stop for a bite in the charming village of Ano Korakiana on the way. Then drop in at Paleokastritsa bay — where, according to legend, the shipwrecked Odysseus clambered ashore on his way home to Ithaca from Troy.
And scale the atmospheric ruins of Angelokastro, a Byzantine castle that beetles over the sea from a precipitous 1,000ft drop.
It’s easy to explore as a day’s hire of a Mini Cooper is included in the price of all stays
For our evening on the tiles — another part of the package — we headed to Corfu town, starting with a stroll around the Old Town’s ancient streets, soaking up the pretty Venetian architecture and photogenic squares, and indulging in some surprisingly good shopping.
So stylish were the boutiques that one of our party picked up her mother-of-the-groom dress before dinner.
For supper, we headed to Rex, a buzzy spot for delicious spinach pie and equally good people watching. Then a short mini-bus ride back to the resort and the terrace bar for a nightcap. No credit card required. Bliss.
Katherine travelled with Sovereign Luxury Travel (01293 832 459, sovereign.com) which has a seven night all-inclusive holiday at Ikos Dassia from £1,239pp based on two travelling. The price includes private resort transfers and return flights from Gatwick with EasyJet. Based on a October 19 departure.