Right, let me give some context to my review. I am 32 and stayed at Island Beach with my husband who is 35 and our friends who are another couple aged 32 and 21 (yes my mate is a cougar), so guess who originally chose/booked the holiday? Yes, that's right, the 22 year old. My husband and I were looking for a break without our kids (cheers for the babysitting mum and dad) and our child-free friends said 'why not come to Kavos at the same time/same place as us?' So we thought 'eff it' and booked. In recent years I am used to travelling to family friendly places and as an only child was always taken to quite upmarket places by my parents.
In a very uncharacteristic manner, I booked this holiday before reading Trip Advisor and went in total panic mode when I did. After reading the reviews, I then decided to upgrade to a superior annex room from a standard annex that I had originally booked. At least I DID read Trip Advisor before actually travelling so wasn't ever expecting to stay in the main hotel! It seems most bad reviews are from people who haven't really read things properly/ been misled by the booking agent and thought they were staying on the main site only to arrive and find they are in an annex. This isn't the hotel's fault so many of the reviews are unfair.
When we arrived at the hotel our friends checked in fine and were staying in a separate annex building which was fine as we had actually booked separately and it was quite nice to have that bit of space as two couples. If you want to be in the same buildings as your mates it's best to book all together from the start I think. When it was our turn to check in the hotel had our booking as 'cancelled' - probably due to the original room being cancelled to make way for the upgrade and the message not being communicated properly from the booking agent. However, the lovely receptionist Lorraine sorted this out quickly and put us in the Bahamas block which was right opposite the hotel. I can see how things like this would cause mass problems in peak season when the hotel was rammed and they simply don't have any spare rooms but we traveled 22-29 Aug when things were starting to quieten down a bit it but it was still lively (It was a nice time to go as Mid Jun - Mid Jul is probably a bit overcrowded). Our room hadn't been cleaned when we were shown to it and it seemed the maids didn't realise the previous occupants had left as they hadn't changed the beds, emptied the bins or removed the stuff they had left in the fridge but HAD swept the floor and cleaned the bathroom. This was sorted very quickly and seen as though the booking was cancelled in the hotel's book we were pleased how quick they saw us right. I had tried to email the hotel in advance through their website, twitter and facebook to check they had details of the upgrade but never got a reply. But there was no problem in the end so can't really complain about this.
The room was basic but perfectly clean (the maids came every day) and adequate for the money (we paid £650 for flights, transfers and superior annex room). The beds were comfy enough and the towels and bedding were changed once during the week but we were given clean towels when we specifically asked the maid. Some people have said their maids were miserable/unhelpful in reviews I have read but we didn't find this at all - if it is the case just swat them 10 euro and they will help you out for your whole stay I should imagine. The shower didn't have a holder but all you have to do is wash your hair bent over with your head upside down - hardly a biggie! The water did go a bit cold at peak times but, as someone has said, it's nice to have a cool shower. Our mates had a standard annex room compared to our superior. There wasn't a massive amount of difference but our room was a lot bigger so wasn't so hot and stuffy (if you have aircon it won't matter). I would probably advise this - if you are travelling in the busiest time either have a superior annex or stay in the main hotel. If you are travelling when it's dying off, like we did, then it's probably okay to have a standard room. Obviously, when it's less busy they will fill up the nicest rooms first and probably still have spaces in the grottier ones - so you are more likely to get a decent one.
Budget for aircon as it's red hot and if you open any windows or doors the mosquitos will have you - my mates tried it without aircon for the first couple of nights (tight wads) and the girl got bitten all over her ar*e while sleeping starkers face down!) Mossies really did do my head in so buy some decent repellent and a bite stick! We were told on the last day that the locals put a cup of fresh orange juice on the bedside table to trap them and stop them biting so it may be worth a try. But that is just Southern Europe in August - it would be the same wherever you went in that area.
The hotel itself is small but the pool area is nice - it looks lovely at night all lit up. Yes, the water turns white swimwear a bit green and probably does the same to bleached hair but this is Kavos and I'm not surprised it needs a lot of chlorine to stay clean! The pool DJ starts at 2pm till 6pm each day, plays a variety of music and is very funny ('shout out to Becky Binden' - don't ask) but the music is quite loud. If you prefer it a bit quieter you can go on the beach (other side of pool bar) or many of the annex building have their own pool. The pool party on Sunday's is a good laugh and there are some funny games to get involved in or just watch (if you are a pansy like me). Sunloungers weren't a problem for us but it may be different at high season. The pool toilets weren't bad and I am the kind of person who totally FREAKS about having to use public toilets - again it may be worse in high season. The drains do have a problem with overflowing but this is in the field next to the hotel rather than in hotel grounds - just find a sunlounger away from that side of the pool.
The hotel bar staff we met were great - shout out to Marta (amazing Polish/Scottish accent) and Taz! Bamboo (the hotel bar that stays open till 7am) was pretty quiet when we were there but It was nice for a quiet drink in the early hours where you could actually hear each other well enough to have a conversation! The hotel Wifi was free but a bit hit and miss - it kept getting stuck. If you were that bothered you could probably ask them to restart the router but most of the restaurants in Kavos had free wifi that was better so just pay for a drink and use their wifi for half an hour!
The beach wasn't very clean but it is Kavos! The sea itself seems pretty clean and very warm but because the tide is mild the beach doesn't get cleaned naturally. Don't bother with the jetskis nearest the hotel - they are limited to 35mph so couldn't do any tricks (hubby well upset as used to 60mph + in other resorts).
As for Kavos, I was a bit worried as I am a 32 yr old mother of two and wasn't sure how I would fit in but I loved it! There are loads of bars playing lots of different music so there is something for everyone. We were told by a guy who works in Kavos that JC's Bar, Ice Bar, Rolling Stone, Hotel Lefkimi and Fresh Bar were the only places he would drink in as they serve proper drinks rather than watered down stuff. We tested this theory and would recommend all those places if you want to get smashed on a budget. We didn't bother with any paint parties, full moon parties etc and we were glad - they looked to be rubbish and only lasted a couple of hours. In fact we were shocked how quickly the paint party was over for the money (we could tell as all the attendees had matching T shirts and were back out on the strip very quickly). We didn't do the booze cruise either (the boat looked packed on the photos and I'm not down for sailing without being able to sit down!) and I reckon you can have enough fun in Kavos without being ripped off for events.
We did go to the water park and it was okay. We had a good day but I'm a bit of a pansy when it comes to water slides so wasn't looking for the most scary slides in Europe! There were a few slides that were steep etc but I have been to better water parks. The 35 euro ticket includes 10 euro transfers so if there are a few of you in may be worth hiring a car for the day (about 40/50 euro per day - expensive because it's Kavos and there aren't many car hire places) and just paying the 25 euro entry fee when you get there. That way you get there quicker and can go for a drive into the gorgeous Corfu Town for the evening afterwards (which is what we did). We actually had our car for 2 days and as our car was a 4x4 we could access the secret beach which was gorgeous and unspoiled. You could also get to it on a quad - it's only a couple of KMs outside Kavos and the locals will direct you if you ask for the beach near the Monastery of the Blessed - it's WELL worth a visit.
All in all, I had a wicked time at the Island Beach but I was expecting the worst so was pleasantly surprised. Just remember that this is Kavos - it's never going to be a luxury resort. Food is cheap and pretty decent. All the restaurants are clean and tidy - I recommend the Hungry Hippos and Peri Peri Chicken.
I reckon a lot of the bad reviews are from middle class uni students who are used to being taken to 5 star hotels by mummy and daddy and don't realise you get what you pay for in this life! Go, enjoy it and let your hair down! The Island Beach is the perfect beach for this kind of holiday. If you don't want a bit of a mad 'un don't go to Kavos or the Island! But, Corfu itself is a very picturesque island so there will be other resorts that will suit you better. If you want a mixture then defo hire a car so you can explore for a few days - we found some beautiful places. Would go back but wouldn't dream of taking my kids as it's not that kind of place (obviously)! There weren't many families in Kavos or at the Island Beach but whenever I saw any I wanted to shout 'why the hell have you brought your kids to Kavos?!' (I think I actually did a couple of times after a few tequila sunrises!) ENJOY!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Island Beach Resort is the perfect place to keep cool in Kavos.The Hotel has a prime location, as it is right on the beach and only a few steps away from the resorts nightlife.It fuses comfort, elegance, entertainment and Greek hospitality right in the heart of the liveliest streets of the island. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Onthebeach, Hotels.com, LoveHolidays and Travel Republic (UK) so you can book your Island Beach Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Island Beach Hotel Kavos
- Island Beach Resort Kavos, Corfu