Hardly a day goes by when Rhodes doesn’t see sunshine and blue skies. It’s the largest of Greece’s Dodecanese islands and one of the sunniest places in the world, so perfect tans are guaranteed. Sam reports back on her stay at Gennadi Grand Resort – an eco-friendly retreat…
Most holidaymakers prefer to avoid long transfers, which is why the north of the island is popular due to its close proximity to Diagoras Airport. This is where you’ll find the island’s clubbing capital, Faliraki, with its lively bars, clubs and beach parties.
South Rhodes in comparison has a much quieter vibe and has remained relatively untouched. Take Lindos for example, which is a charming archetypal Greek town fringed with sugar cube houses, traditional tavernas and medieval ruins.
A short drive from Lindos lies the village of Gennadi where the Minettos family have continued to expand their hotel empire with the Gennadi Grand Resort. The hotel welcomed its first customers in May this year and business is already booming.
I visited in late October and it was 70 per cent full, however, you’d never have known because the resort is so vast I barely came into contact with another guest. The décor is ultra-modern and super chic with clean lines, open spaces and neutral colours. The zen-like simplicity has a soothing effect that extends throughout the extensive grounds.
When it comes to views you’re spoilt for choice. Look out to one side of the property and you’ll see rugged mountains, and then gaze across to the other side to find the Aegean Sea.
The flat-roofed buildings house 286 rooms, including a selection of suites that sleep up to five people. My junior suite had a large bedroom with a wooden screen that separated the open plan bathroom. I rejoiced at the sight of a Nespresso coffee machine and there was a large flatscreen TV, not that I even had time to locate the remote. I also appreciated the attention to detail, like a USB port next to the bed.
The only disappointment struck when I realised there wasn’t a bath. Later I felt like a right diva when I learned this was because the hotel are trying to minimise water consumption – just one of the sustainable initiatives.
But what the hotel lacks in bath tubs, it certainly makes up for in swimming pools. There are 161 private pools, plus two massive public pools – and one of them twinkles at night, which was absolute social media gold. The hotel uses sea water to fill the pool and also to flush the toilets and water the gardens.
If there’s one thing you can guarantee during your stay at Gennadi, that’s a food baby. Well actually, probably several food babies. In total there are 12 bars and restaurants and if the fact I returned home wearing my belt on a looser hole is anything to go by, I’m pretty sure I dined at all of them.
By far my favourite was the exclusive second floor restaurant where breakfast is taken very seriously. We were presented with everything from platters of smoked salmon to a tiered cake stand of treats that wouldn’t look out of place at afternoon tea at The Ritz. This was a banquet fit for a queen. There’s an a la carte menu too but I applaud you if you have any room left for the eggs benedict.
Cheese lovers will want to head to the Οuζo Tavern for the Sfakia pie. I’m salivating at the thought of this filo pastry parcel stuffed with soft cheese drizzled with honey. Don’t forget to also try some Greek spirits and I’m not talking about Ouzo (although feel free to drink that too).
I spent an afternoon with local sommelier Dimitrios James, who designs the drinks menu at Gennadi, learning about the country’s traditional liquors. He knocked up a twist on an Aperol Spritz using Tsipouro, which is a potent spirit made from grapes. But the real crowd pleaser was an Amaretto Sour-inspired cocktail made using Metaxa topped with this gloriously pink hibiscus foam. It tasted sickly sweet in the best sort of way.
If I had to find a minor criticism with the resort (and I’m struggling!), the evening entertainment was slightly off. Four men belting out ‘I would walk 500 miles’ was not my cup of tea but the others guests seemed to be loving it.
In terms of facilities, I’d give the hotel gym top marks. I’ve stayed at many places where the gym consists of a treadmill and an exercise mat squeezed into a cubbyhole, so it was good to see plenty of machines and even a TRX. The spa is a total showstopper and offers a range of Greek-inspired signature rituals, facials and body treatments that will rejuvenate stressed-out souls. There are also tennis courts and next year the hotel plans to build an outdoor gym and aerial yoga studio.
Gennadi is the hotel that has it all; sun, sea and sustainability. It does involve a slightly longer journey to get there but boy was it worth the extra travel time.
Rooms at Gennadi Grand Resort start at €250 (approx. £223) per night, based on double occupancy with breakfast. Half board and ultra-all-inclusive options are also available.