Travel by Bill McCarthy
The beautiful island of Rhodes is famous for a number of things among them the Colossus of Rhodes, a statue of the Greek sun-god Helios, erected in 280 BC and, ahem, Anthony Quinn.
Why Anthony Quinn? Well, he was one of the stars of the blockbuster Guns of Navarone, which was partly filmed on the island.
The Colossus has long gone, but Quinn left a lasting legacy.
He so loved the island he bought some land with a fabulous beach and it became Anthony Quinn Bay, near Falaraki.
It’s not the only fabulous beach. Rhodes is the largest and most popular island of Dodecanese. With 300 days of sunshine, it offers plenty of choice for holidaymakers and a famous medievel old town which is an absolute must for a visit.
Our first visit to the Greek islands to us to the huge Aldemar Resort in Kalithea, not far from the capital, which includes the impressively located Amilia Mare hotel and Paradise Village.
We stayed in the main hotel complex on a fully inclusive basis. The well-equipped rooms offer either garden or sea view, with ours, the latter, offering a spectacular vista across the Mediterranean. The rooms are comfortable and spacious with modern bathroom, TV, fridge and free wi-fi.
The hotel itself is huge with a number of bars, inside and out and a choice of restaurants serving food and drink throughout the day and if you are still peckish late on, a sandwich supper is laid on.
There is a choice of themed restaurant, two buffet eateries, and speciality restaurants dealing in Italian, Greek, Chinese and French cuisine.
A big bonus on a stay of this nature is there is no need to cross a road to get to the resort’s private beach
Sunbeds, umbrellas, outdoor showers, changing rooms and beach towels all part of the package and for those a bit more active water sports facilities are also available on the beach.
If you don’t fancy the sea, there are outdoor pools, two freshwater and three are salt water, plus for the more adventurous an 80 metres water slide and seemingly endless facilities with floodlit tennis, minigolf, football and a huge outdoor chess board.
Inside there’s a games room with internet access, gym and spa facilities. Daily programmes of activities includes everything from water polo to basketball and beach volleyball from an extremely lively entertainments team, which carries on with shows in the bars during the evenings.
Thinking of getting hitched and a small chapel on the grounds provides couples with the perfect backdrop for a civil wedding ceremony.
It’s not the newest of hotels which the management acknowledge, but is in the process of going through an extensive refit. Having said that, the whole place is spotlessly clean, the staff, all of them that I met, were unfailingly polite and friendly and informative. The prices are also competitive.
It’s fair to say food is excellent, both in how it is cooked and the variety. You also have the option of dining on the restaurant balcony over looking the Med
Rhodes town is just a 20 minute ride on one of the hotel shuttle buses for around a fiver each return to the impressive medieval town with its huge walls surrounding the central tourist area in the old town.
It features strong walls, an impressive castle, paved paths and elegant stone mansions.
It is also packed with bars, restaurants and shops of all descriptions, literally scores of them competing for the tourists, particularly those off the giant cruise ships who have deep pockets.
It certainly attracts the rich and famous with huge yachts joining the cruise liners anchored in the busy harbour
However, beware of ordering a large beer. We ordered two and they duly arrived in huge wellington-shaped glasses, each containing two litres and costing a healthy 40 euros.We could have sent them back, but, when in Rome, so to speak, battled through for a couple of hours.
Quite an experience in one of the finest old towns I have ever visited.
Further afield, hire a car and the pretty resort of Lindos with the Acropolis on top is a must.
Elsewhere there are some magnificent beaches including the picturesque and secluded, certainly when we went, Tsampika Beach. With soft golden sand the bay offers an almost Caribbean atmosphere with its drinks huts and and food stalls few and far between, while parking is also free on the edge of the beach itself.
Just the ticket if you want even just a bit of break from the wall to wall eating and drinking at the hotel.
The first time visiting the Greek islands, it won’t be the last.
Stay at the Aldemar Amelia Mare in Kalithea, Rhodes on all-inclusive basis with prices from £686 per person for 10 June departure from East Midlands Airport with return flights, transfers in resort and 7 nights accommodation with garden view on all-inclusive. Call TUI on 0203 636 1931 or visit www.tui.co.uk Transfers from Rhodes airport are just 25 minutes.
To book your own flights from a number of different airports including Birmingham check out easyjet and for accommodation visit www.aldemar-resorts.gr
For general information on the island of Rhodes check out the Greek Tourist Office www.visitgreece.gr