At Kenwood Travel, the service doesn’t stop when you touch down in your home country after travelling. Our experts are always on hand for enquiries and recently, we’ve been keen to touch base with those who have gone on holiday with us this year, experiencing all the changes to travel – both big and small – along the way. This week, we’re sharing a conversation we’ve had with Filipa, who has just returned from Greece with her family. We got the low-down on what having a holiday in Greece is like at the moment, what felt familiar, what felt different, and whether she would do it all over again.
Firstly, please introduce yourself!
My name is Filipa, I am 45 years old, Portuguese, and a mother to 2 children – my son is 6 years old and my daughter is 13. We enjoy travelling through Asia (mainly the Maldives and Malaysia) although we also enjoy visiting historic cities in Europe, for example: Vienna, Rome, London, St. Petersburg and of course Lisbon.
We heard you’ve just returned from your holiday! Where did you go and who with?
I travelled with my family and some friends to Costa Navarino, Greece. It is located in the south of mainland Greece (a 3 hour drive from Athens) and is known for being a luxury beach destination in Europe with a recent spike in the development of tourism. We decided to travel within Europe this year due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. What brought us to travel this year and not stay at home was because we wanted to relieve the stress of the pandemic and to get outside after a long lockdown. Greece had made a big effort to maintain a very low number of cases with less than 4000 cases in July when we travelled.
How did you feel whilst travelling? Was anything different?
All things considered, my family and I felt very safe while travelling. The airline (Aegean), the hotel and transfers in between had many protective measures put in place to ensure our safety, for example: the air stewards used gloves, masks and plastic face covers over the top. They also gave us our food in small sealed boxes to ensure minimum contact. The check-in was done swiftly and safely, all while ensuring passengers maintain a safe distance between each other.
The Greek government also has a ‘pre-screen’ in place to make sure they know where people entering the country have recently flown to. Is mandatory to fill out an online form at least 24 hours before the flight, after which you receive a QR code that you need to show at the boarding gate (you cannot board without this QR code). Some people from our flight made the coronavirus test on arrival after scanning the QR code.
Where did you stay?
We stayed at The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino – a hotel we had never stayed at before as it was also our first time in Greece. Our favourite parts of the hotel were how family-friendly the atmosphere was, the rooms were very spacious and clean, and the staff were always so kind. The traditional Greek food and the other large variety of dishes at the restaurants were also fantastic!
Were there any new measures in place to ensure you felt safe and happy?
The hotel was very well set up to ensure our safety, the staff were all always wearing masks, gloves, and had hand sanitiser at the ready. Some of the waitstaff at particular restaurants even wore two masks at once while serving us. The hotel would also provide us with new and clean masks every day to ensure we always had some at hand.
Also, there was a free voluntary test on arrival for one of our family members. Your temperature is always measured if you exit the hotel premises and re-enter. Meanwhile there is also an automatic thermometer at the lobby (no contact) which guests can use whenever they like. The chairs at the pools, restaurants and beach had enough distance from each other. Every time that we finished using the chairs, the staff came immediately to clean and sanitise them.
Sounds pretty thorough. Did you enjoy Greece as a whole?
Greece as a whole is an amazing destination. The people both inside and outside of the hotel were always extremely kind and welcoming and all activities were open (despite some restrictions on some kids’ activities).
What was it like travelling as a family?
My children adapted well to the new situations presented by travelling at the moment and very much enjoyed themselves. Travelling to them felt quite natural as we are usually also cautious while travelling and the only differences were that we had to wear masks and disinfect our seats (the airplane was very clean but nevertheless we cleaned the seats with wipes). They were allowed to remove the masks for eating and drinking.
What was the best memory from your holiday?
Our best memories from the holiday were spending time on the beach – from long morning walks on the sand to dinners by the shore. The seawater was very clean and 27°C every day. Meanwhile the weather was outstanding with absolutely no rain. We also thoroughly enjoyed being able to stay with our friends in a place where we felt safe with very low risk of being affected by the coronavirus in a very relaxed atmosphere.
What would you say to someone who was thinking about travelling at the moment?
I definitely recommend travelling to Costa Navarino at this time to someone who wants a getaway from the imposing threat of the virus or stress from lockdown, granted they are not coming from a high-risk area. My biggest tips when travelling to Costa Navarino would be to travel directly to Kalamata international airport, to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare and to make sure to disinfect your hands regularly and possibly areas of your chair that you will be frequently touching.
Were you happy with the service at Kenwood Travel?
Yes, Kenwood was extremely helpful (like always) especially when it came to having to adjust the dates of our stay due to flight alterations. I would most certainly book my future holidays to Greece and beyond with Kenwood Travel.
The Kenwood Travel Promise
We’ve launched the Kenwood Travel Promise to ensure that our customers can book with confidence. Booking has never been so easy with flexible arrangements for payment, travel amendments, and even the option to cancel your booking if you need to – putting your deposit into credit status. We’re also proud to say that when you book with us, you’ll have the direct contact details of a personal travel specialist – so if you have questions or concerns, you’ll always have someone to talk to. Also enjoy instalment options and low deposits starting from just £99 per person.
Booking your holiday with Kenwood Travel
Now is an amazing time to book your holiday with Kenwood Travel. The Travel Is Back On Sale features exciting worldwide offers, discounts up to 65%, exclusive extras, and so much more. Reserve your next adventure today for later this year or 2021 – whether you’re set on family-friendly Florida, an indulgent Indian Ocean escape, or even a Greek getaway like Filipa. Visit the Kenwood Travel website or call 020 7749 9220 to speak to one of our specialists. The sale must end September 30th.