I’ve just come back from the most incredible holiday at Sani Dunes in Greece and I couldn’t wait to document my stay. It was easily the most blissfully relaxing holiday and I can talk about this for hours so grab a cuppa and get comfy, it’s detailed as requested!
Those of you that have been following me for a while will know that we’ve been going to Mexico/Dominican for many years to resorts by the same chain, but the 10+ hour flights have become harder and harder over the years and we’ve been looking for something that we loved as much without such a trek, so when the lovely Becks from thehousebuild shared her holiday videos from her 8th visit to Sani last year on Instagram I knew it had to be something special. I still remember reading the consistently 5-star Tripadvisor reviews for the place after watching her stories and we booked within weeks of that!
May 2019 finally came around and a short 3.5 hour flight later we arrived at Thessaloniki airport. We booked our flights and hotel together through British Airways and transfers separately with Transfers Thessaloniki. On arrival we were promptly greeted by the driver holding a sign with my name on it. I couldn’t fault the transfers at all, they were on time, professional and comfortable. In future we will book with Sani directly as they provide free transfers if you do – every saving helps! Sani Resort was about 40-50 minutes from the airport and was a pleasant drive through lots of greenery.
The first thing that hit us on arrival was the beautiful citrusy scent at the entrance followed by the spectacular lobby – just wow! The lobby (the whole resort really!) is an absolute interior lovers dream; the elegant neutral tones throughout, the giant dangling crystals, the stylish chrome accessories and the striking lighting features create the most tastefully decorated hotel we’ve ever stayed in, I was awestruck by every inch of the hotel decor!
We were greeted at the entrance to Sani Dunes by a member of staff and immediately handed a cold refreshing towel before the manager, Sakis, introduced himself and we were escorted to a leisurely check-in outside on the sofas with a drink of our choice and some nibbles.
The fact the manager made the time to speak to every guest on arrival, as well as the relaxed check-in process made us feel like we had arrived somewhere special from the get go. We then received an explanation of how the dine around programme at the resort worked and how to make dinner reservations before we were escorted to our room by golf buggy – they had lots of them around the resort to take you from one area to the next if needed.
We spent 8 nights in a double private garden room which was wonderful, even the rooms were decked out beautifully to my taste! Our room had a private little terrace area with sunbeds, an outdoor seating area and access by a mini gate to the pool just outside it.
Lots of drawers and cupboards meant there was plenty of space to unpack our suitcases and thoughtfully placed spot lighting meant the table and round mirror became the perfect getting ready spot for dinner for me!
The beds were so comfortable and they also had an extensive pillow menu to tailor to your needs. We stuck with the standard supplied duck feather down pillows and they were bliss – so much so that I checked the label before we left and will be ordering some for home, I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud! Isn’t that headboard also something special?!
We then upgraded for the last 2 nights of our stay to try a one bedroom grand balcony suite and absolutely fell in love with it – it felt like absolute luxury! (They do larger family suites and deluxe versions too)
The new suite had an additional living room, bath tub (as well as a shower), even more wardrobe space and a spacious balcony overlooking the pools.
We will definitely be going for one of these for the entire time on our next stay – it’s so worth the extra cost!
We normally go for all inclusive’s so have to admit I was a little unsure that they only offered full or half board options at Sani, but we were stuffed full by the end of every day! Food is definitely one of Sani’s biggest selling points for us, they really concentrate on delivering a culinary experience and we didn’t have a single unimpressive meal anywhere the entire time.
Breakfast was buffet style with the usual cooked breakfast options, lots of fresh fruits, cereals, pastries, cold meats, cheeses and a hot menu option with my favourite eggs Benedict made fresh.
Even at breakfast daily the manager and/or his team were present and greeted each guest before checking how their experience was going so far and if they needed anything – I was honestly so impressed with this.
We went for the full board option which meant we were part of the dine around programme; no matter how many times I read about this in advance I couldn’t quite get my head around how it worked until we got there and actually tried it, it’s simpler than it sounds! There’s a detailed breakdown here if you’re interested – Dine Around Programme.
Essentially it meant that we could either eat at the 3 buffet restaurants free of charge, eat from a set menu at half of the restaurants free of charge or eat from the a la carte menu at all restaurants with a deduction of 25 euros per person, per meal from the bill. They had over 22 restaurants spread out over the entire complex so we were not short of options and no two trips are likely to be the same. A handful of them are also fine dining restaurants (which we didn’t try) so they had something to cater for every taste.
Restaurants required reservations which we weren’t used to but this was made effortless with the Sani mobile app (we were even able to pre-book using the app before we arrived, which we made use of). The app also showed us which restaurants had set menu’s and allowed us to see the set and a la carte menu’s for each restaurant including prices ahead of going.
We did the set menu options for most nights at Vosporos (they serve the same menu at lunch too so it’s possible to try this one for lunch if you’re short of nights), Psaroyannos (this one had a lovely view of the marina), Ergon Deli (this one served huge portions!), Macaroni (this one did wood-fired pizza), Cabana (this one had a great view over the sea), Club Lounge (this one had great service and a lovely view), Pines (this one specialised in local produce which they explained to us at each course where it came from) and The Market (this one had the most extensive menu for us, as below).
We also did two evenings on the a la carte menu’s paying the supplements for greek nights at Artemis and the Ouzerie too (the Ouzerie one was much better, the food at both was good and a different menu to each other but the ouzerie just made an event out of it!). When staying at Sani Dunes the set menu at The Market meant we could pick any starter, main and dessert from the entire a la carte menu free of charge which was a great touch – the pork steak with carrot puree was delicious!
Our favourite night and meal of the stay was the greek night at the Ouzerie, it’s a must-do! They served so much food that evening, it was definitely value for money – hot and cold greek starters, a tray of food per person, a plate of greek desserts and a couple of shots of greek spirits! They had a live band (Nikos and friends) playing greek music with a stunning backdrop of the Aegean sea and after the meal the incredibly warm and friendly staff grabbed us up to greek dance around the tables – we had the best night of our stay!
Talking of food, our stay coincided with Sani Gourmet, a yearly food festival held at the resort full of Michelin starred chef’s and Perrier Jouet champagne. Each chef had a pod with a canapé they’d prepared for guests to try!
We attended the Sani Gourmet event held during the day and got to sample lots of tasty dishes created by Michelin starred chef’s from all over the world, as far as Singapore and the USA, as well as sip on rose champagne while listening to the live band.
It was such a unique experience and the whole event felt so special and exclusive. Each night the event took place in a couple of restaurants around Sani Resort and catered what looked like an unforgettable fine dining experience from the photos of it – if fine dining is your thing then this is for you!
Sani Dunes is part of Sani Resort which is a collection of 5 hotels built around a marina, they’re all interconnected and you have access to over 22 restaurants spread out between them all. It’s purpose built to feel like a mini village – whoever came up with this place is a genius in my option!
We walked around and had a nosey of all the other hotels; Sani Beach was tailored more towards those with young kids, Sani Club and Porto Sani were also aimed at families but in a more relaxed atmosphere, Sani Dunes had a clear grown up vibe with a small number of kids (making it the perfect choice for us) and Sani Asterias seemed to be aimed at a more exclusive crowd. Each had it’s own style and a whole different feel to it but bring them all together around a marina and you had something truly unique!
The perfect holiday for me consists of plenty of sunbathing, gripping novels, relaxing pools, beautiful scenery and great food which let me tell you Sani more than delivered on – the pools are heated and were the perfect luke warm temperature that you could spend hours in, not too hot, not too cold.
Every photo I took of the immaculately manicured resort was picture perfect, so much so that my colleagues actually asked if we had the resort to ourselves haha (I’ll let you in on a little secret, the best time to take photos is before breakfast or late when no-one is around and everything has been set up for the day – it was hard to take a bad photo here!)
The resort operated golf buggies that could drive us around as needed and also ran a shuttle bus every 20 minutes or so from each hotel to the next. We went for a 3 hour walk the day after we arrived to explore the entire Sani Resort and got a stunning view of the whole thing from the top of the hill at Sani Beach. We ended up walking to everywhere except Sani Club for dinner (as the only path was through the sand and I didn’t fancy that with evening shoes!) so took the shuttle there and back – I would love to see them introduce a walkable path to Sani Club in future too. The views from Sani Club were probably the most impressive of all as it is higher up than the others – every angle was a breathtaking view!
The Sani mobile app updated daily with the activities for the day ranging from yoga to cruises and olive tree planting! There was also a children and teens tab, obviously we didn’t need that one but they catered for all ages. They had more active things on for those that fancied it too – think guided jogging, tennis, basketball etc.
A daily 2 hour day cruise and a half hour sunset cruise was free of charge for all guests on a set day for each hotel. We chose to do both in one day and would say we actually preferred the short evening cruise (probably because I get quite travel/motion sick so it was short and sweet)! It took us on a scenic journey along the entire Sani coastline and back again while the sun came down.
We also took a 2 hour volvo tour of the local area with the lovely Vasilis, he was so informative and full of interesting facts about the area; the volvo tour was definitely worth doing! We saw different kinds of olive trees, saw how they make pine honey from the trees, learnt about the local area, enjoyed a chilled glass of bubbly on a hill top and learnt about the many Greek saint’s.
Day to day life is so busy for us that we don’t tend to like doing much when on holiday but one thing we always do religiously is get a massage, so of course we spent a very chilled afternoon at the D Spa being pampered! I had a back, neck and scalp massage which was sensational. Even the decor in the spa was amazing, they had a water wall to divide the entrance from the relaxation room and of course more calming neutrals to create a luxurious atmosphere (whoever designed this place is my interior decor guru!). The Sani app included the latest spa offers too which was handy and a menu of all of their treatments.
Each week they held a white party overlooking the sea and decorated the entire bar with hundreds of candles and pretty lights creating a stunning evening with music and cocktails flowing! I loved how everyone got into the spirit of it and wore lots of white too – we were there across two white nights during our stay.
They also put on a show at the theatre each evening and live music across different venues each night which we loved the most! Our favourite show was probably the dance dance dance one and Nikos and friends the best for the live music (we saw him 3 times in the end!). There was always something going on somewhere, so we could choose to do as much as or as little as we wanted!
Lots of you sent messages and questions about our first stay at Sani so hopefully this long post has answered them all now 🙂 Plenty more photos and videos are available on my highlights at the top of my Instagram page!
On a final note, I always keep a running list of everyone that stands out to us on every holiday so I will take this opportunity to mention the following people that made our holiday extra special:
Firstly, to the entire hotel and guest relations team for making our stay incredible and for the in room treats – yum! I always appreciate the small touches the most.
Sakis, the manager, for checking in on us daily, for taking the time to get to know all of his guests personally and for making us feel like long lost friends. One of the staff told me that they keep coming back year on year (they only operate April-October) because of his management and we could see why!
Christina, the guest relations manager, for being so kind to us, for responding “consider it booked” for anything we asked for, for handing out flowers on Mother’s Day with a huge smile on her face and for giving me so many lovely outfit compliments!
Anna, the front desk manager, for being so warm and friendly, for giving the best hugs, for making everything run smoothly from the minute we arrived and for always smiling.
Giorgis, our favourite waiter from The Market, for chatting away to us at breakfast in the morning and making sure he came over to greet us even if he wasn’t waiting on our section.
Vasso, the lifeguard from the pool, who would lay my towel out before I’d even stopped at the sun loungers, bring over a couple of bottles of water and have a good chat, such a warm friendly lady!
Ermione and Maria, from the Ouzerie restaurant, for making us dance at greek night and treating us like family, it was like we had known them for years in a week.
Vasilis, the waiter from the Beach House, for recommending the best cocktails and being honest with what he thought we would like (he was spot on), as well as of course service with a smile!
So the long and short of that is that we had the most incredible holiday at Sani Resort and will now be firm returners for the foreseeable future – apparently the largest proportion of their guests are repeat customers and it’s not hard to see why, they have something to appeal to every type of person and you can feel just how much the staff love working there, it comes across in the warmth and service they deliver.
We cannot recommend Sani enough, no amount of glowing reviews or pictures does it justice! If you fancy a luxury break in Greece then you really can’t go wrong with Sani. We can’t wait to go back later this year already and I can tell you from now that won’t be the last!
Lots of love x