All Inclusive Holidays – Are They Worth It?
At the end of September Mike and I went on our first holiday as a couple, despite being together for over 4 years and living together for 3. Because it had been a while since either of us had been away, we thought that it was best to go all inclusive with our hotel to cut down on spending money needs. And this is what really appealed to us about all inclusive hotels, as you have all of your food, drinks, snacks and meals covered so you could spend your holiday money on what you wanted to do. However, after trialing this we discovered that we were not getting the most we could out of this board for the price so vowed to try a self catering or half board next time we travel abroad.
Novelty of All Inclusive Buffet Food
At the resort we stayed at in Corfu, there was a buffet on for breakfast, lunch and dinner which we were amazed at for the first few days, but it soon lost its novelty. Due to the limited amount of tables in the restaurant, we found that if you left it too late after the specific meal time started, you were turned away and asked to wait until one became free.
When it came to navigating the buffet, we soon discovered that by sticking to the ‘cold’ food and fresh preparation stations when it came to meal time, you had a better experience. As we were in awe at the beginning that you could have sausage, chips, pasta and so much more from them little containers, but after a couple meals you soon began to realize that the food was going cold by the time you sat down so you had to ram in down fast and move on. But maybe this was a tactic by the resort to keep the cycle of people going so that more could come in?
At the hotel there was also two additional restaurants which you could have a free meal at each. But on the day we arrived (at gone midnight) we were warned how exclusive their Olives restaurant was so to book in the morning. However, we wanted to explore the resort and subsequently missed out on bagging a seat there, but to be honest we were more eager to visit their Pizzeria. And boy was that an experience!
We managed to get a table for 7:30, and bearing in mind we were usually in bed by 8, this was a first for us being outside at night on holiday. We both covered ourselves in mosquito spray and covered our bodies with clothes the best we could to avoid being bitten. However, thanks to the very perfumed woman sitting next to me, the mosquitoes were attracted to me. And I ended up with about 30 bites all over me the day after when they developed!
But back to the food, we were told by the staff that we could have a starter, main and desert with our all inclusive package – bargain! For my starter I had a delicious ham and cheese pastry roll with a tomato sauce on the top. And due to their lack of choice, my main was a ham and cheese calzone with tomato sauce. This was the most anti-climax moment ever when they presented it to me. It was nice, but the more I ate the more I felt that this was a giant ham and cheese toastie as I could not taste any tomato. Which was disappointing considering that you could actively see the pizza chef making them behind the screen. But on a positive note, I had the tiramisu as a pudding and it was delicious!
Mike loved all of his food, he had a bruschetta to start with a greek pizza for main and a pear filled with cream for pudding. So maybe I was being too critical of mine considering I was being irritated by mosquitoes so much so that coming out for food this late didn’t seem worth it?
Discovering Local Restaurants
We only discovered what else was around our hotel restaurant wise after I had a mishap at breakfast one morning. Some how I managed to stupidly pour an entire jug of coffee not only over the table but also myself, our breakfast and the floor. This was so embarrassing but the staff were super nice about it – I must not of been the first and certainly not the last!
It was only after this that I was too embarrassed to show up for dinner and see the same staff, so then we took a trip to a taverna about 2 minutes away from the resort gates. On that day it was really windy so the taverna was quiet but you could still look out onto the sea, while enjoy the shielding of the plastic barriers. This is where we both took a fancy to Mythos and enjoyed a large tankard of it during our meal.
We actually went to this restaurant twice throughout the week, but I only took photos of the first meal we had there! For the first trip I had the Soutzoukakia which were large meatballs in a tomato and cumin sauce. And my word these were lovely, it felt so much more authentic eating greek food in a greek restaurant rather than a buffet. I have not included photos of Mike’s dinners here as he had Seabream and then Octopus, and I couldn’t bring myself to even look at the Seabream with its teeth and scales let alone take a photo!
At this restaurant there was also a tabby cat that always wanted attention. I know you are not supposed to feed them, but I couldn’t help but sneak them a little bit of my chicken fillet the second time we visited. It was so cute watching the little kittie pop its head over the table to get a sniff of our food. Mike managed to get this amazing shot on my phone while I was eating and you can see just how adorable this little one was. It was so hard leaving the restaurant too as the kitty just wanted to follow you!
The second restaurant we tried was Pyramid. This seemed super flashy and expensive so I put on my favourite new dress from Primark and Mike wore his smart floral shirt and we visited this luxurious restaurant. As it was getting late we decided to eat inside and the decor was beautiful. There was only about 4 tables in the undercover area, but they had made it look so elegant in such a small place.
When it came to the menu I had the fillet of chicken, marinated in almond milk with parmesan crust, on green olive sauce, flavoured with thyme and lime. And my god when he brought it out it looked amazing, however I was a little concerned about how small the slice of chicken was, but then I discovered a number of potatoes beneath it which was a pleasant surprise. This was a first for me to pick an adventurous chicken item off a menu and not ask for it without stuff, and the fact that I really enjoyed it was eye opening for me.
Mike wanted to try the Marsala wine sauce pork tenderloin, pickled portobello mushrooms, shallots and carrot brunoise. And judging by the speed he ate it, I could gather that he really enjoyed his meal too. And although the portions looked rather small compared to our normal meals here in the UK and the size of the ones in Hellas Taverna, they were certainly filling and had an amazing amount of flavour. After overhearing a conversation we discovered that Pyramid was closing soon for the end of season so we were really grateful that we managed to taste their amazing food before we left!
One of the days I found us a walk out to an ice cream parlour about 30 minutes away which also had a selection of Tavernas nearby. And after trekking up the rather large hill which I hadn’t accounted for, we finally made it and popped into Taverna Harry’s while we were there.
It was so quiet which was shocking considering the quality and portion size of the meals. Me being the chicken lover I am, I chose the Chicken Schnitzel, which to my surprise actually came with two portions and a ton of homemade chips which were absolutely amazing! And Mike tried Mousakka for the first time and demolished it in a blink of an eye. He said it was delicious and would most certainly have it again. While we were there we were accompanied by a rather large dog that would not leave us alone. And for me I feel more intimidated by big animals like dogs compared to cats so I was eager to leave as soon as I’d finished.
And lastly, we ventured to a beach bar opposite Hella’s on the last two days – yes we went twice because we loved it so much. And yes we ordered the same thing again! It was so relaxed there and you could enjoy your meal without being surrounded by cats and dogs, and even wasps in the hotel’s case. I had the greek sausage with chips and Mike had the gyros, which we both thoroughly enjoyed.
Was it Worth the Price?
For all of our meals which we ate out we only went over 30 Euros once which was at the Pyramid which was 38 Euros. Equaling to about £26 per meal they were not far off what you would pay in the UK for a proper meal that is not our regular go-to (Wetherspoons). And we normally opt for water when we visit places in the UK and while we were in Corfu we were enjoying flavoured iced teas, fantas and lemonades which all add into the cost too. So money wise travelling outside the hotel for food was not bad at all. And compared to the quality of food in the hotel it was a million times better as the quality was top notch and you got an authentic home cooked feel compared to luke warm bits and bobs.
In terms of drinks the all inclusive bars were good but I was slightly put off by the pool bar as the soft drink dispenser was swarming with wasps. But the alcoholic and none alcoholic cocktails they offered were great.