Golden sands spilling into deep-blue water: the beach at child-friendly resort Eagles Palace is a glorious stay-all-day setting that hails Halkidiki as your next family holiday destination – stat. This sizeable resort sprawls by the coast, but its friendly reigning clan (now several generations strong) and polished team of staff make guests feel cosseted till check-out. Interiors are low-key, but with a raft of aquatic activities, an island beach club, superlative kids clubs and creative mod-Greek dining you’ll spend little time indoors.
Get this when you book through us:
One welcome cocktail at the bar and two hours of babysitting free per stay; if you're staying in a Junior Suite or above, a four-course dinner in Kamares restaurant (excluding drinks)
A total of 158, including 11 Family Suites, two Grand Suites and two Two-Bedroom Bungalows.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £194.57 (€226), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €4.00 per room per night on check-in.
Rates usually include a generous buffet breakfast (€25 an adult; €15 a child).
Sessions in the kids clubs fill up quickly, so we advise reserving your slots when booking your holiday.
Annually from 1 November to 18 April.
At the hotel
Private beach, spa, swimming pools, restaurants, Eagles Café, bars, kids clubs, playground, tennis court, gym, parking, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: LCD TV, radio, Nespresso coffee machine, two minibars (one with snacks and drinks, another with toiletries), beach towels, bathrobes, slippers and O.Live bath products.
Our favourite rooms
If you’re travelling with a tiny baby (not a speedy crawler) or swim-confident kids, book a Two-Bedroom Bungalow with a private pool. These are the resort’s most stylish stays, with gleaming white walls and linens, brightened with colourful glass lamps and furnished with local finds. Junior Suites comfortably fit a family of four in an open-plan bedroom and living room, and Junior Suite Sea Front 236 offers a cosy set up (kids on extra beds, parents in the double bed), but its large enough for little ones to run around in, with a balcony, and a separate bath tub and shower. Superior Sea View 115B has romantic blue views of layered sea and sky from the balcony, yet it’s large enough to sleep Mum, Dad and a baby.
The main pool is heated and surrounded by sprigs of herbs and flowerbeds alongside rows of sunloungers; it's unsupervised, but juniors are welcome, and parents can keep watch from the swim-up bar. Very little ones can paddle in the petite, shallow children’s pool a few steps away (with parents keeping watch). The indoor-outdoor spa pool is a serene, child-free space.
Eagles Spa is a low-lit space composed of glass and sandstone, where a calmly trickling waterfall feature greets you, and therapists do wonders with Elemis products. Facials; exotic wraps and scrubs infused with coconut or frangipani; mani-pedis and massages are carried out in three treatment rooms; however, you can be pampered under a pavilion on the beach or in your villa. You can also recline in the steam bath or sauna, swim in the indoor-outdoor spa pool, or sling mud – in the best possible fashion – in a rhassoul chamber. For deep pampering, opt for a day package or lengthy spa ritual. The small fitness centre has TechnoGym equipment and personal trainers on request, and free yoga, pilates and aqua aerobics classes are held frequently.
The hotel has a trove of baby essentials if you start to run low.
The hotel's location means it isn't well suited to wheelchair users.
Baby cots can be added to all rooms (excluding the Standard Room and Junior Suite Sea Front with Jacuzzi categories) for free, and children stay free on twin beds, rollaway beds and sofabeds.
Family heirlooms dating back four generations dot Eagles Palace’s lobby, and many of its dedicated staff have worked for la famiglia in charge for 10 years and counting, which is probably why this resort feels so homey and welcoming despite its large size. Parents will be cracking open the Ouzo on learning that little Smiths’ activities are legion; with pools, aquatic adventuring, sandcastles, and action-packed clubs, adults can eke out a good chunk of alone time here. However, beach barbecues, excursions to local villages and spacious family bungalows with private pools foster quality time too. Add high-end Hellenic service and intriguing takes on Grecian cuisine – feta croquettes with orange sauce, octopus and tomato skioufichta pasta and sea-fresh scallops in lemon pureé – and you have a sophisticated stay with a knack for entertaining smalls.
The private beach – with soft golden sands stroked by unruffled aquamarine waters – is the star of this resort. If sunbathing’s too sedate pick your aquatic adventures in the watersports pavilion, or play in the two sociable swimming pools. Take to the tennis court as a family, or leave little ones to be entertained in the bright and lively kids clubs, which will allowparents a little time to be buffed and scrubbed in a couples treatment room at the spa.
All restaurants (except Kamares) have a kids menu with health-conscious dishes (velouté vegetable soup, fish croquettes and rainbow rice with seasonal veggies). Get a sugar rush at Eagles Café, where ice-creams, milkshakes and smoothies make a decadent menu. Highchairs are available in Melathron, and in all restaurants but Kamares, colouring books will divert little Smiths between courses, and restaurant staff are happy to heat up milk and baby food. While little Smiths are warmly welcomed, staff may not appreciate over-excited tots running wild in the dining areas.
The resort sources ingredients from very local suppliers where possible.
Spend a languid evening on Kamares’ sea-facing terrace if dining as a twosome. Washi’s chefs put on a performance in the open kitchen, so try to get a front-row seat for the family. Kids can be let loose in the gardens afterwards.
Excellent ingredients are sourced from local farms and growers, and six eateries ensure the luxury of choice. Kamares is for grown-up fine dining; quality produce is served up alongside flavour-packed Grecian dishes (fish roe with carob-bread, shrimps and sea fennel, or oven baked goat with mashed eggplant). Armyra offers jazzed-up Greek favourites for lunch and transforms into a laidback, seaside barbecue in the evening. Melathron has a buffet spread, championing international fare on two themed nights a week. Sea-facing Vinum is the resort’s alfresco rotisserie serving barbecued meat and pizza. Head to Eagles Café for coffee, light snacks and sticky-sweet pastries or get a beach snack from the comfort of your sunbed. The resort’s all-day dining allows for flexible mealtimes, with a crowd-pleasing menu of simple snacks, from ham and cheese toasties, to sophisticated seafood dishes, which you can eat by the pool, on the beach or in-villa.
Eagles Club has an open-air terrace and a buzzy the indoor bar if you want to socialise. Wines are a speciality and cocktails tend towards the classics, with live music to accompany. For mid-swim refreshments, paddle over to Armyra’s swim-up bar; or hit Ammos Beach Bar, where fresh-fruit-laced cocktails are served on the sands. Sample fine Greek and international wines at a tasting in Vinum cellar; paired snacks reflect where each wine hails from: bruschetta to enhance European bouquets, paprika-sprinkled kabobs with Middle Eastern labels, and seafood tacos with US vintages.
A Grecian breakfast buffet is laid out in Melathron from 7am–10.30am, followed by an evening buffet from 7.30pm–10.30pm. Take lunch in Armyra (1pm–5pm), or Eagles Café (9am–5pm), then dine in Vinum or Kamares (both open from 8pm–11pm).
Four kinds of breakfast (7am–noon); soups, salads, pastas, fresh seafood and meat dishes (noon–11pm); and cold plates, such as crêpes, salads, cheese and charcuterie platters, and fruit plates (all-day long), can be delivered to your suite.
The hotel sits among olive groves, pines and palm trees on Halkidiki’s pretty south-west coast, a five-minute drive from small seaside village Ouranoupolis. Mount Athos rises to the south and the hotel’s just by a sandy beach.
Thessaloniki ‘Macedonia’ Airport is the closest international hub, a 90-minute drive from the hotel. Budget airlines Ryanair and Easyjet fly frequently from the UK, and flights from the US and Asia connect via Munich and Frankfurt, or Istanbul. Transfers can be arranged through the resort.
A car will help for easy exploration of the rural surrounds. On-site parking is free. From the airport follow the A25 to Agiou Oros Road to reach the hotel; the path is surrounded by dense foliage, so keep an eye out for the car park. There’s an Avis car-hire booth at the airport.
The resort has a helipad should you wish to chopper in. Helicopter transfers can be arranged on request. If you’re island-hopping, ferries frequently sail to and from the port at Thessaloniki to Heraklion, Mykonos and Santorini.
Worth getting out of bed for
Halkidiki of legend was a battleground for giants, but frazzled parents will be pleased to hear that it’s calmed down somewhat throughout the ages. The foliage-strewn surrounds are as serene as the monks in Mount Athos’ monasteries and there’s little need to leave the resort unless you want to. Much of your time will be spent playing on and splashing about by its Blue Flag, golden sandy beach. It’s safe for children, with calm waters, but unsupervised; towels and day-beds are free, and parasol tables have a built-in buzzer for drinks service. Snorkelling and scuba sessions (including a Bubblemaker programme for over-8s) can be arranged at the on-site Padi dive centre, too. Guests can also be ferried to Eagles Island Club, a private stretch of sunlounger-dotted sand on diminutive and uninhabited Drenia island, for some seriously secluded sunbathing.
Hire a small self-rowed boat or a skipper-tended yacht from the watersports pavilion to glide along the coast past Mount Athos, cleave the aquamarine waters of the Sithonia Peninsula or sail to beach-blessed Vourvourou and Ammouliani islands; the family who own the hotel are sailing enthusiasts, so can point you in the right direction if needed. Biking trips (14km, 20km or 32km) take in the Xerxes Canal, surrounding peaks and the beach at Komitsa. Hiking and biking may be a bit too full on for little Smiths, but Ouranoupolis village – a five-minute drive south from the hotel – has Byzantine monuments and pretty beaches. Eye up some icons in Prosphoriou Castle, and the mosaics and archaeological intrigues of Zigou Monastery; or head inland to Stagira, the birthplace of Aristotle, where kids can play with prisms, compasses and nifty interactive experiments in the science park dedicated to the great philosopher (+30 (0)2377 021130). Ierissos Village is a 15-minute drive away, where ancient Serbian monastery Hilandar has intact colourful frescoes and the cultural centre shows 3D movies on a 50-square-metre screen. The resort can arrange excursions to Platanorema Farm (+30 (0)2372 300386) for horse riding, archery and a climbing wall. Or kids can feed and pet the resident donkeys, ponies and rabbits.
The hotel can arrange a day trip to Petralona Cave. The stalagmite and stalactite-strung caverns may be a little scary for wee Smiths, but older kids may find it mesmerising.
The hotel's Artist in Residence Programme showcases the best Grecian talent. While kids are playing in the club, parents should sneak away and snoop around.
‘This is suddenly not so fun anymore,’ Mr Smith yelled over the roar of the outboard engine.
The grey-green sea churned below us in haphazard waves, causing the boat to lurch and sway. A cold splatter of seawater hit my face, instantly drenching my ill-thought out maxi dress. I had to agree with him.
At my feet, two stowaway boys in bright orange lifejackets – our little Mr Smiths – shrieked with excitement each time the boat’s hull thudded into the void of a wave.
The day had started out so beautifully. It seemed the perfect idea to have a jaunt on the mirror-like sea, exploring the coves around the forested islands of the Mount Athos peninsula. The little white boat, with its jolly red canvas top had practically beckoned to us.
Mr Smith steered the boat through the glassy water with ease, and in the light breeze we pootled from one deserted to beach to another, with only the odd goat or two for company, using wild olive trees for shade and cooling off in the aquamarine water. One of the bigger islands in the pretty string of islets had a rustic taverna, where we ate freshly grilled squid and delicious hot chips, our feet in the sand and an icy Mythos beer close by.
But then, as we ran the gauntlet home, granite coloured clouds rolled towards us in fast forward and abruptly we were caught in a squall. I peered at the 14th century tower of Ouranoupolis through the sheets of rain, and prayed.
A few hours later, safely curled up on the oversized day bed on our balcony at Eagles Palace, a large gin and tonic in hand, the unfortunate end to our boat trip dissipated like those stormy clouds and instead we faced a stunning panorama of the glinting evening sea, the descending sun reflecting onto little boats bobbing on a patchwork of clear greens and blues. Calm once again restored.
Around us, verdant greenery cloaked the hotel, pine and palm trees standing tall and lush, gardens filled with the fresh scent of gardenia and jasmine, no doubt benefitting from their rain dousing.
The soothing vibe continued into our large suite – the decor simple and modern with a focus on comfort. The white on-white colour palette – white walls, bed, squashy sofa and muted off-white limestone floor – enlivened with tasteful nautical green and blue cushions, and elegant pale-blue glass hanging lights. On one wall was a huge round mirror, like a vast porthole, perfect for smug selfies, the stunning sea view making an oh-so-enviable backdrop.
Even better was our Little Smith’s bedroom: a cute cabin-like room complete with bunk beds, where they happily trotted off to bed, without complaint, leaving us the full run of the spacious suite, and that romantic view. Cozying up in the oversized wicker chair with a smooth Greek red wine we contemplated the sunset, before resisting the huge bed no longer.
After a sumptuous breakfast buffet the next morning – our bowls piled far too high with Greek yoghurt, fruit and honey, sticky pastries and omelets with feta cheese – I declared a morning in the spa was required. Mr Smith, ever one of the lads, decided to take the Little Smith’s to the pool, no doubt punctuated with trips to the swim up bar for juice and crisps and the obligatory midday holiday beer, leaving me suddenly footloose and toddler-free.
I wasted no time in heading to the spa, weaving past the loungers laid out enticingly in front of the translucent turquoise sea, passing a rather smart looking kids’ club which children were actively running into. Then I entered the ‘vacuum of time’ – the hammam, steam, Jacuzzi, in/out swimming pool and mini ESPA facial drained the minutes like sand through a sieve.
Before I knew it I was deposited back on the beach, dazed but refreshed and ready for lunch. We sit at the beach restaurant, perfect for restless toddlers who are unable to even wait for the bread basket to arrive – our little Mr Smiths happily playing on the sand within minutes while we linger over lunch of grilled octopus with polenta, zucchini balls and bowls of tasty tzatziki.
I gazed at the mill-pond waters of the sea. At the jetty I saw uniformed staff loading up the hotel’s speed boat with wicker hampers, cool boxes and stripy umbrellas. The captain took to the wheel and looked around, resting his gaze on Mr Smith, and beckoned to him. Mr Smith announced a sunset speedboat trip had been organised in honour of our ill-fated rain-lashed boat excursion.