The struggle is real…
When we booked our holiday to Camvillia Resort back in March we were told that we were crazy. I was 8 months pregnant with my first baby, and in desperate need of a holiday! We’re used to a few trips a year, as a result the urge to get on a flight was unreal. Even in the last trimester when I could barely tackle a flight of stairs, let alone squeezing into an economy seat on a plane. I spent hours googling destinations, climate, flight times, and baby safety. While our evenings were made up of us debating where we should go. I was suffering severe holiday withdrawal. Nearly a year had passed since that runway tarmac was smelt. Therefore booking a holiday as soon after the baby was born was a given, no one was going to tell us different. I’m a Scorpio and we know best. Right?
Finally deciding on Greece, we went ahead and booked 7 nights for September at the Camvillia Resort in Vounaria. First of all temperatures are mild that time of year. It would save us panicking every 5 minutes that the baby is overheating, but still warm enough that we could do a bit of swimming. Getting that much needed daily dose of vitamin D. Secondly the flight to Kalamata is around 3 and a half hours, as a result we figured that by 4 months Emerson would be *praying* in some sort of routine. Vounaria is only 30 miles from the airport so doable right?
It’s now October and we arrived back in the U.K. last week. We survived our first overseas holiday, and first of many plane journeys with a baby. Yay us!! Thats not to say we didn’t have major bouts of pre-holiday anxiety, googling lists for babies, packing then unpacking, then packing again. We had loads. The advice is pack light but then Google totally contradicts by suggesting a full inventory of items for every single eventuality possible.
Travelling with a baby, its not that hard is it ?
We ended up taking 3 suitcases; 2 hand luggage sized for our mismatched thrown together belongings and 1 giant case for Emerson. Obviously this was filled with (not so) essentials. Would we take this much again? No!! I know its good to be prepared but, unless you’re vising a third world country most supplies can probably be brought. Especially in Europe. They have babies too. You may have to use a different brand but its do able. The most noteworthy examples of things I really didnt need to take, that took up valuable space are Breast Pump, and steriliser. Who wants to be pumping on holiday?
Surprisingly having to pack with a baby, meant that we left the house a lot earlier than we had to. The fear of missing our flight meant that our morning itinerary was planned with military precision. Starting packing 2 weeks earlier definitely helped! Hence arriving at the airport with plenty of time to spare. We’re suckers for that airport experience! We actually managed to get our duty free, large bottle of Hendricks yes please! Enjoyed breakfast at Wagamamas, and made the flight with no drama. High 5.
Those First Flight Goals
Boarding the flight was no issue, a quick pitstop at the gates for a tactical change and we were ready for Emerson’s first flight. Seeing the horror on peoples faces as you’re walking down the aisle with a young baby is comical. Its written all over their faces please don’t be next to me haha.
I had read lots of advice regarding feeding on ascent, and descent to ensure that the little ones ears didn’t pop. So made sure I did just that, resulting in him sleeping most of the flight. As we were going out for the last week of the season, the flight was very empty. So having a spare seat between us made for a very comfortable flight. We even had the chance to enjoy our much deserved G& T, and game of Monopoly! The computer is a cheat by the way. This resulted in lots of high fives and mini fist pumps when we landed, as for a first flight it went quite well.
Welcome to Vounaria – The Camvillia Resort
We arrived in Vounaria, Messinia which is in the Peloponnese region of Greece relatively hitch free. Kalamata airport is tiny, therefore finding our private transfer was easy. Emerson was totally loving his new surroundings and spent the 50 min journey gazing out of the window.
The Camvillia Resort is a gorgeous boutique hotel in a small hilltop village. Surrounded by Olive Groves it has an amazing untouched view down to the Messinian Gulf. The very first thing you notice as you enter the reception is the breathtaking infinity pool. Being totally obsessed with infinity pools this one didn’t disappoint.
Views like this, make for the perfect sunrise
Our suite had its own private pool, and garden area where we figured we could relax, without the worry of disturbing any of the other guests. The room was huge! It was perfect for us to half unpack and strew our belongings around, and still looked tidy. Furthermore every morning we were treated to a spectacular sunrise, that we watched from our giant king size bed. Thankfully our suite wasn’t overlooked! We were full blown exhibitionists, leaving our curtains open so we never missed it. Those early morning feeds also helped!!
Apparently Greek food is healthy
We had a half board booking and the choice of either lunch or dinner every day. The amazing Camvillia breakfast buffet had plenty of traditional Greek delights covered in honey. The perfect way to start your day, I was under the illusion that Greek food was healthy! The pastries were incredible, and the the yogurt!! We always made sure that we took a handful of the Melomakarona (Greek honey spiced cookies) in a napkin (yes,we were those guys) to get our baked goods fix throughout the day. AIthough there was a lot of wasps. For those that know me, you will know that my biggest fear is wasps!! Yet I still managed to enjoy the breakfast!!
Now lets talk Turkey, I mean Rooster…
Dinner was à la carte with incredible daily specials that were made with fresh local ingredients. A favourite was the chilopites which is Greek pasta with braised rooster. The only downside was that you had to book dinner every day for that evening, if you wasn’t organised enough (hands up) then only late dinner times were available. Eating at 10pm isn’t ideal with a baby, we are lucky that Emerson happily slept in his stroller on the few occasions we did eat late. Whilst we indulged in quite possibly the best lemon tarte, and cocktails we have ever had.
We were also able to take dinner in our room within the half board rates. Therefore we made sure we made full use of this, when it was pissing down outside. Especially when the early reservations had all been snapped up. Eating in bed is a favourite past time, so 3 courses, a hotel robe, Die Hard on the TV with Greek subtitles was definitely the definition of a great night. I promise we do love going out but 4 months post partum, and 14 months since our last holiday this was perfection, in a king size bed.
The weather wasn’t too shabby, staying in the low to mid 20’s, perfect temperature for the baby. Sadly our dreams of swimming every day were squashed pretty quickly once you dipped your toe in the water. On the occasions we braved it, it was one of them “once your in its fine” temperatures. The problem was actually getting in. We spent a day at Peroulia beach. Camvillia lay on a shuttle bus down to the beach, which takes 5 mins to get down too. You could walk it, but not with a stroller. It’s very steep. We enjoyed lunch at the Peroulia Restaurant and managed to demolish a whole block of feta between us that came with the Greek salad. A WHOLE block of feta,that you have to eat! You have to!!
Towards the end of the week it started to get cloudier and when it rained there wasn’t a huge amount to do. Thats the beauty of a secluded hotel, and if you were a couple just wanting to relax and catch up on some reading Camvillia is the perfect place. Entertaining a 4 month old is another story.
Another way to relax is to visit the Camvillia spa. You get a free 20 minute treatment, with a further 20% off any booked treatments. Unfortunately we left it too late to book anything at the spa. The other more together and organised guests, obviously kept their eye on the weather and pre booked treatments for the crappy days. You can imagine my pain when we didn’t get a chance to use the vouchers! A travesty!
The heated spa pool was great though! Emerson put all those moves learnt in swimming lessons to the test, and we felt a lot less cruel letting him swim in a warm 31 degrees. We had to time it right so we didn’t disturb those lucky guests that were trying to get their zen on, but the Camvillia Spa staff were very acomodating.
Koroni is the nearest town to the Camvillia Resort. A €30 round trip in a cab, we spent an afternoon exploring the castle, and the hilltop streets that had plenty of cats to stroke. Being so close to the end of season, it was very quiet, but beautiful nether the less. Pushing a buggy up those steep Greek streets to get to Koroni castle was a perfect way to burn off the extra calories from all the food. We brought a huge bag of Greek baked goodies from a local baker, ate gelato, and stocked up on gifts; cat shot glasses and olive oil soap. This was also our chance to get some essentials like giant cans of Mythos beer and a mojito in a can for us to crack open later.
Yes we’re talking food again!
It wouldn’t be a trip to Greece without tracking down Gyros. What better place to purchase them from ,than a restaurant called Zorba’s. We ordered 2 Gyros to go, stinking out the cab on the way home. We had big plans to tuck in whilst enjoying our bag of cheap booze back in our garden.
These big plans were soon scuppered when I read the side of my mojito flavoured non-alcoholic beverage! What the hell? It even came with a straw, like you get with a Capri-Sun. Desperate times draw for desperate measures, so I drew for the bombay sapphire to make a more adult mojito flavoured gin cocktail, that actually tasted a lot better than it sounds.
Camvillia know how to do cocktails!
This brings me to the all important hotel cocktails. At €13 each they were well worth the money, and we did a pretty good job of racking our room bill up. As with the food served at Camvillia, all drink ingredients are local, made or picked on the premises. As you walked through the resort you could see the lime, and pomegranate trees. You would often see the staff go and pick fresh basil leaves for your garnish.
We got talking to the bar manager, a mixologist from Athens. Together with the general manager he has created one of the best cocktail menus we’ve ever tasted. A hobby of ours is making our way down a cocktail menu. My go to drinks were the “Gin Explosion”, and “Camvillia Signature” cocktail. Garnished with those freshly picked basil leaves, The Camvillia Signaure is an alcoholic parma violet concoction in a swanky martini glass. A lover of parma violets, this was probably on of the best drinks I’ve ever tasted. Pete is more of a whisky & brandy guy. He made his way through the various cognacs on offer, and many “An Old Fashioned”.
Last cocktail and it's on the house!! Cannot fault the staff at @camvillia they went above and beyond!! The food & cocktails were amazing & included all fresh ingredients from the vanilla syrup to the cucumber cordial for that gin explosion cocktail. As If the views weren't enough !! Hope to be back again soon maybe a little earlier in the season when Emerson can take a little more heat 🔥❤️. Much love ❤️
Second flight goals?? or not..
Before we knew it the week was up and we were praying that the flight back home was going to go as smoothly with the baby, as the way out. Those one for the road cocktails that the staff gave us on the house (Camvillia Signature of course) took the edge off any nerves. The 45 minute transfer to Kalamata was a warm, and fuzzy one.
Kalamata airport isn’t exactly LAX, with one food kiosk airside, and 2 gates. Packed full of inpatient golden oldies getting their knickers in a bunch because the queues weren’t moving as quickly as they want. Even though they had nowhere to go as their flight wasn’t leaving for 2 hours, that warm and fuzzy feeling soon disappeared. There is something about airports that make people act crazy.
Thankfully Emerson kept his cool in the departure lounge. He decided to hold off until we got on the plane to show us and our poor fellow passengers what a major airborne meltdown looks like. In the words of Drake, little Em has a habit of going 0-100, real quick. Luckily the tantrum was over as quick as it started,once we had changed him. The rest of the flight he was happily playing with the car seat activity centre that we brought along.
Just go for it, book the flight!
A good practice run, in preparation for our long haul flight to LA, In conclusion we had an amazing time! We most definitely recommend the Camvillia Resort. We would say it is definitely more suited to couples, or families with very young children. As we visited so close to the end of season, it was very quiet, next time we will definitely go a few weeks earlier.
Any tips for an 11 month old, on an 11 hour flight are welcome, drop them in the comments. In hindsight I would definitely book for 2 weeks, we deserved it. Hiring a car, would also be a must! Greece is a beautiful country, we definitely didn’t see enough of what the region had to offer.
A different holiday to what we are used to; yes, we couldn’t scale cliffs in inappropriate footwear, or spend an absolute fortune getting wrecked on cocktails. Or decide to walk the 6 miles to Koroni along the unpaved Greek road, but it was so fulfilling watching Emerson experience a bunch of firsts. Most of all we got a weeks worth of quality time, and long lie ins, in an amazing bed.
Now roll on our next trip to Copenhagen. Make sure you subscribe so youre notified of Little Em’s next adventure.