By Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny
The two pillars at Rhodes harbour entrance
The Electra Palace Rhodes is ideally located a few miles away from Rhodes City and from the airport. More than that it is one of the rare hotels near Rhodes City to have a direct access to its own private beach when most of the other one can only propose a swimming pool but no beach. A real plus for sunny lazy holidays by the sea enjoying the all-inclusive service tailor made for couples and families.
Rhodes is one of the Dodecanese islands in South-Eastern Aegean Sea the sunniest corner of Greece. Rhodes is world famous for its Colossus considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. But if this gigantic statue that used to guard the entrance to Rhodes city harbour is long gone -if it ever existed- there are many more good reasons to visit the island. Natural beauties, beautiful beaches, lovely mountain villages, archaeological sites, good food and of course the impressive medieval Rhodes city make the island a summary of all the reasons why we love Greece.
The Medieval Town of Rhodes
Although the old city centre may look like an open-air shopping mall invaded by small shops proposing more or less authentic items to the numerous tourists visiting the town, you will find there a true historical site. If you are an early bird, you can avoid both the heat and the crowd by starting your day around eight o’clock. At that time all shops and restaurants are closed, the small cobbled streets are deserted, museums open their doors and you will be able to imagine the town the way it was when the Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, the Hospitaliers, built the ramparts, the fortress, the cathedral and several churches, an hospital and the impressive residence of the Grand Master.
The Knights arrived in Rhodes in 1309 and settled in the former Byzantine town that had been built around the ancient Acropolis. Rhodes was to become the great centre of the Order’s Kingdom. It reached its peak at that time enjoying great glory, wealth and reputation. From Rhodes the Knights were able to put up strong resistance to repeated Turkish attacks. This golden age during which both the commercial port and the city stood impregnable lasted for 200 years. Eventually they had to leave Rhodes in 1522 when Suleiman the Magnificent put the city under siege for six months. They left for Malta leaving behind them a unique architectural gem.
Start your visit walking around the ramparts that are today surrounded by pleasant flower gardens. The sea is just a few metres away and you will have nice views of the port with its numerous excursion boats waiting to take tourists to nearby islands, yachts and sailing boats as well as fishing boats.
After walking through one of the city gates you will discover a maze of small cobbled streets lined with high stone houses mixing medieval and Renaissance influences. Don’t miss to visit the former palace of the Order Master that is today the Museum of Rhodes. The strong high walls hide vast beautiful rooms that have been restored during the Italian occupation in 1912. The Italians carried out archaeological digs on the island and gathered their discoveries in the palace. The antic mosaics paving the flours are truly magnificent and you will also admire tombstones, paintings, statuary…
The former Knights’ hospital is now the Archaeological Museum. This huge gothic masterpiece will take you from rooms to gardens filled with ancient Greek statues, pieces of pottery of different periods, everyday objects, jewels… When your visit will be over, all the shops and restaurants in town will be open and you will discover a very different Rhodes. Time for shopping or an icecream!
Electra Palace all-inclusive resort
The Electra Palace is ideally located to visit Rhodes city and the island. The distances in Rhodes are not long and you can easily visit the main sites of interest while staying in the same hotel. There is a car rental agency right in front of the Electra Palace entrance and you can organise your tour in just a few minutes. Rhodes town is just a few minutes’ drive and the furthest point of the island -Prasonisi Beach located on the south coast and famous kite surf spot- is a one-hour and fifteen minutes’ drive.
The Electra Palace is very well maintained and absolutely spotless. The resort offers wide spaces and there is plenty of room for every one whether in the lounges, bars and restaurants or on the long beach, the vast wooden sundeck, the outside bars and the swimming pool. Just note that the beach is a pebble beach and that swimming shoes are highly recommended to get into the sea if you don’t want to get a funny walk! You can buy them at the hotel shop for approximatively 8 € (7 £).
All the rooms have big flour-to-ceiling bay windows and a balcony with garden, pool or sea view. They are pretty large with coffee and tea set, free WIFI, flat screen TV, safe, air conditioning… In the stylish bathroom you will find bathrobes and slippers very useful to go to the Spa & Wellness centre.
With ten restaurants and bars you will have many dining options during your stay. “Cuisines of the World” is the main restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The big buffet proposes different menus everyday with international and Greek tastes. Drinks and cocktails are part of the all-inclusive offer.
The” Eastern Mediterranean Grill” is next to the swimming pool and is open for lunch and dinner until 8:30pm. It offers a very good choice of Greek cuisine and is very popular with the hotel’s guests. Close to the pool the “Sugar Cube” is the meeting point for all gourmands who can enjoy there an ice cream, a homemade cake with a cup of coffee or tea. Kids love it and it is all included.
The hotel has two “à la carte” restaurants open for diner upon reservation. You can opt for Asian flavours at “Asian Fusion” or for Italian tastes at “Al Convento”. Every day you will also enjoy live music soirées at the Lounge Bar ranging from rock, jazz and Latin to Greek music or you can have a drink at the Wave Bar to admire the sunset. Once a week a DJ party invites all dance fans at the pool area for a fiesta under the stars.
If you want to go skite surfing, windsurfing or jet-skiing while staying at the Electra Palace you can go to the close-by water sports club that is only a few steps away on the same beach.
Before booking at Electra Palace note that the hotel is close to the airport. This is very convenient to get to and from the airport to the hotel but planes may be flying over the sea in front of the hotel from time to time in the day time (the airport is closed at night so there are no planes to disturb your sleep!)
More information and direct booking at www.electrahotels.gr/hotels/electra-palace-rhodes/
Text ©Annick Dournes
Photos: ©Frederic de Poligny or ©Annick Dournes
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