Maria Boyle travels to Sani Resort in Greece to discover the perfect holiday for teens with her daughters Daisy and Ruby. This is what they had to say about the trip.
Many of Europe’s holiday resorts are great for toddlers and children up to the age of 11, but tween and teens can often be a forgotten group, feeling too ‘old’ for planned kids’ activities and too ‘young’ for adult ones.
As a parent of three daughters aged 14, 18 and 19, I’ve had first-hand experience of this, often in the most beautiful of settings, finding said teen with their head under a towel, glued to their technology.
This year, I found the holy grail when it comes to teen holidays and decided to put it to the ultimate teen test in the form of my two daughters: Ruby, 14 and Daisy, 19.
Sani Resort – Porto Sani
Located on the southeast coast of mainland Greece and just under an hour transfer time from Thessaloniki airport, Sani Resort features five award-winning hotels: Sani Beach, Sani Club, Porto Sani, Sani Asteria and Sani Dunes, all conveniently located within walking distance of each other. With a total of 996 rooms in the resort, accommodation ranges from doubles to junior, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites. We opted to stay in one of its spacious and extremely comfortable one-bedroom suites at Porto Sani, located in the heart of Sani, just a short walk away from the 7km blue flag golden beaches.
Set up for families of all ages and sizes, Porto Sani is impressive with a number of bars, restaurants, lagoon-style pools and sumptuous loungers, a new spa and well-stocked gym, and is surrounded by manicured gardens and established trees. It is also situated next to the resort’s glamorous yacht marina with its chic shops, pavement cafés, restaurants and a handy little supermarket.
Sani’s food offering is really excellent. In total, there are 26 restaurants across the resort and 12 of these participate in its ‘Dine Around’ programme (a half or full-board basis, providing three-course lunch or dinner menus). There are also restaurants where you convert your allowance and use it in the resort’s excellent Spanish restaurant El Puerto. Its menu has been designed by Michelin star chef David Ibarboure, Lima for a taste of Peruvian cuisine, and Elia for the most delicious modern Greek cuisine. This is great for teens as they explore new cuisines and flavours.
Post-dinner entertainment includes Sani’s weekly White Night beach party (think cool Ibiza vibes – perfect for teens and parents together), live music and DJs in various bars and restaurants across the resort, as well as entertainment in the resort’s open air theatre (older children are best to opt for the later show which kicks off just after 9pm).
What’s particularly great about Sani is that it is extremely safe given the resort is gated and security patrol on bikes day and night, giving teens the freedom they crave.
Porto Sani Activities
The teens downloaded Sani’s bespoke app and became very excited when they saw the huge selection of activities and experiences they could try. After sweet-talking me, they booked into the spa for a treatment designed by famous Parisian brand Anne Semonin (Junior Spa Menu for guests aged 12 and over available).
Ruby wanted to hire bikes so we booked these while Daisy was keen to improve her tennis and booked in for a 1-2-1 lesson with a coach at the resort’s Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre. Both wanted to try the Tree Top Adventure featuring zip lines and bridges taking in Sani’s natural surroundings. So far, so good, and not a head in a towel to be seen.
While we all wanted some down time by the pool and the beach, I wanted us all to do something together and asked Sani’s e-concierge (available via WhatsApp) for advice.
Options included sailing, snorkelling and diving, windsurfing, synchronised swimming (one step too far but sounded fun), local hikes, the Bear Grylls Survival Academy, and an eco-trip to Sani Wetlands and the Sani Forest. We could also book into the new BMX Bike Pump Track or Sparta gym (obstacle course in the forest) and on and on. After much deliberation, we booked Sunrise Yoga (me to teens: “you will get up, won’t you?”) and a family archery lesson.
Perfect Holiday for Teens
I really enjoyed doing activities, many of which I’d never tried before including archery and sunrise yoga right on the beach (the instructor Sophia was really kind and showed me how to do certain yoga positions).
I also liked that there were activities to enjoy either by myself or with my sister.
Sani is such a cool place to explore and I loved the electric bike ride I did with my mum as I’d never been on one and it was quite fast and great for going up hills. We went into the pine forest and all around the resort.
I had so much fun trying out archery – we weren’t very good, it is harder than it looks, but it was a great experience.
I loved our time in the spa. I had a sauna and steam and felt very pampered. The staff made me feel welcome, always had a smile on their face and chatted to us.
The food was really delicious too and it was fun using the app, looking at the menus and working out where to eat.
Sani marina is very pretty. Each night, we’d choose which yacht we would have if we won the lottery! I saw lots of large fishes swimming right next to the boats and then we walked on to the beach and see an amazing sunset. It was really good to feel so close to nature and there are lots of messages and tips on caring for the environment all around the resort.
On the last day, it rained a little but that didn’t matter, we went to the Sports Centre and I played basketball, Ping-Pong and went swimming in the indoor pool.
Overall, I would give my holiday a 10/10, there is so much to do for teens and I really recommend it. If we go back again, I would sign up for the painting class, the eco trip to see the flamingos in Sani’s wetlands, and perhaps a cooking class.
As soon as we arrived, we had the quickest check-in and were taken to our room in style in one of the resort’s many golf buggies. It didn’t take us long to get into our swimmers and plunge into the crystal-clear water at the beach and relax on the sun loungers.
The pools were equally lovely and because there are so many of them, they are never overcrowded. We quickly found our favourite one where we could walk from our room to poolside in five seconds. The staff were really lovely and gave us complimentary fresh watermelon each day.
I really liked doing the sunrise yoga, which was challenging as it focused on connecting with your body and nature, while you were also encouraged to push yourself to reach the harder positions.
I was surprised I enjoyed archery so much. After a quick demo and safety lowdown from the instructor we took our shot at the targets in a hedged off corner of the sports centre. It was so fun even though we hardly hit the target.
It was nice to stay active during the days as we were eating the most delicious buffet breakfasts, three-course meals at lunch and dinner so I enjoyed sweating this off in the gym. Due to rain, my tennis lesson got cancelled but I ended up having a really long lunch with my mum and Ruby with lots of laughs.
One of my favourite relaxing activities was a 55-minute massage that I had in a spa suite designed for two so Ruby had hers alongside me – we giggled at first and then relaxed. It was so luxurious – from choosing the oil scent for the massage to the herbal tea and healthy snacks in the post-treatment room.
We loved all the experiences we had at Sani, were really pampered and had such a brilliant time.
Sani Resort is not just the perfect holiday for teens to discover what else it has on offer and to benefit from the 2024 early booking discount, visit: https://sani-resort.com/offers/early-booking-discount.