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Doing The Timewarp
A 70's retro feel
A tedious radio station
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The Hotel Mediterranee' sits in a secluded location in the popular resort of Lassi, Kefolonia. Its location affords you the best of the islands resources. This 4 star hotel has all your ever likely to need in a holiday complex.
The exterior of the Hotel is like a 1970's nightmare, its all marble and gold, and believe me not in a good way. In amongst this are large blocks of stone of varying shades from white to black. The hotel sits at the bottom of a long driveway, as you approach the décor gives you contrasting views; but none of them particularly impressive. Once you have got passed the initial trauma of the way the hotel looks you arrive in the hotels lobby, lots of nicer brown marble here; and some clearly noticeable air conditioning. Scattered around are a combination of real and plastic plants, the better looking ones are the plastic offerings. The reception area is similar to the style of reception seen in the BBC show Fawlty Towers, but the staff make up for the dated look. Check in and out is always painless, and the staff are always willing to help you. Having checked in its time to head for the "LIFT OF TERROR" (I'll elaborate on this in just a jiffy).
The rooms are fairly normal looking and generally consist of two to three beds, a balcony and a bathroom with an actual bath. The in room entertainment consists of Mediterranne FM a looped radio station where you'll hear the same 90 minutes of music for your entire stay; Don McClean's Vincent becomes incredibly tedious after a while, and wait is that Ralf McTell? You certainly wont hear anything in your room after the mid 80's. The balcony has two sun loungers and a stainless steel table and chair set, oh yes it is great fun getting third degree burns trying to use this. I always stay budget, which means my balcony overlooks an orchard and views of the hills; stay the other side and you'll get to see the sea. Also in your room is a kettle, you'll need to supply your own drinks to use with it. I know what your thinking, 4 Star?? In fairness the perks are away from the room.
Ok lets move on to the "LIFT OF TERROR" I know you
have been intrigued about this! This can at first be very frightening, why the fear? The fear comes from a terrible glitch with the lift that takes you to a part of the hotel that you really don't want to be seeing. For some unknown reason if you try to go down in the lift too quickly after it going up it takes you to a level of the hotel that features a cob webbed passage and what appears to be a blood soaked door; this is all very Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I'm sure if you were of a weak disposition you might well make a mess. When you have got used to this its quite harmless, and you actually quite look forward to the weird diversion to your plans.
The Hotel has a couple of bars, one of which is operated by some Tom Cruise wannabies; these guys will happily try and maim you with flying bottles at every opportunity,. However this being said the cocktails are varied, tasty and incredibly cheap about £1.20 for a cocktail about a pint in measure. One price applies to whatever cocktail you buy. The second bar I always refer to as the Biddy Bar, this is operated by an older and more reserved group of staff. No cocktails here unless you count the blue and red things that scuttle back and forth across the bar. However a nice frosted glass of Amstel is always welcome here.
In respect of food, you can eat in the Hotel Restaurant, which reminds me of the 70's in every way shape or form. From the nice brown curtains, to the co-ordinating seating and table dressings. If your incredibly unlucky you'll get some night time entertainment courtesy of a English Ex Pat, or some silly old bugger trying to lift things in his mouth. On the plus side, the food is great; and you'll never feel hungry. Eating in the Restaurant for breakfast is a different thing altogether. What at first seems a novelty becomes incredibly tired after 2 or three days. Savaloys or something similar is the sausage of choice, the milk is cream colour and tastes awful, especially on Coco pops. The one really lovely thing is the scrambled egg, this is the best I've ever had; a great blend of herbs gives you a lovely kick.
During the day, when your just kicking round the Hotel there is a café on a level below the pool, as you approach the beach. Here you can get some lovely Pizzas for a couple of pounds, and these are not little pizzas I tell you. A bar sits in the same location, more frosted Amstel; YUMMY!
I mentioned the pool, this is lovely its one of the cleanest pools I have swum in. I confess I spend rather a lot of time in the pool here, because its always quite empty. Of some amusement to me however is the way everyone climbs out of the pool when it rains. The pool is split in two, with a kind of walkway separating the shallow and deep end. Around the pool is a couple of hundred sun beds, behind these are some table and chair sets which sit under a shaded area.
Climb out of the pool and walk down the path to the left, and you walk down to the café and the Hotel's own private beach. On this beach you can benefit from a variety of water interests; from canoeing to Jet Ski's and water skiing. These are all quite affordable and the operators are happy to take money in whatever currency you care to pay them in.
Back towards the hotel and you have a great Tennis Court, this is nice but annoying to me; although I mastered Badminton very well, I'm lousy at Tennis and find myself getting frustrated as I desperately want to play. All the same its nice to sit in the sun around the court and watch others make as much of an arse of themselves as I do.
Final features of the Hotel to mention is a Jewellers, I never paid much attention of it really my other half is the jewellery wearer and we were a bit skint on both occasions and decided it was best never to look. A games room which has a table tennis table, football table and some great retro games machines. Finally there is a mini market which was not a great deal of cop really, although it did fascinate me to find they had lots of true crime magazines, usually focussing on British holiday makers getting murdered in varying hot climbs.
I know I've been rather critical about the Hotel, but I have to say by other Hotels standards its quite poor. But I loved the whole retro feel to the place, it reminds me of times long since past when things seemed so much better and more innocent. From the minute you step into the Hotel its like you have shot back 20 years, its just fantastic.
The Hotel is in a great location; walk up the long drive and your on to the main drag of Lassi; all the shops and Taverna's are here. Go to the top of the drive and turn right and you'll notice a great little Taverna on the right hand side about 40 meters up the road, this reminds me of an old amphitheatre as it sits over about 20 levels sloping downwards. The food here is just marvellous, and the entertainment is good old traditional Greek dancing. You may be pleased to know that Lassi has not yet become club land like so many other towns on the island, although there are clubs its far more laid back here. Go up the drive and turn left from the hotel takes you in two directions both leading to the same location; Argostoli the capital of Kefalonia. The high route takes you via the main road on a upward climb before taking a sharp drop down into Argostoli. This route from Hotel takes you about 30 minutes. But it's the lower route that gives me my greatest memories of this beautiful island. The walk into Argostoli takes you through woodland, past a Go Kart (I had to go) circuit, a paintball range, before approaching a harrowing site. On the left hand side is a pit with Italian flags wrapped round posts sitting along side. Here a massacre of over 200 Italian soldiers took place during the second world war, as you stand on this spot your stomach goes in knots. Continuing on and you reach a fantastic Restaurant floating on the water, and the Catavores a point that water filters into the islands semi-dormant volcano on the other side of the island water leaves having been removed of salt and purified. Shortly after you walk along the coastline into Argostoli, this route takes you about 50 minutes but it's a much more breathtaking journey. If you don't like to walk you can get a Taxi from the rank opposite the Hotel, or catch the bus that passes by every 20 minutes (10am-4pm).
A night in the Hotel Mediterranee will cost you about £60 per night off season, its money well spent though as the calming feel of the Hotel and its retro feel keep you levelled out.