My 18-year-old daughter Beau is about to leave home to start university. I’m dreading the empty nest thing and decided we should have some mother and daughter bonding away together before she left. We’d been to Santorini previously – which was brilliant – so we were keen to go back to Greece. In other words: Mamma Mia! here we go again…
We were staying at the Sani Resort in Halkidiki on the Greek mainland and flew into Thessaloniki, a 45-minute drive from the resort. Set in a glorious landscape stretching across fragrant pine forests, golden sands and clear waters, this huge resort has five five-star hotels: the vibrant Sani Beach, the refined Sani Club, the elegant Porto Sani, the exclusive and intimate Sani Asterias and the grown-up Sani Dunes.
Despite its size, the five properties are all within walking distance of each other, yet far enough away to create a sense of individuality. The beating heart is the marina with its smart restaurants, bars and boutiques.
Beautiful: The huge Sani Resort in Halkidiki, which has five five-star hotels on site
Beau and I stayed in two properties: the Sani Club, where we checked into a big bungalow with a balcony overlooking the Aegean for the first five days; then, for the last two nights, we moved to Porto Sani, which has more of a family feel.
While Sani Club is designed for families, it’s super luxurious – you don’t have to walk anywhere as golf buggies ferry you about.
There’s plenty going on, especially watersports, and we tried paddleboard yoga which we found hard.
There’s plenty about the resort which feels traditional, yet it’s also thoroughly up to date – the wi-fi, for example, is superfast, even on the beach.
A highlight was taking a guided driving tour around Kassandra, a place steeped in Ancient Greek history.
To visit authentic Greek villages was such a treat and the area is renowned for producing delicious food.
Everywhere we went we spotted bags hanging off the pine trees to collect the sap to add into the forest honey. So when Beau and I had forest honey with our breakfast, we knew exactly where it had come from.
With my Celebrity MasterChef hat on, I was salivating at the menus on offer at the resort. Tantalisingly fresh, there was a huge variety of locally sourced food, including fresh fish.
Another highlight was attending a mountainside Vivaldi concert overlooking the Aegean, performed under a blood moon, which illuminated the night sky, and the perfect moment came when Beau saw a shooting star.
We couldn’t resist the Greek evening in the resort’s Ouzerie restaurant, where they had a singer and Greek dancing. But I missed the Michael Jackson night as Beau talked me out of it. Had I been with someone of my own age I’d have been moonwalking with the best of them.
The real joy of the trip was seeing Beau like a little child again. She wanted a giant inflatable and I took a funny picture of her trying to lug the swan back to the apartment.
I can see us going back for a reunion – as long as they keep bringing out the Mamma Mia! films…
Carrier (0161 492 1357; carrrier.co.uk) offers seven nights from £1,160pp based on two adults sharing a Double Room Upper Floor Sea View on a half-board basis including flights from London Gatwick and private transfers.