Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kos My Heart; KERRI-ANN ROPER Checks into Thomas Cook's Newly Opened Second Boutique Hotel

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kos My Heart; KERRI-ANN ROPER Checks into Thomas Cook's Newly Opened Second Boutique Hotel

Article excerpt

Byline: KERRI-ANN ROPER

THE words bespoke and boutique don't exactly spring to mind when you think of a Thomas Cook holiday. It has cornered the market on the quintessential 'package holiday', but now it has a new travel treasure up its sleeve.

And I'm standing staring out over it, trying to figure out what's in the fresh juice that's just been blended at the juice bar opposite the reception area. It's the type of welcome treat I would expect to find at a yoga retreat or spa.

Even on my journey into Casa Cook Kos, in Greece, I knew something was different.

Lush patches of greenery line either side of the road leading up to the property, and their purpose soon becomes apparent when I see a black and white sign with the words 'Farm to Table' written on it. I think I've just seen the vegetables and fruits I'll be eating for the next few days.

Seeing where your food is sourced from is comforting, but it also leaves no doubt in my mind that this is a new breed of hotel for Thomas Cook, aimed at a new market of travellers.

SO WHAT'S THE CONCEPT? CASA Cook Kos follows the successful brand launch of Casa Cook Rhodes, which opened last year. This second ambitious property is located on the northern coast of Kos, in Marmari, and is less than a twentyminute drive from the airport.

The hotel aims to embrace the idea of parea, which roughly translated from Greek means a get-together with friends. It's small, with only 100 rooms, so it really feels like you're in a village oasis.

WHAT ARE THE ROOMS LIKE? I'M staying in a junior suite, which is mid-way in the five room options available. By far its most impressive feature is that it has its own swimming pool, well, one which is shared with the suite next door. And there's a hammock on the balcony. Although getting in and out of it proves to be more complicated than expected, so tackle it wisely.

The rooms are plush, they haven't skimped on the decor, and the linen throws definitely get my thumbs-up. There's plenty of space to spread out, and the small details are impressive.

On arriving, I'd seen someone walking back from the beach with a grass beach bag slung over their shoulder. I discover one in my room, hanging on the wall, for use during my stay. It's a nice touch.

But there's also a clever commercial element to this. All of the lush linens, bath robes, room products, hammocks and more are also for sale.

AND HOW ABOUT THE BEACH? IT'S a good ten-minute walk (less if you have longer legs than me) on either side before you hit any of the other resorts along the beachfront, so it feels really secluded. The sofa-like loungers also add to that luxury feeling.

The beach club, To Kima, is definitely the hotel's centrepiece and the perfect place to watch the spectacular Greek sunsets.

WHAT'S THE FOOD LIKE? …

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