09 December 2016

 
Enjoy sea views from The Atrium Platinum Hotel
Rhodes makes the bucket list
For years Hunter Davies had the wrong idea about Greece's most famous island- but now he's been there at last he can't get enough of its historic grandeur
See our offers to Rhodes
View our hotels in Rhodes
had got it into my head that Rhodes was somehow massmarket, which was why I had put off going. I have done Crete, Corfu and Santorini, which have great seascapes and interesting ruins and villages. Rhodes I have now discovered has even better ruins, which I suppose it would have - for did I not learn at school about the Colossus of Rhodes being one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? So, on my first morning I set off to look for it. Alas, I was a little late - by about 2,200 years.

The Colossus was gone, all gone, if it ever really existed. It was said to have been a giant bronze statue of the Greek god Helios, guarding Rhodes harbour, but was destroyed by an earthquake in 226BC. What Rhodes the city still has is a stunning Old Town, far more magnificent than anything I had expected. I had seen it marked on the map, but had not realised its size or grandeur.
I
The white town of Lindos
It was built by the Knights of St John in 1309 as a fortified city, then after 200 years fell to the Turks and the Italians. So inside its walls is a wonderful mixture of architecture, with mosques, Byzantine buildings, Ottoman towers, a grand palace, bath house, library, inns… all surrounded by ramparts, walls and gateways.
Enjoy a stay at Lindian Village
"What Rhodes the city still has is a stunning Old Town, far more magnificent than anything I had expected. "
Today, beautifully preserved and with no cars allowed, 6,000 people still live inside those walls. Since 1988 it has been designated a World Heritage Site. Rhodes also has some highclass hotels. I stayed first at the five-star Atrium Platinum hotel, just outside the city and handy for all the sights. We arrived in the dark, which I always hate, as you have no idea where you are.

In fact in the two days I was there, I never did get my bearings right. My first confusion was that the entrance was on the seventh floor. I hadn't realised the hotel was built into a hillside, overlooking the sea. There were so many lifts and long corridors and wings that I felt I should leave chalk marks to find my way back to my room. Of the 300 rooms, there were 72 with their own private pool, which shows you how luxurious it was, and 13 different categories of room. The sea views were wonderful, the staff ever so helpful and the food excellent. Shame there was a noisy little road between the hotel and the beach, but the hotel's own grounds were extensive.

There seemed to be as many different swimming pools and waterfalls as room categories. I moved south, some 50 miles down the east coast of Rhodes (the capital and island have the same name) to Lindos, which in my head I thought would be an island but is a large village on a little promontory. It's a tourist village, full of bars and restaurants, but awfully tasteful with cobbles and squares. Again, there are no cars but lots of donkey rides, a castle to climb up to and a pretty, sandy beach to walk down to.
Lindos is a real Greek village, but kept white and pristine for the visitors. We stayed 15 minutes away in a pretend Greek village called Lindian Village - but if this is artifice, give me more. It reminded me of some of the nicer all-island hotel resorts in the Caribbean, where they can create and control everything. It was built some ten years ago, which means the trees, bushes, flowers, streams and cobbled paths now look as if they have been there for ever.

There are 146 rooms but spread over 60 acres, so it feels you are on a private estate. There are no buildings over two storeys high and the accommodation is mainly little villas with their own entrance and courtyard, all hidden away.
Russians love this sort of exclusive hotel. They come with their wives early in the season, don't spend a lot, and then return later with their mistresses, when they go mad on the Champagne. Not that you see them. You just hear rumours about them lolling in the best suites. Lindian Village has a beach, but that was a bit of a disappointment - pebbly and gritty and hard to walk along, but then so are many Greek beaches. Despite that, Lindian Village is now my favourite hotel in all the Greek islands. One of the things about going to Greece now is that though the worst of the economic crisis is over, they still have to try as hard as possible to attract and please the tourists. On Rhodes, that business accounts for 80 per cent of the economy. So it's smiles all round.


Original article published in May 2015. All info and prices correct at time of publication.


"The sea views were wonderful, the staff ever so helpful and the food excellent."
Old Town market
Explore the cobbled streets of Rhodes Old Town
Dine in style at the Atrium Platinum Luxury Resort
 
 
 
0330·100·2220i 0330 calls are included within inclusive minutes package on mobiles, otherwise standard rates apply. X 0330 calls are included within inclusive minutes package on mobiles, otherwise standard rates apply. X
 
Close