Author Topic: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece  (Read 5886 times)

Offline morgs

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Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« on: January 24, 2015, 04:33:14 PM »
I have received a few requests about info on Thessaloniki, Greece so I decided to post a small tr with all the main info there is to know about it.

We went down to Thessaloniki from Israel after Succos last year for a short vacation. I was very close to reaching Aegean gold status :P and had 2 category 1-4 hyatt cert. that were expiring as well and it was really close by so we decided it would be the perfect 3 night-4 day getaway.

During the summer months, Aegean operates a direct flight 3 times a week from TLV to Thessaloniki-the last flight is offered the day after succos. So we booked direct for the way there but for the way back the service was already over so we took an Aegean flight back to TLV with a short stop in Athens.

Hotel:
Thessaloniki has the only Hyatt hotel in Greece and shockingly itís only a category 3. For 2 nights we used the Hyatt anniversary cert. and for the other night it was 15,000 points. Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece (after Athens) and is considered a business center/tourist destination. The main attraction in Thessaloniki is the beaches, however, the airport is a good 45 minute drive away from the beach area. The Hyatt hotel is located 5 minutes away from the airport and is considered predominantly a business hotel. The hotel is more like a resort with 2 wings and magnificent sprawling grounds! If you go off season then the hotel is only busy on weekends but midweek you could count on your fingers the amount of people staying in the hotel. We arrived on a Sunday morning so it was a little busy but for the next 3 days we had the entire pool/ outdoor area to ourselves!!! The service in this hotel is top notch-everyone is smiley and always eager to help. The hotel is not new but does not look rundown at all-the rooms are super clean! The standard rooms are very large and have huge balconies with patio furniture to relax on. The hotel offers free pick up and return to the airport because it is only 5 minutes away. When we arrived there was a fellow waiting in the arrivals hall with a sign with our name and he drove us quickly straight to the hotel. The other attraction in Thessaloniki is the old town (which we will get to later) and the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service 3 times a day there and back as well.

Kosher Food:
 The options for kosher food in Thessaloniki are rather limited so we brought along most of our meals. As I was emailing the hotel before our stay I asked them if there were any kosher options at the hotel itself and they put me in touch with their restaurant and events manager. She told me that the hotel has made many kosher weddings and functions in the past and she was actually quite familiar with the whole kosher story. She told me that the hotel had a locked cabinet with kosher utensils in it and only the supervising Rabbi (who is the official Rabbi in Thessaloniki-Israeli fellow-not Chabad affiliated) has the key so we need to coordinate with him as well and he would deliver sealed packages of meat. I would need to come into the kitchen every day and open that closet, turn on the fires and supervise, etc. Before I even got to asking for prices I could not get enough info on how kosher that meat was so I just decided to scratch the idea but if you can find out more info it definitely seemed like a fantastic option (as their restaurant is 5 star and has amazing service!). Chabad has a restaurant but it is located in the old town (which is about a 30 minute drive away from the hotel) so we decided that we would only eat there on the day we went in to tour the old town. For the remainder of the days we brought coldcuts/schnitzel and bread, tradition soups, cereal and milk, etc.

Activities
The first day we arrived we just relaxed all day in the hotel and toured the grounds. The hotel has a massive pool, a kiddie pool, huge gardens and grass area with walking paths, and a big playground area for kids.
 The second day we chilled in the hotel most of the day as we had the entire pool to ourselves! In the evening we got a taxi and took a 15 minute drive over to the local mall. The mall is a very large upscale indoor mall with many middle to high end stores. There was a grocery there where we bought some cereal and snacks and vegetables for our sandwiches. We shopped around for some time and then headed over to the fun section of the mall. There are movie theaters and a large bowling alley/arcade place. We bowled 2 games and played some arcades and then headed back to the hotel.
The 3rd day we booked seats in the first shuttle of the day that the hotel offers (you must book seats in advance) and were in the old town within half hour. Our first stop that day was the Jewish museum of Thessaloniki which is actually rather beautiful once you find it and get inside. Basically it seems that before the holocaust Thessaloniki had a thriving Jewish community and it goes through the history and has a very large section on the holocaust in general with lots of artifacts, etc. Everything in the old town is pretty close by so we decided to walk from place to place. After the museum we walked past some town square over to an arch that is supposed to be really old-not very exciting. Then we walked through some of the streets where there is quite a bit of excavations going on there and they are digging up some really old ruins. The old town is located at a port style area on the water (no beach here but lots of paths walking along the water-cruise ships also dock in this area) so we walked down there and went to go check out the main attraction in Thessaloniki-the white tower. A big white round shaped tower located on the water. You pay a couple euros and can go up to the top for great vies of the city and water. You get up to the top via a ramp that circles the circumference of the inside of the tower until you reach the top.  After that we headed over to the Chabad restaurant which is located in the Astoria hotel (and actually seemed pretty nice inside) where Chabad rents a portion of their kitchen as the hotel only serves breakfast and the dining room is empty the rest of the day. The restaurant is opened from 5-11 every day but it is important to call first as sometimes they are opening just for you (as was the case in our situation). The food was fresh, homemade and delicious and the service was great. There was one waiter and the Chabad Rabbis brother was the mashgiach (he was there helping for a couple months on shlichus) and was really interesting to schmooze with. We were given warm pita and chummus to start and ordered schnitzel and fries (which were amazing fries btw) for both of us and kebab burgers and fries for our kid. After we finished supper we walked back along the water to the pickup point for the last shuttle back to the hotel (located on the street right next to the white tower) and were back in the hotel half hour later. Thessaloniki also has some really great beaches but we decided we did not want to shlep out there on this trip for that and instead enjoyed the hotel grounds.

For any more questions or email addresses of the hyatt staff please feel free to PM me!!
Room

View of grounds from porch

Hallway to bathroom

Bathroom


Baby Crib

Kiddie pool and grass/playground area in the background

Looking from pool towards outdoor bar/restaurant area

Pool area

Arch in old town

The white tower

Ramp leading up to the top of the tower

View from the top of the white tower

Walking along the waterfront

Food at the Chabad restaurant

View of resort at night from the bar


Offline Emkay

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2015, 04:53:27 PM »
Nice TR.  I believe the kosher cabinet is compliments of my stay. When I came they went out and bought all new pots and cutlery and had the rabbi toivel everything.  She mentioned that now she was going to keep them for future guests. Was your room officially a standard size room?

Offline morgs

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 05:15:28 PM »
Nice TR.  I believe the kosher cabinet is compliments of my stay. When I came they went out and bought all new pots and cutlery and had the rabbi toivel everything.  She mentioned that now she was going to keep them for future guests. Was your room officially a standard size room?
Well thanks to you for that ( If only I would have known I could have gotten more info) :( How was the food btw-please feel free to add your thoughts about the hotel food! Thanks!
I think the room was an upgrade to a deluxe room/junior suite as it had a very large sitting area as well.

Offline Emkay

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2015, 05:17:13 PM »
Well thanks to you for that ( If only I would have known I could have gotten more info) :( How was the food btw-please feel free to add your thoughts about the hotel food! Thanks!
I think the room was an upgrade to a deluxe room/junior suite as it had a very large sitting area as well.
The only thing I actually ate there was breakfast

Offline morgs

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2015, 05:22:51 PM »
The only thing I actually ate there was breakfast
Gotcha-I got lots of things from the standard breakfast (which they inc. for free even though I am not diamond) like mini jars of jams (with a hechsher), fruit (which is cut strictly w/ a dedicated fruit knife at a fruit only station), and other random stuff that I don't rem. now....

Offline Emkay

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2015, 05:25:19 PM »
Gotcha-I got lots of things from the standard breakfast (which they inc. for free even though I am not diamond) like mini jars of jams (with a hechsher), fruit (which is cut strictly w/ a dedicated fruit knife at a fruit only station), and other random stuff that I don't rem. now....
I actually had the greatest omelette of my life there

Offline VacationLover

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2015, 06:33:18 PM »
Nice TR thanks for taking the time!

Offline Kabrams1618

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2015, 04:37:05 AM »
Thanks for the info

Offline morgs

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2015, 01:54:23 PM »
Thanks for the info
Happy to be of help!!

Offline philbenjoe

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2015, 05:03:11 PM »
Have you been to Athens?
"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" Dr Seuss

Offline morgs

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2015, 05:09:42 PM »
Have you been to Athens?
Unfortunately not-its on the list..... :D

Offline solls108

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2015, 05:27:55 PM »
I must try this!
Thanks!

Offline Emkay

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2015, 05:47:34 PM »
Unfortunately not-its on the list..... :D
Shabbos there was amazing, my second to favorite in Europe

Offline morgs

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2015, 06:15:43 PM »
Shabbos there was amazing, my second to favorite in Europe
Athens? what did you like so much about it?

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Tr w/ Pics: Thessaloniki, Greece
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2015, 06:47:05 PM »