Family holidays: Testosterone overload

Greece is famed for being child-friendly. But Kristina Ferris's family failed to warm to the teenagers they encountered there.

How would you feel about sharing a hotel with hordes of excitable teenage boys? If you were a teenage girl on an 18-30-type holiday, you would probably be disappointed with anything less. If, on the other hand, you are a family with young children looking for a quiet, relaxing time, it is the last thing you want.

How would you feel about sharing a hotel with hordes of excitable teenage boys? If you were a teenage girl on an 18-30-type holiday, you would probably be disappointed with anything less. If, on the other hand, you are a family with young children looking for a quiet, relaxing time, it is the last thing you want.

When we chose to visit the Kalamata area of the Greek Peloponnese last year, we were looking for somewhere warm, away from the crowds. We fancied Greece because previous holidays in Portugal and Spain had left us feeling we hadn't visited a foreign country. We wanted somewhere big enough to have a Kids Club, but not so big as to be impersonal. In a country where a lot of the accommodation is very small scale, the Sunrise Village was one of the few hotels that met these requirements.

Despite the limited choice, it turned out to be a lovely deluxe hotel in an idyllic setting, half an hour's walk from the nearest village of Petallidi. Perched on the top of a small cliff overlooking the Gulf of Messenia with the Mani peninsula sometimes visible through the haze, Sunrise Village has a huge pool and two secluded beaches a few minutes walk down a cliff path. The "bungalow"-style rooms add to the feeling of being somewhere small and private.

Everything appeared initially to be exactly what we were looking for. The Kalamata area remains largely undeveloped, because until recently the nearest airport was Athens, 160 miles away. Petallidi is a charming fishing village built around a large square, with locals far outnumbering tourists, even in July. We found an odd little restaurant called Socrates on the seafront, where the tablecloths were bin-bags and you had to go through the family home to reach the bathroom. It was incredibly spartan, with a limited menu and no desserts, but we returned to Socrates again and again for the warmest of welcomes and great food.

What of the teenage boys? The youth football tournament was taking place during the same week as our stay, and I found out afterwards that many hotels in the area were putting these boys up. There were upwards of 100 of them staying at the Sunrise. In a hotel with 250 rooms they dominated, except for the brief periods when they went off to play football. Initially, they were a minor curiosity, but rapidly their presence became overwhelming. They monopolised the pool, deliberately obstructing other guests. I even had to ask them to get out of the baby pool most mornings so the children could play safely. This was met with rudeness. I was jostled in the café while feeding my four-month-old daughter.

Evenings were just as bad. When we finally got the children to sleep and were looking forward to a relaxing drink, they were woken by these young men running around and shouting. We heard stories about fights in the bar, and some guests received nuisance calls.

Such behaviour is probably the norm in certain resorts, but I deliberately checked in advance that the hotel wasn't near lots of noisy bars and restaurants. Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to ask if the hotel would be accommodating teams playing in a youth football tournament.

When I complained to the hotel management, they referred me to the holiday company. The holiday company would not accept responsibility, claiming it had no control over the behaviour of other guests and no knowledge of the block booking. It did, however, say it will make sure all future guests wishing to stay in its accommodation in the region are aware of the event if it takes place again. So if you are looking for a quiet holiday in an unspoilt part of Greece that offers a host of historical sites, Petallidi comes highly recommended. Just remember to ask about group bookings.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?