It was almost immediately obvious that booking into the Diamond Deluxe Hotel was a big mistake. It was miles out of town in a desolate area of dusty wind-blown grass and littered verges called Lambi. I hated it as soon as we checked in. I preferred the scruffy little Aphrodite Studios that we had just left behind where the owner required no credit card swipe and who let us stay in our room way after check out time.
The Diamond Deluxe is one of those modern ubiquitous hotels that could be anywhere, Cancun, Taiwan, Sydney because there are no concessions to being in Greece at all. If I had arrived blindfolded I would not have known where in the world I was. As it is, I seriously doubt of many of the guests knew that they were in Greece, but then again, show them a map of the world and they probably wouldn’t be able to point it out anyway. They weren’t here to be in Greece they were here to sit basting in the sun, turning their sunbeds and watching their skin progress through various shades of red in between the occasional dip in the pool and the twenty metre walk to the overpriced cocktail bar.
I had booked the place at a bargain rate but there was a price to pay for that because the ‘best offer’ rooms also happen to be the worst. It was well appointed and had all the facilities that a five star hotel room should have but it was designed for Hobbits at below ground level and all that we could see from our sun starved balcony were people’s sunburnt legs walking by and it was expensive with prices tripled at the hotel shop which meant that I had to walk two kilometres to a minimarket to buy some Mythos. It was a mistake to come here, a very big mistake – for two weeks the sights and sounds had been a delight and an inspiration but there was nothing here to get excited about.
There was a whole day to endure here and I couldn’t bear the thought of staying within the hotel complex so first I walked one way along the scruffy, dirty beach and then I walked the other. At one point there was a blue flag fluttering but it couldn’t possibly be official given the condition of the water and the heavily littered beach. Somehow this passed the day away and thankfully soon it was evening and in the morning it would all be over.
For people who like this sort of thing, I am sure it was wonderful, the facilities were good and the food was excellent but quite honestly my advice is don’t go there, go somewhere authentic, go somewhere Greek, go somewhere that supports the Greek people and the Greek economy and not the shareholders of a corporate hotel chain.
On the final day we were ejected from our room at exactly the contracted check out time, there was no flexibility or hospitality here. We paid the bill in a business like transaction, there were no fond farewells, no philoxenia, no invitations to return and no reciprocal promises. We were happy to leave and where we arrived in a taxi we left by bus for a return to Kos town for a final drink, last minute shopping, a meal at our favourite taverna and a couple of hours to flush the Diamond Deluxe from the memory.
The airport bus left the town at four o’clock and as we left Kos town I reflected on this year’s Greek travels. I had enjoyed the places that we had visited and had a good time but it was not the best Greek experience which I personally find comes only with visiting the Cyclades. I liked Kos but wouldn’t rush back, Turkey was a revelation and a definite must return to country and if I could arrange a trip to Kalymnos whilst bypassing Kos I would like to spend a little more time there and perhaps spend a day or two on tiny Telendros.