There’s something about Halkidiki – going big on the mainland at Ajul Luxury Resort

Last updated 8th July 2024

Greece holidays just got a Halkidiki glow-up – Lisa McGarry visited the brand-new Ajul Luxury Hotel & Spa Resort to see what all the fuss is about, and find out if she could get a glow-up too.


Private Pool, 2-bedroom Royal Villa, Ajul Luxury Resort

It’s all about the mainland for Greece holidays in Halkidiki

I’ve always loved Greece: for the weather, the people, the history, the food, and of course the scenery. But apart from a city break in Athens, I’ve never ‘done’ the mainland, until now – when we got the chance to visit Ajul Luxury Hotel & Spa Resort on the Halkidiki Peninsula, a brand-new resort geared towards holistic relaxation and enjoyment perched high above the crystal-clear waters and pine forest surrounds of Agia Pariskevi.

There’s something wonderfully exciting about a new resort – the air is shiny with possibility, and you can feel the love and sheer effort which has gone into creating a new reality. Such was the case when we emerged from our Thessaloniki transfer through lush green Greek countryside and that first stomach-flipping sight of the glittering Aegean Sea, to be greeted with ice cold hand towels and the warm smiles of a team ready to indulge our every whim.


Lobby, Ajul Luxury Resort

Getting the royal treatment – but it’s all royal here

The interior design of the lobby and throughout the resort gives light elegance: creamy natural tones to match the sunshine streaming through the centre. Wicker seating beckons, but you might need to swing by the resort shop for some swishy dresses, because this is a place to work that chic holiday look. Once you’ve zhuzhed to your heart’s content, it’s time to unload the bags and unwind – in our case, at the two-bedroom Royal Villa, with terraced garden and private pool overlooking the sea, so private that swimwear may be optional for a morning dip. It’s a beautiful space, with huge corner sofa seating, two bathrooms and a twin bedroom as well as the master.

Ours was one of 55 private pools at the resort, and they’re a big draw – plenty of guests opt to chill at their own pool rather than at the other five pools at the hotel, which means there’s plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the others.


Infinity pool, Ajul

Pools, pools, everywhere, and more than a few slides

Because who needs a private pool, when you’ve got all this on your Greek holiday? The family pool is as chic as it gets, and hosts nightly film screenings on beanbags, perfect for some after-dinner relaxation under the starry Halkidiki night sky. The infinity pool by the spa has views for days, a perfect spot to submerge yourself on an in-water seat and drink it all in. Then there’s the swim-up bar pool, complete with bridge and private booth seating – this one opens at six, for discreet after-dinner cocktails.

The indoor spa pool thrums with serenity, which is coincidentally the name of the spa – and a massage here was great for my shoulder injury, with a therapist who really knew her muscle pressure. It’s a high-end affair, which wouldn’t seem out of place in a Swiss resort – so if you’re into that kind of thing (and who isn’t?) then you’ll be impressed by the range of state-of-the-art treatments served by uber professional staff.


But for kids, it’s all about the waterpark – which was just completed ahead of our visit, and opened for summer 2024. The slides were epic, and made for many hours of fun, as did the lazy river and little kids’ splash zone.


Thimari Restaurant

The way to holistic bliss is paved with great food

Food is love, and we loved eating at Ajul. There’s Thimari, a traditional Greek restaurant with a beautiful terrace and live music, where we enjoyed all the classic dips and meats, with staff who really cared about our happiness. Next up was resident Italian Ambrosia, for a leisurely dinner under the sliver of a new moon, where the rosé flowed, a Greek dancing group entertained, and then pulled us out of our digesting slumber to learn the steps to the Zorba the Greek dance. As it turns out, I am not a natural, but it was fun for the kids, so public humiliation (and a bit more rosé) was my destiny.

The main restaurant, Infinity, is huge and caters for everyone, but make sure you keep your wits about you at the dessert section, because too much baklava is an easy mistake to make, and it’s too good not to indulge. Just do some extra laps, and maybe check out the tennis courts before breakfast (which were handily right by our villa – you can also play basketball and volleyball). We loved the variety of breakfasts and lunches at Infinity, packing in all the watermelon possible whilst the going was good – essential for Greece holidays, as is way too much feta!


Scuba diving at Halkidiki

Diving and shopping time sealed a magical Greece holiday

When you’re in a beautiful resort like Ajul, it’s tempting just to stay and enjoy, but there’s too much going on outside to rest on your (poolside) laurels. The private beach is a 5-minute shuttle down the hill, with pick-ups and drop-offs at 30-minute intervals until 7pm, and it’s so worth a visit – a really pretty little pebble cove with sunbeds and umbrellas, plenty of rocky bits to explore with the kids, great views and the clearest blue waters. We also went to the town of Afitos, around half an hours’ drive from Ajul, for more jaw-dropping views and some cute shops to browse for jewellery and souvenirs.

A very hungry Halkidiki octopus

I left the fam to go diving with a group one morning off a beach a few minutes’ drive from the resort, and it was a magical experience. We were lucky enough to spot an octopus on the hunt, changing colour as it melted into the coral, as well as lots of colourful fish and great visibility. I was really impressed with my first European dive, through Triton Scuba Club, and arranged by the hotel.

While leaving was hard, we loved our time at Ajul Resort, and would recommend it to anyone for a perfect Greek family holiday.

How to plan this Greece holiday

How to get there

Direct UK flights to Thessaloniki take from 3 hours, 20 minutes

Ajul Luxury Resort is a 90-minute drive south of Thessaloniki Airport

The Ajul Luxury Resort Family Experience Package

Available on all family accommodation for stays of 4 nights or more and includes:

Welcome gift for children

Free snacks and refreshments during the day

Free accommodation for kids (up to 12 years) sharing parents’ room

Free use of the Water Park

Free use of Kids Club

Deluxe Room with Garden View on B&B basis from £189 per night

Offer ends 31 October 2024

Find out more and book here