Hello everyone, I’m Pat and have recently returned from a fam trip (familiarisation visit!) to Caesar’s Gardens Hotel in Lindos on Rhodes.

Although not on the staff of Friendship Travel, I have worked with Colum and the team for nine years as an account manager with Beacon PR, assisting with their PR and marketing.  As I have worked with the gang for so long I thought I knew most of what there was to know about a singles holiday, but how wrong could I have been!

Around a month ago I travelled to Belfast to meet up with the Friendship team and whilst there Colum offered me the opportunity to try out a trip and see what a house-party for single travellers was all about, so on 21 September I packed my bag and headed off on a singles holiday to Greece.

If I’m completely honest, I was a little nervous about the trip, having always travelled with my partner.  This really bought home to me that taking a singles holiday – particularly for the first time – can be a little daunting. However, I have to say I was reassured in the knowledge that Friendship Travel have exclusive use of the hotel and that everyone else would be on their own just like me!

Well, the flight went like clockwork and I arrived on time, to be greeted by the Friendship Travel Host who led me –and a fellow guest – to our taxi.  It took around 45-minutes to arrive at the Caesar’s Garden Hotel, situated at the end of a quiet road on the edge of the picturesque resort of Lindos.

As soon as I stepped through the gate I was greeted by the Friendship host, Julie, who took me to my room and left me to unpack.  Once this was completed, it was time to relax and meet my fellow guests.

What a lovely bunch of people they were, so friendly and full of fun and I can honestly say I was totally at ease and felt as if I had known them for ages.  We were a group of 10, seven ladies and three gents, and very quickly everyone was friends.  Some were first-timers like me, the rest having travelled with Friendship on many occasions.

Mel, Friendship’s overseas manager, was also at the hotel so it was lovely to meet her too.  I must admit I felt a little guilty (it didn’t last long though!) that she was working on her laptop while I lounged around the pool.

After enjoying the sunshine and the company of my fellow guests it was time for dinner, a relaxed and friendly affair – as were all meals – served on the open-air terrace.  The complimentary wine makes the conversation flow and the laughter start.  During our conversations over dinner, it t was amusing to learn that I wasn’t the only one in the group who wondered if they would be the oldest.  In my case I was not the most senior, but let’s just say I was at the top end!  I can honestly say though that one of the things I learnt is that it doesn’t matter a jot what your age is.

The rest of my trip passed by in a blur, but memorable highlights include a couple of trips including Nightshift – a trip around the bars in town sampling a shot at each – a night wandering round Rhodes Old Town with two new-found friends, an Indian Head massage by the edge of the pool, along with endless lying by the pool, talking, laughing and eating lots of good food.  I also took the opportunity to visit the Lindos Memories Hotel, also used by Friendship Travel, accompanied by Mel.

Sadly it was time to come home on Saturday and I really didn’t want to go!  My friends gave me a lovely send off, so much so that a couple on the transfer coach wanted to know the name of the hotel as everyone seemed so friendly!

Before I close, I must say the Caesar’s Garden Hotel is superb and certainly lives up to its reputation as being a ‘small and friendly’ property. In fact, one guest commented that the atmosphere was like staying in a private villa with friends.

The staff were a delight and I was particularly impressed when walking along the road to be greeted by the barman, Vasilis, who said “hello Pat how are you.”  For a moment I thought how does this handsome young Greek know my name, but quickly realised – not without a little disappointment – he took the time and trouble to learn everyone’s names!

I had a huge amount of fun on my trip, learnt loads and know that some of the people I met will be friends for life.  Of course first timers are a little nervous – it’s only natural – but my message would be give it a try.  There’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want, it’s all about companionship when you want it and enjoying a good meal with new found friends.

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