It's time for a holiday. But the number of options for places to go can be overwhelming.

You may only get one chance to spend your hard-earned wages and annual leave abroad this year, so you better get it right.

With that in mind, it is important to think about what you really want out of your holiday.

If a good spot to relax, guaranteed sun and good food are at the top of your list, then the Greek island of Rhodes may be the destination you are looking for.

My wife and I visited at the end of June and came back fully refreshed, and looking slightly less like we had just climbed out from underneath a rock.

Rhodes is one of the bigger Greek islands and is much closer to Turkey than Greece - there is only around six miles from Rhodes to Taslica on the Turkish coast.

No surprise then that the weather is ferociously hot, more often than not topping 30 degrees in the summer.

The sun comes out before breakfast and will still be beating down when you are contemplating a late (by British standards) dinner.

So if you're hoping to mosey about little quaint towns, stopping off at cafes for a drink in the sun, Rhodes may even be too hot for you.

But if sipping cocktails by the pool of a luxury hotel is your thing, then step this way.


Casa Cook


One such luxury venue is Casa Cook, a 5* adults-only boutique hotel in the resort village of Kolympia, on the island's north east Coast.

Only opening in 2016, Casa Cook was the first of a series of luxury hotels launched by Thomas Cook - there are now five worldwide.

Now the mention of Thomas Cook may bring up thoughts of budget hotels and Brits abroad seeing off their full English with a pint of Carling at 10am, but this couldn't be any further from that.

The Resident: One of the two poolsOne of the two pools (Image: Casa Cook)

Casa Cook aims at a stylish, Bohemian vibe, with laid-back house music playing at the bars throughout the day.

The hotel sits at the foot of a small mountain, the other side of which is the beach which you can easily walk to.

Open the curtains in the morning and you will step out onto your own private veranda, where you can lounge on a sunbed before dipping into the pool you share with just five other apartments.

No need to wake at the crack of dawn to secure the best sunbed at the pool here.

The Resident: The view from the veranda of our roomThe view from the veranda of our room (Image: Simon Murfitt, Newsquest)

There are two pools, however, both with restaurants and a bar alongside.

The menu is mostly Greek and Middle Eastern, with meze dishes and fresh fish, as well as pasta, hearty burgers and pizza. There is also an equally extensive cocktail menu.

And they don't hold back on the portions either. We enjoyed mammoth plates of chicken gyros, souvlaki and chicken caesar salad.

Other standout meals included a mushroom risotto, prawn tagliatelle with pesto, and a deliciously fresh fruit tart.

My personal highlight however was the fried calamari. A dish you will soon on many a London gastropub menu, but I can guarantee it won't be done as well as this. After working up an appetite in the pool, the combination of fresh squid with the crunchy, salty batter is hard to beat.

The Resident: Souvlaki and cheesecake from Casa Cook Rhodes' restaurantSouvlaki and cheesecake from Casa Cook Rhodes' restaurant (Image: Simon Murfitt, Newsquest)

If the odd width of the pool isn't vigorous enough for you, there is a gym on site, as well as a spa and yoga studio where you can book onto classes.

There is also the option to hike up Tsambika Hill to the monastery that sits at the top.

But for those who just want to chill by the pool, soak up some rays and indulge in good food, Casa Cook is a great way to ensure you spend that annual leave wisely.