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Fun time at Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki, Greece, until Covid+ test

a pool with palm trees and umbrellas

Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki was planned to be a late June 2022 quick getaway break from Portugal for 8,000 points as a category 2 hotel reward night when room rates started at 199 EUR. The hotel stay was our only destination on a 48-hour mileage run from Lisbon to Thessaloniki, Greece in my effort to secure Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite renewal with 4 Aegean flight segments Lisbon-Athens-Thessaloniki-Athens-Lisbon. We have good memories from our brief Hyatt stay, which ended early and abruptly when I tested positive for Covid-19 on a proctor monitored video test about 11 hours after hotel check-in.

My main Hyatt Thessaloniki memory is walking around many species of trees with lots of spacious green grass lawns around the hotel, while Kelley fondly recalls enjoying the large pool on a hot and humid day.

a pool with palm trees and umbrellas
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki main pool.
a building with trees and bushes
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki grass lawn.

Getting to Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki from SKG Airport

I called the Hyatt when we landed at Thessaloniki Airport SKG around 9:30am. An operator answered in Greek. When I asked in English if there was a hotel shuttle the phone call disconnected without a response.

The 18 EUR cost to travel from the airport seven kilometers to Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki was a price shock for me. Especially since later that evening we left the Hyatt by taxi for the city of Thessaloniki and paid 25 EUR for a 22 km ride. Our taxi ride from Holiday Inn Thessaloniki back to the airport a week later was 27 EUR.

Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki is relatively isolated with no nearby stores or restaurants within easy walking distance, especially when summer temperatures were in the 90s with humidity. 

Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki Check-In

The receptionist told us our room was not ready and suggested we store our luggage and check-out the resort facilities. We would receive a text when the room was cleaned. We had not been in a lie flat position for over 24 hours after checking out of the Holiday Inn Lisbon the day before, walking around Lisbon for 8 hours, then taking a midnight flight on Aegean from Lisbon to Athens and an Olympic Airlines flight to Thessaloniki. I asked for any room available where we could have a bed right away. The Standard King room we were given was perfectly satisfactory for our immediate needs with bed, plush chair, TV and shower.

a building with trees and grass
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki balcony view.

Kelley walked into the room, turned the air conditioner to maximum cold, closed the blinds and climbed in bed. I had a shower and quickly followed. Around 1:30pm I woke up and wandered around the hotel and grounds taking photos.

a building with a fountain in the middle
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki, Greece outdoor patio space.
a path with trees and bushes
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki, Greece tree landscape.
a tennis court with a fence and trees
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki tennis courts.
a grassy area with trees and bushes
Olympus Mountains seen from Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki, Greece.
a stone path in a park
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki garden path

Seemed strange to wander around the grounds and not come across anyone else until I reached the pool area.

a pool with palm trees and umbrellas
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki main pool.

In my mind, weeks and months before arriving at the hotel, I had a vision of being in a dry, rocky environment at the Hyatt resort near Thessaloniki Airport. Grass, trees, lush foilage around the pool and rain droplets starting to fall in late June hit me with a reality very different from the setting I had imagined before arrival.

a waterfall in a garden
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki waterfall and stream
a pool with rocks and umbrellas
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki pool and towel shack.

Back in the room I crashed again and woke up a couple hours later finding Kelley in a bathing suit directing me to get my suit on and head to the pool. 

a pool with palm trees and umbrellas
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki pool island

We were seated near the pool cafe to our left under an umbrella with a small and wooden table between our lounge chairs. A waiter came by for our order of Mythos beer and salads from the pool cafe.

The unused wading pool on our right was a place suitable for young children. Fortunately none were around with only a few children about 8 to 12 years of age in the main pool with a few adults.

a pool with umbrellas and chairs
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki wading pool.

The pool cafe, which closed at 18:00 was our only dining at the hotel. Kelley ordered a prawn salad and I ordered crab salad for 16 EUR each. Mythos beer in an icy mug was 6 EUR each. I definitely felt I had the better deal with a chunky crab salad as Kelley said there were only three prawns on her salad. The pool remained open after the cafe closed.

a bowl of salad and bread
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki pool cafe crab salad 16 EUR.

Covid 19 Positive Test

Back at the room we showered and chilled. We were scheduled to fly back to Portugal the following evening. I checked us in for our flight back to Portugal, one of the only remaining countries in Europe in late June 2022 still requiring a negative Covid-19 test result within 24 hours before flight departure. I had packed six Covid-19 test kits. 

This was our fourth video monitored Covid 19 test in three months so we could competently do the test without much guidance.

When my test strip indicator line started darkening in color as quickly as the control line, I went into instant shock with my head and whole body feeling buzzed. The test result was unexpected as I had not felt any indicators of sickness in my body.  My head and body felt lagged anyway after spending the day before out and about in Lisbon drinking beer in outdoor squares before catching a red-eye flight to Greece.

For more than two years I had taken precautions to avoid Covid19 with generally trying to stand away from people. In Lisbon we wore our masks for stores and transportation. My mind blew a gasket as I grappled with all the changes I would need to process:

  • Where will we need to quarantine?
  • What hotel cancellations to make? Is it too late to cancel?
  • I have to buy new tickets back to Portugal for our flight to San Francisco in two weeks. 
  • How do we get food for the next week? 
  • Am I going to get really sick?

The first order of business was to call the front desk at Hyatt and get some advice on our legal obligations in Greece for quarantine. The front desk staffer asked us to stay in the room while she got advice.

After about ten minutes the front desk called back and advised us the current regulation for tourists testing Covid positive was five days isolation in a hotel, counting the day of the positive test as day zero. There was no requirement to involve a doctor unless I felt the need. She informed me the room rate would be 330 EUR per night to stay at the Hyatt. And a quick estimate in my head added about 100 EUR per day to feed us given the prices at the Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki.

Day 0 at Hyatt Thessaloniki was paid with points. I had already checked to see no availability on for a stay on points. That was irrlevant since I only had enough points in my World of Hyatt account for one, maybe two more nights.

A slight mental relief came over me when she said we could choose to move to another hotel for Covid 19 isolation as long as we departed the Hyatt property as quickly as possible that evening. The hotel asked me to inform them if we wished to leave the hotel.

Immediately I thought of Holiday Inn Thessaloniki as a more affordable alternative to Hyatt since I did not want to blow $2,500 at a resort stuck inside a hotel room. Using the IHG 4th night free Chase Mastercard benefit I booked 8 nights at Holiday Inn Thessaloniki for 73,000 points. It cost me $385 to buy 73,000 points during an IHG 100% bonus points sale. I informed the Hyatt desk staff of intention to move to Holiday Inn Thessaloniki. The desk called for a taxi.

I’d never even snapped photos of the Hyatt room at that point in time, which explains why the room looks a bit in disarray in my photos taken while packing to leave. Plush chair, work desk and chair, large closet and bathroom space with plenty of storage area are missing from my images.

a television on a table in a room
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki room TV.
a bed with a lamp and a picture on the wall
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki Standard King Room.
a mini fridge with drinks and beverages inside
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki minibar in cabinet below TV.
a room with a door open and a mirror
Hyatt Thessaloniki bathroom space.

The front desk called to inform us the taxi had arrived. I paid the 50 EUR pool cafe bill and we left for Holiday Inn Thessaloniki wearing our masks, although the taxi driver was not. 

In the taxi ride to Thessaloniki I thought about the guy seated between us 14 hours earlier on the flight from Athens to Thessaloniki. We were masked for the flight and he was not. 

As a final note before sharing our experience in another post about being shut in for days at the Holiday Inn Thessaloniki is a day or two later I received a call from the desk agent at Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki checking in with me to see how we were doing. That was commendable Hyatt customer service.




  • CHRIS October 16, 2022

    Looks like somebody just taught themselves a lesson about traveling to and supporting countries that continue to perpetuate the charade.

  • Sara J October 16, 2022

    Thank you for your report, as well as the hotel photos. I have been looking to travel to Greece, and thought of Crete, where I have never visited. The lowest priced flights from MRY were 37 hours, which I wrote down. A few days later, I thought, did I mean to write “27”? I checked again, and it WAS 37. Departing from SFO cuts travel and layover time to under 20. I was also looking into the Cook Islands, which is impossibly out of reach for me, price wise.

  • Miamiotbust October 16, 2022

    I stayed here this summer. You should not make the same mistake. Staff is well intentioned but hapless. Poor quality wifi, they tried to help but failed. Food is not great. The major problem is they try to run it like a one-stop 5-start resort but it just isn’t. Understaffed. Location is in the middle of nowhere. Amenities (gym ect) are tired. If you’re a hyatt loyalist, you have an option downtown in a prime location near shops and restaurants. Stay there, even if you are in town for only one night. Or stay somewhere else downtown. Range of good and very good restaurants in city center. Don’t let yourself get trapped here and miss out on what the region has to offer.

  • Ric Garrido October 16, 2022

    Sara J. – In March 2019 I stayed in Crete and considered it one of the best relaxing holidays I had in the town of Chania. There are five links in this article about that trip.

    Airfare is currently around $600 SFO to Athens for dates next spring.

    Fares in recent months have been as low as $525 round trip San Francisco to Heraklion and Chania. We received a free Aegean Airlines ticket from our summer delay and we plan to use it to visit one of the Greek Islands spring 2023.

  • Ric Garrido October 16, 2022

    @Chris – Greece stopped all Covid precautions the week after we departed while cases were rising to one of their highest levels of the pandemic.

    The day we tested positive there were 10,000 cases a day in Greece in a population of 10 million. Within three weeks after we left Greece the case load increased to about 50,000 per day and by August the daily death toll from Covid in Greece rose from about 13 per day to weeks with more than 50 deaths per day.
    Hospitalizations in Greece from Covid19 rose significantly in the month after our stay.

  • Mike R October 16, 2022

    You didn’t get COVID from a contact 14 hours prior. Where were you a week or so ago? 5-15 days is where you should look.

  • bluecat October 16, 2022

    How was your wife’s test?
    When we caught Covid this summer (in Norway), my wife test positive first and then I followed the next day. She cleared in 5 but it took me 10 days—and I was basically asymptomatic.

    Odd how this thing behaves.

  • Ric Garrido October 16, 2022

    @Mike R. – We likely contracted Covid19 in Lisbon, Portugal. We had been there a week before flying to Greece. Perhaps Montreal Airport or San Francisco Airport or the flights where we spent 40 hours on our travel adventure to reach Lisbon.

    Portugal had the second highest rate of Covid-19 transmission worldwide in mid-June.

    @bluecat – Kelley’s Covid-19 test line was faint. She thinks she may have had Covid symptoms while we were in Lisbon and gave Covid to me. She takes daily allergy medicine and she thought her itchy throat and runny nose for a couple of days in Lisbon were her normal allergies.

  • Sara J October 16, 2022

    Thank you for the link regarding Crete and hotel review. I had searched for HER arrivals hoping to explore the museums. I did not know it had been independent. I will keep looking for good flight times and connections.

  • […] At a recent dinner party a friend asked, “What do you do when traveling in Europe and test positive for Covid-19?” Different countries have different rules and the rules are subject to change at any time for any specific place. I told him our story, in far less detail than this article, about what happened after Kelley and I tested positive for Covid while staying at Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki in Greece last June. […]

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