Mark Warner half term madness
17th June 2016
This is a blog post all about doing a lot on a Mark Warner holiday, however, before I go any further I want to point out this is not a sponsored blog post. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a Mark Warner sponsored post but this is not one of them! In fact, this is a holiday hijacking post. We literally tagged along with friends, their kids and two other families to Mark Warner’s Levante Beach Resort on the island of Rhodes for May half term. This made us a group of 19 (11 kids from ages 2 – 10) and we didn’t stop the whole week!!
Our friends (I can call them all friends now as we were totally welcomed into their group and all had supper together every night!!) had been to the same resort at the same time last year. We loved how they described it as a place where everyone gets to play and everyone gets to chill. That was certainly the case and one memory really sticks in my mind when I was on a motorboat with papa pirate wakeboarding and we waved at our eldest mini pirate learning to windsurf. You get the opportunity to do a lot of things, which is the major pull of a Mark Warner holiday. This is because the childcare is brilliant. I don’t say this lightly but all the kids had plenty to keep them occupied without it feeling like they are being ‘dumped’ in a kids club. Although it is confusing getting your head around the system and I was so grateful on the first morning at breakfast when our friend told me what to take and where to be. However, I should point out they do have a meeting on the afternoon you arrive in the kids club to help you navigate where you little ones will be meeting and their timetable etc.… I was too late to this as introductory meetings are not something I am used too. However, it would have been helpful had I attended. I would have then known that the eldest pirate was doing sailing, windsurfing or paddles boarding first thing every morning. Also, that she would be doing a dance show on the Thursday evening etc.… etc.…
Our youngest loved her team leader Kathryn, and when we booked a babysitter a couple of nights they made sure we got her both times which was fab. You really don’t need to book a baby sitter because the kids club is open in the evenings so you can have food without the kids. There is a kid’s supper from 5:15 – 6:15 (although some people complained that the food wasn’t great for the kids – ours still ate it!). However, our kids were knackered on a couple of the days and although our 3 year old mini pirate fell asleep on the camp beds in the mini kids club, our eldest struggled and ended up having a few too many late nights. What I was grateful for though is that although our 6 year old was in the junior kids club in the day, they moved her into the mini’s kids club in the evening so she could be with her sister. Our youngest had no trouble falling asleep after the movie and we simply picked her up and carried her to bed once we were finished at dinner.
For the adults there was so much you could do at Mark Warner, Levante Beach it was all a bit much on arrival. I would suggest that you have in your mind a couple of sports that interest you and read up on them before you travel. I knew I wanted to play tennis but I also knew I would love the water sports on the beach. This meant we had pretty active mornings. The team on the water sports boat were fantastic and I was back up and wakeboarding in no time. However, the 10-minute slot goes far too quickly especially as you have to ferry out on one boat to switch to the motorboat. I did still get to chill without the kids as you don’t have to collect them until 12:30pm.
Another person that deserves a special mention is Sue the hotel manger. We soon worked out that as much as we loved the resort – the spacious family rooms round the pool, complete with sliding door so you don’t feel like you are sharing a room with the kids. We wanted to get out and see some of Rhodes. Now I am not for one minute claiming that we went on any historic or cultural site seeing tours, no, we went to different restaurants in different bays to eat seafood, play on the beach and drink wine at lunchtime!!! Sue was great to us and helped us sort everything out so it was an easy as possible task get 19 people to eat in some of the islands best tavernas. The highlight was the baked feta, the calamari and the octopus Carpaccio (as well as the huge fishes we ordered to feed us all!). Now the food at the resort is good but the lunchtime offering is not amazing. We didn’t eat out anywhere else in the evening as the resort is so set up for all the kids and I am sure many people don’t leave the resort for the whole week but for us it made it all so much better to have an afternoon out on a few days. I think we ended up doing so much more when we were at the hotel because we got to step in and step out of the Mark Warner fun. In fact our group actually won an award for the most tennis, cycling and water sports.
Another couple of points to mention is that you are on a Mark Warner chartered flight (so May half term week is a noisy flight!), you are met at the airport by a coach and it is very package holiday formulaic. That said it does make for the easiest of family holidays and it is not hard to break away from the schedule to go off piste a bit!
In short, we will be going back but it is not a cheap holiday once you take in to account all the sports so needs to be carefully considered.
Lastly, you will note my lack of pictures – I have put this down to the fact that we were just so damn busy!!