Travel

Relaxing in Rhodes

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“Mornings she lazed on sun loungers, under the welcome shade of a grass umbrella, waves lapping on the shore and children’s laughter echoing in the distance. Drifting in and out of sleep, she devoured book after book and, as the sun kissed her skin, she felt the stresses of the everyday melt away as she re-connected with life…”

No my friends, this is no extract from a holiday novel… This is an excerpt from MY LIFE!

Or, more precisely, our week with Mark Warner at Levante Beach Resort on the Greek Island of Rhodes. Stuff. Of. Dreams.  And since the company is celebrating it’s 40th this year, it seemed a pretty appropriate time to go.

First off – *Disclaimer Alert*

  • I’m not into the thought of package holidays
  • I don’t like being told where I need to be, and when
  • I detest queuing.  It feels like time I’ll never get back again!

Yeah, no prizes for guessing, I truly wasn’t sure what to expect!

But from the minute we left Heathrow’s Terminal 5 on our British Airways charter flight, following the most seamless family check-in I’ve ever experienced (thanks BA!) I got the impression I’d be OK, largely encouraged by my *eavesdropping on excited chatter all around me as people compared notes on how many times they’d had the Mark Warner experience and how many times they’d been to this particular resort.  A good sign if ever there was one!  *all eavesdropping was strictly professional in the name of research and not in any way because it’s one of my favourite pastimes and I love listening in on conversations. Nope. Nopey. Nope!

In a former life – BK – before kids -Trey and I went to Egypt with Mark Warner so when they asked if we fancied trying the experience AK – after kids – I jumped at their offer.

A 4 hour flight and 25 minute coach transfer from the airport and we were greeted by “the” Levante view – from the bar terrace to the main pool – a pretty impressive welcome by any standards.

WELCOMEWe quickly checked into our inter-connecting rooms (two rooms, two bathrooms – what’s not to love?!) the kids excitedly wowed at the views from the balconies and ready to explore.  Early evening saw our Kids Club introduction and “Welcome Chat” and whilst I might have momentarily twitched at the super long line for dinner in the Amalthia Restaurant, thankfully it was just because it was the first night and everyone was starving. We never had to que again!  We ate alfresco on the stunning terrace under huge ceiling fans and boy, did we enjoy that buffet and the kids loved marvelling at the many designs staff could conjure with a watermelon!  (yup, now I’m totally gonna feel the pressure next time I bust out a melon at home!)

restaurant

The next morning, and it was time to gear the kids and myself up for some serious sun and hopefully fun in the Kids Club.  We’ve only ever done the “kids club thing” once before, for a few hours, so I truly wasn’t sure how my two would be and they can be a bit clingy, especially my youngest, Akira.  I’d taken pictures of the schedule for Turtles (cute) and Lasers outside the clubhouse (thank goodness for i-phones!) so I could prep them on what to expect each day in the hope that they’d embrace everything that came their way.  And wow did they?!  Sailing, windsurfing, sand sculptures, pool races, party games – you name it, they did it!

kidsclub1

I’ve never “got” the beauty of Kids Club before. I’ve always thought of it as parents wanting time for themselves and approached feeling an element of guilt. But as Kaya got more excited by the day to check-in with her new found gang, I realised I’d got it wrong and it was actually more for the kids than for me!  She ruddy LOVED it!  Incredibly, included in the cost of the holiday were 3.5 hours a day – morning or afternoon – and evening club from 7.30 with movies. And the schedule changes every hour, so nobody ever has time to be bored. Both kids had mornings filled with so much fun, they were bursting to tell us all about it by the time I collected them at 12.30.

Simultaneously, OUR mornings were spent on sun loungers, enjoying the beach, diving, snorkelling and indulging in *overshare alert* (look away mum) a bit of “fun” of our own!   In the morning?!  I KNOW!  When do you ever get the chance for THAT as parents!?  They should totally add that to the brochure! #just-sayin’

CHILLIt was amazing to have time to ourselves and meant that we enjoyed our time together as a family even more. I even read two books, which is unheard of for me!  A bit of light and fluffy chick-lit in the form of Helen Warner’s totally enjoyable RSVP and a thought provoker which I literally sobbed my way through, in the form of the amazing Raising My Rainbow by the incredible Lori Duron about raising her gender creative son.  You MUST read it.

Lunches were generally spent at the pool cafe, catching up on the kids mornings and, following a brief siesta every day (I KNOW!) to escape the heat, afternoons we chilled at one of the 3 pools, or enjoyed a bit of family kayaking or sailing on the beach.

Levante also boasts a spa, gym and tennis courts plus of course every watersport imaginable down on the beach at the “Waterfront”.

Waterfront

I loved the olive trees dotted around the place and the fragrance of frangipani, bougainvillaea and jasmine which would occasionally catch you on the warm evenings when the resort transforms from bustling to chilled. After a buffet dinner in the Amalthia Restaurant, or Greek Restaurant, or a la carte at the Annora Panasian Restaurant, we generally wandered along the lit path to the beach to enjoy the best part of the day as the twilight hit the sea and the day took a turn for the magical.

Here’s a bit of family maths for you, to keep the cogs whirring in the summer holidays.

Mark Warner + Kids = Perfect!  

It’s what it’s all about.  The holiday truly comes into it’s own as every member of your family gets the chance to grow individually, as well as collectively. It’s that simple.  50,000 travellers a year can’t be wrong!

EVESo who do I think would benefit from a Mark Warner holiday? Everybody!  There were couples, families, extended families and re-bookers, all gushing about the experience.  I even met a wonderful Grandma who used to bring HER kids 30 years ago and now life has come full circle and since they’ve all grown up THEY bring her – and THEIR kids!

But you can’t talk about Levante without mentioning the impressive life-force that keeps the place pumping, namely the amazing and incredibly hardworking staff who contributed hugely to making the experience what it was.  Yes, I *may* have teared up saying goodbye to the lovely Mika in the restaurant, which tells you everything you need to know about what makes the resort special.  So credit and heartfelt thanks to:

Sue – the wonderful Mark Warner Manager / Jodie for her lovely way with kids and for being the reason Kaya ADORED Kids Club / Mika in the restaurant for being brilliant – and lovely / Elsa for her amazing waiting skills and smiles / Kiriakos for making me smile every morning with his “lovely jubbly” and other “anglicisms”!  / Laura on reception, for being endlessly helpful! / Kirsty in Kids Club for ensuring Akira had a great time / And thanks to all the staff  for great week. 

We ADORED our time in Levante.  Just ONE negative….

One week leaves you totally wishing you’d booked TWO!

Ah well – there’s always next year!

K x

 

 

 

44 Comments

  • Reply Rhodes Return! - Katy Hills Blog September 18, 2017 at 8:08 am

    […] Rhodes for a bit of Mark Warner action at their stunning Levante Beach Resort.  We first visited 3 years ago and we do always vow never to repeat a holiday – so the fact we headed back tells you […]

  • Reply Debra September 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve just come across this post via the Britmums Travel Round-up. I visited Rhodes a few years back and loved it. Your thoughts on kids clubs are very interesting, I still don’t know if I would ever be able to get over my fear of using them… but guess what? I didn’t read one book on our recent holiday to Corfu 😉

    • Reply Katy September 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Haha! I was very sceptical – totally changed my view. Didn’t do evening clubs mind you! Baby steps eh?! X

  • Reply Kara September 21, 2014 at 8:38 am

    We have just got back from Levante and it was amazing – the guys in the kids club were fabulous with Sebby and nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff. I need to go back there and soon!

    • Reply Katy September 21, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Me too! Xx

  • Reply Is A Mark Warner Holiday The Most Relaxing Family Holiday Ever? | Not Another Mummy Blog September 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    […] Katy Hill’s Blog […]

  • Reply The Long Short Holiday...thanks to Mark Warner. - Verily Victoria Vocalises September 16, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    […] Another Mummy Blog Mummy Daddy and Me Makes Three Mummy, Mummy, Mum Pigeon Pair and Me Katy Hill’s Blog Cambridge […]

  • Reply ClareR August 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Thank you so much for your review! We are heading to Levante next week. I’ve been rather/very anxious about taking our 2 year old abroad for the first time. He has had little experience of childcare and I’d pretty much decided that we probably wouldn’t want to or be able to use the day and evening care ( he’s pretty “clingy” too). I can’t tell you how much your review has reassured me.
    The countdown to Levante begins……..
    Can’t wait x

    • Reply Katy August 31, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Ooh – I’m jealous! Have an amazing time! And I hope you’re as pleasantly surprised with kids club as I was. Just keep an open mind! Have fun x

  • Reply Avril k August 15, 2014 at 8:28 am

    I need that holiday – from beginning to end it sounds like utter bliss! Next year – off to show the hubby this minute! Fab review Katy – you’ve allayed any concerns I would have had myself about the package/herding/all inclusive aspect of such a holiday x

    • Reply Katy August 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Yay! Totally recommend. And yes – I’m not a huge fan of package holidays or childcare on holiday. But it totally changed my views! x

  • Reply Trish August 12, 2014 at 7:58 am

    This was posted just a bit too late for me to include it in last month’s BritMums Travel round up but as I have just spotted it, I will pop it in the next one.
    I do love the way you write about travel, Katy – there’s so much of your personality in these posts, such entertaining reads.

    • Reply Katy August 12, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Wow -that’s SUCH a compliment coming from a blogger like you Trish! Thanks so much xx

  • Reply Camp Bestival '14 - Katy Hills BlogKaty Hills Blog August 12, 2014 at 3:46 am

    […] biggest mummy fail?  POOR packing.  And I mean P-O-O-R!   I think our trip to Rhodes and the subsequent sunshine of the British summertime had lulled me into thinking we were off to […]

  • Reply Honest Mum August 10, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Sound idyllic, adore Rhodes, locals are so friendly and location sounds wonderful

    • Reply Katy August 11, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      They ARE! The people are one of the main things I’ve loved about our trips to the Greek Islands this year x

  • Reply Lilinha Espindula August 1, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Sounds like you had an amazing holiday! We are going to our first Mark Warner Holiday tomorrow and we can’t wait. We are off to Perdepera Resort in Sardinia, the photos looks great, so we can’t wait! 🙂 x

    • Reply Katy August 4, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Ooh – Sardinia is somewhere I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go! x

  • Reply becky July 31, 2014 at 8:06 am

    oh it sounds so dreamy so so could do with a holiday in the sunshine. Sounds great for the kids too.

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2014 at 9:28 am

      Ah, totally recommend Becky x

  • Reply Suzanne July 30, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    I’m not at all keen on package holidays and having gone with Thomas Cook this year, I’m not at all sure of the benefits. BUT, when you’ve for going kids and you find a little gem (like you obviously have) it’s worth its weight in gold! Anything which offers relaxation AND an opportunity to enjoy some ‘adult time’ gets a thumbs up from everyone 🙂 Sounds great!

    • Reply Katy July 31, 2014 at 9:28 am

      It was honestly fab for EVERYONE. There were even teen clubs and yes, the teens were LOVING it! x

  • Reply Carolin July 30, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    I’m relaxed just looking at those pictures – okay, that might be a lie, but it looks beautiful and so relaxing. And those watermelons – yum!

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      Ha! I’m STILL in awe of how they did those! x

  • Reply Steph Oakes July 30, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    How amazing are MW hols! I say that as a past MW holiday-goer but as a ‘child’. We used to holiday with them as a family every year right up to spending my 18th birthday on
    One but I’m yet to go with my brood. I can’t wait to take them over the next few years though as I know they’ll love it!

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      Ooh – how lovely – going full circle and taking your own family! x

  • Reply Nell@PigeonPairandMe.com July 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Aaaah, this is bringing it all back! Lovely to be there the same week as you, and gather up smiley kids from Mini Club 🙂

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      Ah – it was too fun! Can’t wait to read your write up. Lovely to meet you and your delicious kids! x

  • Reply Manneskjur July 30, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Looks like bliss – I love your photos, sounds like a fun but relaxing holiday!

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      It WAS! Already feels too long ago! x

  • Reply Clare Goldsack July 30, 2014 at 11:48 am

    A lovely blog Katy, sounds wonderful. Will definitely look into Mark Warner for the future xx

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Can’t recommend enough! X

  • Reply Actually Mummy... July 30, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Prior to Mark Warner, we’d only ever tried campsite kids clubs – Eurocamp, Canvas, etc. and the kids weren’t really keen. Reading your list of things to do at Levante though, I can see why you haven’t really done a kids club until you’ve done a Mark Warner kids club. It just doesn’t feel like palming them off for some guilty freedom. It feels like win:win.
    Levante is next on my list!

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Ah – it’s truly amazing! And honestly – my kids are the LAST to sign up for club type things so credit indeed! X

  • Reply Emma July 30, 2014 at 10:45 am

    We had the met AMAZING time at Levante too, and I had a little turtle and a little laser as well 🙂

    My husband came away saying it was the best holiday he’d ever been on, and we’ve had some amazing holidays so that says a lot for Mark Warner!

    I want to go back!

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Ah – but it’s MINE! ;-). Glad you loved it too x

  • Reply Emma July 30, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I am completely like you when it comes to the idea of Package holidays, and have to say that having just done our first too (albeit not in a super glam place like MW!) I can really see the upsides! I.e. entertainment for the kids!! Enjoy the rest of your break! 🙂

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Yay! It’s brilliant isn’t it! You must try MW one day xx

  • Reply Sonya Cisco July 30, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I adored Rhodes when I visited, but that was B.K., havent braved a foreign holiday since arrival of surprise baby number 3, but looking at that it might be time to think about it!! Looks like you had an amazing time x

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 11:08 am

      *chants “DO IT, DO IT”! 😉 x

  • Reply Verily Victoria Vocalises July 30, 2014 at 8:38 am

    What a fabulous write-up. I was one of the lucky 10 bloggers to win a blogger trip to Turkey in September – this makes me look forward to experiencing it even more! I just wish that my daughter and my other half weren’t missing out – although I am sure that I can convince him that we need to book for next year! ;). So pleased you had a wonderful experience 🙂 x

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 11:01 am

      Oh wow – you’re gonna have a great time! Jealous already! x

  • Reply Michelle Garrett July 30, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Sold.
    The photos and the write up make me wish I’d discovered Mark Warner when my daughter was younger! This looks like a truly blissful break for you all.
    x

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Ooh – perfect for you all STILL though! They have teen clubs! 😉 xx

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