I wouldn’t actually know – having not been on every other family holiday that exists – but I’d place money on it. As a parent of a three-year-old with boundless energy and a love of role play games (“You be Georgina and I’ll be Teacher”) the holy grail for me is a holiday where you can balance off fun family time with proper relaxation. There doesn’t seem much point in going on holiday if it’s going to be hard work, right?
And while there are an array of hotels and holiday companies which offer kids’ clubs and childcare, I’m willing to bet that not many do it as well as Mark Warner do.
I’ve just returned from a (blissful) four night break at Mark Warner’s Levante Beach resort in Rhodes. See a bit of what happened here. Admittedly, I didn’t take the three-year-old with me so I didn’t get to roadtest the childcare or experience the holiday from a truly family point of view, but I had my beady eye on everything, from the kids’ tea to the shallow children’s pool, and I was massively impressed.
The childcare staff at Mark Warner resorts all have to be fully NVQ or CACHE qualified and English speaking, but more than that, everyone who we met was super friendly and warm. You get the impression they never tire of working with kids. The childcare facilities are all bright, airy and filled with clean new toys and equipment. The kids are in age-appropriate rooms but they’re also taken out and about, down to the beach or onto the water to learn watersports (even the toddlers) meaning they’re not confined to their (super amazing) crèche rooms.
Guests get a half day session of childcare each day for ages 2 and up included in the price of their holiday and two sessions a day for ages 7 and up. Which basically means, a holiday day would go something like this:
8.30am Breakfast as a family (ooh the food is lovely too)
9am Drop kids off at super duper crèche
9.15am Relax by the pool (or if you’re one of those sporty types, go windsurfing/sailing/paddle boarding/kayaking/play tennis/play water polo/go for a bike ride/go to a fitness class)
12.30pm Pick kids up from super duper crèche
1pm Have a family lunch at the snack bar (mmmm chicken souvlaki…)
2.30pm Play by the pool all afternoon (or y’know, pop them back in the crèche. Hey, I’m not going to judge you, we all need a break)
Mark Warner also do an early kids’ tea and then (what is in my opinion the piece de resistence) the evening crèche. Drop your sproglets off at 7.30pm and they’ll watch a kids’ movie while wrapped up in snuggle sacs, before dropping off to sleep. Meanwhile, you can head to the restaurant for dinner (and cocktails obvs) before picking them up and carrying them to bed.
Photo: Victoria Welton
All of this means you can truly relax and do the things on holiday that you miss doing, when you have kids. Things like just sitting gazing out to sea, or getting stuck into a good book, or wrestling with a lilo in the pool before lying serenely on it while catching some rays. You can have a couples dinner and actually stay up late in the bar, rather than feeling confined to your hotel room because the kids are asleep in bed. And the best best thing about Mark Warner is that the kids’ club is so mind-blowingly fun, you won’t feel guilty leaving the kids there. We wandered around the childcare rooms and I saw so many toys that I knew my three-year-old would LOVE to play with – a beautiful wooden toy kitchen, dolls’ bunk beds, a puppet theatre, giant Lego bricks, toy cars, and best of all, Frozen songs playing so she could have a warble as she played.
Another plus point of Levante Beach is how big and sprawling it is – even though the hotel was busy when we stayed, we never once felt overrun by families and kids. It might just be me, but when I put my daughter in a kids’ club and spend time relaxing by the pool, the last thing I want is other kids around. It sounds heartless, but it would just make me think of my daughter and then feel guilty for putting her in the kids’ club. In a stroke of genius, Levante has an over 18s pool, which is perfect for any parents who want a quiet chill out (like Katrina, pictured below) without other little tykes splashing around and having fun nearby.
The hotel rooms are ideal, with a sliding door which partitions off the area where the kids will sleep, meaning if you do still want to have a drink and relax together once they’re tucked up in bed, you have your large bedroom area (with TV, mini bar and own patio/balcony doors) to do it in.
I actually haven’t seen a holiday hotel that offers quite so much in the way of making things totally perfect for families. But it’s not just me who thinks this – I was invited to Levante Beach by Mark Warner along with 11 other bloggers, and we all left singing the praises of the hotel and the company. I can’t stress enough how brilliant a trip we had, and how impressed I was with all of the little details that mean you can have a properly relaxing family holiday. Pina Colada, anyone? Mark Warner holiday
Psst! These bloggers have also written about the Mark Warner Levante resort in Rhodes. Take a read: