Mark Warner 15 Years On

It is 15 years since our first Mark Warner holiday. Is it still as good? Yes, absolutely. We originally booked for the childcare and because we as parents got to have a holiday, 15 years on that is still the case.

I miss the days of Toddler and Mini club and it is lovely to hear the 'mini club song', but the children have had such freedom this holiday in a safe environment so they can do their own thing. Apart from a little glitch at the beginning of the week when 'paranoid mother' was still here and hadn't relaxed, the rest of the week has gone brilliantly.

We've hardly seen the children, which could be seen as a downside, depending on your perspective, on the other hand we seems to have adopted a whole load more. Small boy's cronies, aged 10-11, check in with us regularly as to where the others are, where their parents are, whether they can go and do this and that, it's sometime difficult to remember that we only have one small boy rather than 4. Lovely that the boys can be so relaxed and work on the basis that if they can't find their own parents these others will do, after only knowing us a week it's a great feeling and it gives the children so much more freedom.

Medium sized girl is regularly spotted being loud around the pool and again, can be checked on by talking to her crowd, their parents, whoever. The rule is that they have to come and check in with us if they are going to someone's room to watch a video or play on the iPads and let us have the room number. They know where we are round the pool and when to be back for showers before supper, as they don't even eat with us this is the only way of making sure we see them every day.

Big girl has had the issue that the hot boys are too old to be in Indy club and I think we are going to have a crisis next year when she'll be almost 18, does she do club or not?

So, a little different to mini and toddler club days but worth every penny to know that the children are safe and have a huge amount more freedom than they would in other resorts.

There is just so much to do. Apart from my one trip to town, no one else in the family has left the resort. As Mark Warner's flagship resort and just about at 100% occupancy you'd think that there may be issues with getting tennis courts, taking out windsurfing kit or dinghies. None of that. There have been courts free all week, loads of waterfront kit, plenty of sun loungers (even with Germans around), and loads of room in the pool. It feels half full rather than at full occupancy in high season and still has a lovely relaxed vibe.

The RYA courses you do pay extra for but there is an included 3 hour 'intro to windsurfing' and similar sailing course plus the refresher course I did and to take a rig out or a dinghy is free. Every evening there is a windsurf clinic to brush up on your technique which is also included and there is no pressure to book courses. Quite the opposite, I was discouraged from booking onto the intermediate course and was told to 'go and practice' instead, which I did and has boosted my confidence immensely.

Tennis is similar, I can't hit a ball to save life but other half does, social tennis is every evening at 5pm which is included, one to one classes and other courses are extra. So you pick and choose what you want to do, glueing your backside to a sun lounger is also included as is mountain biking, aerobics, yoga, boot camp, and taster Pilates.

I chatted to some other adults round the pool and its surprising how many people come back here year on year, one family have been coming here for 10 years. One German family were bitterly disappointed as they'd read reviews about the resort and booked but hadn't realised that the reviews were about Mark Warner and when they arrived they were gutted to find that they didn't get the same level of childcare and access to the water sports that MW guests did as they'd booked directly rather than with Mark
Warner. Someone who's first time here couldn't believe how fab the children's clubs were as they'd gone with other UK large, not to be named, 'wannabes' and said that they were not a patch on Mark Warner. Everything I heard was positive.

It's our last night tonight, wondering if I can get a last windsurf in tomorrow morning before checking out at 11 am? We'll see.

On the food front, there are three restaurants, the main one which is fine, buffet style with pancakes in the morning which the kids love, Greek yoghurt, honey and heaps of fresh fruit with full cooked if you wish for breakfast. In the evening it's buffet style again. The Trattoria does a mean pizza, in a proper pizza oven, gorgeous pizzas plus great lamb, sardines, brushetta and a selection of pasta too. House red wine is fab too. Didn't try the Taverna as the kids are in the Trattoria each night so we tended to move between the two restaurants there. Lunchtime was the snack bar with a massive plate of watermelon and a Greek salad, great chicken doner kebabs also available but we found that we were too hot to be hungry.

Comments from the kids

Small boy "love it, had a great time, loved sailing and playing pirates"
Medium sized girl, when I can drag her out of the pool long enough to have a conversation. I'll add this bit.
Big Girl "torn between Indys and 18 yr old hot boys, would have liked to have done more sailing but without having to book a course, also would have liked to be able to go into town clubbing" yep so would your Mum

In fact the boys came back from clubbing last night and reported back to Big
Girl that they were disappointed they didn't see me in town last night, they were on the look out for me. Big Girl was not impressed.

Would we come back? Definitely, happy kids, I don't have to cook or wash up, loads of sports, beach disco and the make a mean Mojito in the Barefoot Bar. You bet I would and I'd drag a load of mates who have children along with me too.