Our first experience of a family holiday the Mark Warner way had come pretty late. With our children now 13 and 14 years of age we would not benefit from their highly acclaimed childcare and entertainment but our thinking was that there could be just enough activities to keep our teenagers entertained for a week.
It was the activities that drew us to Mark Warner’s Levante Beach resort on the popular Greek island of Rhodes. Our holidays in the past have mostly been driven by the destination and a desire to explore the local region. But this time around we were entirely set on the opportunity to holiday amongst like-minded families and to follow a more active family agenda. We had no designs on travel beyond our resort although there would be lots of opportunity to do so.
On arrival it was crystal clear that we would not be short of something to do all week. These days the idea of attending a welcome meeting from the tour company seems a dated and unnecessary task but with a “to do” list as long as our arms we needed to know where and when to take a full part.
After the warm welcome to the resort we were given briefs on opening times and protocol for water-sports, tennis and biking, and details of when and where the children could join the respective club for their age group. Our 13 year old daughter had within an hour of arrival created a day one schedule more appropriate for an Olympian decathlete!
For me the main focus of the week would be on the tennis courts, including a 4 day group academy course with a private lesson and evening drills. On the first day following introduction to the academy group we all share our respective abilities so that the coaches can tailor the coaching to suit our grade. The camaraderie amongst the group develops quickly and the first academy session is quickly followed by games with newly found acquaintances. With social tennis and an evening drill also in the schedule all in all the first days ball hitting effort is an energy sapping five hours. For someone who has long dreamed of spending a week hitting tennis balls in the sun the aches and pains are merely testament to great start to the holiday.
As I make my way down to the beach to cool off in the waves it is evident that there is plenty of relaxation taking place in between the sporting activity. The choice of three pools offers family, adult and children’s bathing options and just beyond these is the beach with the aquamarine water of the Mediterranean Sea.
On checking progress with the family it seems that my daughter’s high intensity workout prompted a rethink on the activity schedule and a diversion to the water-sports centre for a slightly more holiday friendly training regime. Not that this reflected any reduction in her determination not to waste a single minute. Windsurfing, sailing and scuba diving soon follow and with the help of the small army of Mark Warner experts she soon has a grasp of the various techniques.
In fact my daughter’s confidence on the water is clearly on show when she takes out a small dinghy to introduce herself to sailing. Earlier in the day I arrange a lesson for my son, wife and I so that we can learn the basics of the sport. My wife decides to watch from the instructor’s motor boat, and my son handles the boat with ease.
My progress is not so straightforward as it is only after five capsizes of the dinghy that I find the required technique. Not that in all of this adventure there is any real risk of danger. The sailing section of the water is completely patrolled by sea and shore based Mark Warner staff who reach any capsized craft in seconds, most of the time with the error prone learner laughing in the water in the safety of their buoyancy aid.
As the week proceeds we work our way through mountain biking trips, water skiing, kayaking and my wife is inspired to keep up her gym sessions in between a more relaxed but equally popular regime of sunbathing. My Tennis gets better then worse with each session but the evening social games bring the enjoyment of competitive games and greater confidence.
Meanwhile down on the beach my daughter is warmly acclaimed as a natural sailor and then rounds off a week of non-stop activity with the ladies first position in the weekly resort triathlon.
On reflection, though our days start jam packed with activities as the week goes by our snoozes in the sun increase (daughter excluded) and we leave with a smile on our faces and any aches and pains soothed in the Cool water. The resort deserves its five star status through its facilities but visitors who gain most from Levante Beach will value the camaraderie with fellow guests and the excellent activity programme above any expectations of unbridled luxury.
Over the course of the week fellow guests with younger children were highly complementary of the excellent Mark Warner childcare which allowed them room to join in the activities or rest on the beach while their youngsters were kept very happy and entertained.
The food in the buffet style restaurant was very good and in other less active circumstances we would return with work to do on the waistline. Thankfully we did just enough between our snoozes in the sun to burn off most of the calories from the superb Greek menu, and certainly look forward to spending more time in a Mark Warner resort.
A one week holiday starts at £570 at the Levante Beach Resport for travel in May 2016, inclusive of halfboard, with return flights and transfers. Free Children’s places are available on some dates for early booking. Call Bliss Travel on 01302 719000 for full details.