For those of you who follow me on social media, I would like to belatedly apologise for all the holiday spam you had to endure last week whilst I was living it up in Rhodes with Mark Warner. For those of you who don’t follow me (why not?!) … here’s what happened!
It has taken me over a week to come back to planet earth after my recent trip to Rhodes . My tan may have faded, but my memories haven’t. (see what I did there.)
Disclaimer: After seeing these photos and reading about Levante Beach, you’ll definitely want to go there. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Our journey to Rhodes from Heathrow was a little longer than normal as we made a pit-stop in Athens – but normally a direct flight will take you from the UK to Rhodes in just under 4 hours. The same as if you’re going to say, the Canary Islands. Enough time to eat, drink and partake in a little Duty Free shopping!
I was travelling with 12 other bloggers (links to all of their blogs are below), and our lovely Mark Warner host for the holiday, Emilia, who did an amazing job of not losing any of us – so kudos to her!
I went with a view to reviewing the resort as a parent … would this be the type of resort Dexter (and possibly Ben) would like? Did it have enough to offer all of us? And I also went as a single woman … did the resort, and Mark Warner as a company, consider single parents/single travellers?
We were exhausted when we arrived at 11pm but I couldn’t help but be bowled over by my first impressions – water fountains, warm night air, a lovely breeze and a friendly welcome. In fact, the staff knew we were arriving late and kept the evening buffet open just for us so that we could eat if we were hungry after our long journey. Which brings me onto what I thought about the food:
Mark Warner is a 5* resort and we were there on a full board basis – they don’t, in fact, offer an All Inclusive option. The half board includes a buffet breakfast and dinner in the main restaurant and if you fancy something a little different, there is a pan-Asian restaurant called Annora, which is open for lunch and dinner. This does incur an extra cost but it’s worth every penny – we ate there once but after looking at everyone’s lunch, I would have happily eaten everything from the menu – Katsu curry, Tandoori chicken, Tempura prawns – all of it delicious. (As it happened, I chose a Teryaki burger which was gorgeous!)
You can upgrade to full board (for a supplement of £84 per adult and £75 per child per week, booked prior to arrival), and lunch is then also included in the Mark Warner Amalthia restaurant.
There’s also a reasonably priced room service menu although I didn’t personally try this out. Totes missed a trick there. I did see some diners collecting their dinner from the restaurant in the evening and taking it back to their room – these seemed to be the parents of small children who perhaps wanted to just relax in their room without bringing the babies to dinner.
I thought the food was of a good standard – breakfast was especially good, but I think that was predominantly down to the chef who made fresh waffles and pancakes every morning! I also seemed to partake in freshly made omelettes every morning. The salads were also a particular highlight – I know for a fact, my fellow blogger and friend, Rachael, must have eaten her body weight in Feta cheese! There was a chef on hand who cooked fresh fish and meat most evenings and the food was regularly replenished. I do feel though, that perhaps the food was a bit more basic than I would have expected of a 5* resort – which didn’t bother me in the slightest … trust me, I ate REALLY well. But I have simple tastes when it comes to food and if you’re expecting refined Michelin star dining, this isn’t it.
What it is, however, is good, honest, hot, fresh food and to my mind, for my tastes, it’s perfect.
One of the things that also made the dining experiences so wonderful was the service we received.
(I should point out that waiter was from the karaoke bar!)
From the moment we set foot into the hotel, we were treated like nothing was ever too much trouble. Yes, they knew we were bloggers and of course, they don’t want us to write anything negative about them. I totally get that and, if you’re reading this, you might be a little sceptical too. But trust me, they were fantastic with everyone. The cynic in me paid particular attention to how the staff treated not just us, but the other guests at the hotel, and the service was of the same high standard across the board.
We had our welcome meeting the morning after we arrived and Sue, the hotel manager, a Mark Warner employee of some 20+ years, introduced us to the other members of the team. Each member was extremely knowledgeable in their field – from the Watersports Team to the Childcare team, everyone knew the answers to all of our questions and trust me, as bloggers, we had loads!
The one thing Sue drove home to us as guests of Mark Warner, was that nothing was ever too much trouble. Another blogger, Katrina, followed a gluten-free diet and catering for her, we were assured, would not be a problem. The same went for Emily who was a vegetarian. We were encouraged to ask for anything we wanted and assured that nothing would be too much trouble.
I like that about a hotel. Being made to feel special. That nothing was ever too much trouble and by setting their stall out on day 1, it left me with the feeling that if I ever had an issue, or I wanted something, someone would see to it that I would be left satisfied. I think that is the probably the type of service you’re paying for and to my mind, that’s what I would return for.
The local Greek staff were lovely too and we were always greeted with a smile, a hello, a ‘can I get anything for you’ … it makes such a difference, I can tell you! You know it’s their job but actually, I can’t remember the last time I went on holiday and the staff went out of their way to make you smile. It meant a lot to me.
My son is ten years old and so I didn’t really pay particular attention to the childcare facilities for the babies and toddlers. However, I travelled with Kara, who brought her baby son Sebastien with her ,and she tried out the childcare facilities – you can read her review here.
What I do know, however, is that Mark Warner take childcare very seriously – from only employing British nannies with relevant qualifications, to ensuring that childcare is offered when you want it … to making sure there is a lot for each age group to do. The groups are:
Baby Club (4-11 months)
Toddler Club (1-2 years)
Mini Club (3-5 years)
Junior Club (6-9 years)
Kidz Club (10-13 years)
Indy Club (14-17 years)
The ratios of nannies/staff to child are extremely strict and although we weren’t there in high season, it was clear to see how well cared for the babies and toddlers were. They even put a boat in the children’s pool, popped life jackets on them all and sailed them around – it was just too cute!
I can’t comment on what it would be like for Dexter, but I did experience the watersports for myself, which is what he’d predominantly be doing, and I know for a fact he’d love it.
I’m nothing if not adventurous and when the lovely Emilia from Mark Warner said that we had a choice of either going on a catamaran or windsurfing on our first day, I had to work out what sounded the least painful. I had actually attempted windsurfing before (albeit when I was 20 – it didn’t go well) and so I plumped for a spot of light sailing. Very civilised.
We were given clear instructions by our instructor on the morning and (thankfully) he came out with us for our first voyage. We were told the safe areas to sail within, we all had life jackets on (and had signed the necessary waivers), so we were safe to sail. I was surprised at how easy it was, but then I wasn’t actually doing any of the work! Between the four of us, we managed to stay afloat and even enjoy our time on the water. Talking of water, the sea was stunning! Think a gorgeous teal colour … nothing like the Thames!
Some of the other girls tried out different activities – from kayaking to windsurfing to paddle boarding … and they loved them all. I even tried out some aqua aerobics and there’s a video of the water polo over on my Instagram account! There was, however, a minor incident with an inflatable sofa on the back of a speedboat … it’s best not to ask Alison about that – I don’t think she’s recovered yet. But if watersports are your thing, this is the perfect holiday. There are a whole host of watersports we didn’t even try out – I think maybe they thought water-skiing was a step too far!
Safety is paramount for the staff and they always have a speedboat on call in case you get into any difficulty.
We were lucky enough to stay in superior suites, which were amazing! The suite was divided into two rooms, which had a sliding dividing door between rooms. Both areas had separate air conditioning, both had LOADS of storage and both areas even had TVs. I had visions of Dexter staying in his room and doing his own thing, and me luxuriating in the peace in my (sectioned off) bedroom … no Minecraft in sight!
It was clean, spacious, cool. There was so much storage, I didn’t come to close to filling it up. This suite is obviously towards the top of the budget, although there are a few rooms that have their own private pool! There are also smaller rooms that are nearer to the main hotel but from what we saw, they still adhere to the same principles of cleanliness and spaciousness … just on a slightly smaller scale.
The Levante Beach Resort is only three years old so there are certainly no signs of wear and tear to be seen and I would imagine that the gardens will continue to blossom as time goes on. We even came across some ruins that they had found whilst building the resort – there are a few of them dotted around so if history interests you, you’d find these fascinating. There are pools galore and what’s more, they have thought about ‘zoning’ the pools. The main pool is the biggest pool I’ve ever seen on a resort, but as you move towards the sea you come across a quieter adults only pool and a pool that overlooks the sea – it truly is beautiful.
There is a spa on site and most of us tried out a treatment – I plumped for a Swedish massage but when I saw the sturdy Greek masseur walking towards me, I felt I’d made a terrible mistake! But it was fine, I survived, and it was very relaxing. However, it was all rather … perfunctory and I missed the TLC that you get in UK spas. I realise that makes me sound much posher than I am. But you know what I mean. It did the job, but it was rather pricey and if I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t bother again.
We were half an hour away from Lindos, a great place for shopping, with the most stunning beach and rooftop terrace bars (I tested the bars out and can confirm they’re amazing), and our resort was also only half an hour away from the airport – there’s nothing worse than a long transfer! There was a busy town 20 minutes walk away where I may have partaken in karaoke, dancing to Europop and drinking out of a fish bowl. Don’t ask. But if you’re travelling with older teens, it was safe enough for them to walk into town. I walked home at 3am and didn’t see another soul – other than my partner in crime, Lisa!
I asked specifically what provisions are made for single travellers/single parents and there were a few ways in which we would be catered for. Women only bike rides (I would have loved to have tried that out!), single diners eating together (but this may only be in high season) and social tennis a couple of times a week. It’s difficult to comment too much because I was with a group and it would be really interesting to see how well I’d be catered for if I went with Dexter. I do feel though, that were I to ask, again nothing would be too much trouble but … I do think they might be missing a trick or two.
I’d like to see more emphasis being put on single travellers/parents and hope that Mark Warner intend to do so in the future.
Although I didn’t road test this holiday with my family, I definitely had my parent’s hat on when I was working out how it would work for my family. Verdict? He’d pretty much love everything. And the perfect thing about this resort, were I to be lucky enough to go again with my family? There is a wonderful balance of ‘me time’ and ‘family time’ on offer. I know that not only will he be looked after in the Kidz Club, but that he will learn new things, make new friends, perhaps go out of his comfort zone a little … and grow as a person.
As for me? Well I’m quite happy sipping cocktails by the pool and finally getting round to reading that book.
My only minor niggle from the whole holiday was that the wifi wasn’t brilliant – it was quite patchy but a) you shouldn’t need the internet if you’re on holiday and b) see (a). I reckon if that’s all I’ve got to moan about, they’re doing something right.
I won’t lie and say it’s a cheap holiday – it’s not. But you get what you pay for and from what I saw and experienced, it’s worth every penny
Check out my fellow blogger’s reviews … we all took part in different activities so it’s always useful to see things from different perspectives and if you do have any questions, please just feel free to drop me a line – I’d be more than happy to answer anything:
Kara Chelsea Mamma
Rachael Rachael Lucas
Katrina Cool Bananas
Monika Mum on the Brink
Rebecca Mum of 3 Boys
Alison Not Another Mummy Blog
Carissa The Likely Lads
Julie Mama Owl
Emily A Mummy Too
For more photos of luscious food, sparkling swimming pools and ALL the cocktails, be sure to check out the #MarkWarnerMum hashtag!
Thank you SO much Mark Warner for introducing me to such a lovely bunch of women, for giving me the opportunity to have a little ‘time out’ and for showing me how beautiful Rhodes is – I’ll definitely be back!