This year was our 4th Mark Warner holiday. We first went because when you aren’t governed by school holidays and want something totally focussed on families it actually works out to be cheaper (or it did for us) than a certain pretend ‘forest’ and indoor tropical centre in a Parc (!!!) would have been.
Being totally honest prior to going that first time I would never have considered myself a Mark Warner person. Why would I want to go on holiday with my children only to give them over each morning to a stranger to care for them.
This is what I didn’t appreciate - those 3 hours are the key to the whole holiday. The children HAVE A BLAST, my daughter loves her ‘holiday club’ from the age of 3 when we first went she has learnt skills, made friends and it has genuinely helped her develop as a person. Now aged 7 she sails, windsurfed, paddleboards and is social, confident and happy on her holidays. This is partly her nature and partly it is because the childcare teams at Mark Warner work hard to get to know your child and support them to have a great time. The ratios are excellent and the staff always amenable to requests and feedback. My little boy, a 10 month old when we first went enjoyed 121 care his first trip, 3 staff in the nursey and 3 babies, he is not so quick to settle but still he did and again that is down to the training and the efforts of the staff. Now nearly 4 he sailed, windsurfed and went on adventures and LOVED telling us all about them over lunch.
So what do the grown ups do with those 3 hours of precious time. Mostly we went and sat at the jetty bar, drank coffee and chatted, it was wonderful. In the crazy pace of parenting life it is easy to forget to make time to talk and to listen to each other, or to have the chance without someone sat in your lap or firing questions at you. What else did I do, I worked out each day, sometimes in the gym and sometimes in one of the many group exercise classes. Mostly it is just 3 hours of doing whatever you want which leaves you refreshed and feeling like your holiday has been a holiday. Afternoons we spent together, swimming in the pool or the sea, kayaking, snorkelling, sharing stories, eating ice cream and generally making memories.
I must mention the food…unreal…simply amazing every single day. Huge variety and choice and the beach BBQ at sunset was a particularly special evening.
Other little things I noticed, the whole resort was so clean and tidy, there were 2.4 X more places to sit and relax than the hotel can hold guests, so always a quiet spot to be found. The childcare teams were always so friendly, happy and polite, the bar staff relaxed but not slow and they even managed to get the cricket world cup final on a big screen!!!
Mark Warner give the whole family a chance to have an actual holiday…because lets face it some holidays with small children are exhausting and leave you, well, feeling like you need a holiday…not these ones, Mark Warner have it nailed.
We stayed at Mark Warner Phokaia Beach
Use the code CARIFIT when booking and infants go FREE!
Travelling with a baby – Top 10 Tips by Mark Warner.
As a new parent you convince yourself there are 100s of reasons why you shouldn’t take your little bundle of joy on holiday. However, the reality is, it’s the easiest time to escape.
Here Mark Warner Holidays put together 10 top tips to help you have the holiday the whole family can enjoy.
1. Try and buy, borrow or hit ebay for a compact, collapsible light travel pram. There is a huge price range, so do shop around.
Some fold up so compact you can take them on to the plane as hand luggage. One great option is the ERGOBABY METRO and of course forget your baby carrier at your peril, for hands free airport navigation and safe and comfortable babies a baby carrier like the ERGOBABY COOL AIR MESH can be a great holiday win.
2. Infant luggage allowance is key to establish, so that you ensure you have enough room for all your baby bits and pieces. Do check with the airline you are travelling with; we have highlighted a few examples below.
British Airways – x1 hold luggage bag and x1 hand luggage bag.
Virgin - x1 hold luggage bag and x1 hand luggage bag.
EasyJet – x1 hand luggage.
3. Carrying milk though security. If possible it’s best to pack most of your supplies in your hold luggage bag. However you will need some for the journey; formula, powdered and breast milk can be taken through security. Just be prepared for security to do additional checks.
4. Keeping baby happy on the plane. Take some favourite toys, books and snacks to keep the little one amused. A baby sling is also a helpful option so that you have your hands free.
5. When choosing your hotel/ resort ensure you check what baby facilities and equipment is available. From cots and fridges, to kettles and sterilizers.
6. If you opt for a hotel with childcare it’s best to research what qualifications and experience the team have. Plus what adult to child rations they work to. The UK nursery ratios are a good guide. From 0 – 2 years there must be 1 adult for every 3 children.
7. If the hotel does have childcare available what can they offer your child? Are there stimulating age appropriate toys, are the creches bright and airconditioned, do the babies get to go out and about in resort?
8. Consider a package holiday, so that it cuts down the amount of organisation you need to do. From resort transfers to full board options the more that is included the less of your holiday you waste.
9. Can you buy supplies locally? The more nappies and milk you pack the less room you will have for your holiday wardrobe. Contact the company/ hotel and find out if you can buy nappies, wipes and formula milk in local shops. It may cost a bit more, but is well worth it.
10. Above all find the holiday that suits you, talk to friends, read reviews. Recommendations and word of mouth are the best research tool you have.
Mark Warner have been taking families away on holiday for 45 years. From summer hotels in Greece, Turkey, Sardinia and Corsica to ski chalet hotels dotted over the French and Austrian Alpes. Their market – leading childcare is second to none. Giving parents the reassurance that they have made the right choice for their child.