Our Holiday to Mark Warner Lakitira
I cannot quite believe that it's August already - this summer holiday is flying past and that two weeks ago I was working from my sun drenched sun lounger in the beautiful island of Kos on our third Mark Warner holiday!
We are HUGE fans of Mark Warner and the holidays that they offer families like ours. Before having kids Tom and I would holiday in long haul sun soaked destinations with not a care in the world other than where Tom's next beer was coming from and how many cocktails I could tick off the Happy Hour menu, now however times have changed. Once we had Charlie we sought something different from a holiday. We knew we wanted sun, we knew we wanted a friendly well run resort with a travel company we could trust and also we wanted scheduled childcare run by dedicated and caring British nannies. This is when we discovered Mark Warner Holidays.
Our first holiday was at their Bodrum Sea Garden resort that they no longer operate from and last year we holidayed at their gorgeous Lemnos resort (you can find out more here). Lemnos was a fabulous resort run by the most attentive manager ever George and his team and we had a glorious week even managing to make life long friends in fellow Instagram blogger This Welsh Mummy.
So in September as soon as their prices for 2017 were released we booked with This Welsh Mummy and her family. Some people thought we were crazy booking so early but when you know that a format works for you it's easy.
So after much debate over which resort to choose, there are five to chose from but this time we opted for Lakitira for two weeks - one week last year just was not enough and left us with serious holiday blues that we swore we would never get again! "Lakitira an award-winning 9-court tennis centre and fantastic watersports facilities, combined with a laid-back Mediterranean atmosphere, mean you can be as energetic or lazy as you like on your holiday in Greece" - this sounded like the resort for us - a little bit of everything for everyone. For the first time we opted to fly on a Wednesday (you can fly Wednesday or Saturday to Kos) and subsequently flew Germania rather than our loved British Airways. Flight times were good and the flight smooth and trouble free and Germania were great but I will always prefer to fly BA - think it's a British thing! The coach transfer is very short, 15 minutes if that and the Mark Warner staff are their to welcome you once you come through customs and take care of all of your luggage and aim to have it in your room within 30 minutes of arriving in resort. We were delighted to see Liam (now Tennis Manager) who we met at Lemnos last summer at the airport. The thing we loved about Mark Warner holidays of the past is that we've really got to know the staff and management and when you see a familiar face it's makes the holiday feel more like you are coming home.
We stayed in a hotel room which had an area for the children that was separated by sliding doors which had two smaller beds which they say are suitable for children under 8 although we proved that this could be stretched to a 42 year old dad who spent most of his holiday sleeping on it when one of the children decided that they would much rather spend two weeks sleeping in the huge comfy bed instead! Things we do for our kids hey!
Now it is worth noting that our ground floor hotel room was affected by noise in the evening due to the onsite Animation team and we did make a point of this in resort with MW and they told us that we had not been alone in our thoughts and that there would be taking it up with the hotel - the entertainment was over by 11pm but when taking sleepy children back from evening listening at 1030 our kids woke up most nights by the noise but we trust that this issue will be dealt with, it's just something worth noting if you are considering travelling there this season.
We had children aged 2 - 6 in our party so we took advantage of Toddler, Mini and Junior club that was on offer in resort. Our childcare was free as the children were over two and Livi, the eldest in the group was moving up from Mini to Junior club and was subsequently able to go all day for free if she so wished but preferred to dip in and out of the activities on offer. Charlie and Sophie (5 & 3) were booked into Mini Club and we opted for afternoon sessions like we did for Hector in Toddler Club. All the childcare team are British and their boundless enthusiasm is infectious and quickly rubbed off on even the shyest of children. The childcare programmes are jam packed and every day the children get to experience water sports and beach based activities - Charlie just loved jumping into the sea off the giant paddle board and was always counting down to his next windsurfing or sailing lesson! The evening listening is a fabulous set up. You take your children down in their pj's for 7:30 and they watch a film (Trolls, Despicable Me, Secret Life of Pets, to name a few!) and afterwards the children climb into their own designated camp beds and fall asleep where you can then pick them up at 10:30 allowing you to have a great child free dinner.
Now, what we loved about Lemnos that we felt was lacking at Lakitira was the evening entertainment. We love a quiz, a kids disco and we love seeing the MW team present around the bar and social areas in the evening. Lakitira does lack a certain something in the evening compared to other MW resorts that we have stayed at. It is a larger resort than the ones we have stayed at and this could be the reason why they don't have evening entertainment. The Animation team do put on Pool Parties and Roof Top parties but they are predominantly attended by the Italian guests and not many MW guests. That said if you are happy to have a quiet dinner and a drink after before picking up the kids then this resort is fab, but if you have experienced MW holidays in other resorts be prepared that it's not a MW present in the evening, nevertheless this didn't dull our experience as we were holidaying with friends.
There are three large pools for you to use the childrens pool and large pool next door as well as an adults only pool near the tennis club. We tended to stay at the main pool as this was nearest the childcare and the kids pool was perfect for Hector to toddle around safely in. If you stayed between 17-26th July we were THAT family with all the inflatables!!
We opted to stay on a Full Board basis which meant that we could dine in the main restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the Italian Trattoria for lunch and kids tea. There was also a Greek Taverna available for breakfast and dinner at an extra cost - we didn't try this restaurant although the setting was quaint. Kids tea is served in the Italian restaurant and mainly consists of pasta, pizza and a variety of child friendly "brown food" with a selection of salads, cheeses and hams with scoop yourself ice cream which was a massive hit in our kids eyes! The food is not of the standard of Lemnos and we loved dining outside at Lemnos and the main restaurant is largely undercover with a small area of outside dining available that was always very busy. That said the food was varied and very tasty we just missed the excitement of watching a bbq outside! We decided that if we were to return to Lakitira again we would go Half Board as there is a fab beach bar restaurant offering light lunches for as little as 6 euros. Wine is not included in our board unlike Lemnos or Perdepera and we did notice this in our room bill so if you like wine (which we do) they do a fab local Sauvignon Blanc (9 Muses from memory) for 16 euros and this was very drinkable. Drinks are fairly cost effective, a large beer 4 euros, soft drinks 2.50 euros and the onsite gift shop sells water in packs of 6 (2L) for 1.90 euros which we would pop in our fridge in our room and bring to the pool. We did however opt for their optional Private Beach BBQ at 25 euros per person and this was exceptional. You were given a choice of a menu and able to choose four side dishes and three mains per person and you would then do your own BBQ on the beach - our chef stayed with us and in the end cooked it all for us which was amazing - this is a must do if you are going to Lakitira!
Now, I cannot write this review without touching on the earthquake that occurred at 1:30am whilst we were there. Having never experienced an earthquake it was terrifying and being on the ground floor we experienced the full effects more than others. We chose to leave our rooms and evacuate our families on the advice of our Italian guest neighbours who felt that it was severe enough to warrant an evacuation and given their experience of earthquakes we quickly took up their advice. The Italian tour reps were fabulous in informing their guests on the situation and many of the Italian guests translated the advice and ensured that all the children had blankets and water. The MW management team or any of the staff were not on site during this event and we did have to make a phone call to Jono the manager to ask what we were to do. They did not come down to resort as they did not appreciate the severity of the event and the following morning admitted that this was a judgment of error. We returned to our room at 3:30am and watched Sky News to watch the aftermath of the quake evolve on the other side of the island - we had a lucky escape. We felt tremors for two nights afterwards and one even occurred when Livi was in Junior Evening Club and the way that the childcare team dealt with the situation was exceptional given that they were caring for twenty plus children. The childcare protection procedures are tight within MW. No child is released to anyone without a password and we even had to write a letter to give our consent to allow our friends to collect our children and vice versa. They also have an LCP - Lost Child Policy - that means that if a child goes missing that all staff are made aware and they will walk and cross over routes on the whole resort to ensure that that child is found safe and well - this is a massive plus for us as parents. Now onto the activities! I did.....none! Well unless you count sitting on a sun bed working on ones tan an activity in which case I was very active!! Tom and Adrian love the free watersports on offer - they went on a sailing course one afternoon which meant they were able to take little sailing boats out every afternoon. There is also offer mountain biking, wind surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking available all at no extra cost too. There were also pilates, yoga and keep fit classes too! We "played" tennis and Charlie also did their Mini LTA Course for three mornings which he loved (this was an extra cost).
Post cycle beer in Kardemena
Game. Set. Match
The next Ben Ainsley?
There really is so much to do on a MW holiday that you'll struggle to get bored if you are an itchy can't sit down kind of person and for those of you like me who want to spend your child free mornings or afternoons doing nothing that this also ticks the boxes for you too. There is something for everyone. I've had many people message me on my tips if you are travelling to Lakitira this summer so here they are.... - Beach towels are provided so you don't need to pack these - although I did take two small beach towels for the kids club bags. - Kids club require children to have a t-shirt, rash vest, cap and sun cream so remember to pack these. We packed ours in the Trunki swim bags.
- Ground floor rooms will be affected by room noise so bear this in mind. - WiFi is fab! We downloaded lots for the kids to watch before we left the UK but with the fab WiFi watched many shows via YouTube. - Buy your water at the gift shop and take some small squash bottles with you (Robinson's Squash Em's are perfect travel size) - Do the beach BBQ!
- Visit Kardemena for the morning - 10 euros each way in a taxi. - Self scoop ice cream is available at every meal but you can buy ice creams from 3 euros at the pool. - It is a windy resort which does keep the temperature at a very pleasant heat! - Attend the welcome drinks as it's a great place to meet all the team.
- Have an afternoon drink at the Breeze Bar - our favourite afternoon spot!
In summary we had an amazing time and I think that with a few tweaks that this resort could rival Lemnos (our favourite resort so far!) if there was a little more MW led evening entertainment. The kids had an awesome time and certainly came out of their comfort zone and we saw them grow as children even in the space of two weeks and we left having felt us parents too had had a relaxing holiday. Next year would we come back here? In honesty probably not. We will probably return to Lemnos or even Perdepera as we have always wanted to go to Sardinia and from our research is a slightly smaller resort with more on offer in the evenings.
f you are travelling to Lakitira this summer I hope that my tips will help and I hope that you have an amazing time. If you have not yet booked your summer break then why not hop onto the Mark Warner website and take advantage of some of their amazing summer deals starting at just £679 per person!! Click here for all the latest deals. Until next time, Nathalie x
Thank you to our friends at Mark Warner who gave us a discount on our summer holiday but all my views and opinions our my own.