The first thing I noticed when started talking to friends about Mark Warner holidays was how ingrained they are in so many people childhoods. Even over emails when discussing work I would hear 'oh I just saw you went away with MW! I used to love their clubs as a kid!' They've been running their holidays for 30 years and I think it's safe to say there is a 'Mark Warner way'. For those who are signed up to that way of holidaying then they become loyal returning customers year after year and I can totally see why. That being said there were things about our trip to their Sardinian resort 'Perdepera' that we loved but there are were also things we thought could be improved.
Starting all the way from the start of our trip and our flight. We had never flown with British Airways before and found them absolutely fantastic, their staff were amazing, the leg room and seats were brilliant and I'm pretty partial to their complimentary G&T too. We've never flown on chartered flight before and it definitely made things a lot easier. We were met at the airport in Sardinia by friendly Mark Warner staff and directed to our coaches whilst our bags were tagged to arrive at our rooms. The coach transfer was two hours but it was air conditioned and quite a lovely scenic route so was pretty easy with the kids, I liked how our journey was broken up a bit by a plane and coach so we could stretch our legs a bit too.
We arrived at around 8pm a little after the buffet dinner starts so we all headed first to the restaurant and were again really impressed with the service, the air conditioning and the food. This particular Mark Warner holiday is all inclusive so you get full board plus wine which was a definite plus as you can end up spending so much on meals when in a different country I think. We clinked our wine glasses and smiled 'happy holidays!' to each other.
After this we headed to our room it was initially very hot for a few hours which was quite hard at that time of night but the air con once it had kicked in worked really well for the rest of our stay.
The next morning we rushed out for breakfast before briefing on the resort by the MarkWarner staff for all guests at 8.30am and then for Wilf to attend mini club by 9am. We had another few meetings to attend that morning to explain the facilities on offer and the timings for certain things. Mark Warner have a great range of facilities and highly trained staff who run activities including sailing, wind-sailing, tennis, mountain biking. There was also a scuba-diving instructor based at the hotel with tuition that could be booked at an additional cost.
One thing that I'll probably mention a few times during these posts is just how good the childcare is. Wilf's key worker was Chloe who was fantastic and he did so many activities with her that he would probably never had done with us on a normal trip. They are quite well known for just how top rated their kids clubs and childcare is and I totally agree that we had only praise for how well he was looked after there. This particular resort doesn't have a baby club which we knew and were fine with because we wouldn't have put Mabli in anything like that yet as we just think she's too little (she was 6 months at the time of our trip) but that's just a personal choice.
For someone like me who's work is predominantly on-line I did find the wifi situation a bit tricky. We were prepared before hand for there to be no wifi in our rooms and only found outside receptions and at the bar but this was quite infrequent. When it did work I was able to work by the bar looking out at the pool and marvel at what a great work life balance I had with a refreshing cocktail in hand. When it didn't work (three days out of the seven) I found it quite stressful not being able to meet deadlines of check email. That being said if you are after a holiday where you want to completely switch off and un-plug (and really thats how holiday should be shouldn't they?) then I think the lack of wifi really shouldn't be an issue.
Another thing worth mentioning about the rooms is that as it's more of a traditional Italian style room it doesn't have a kettle or any drink making facilities. We knew this in advance and took a travel kettle with us (have to have my cup of tea in the morning!). The buffet breakfast serves coffee both from a machine and also filter coffee from a thermos but we did see guests who'd been previously and had brought their own cafetiere.
On the second day we tried to get into the activities on offer a bit more. Tom is quite keen on cycling as he rides to work every day and as Bristol is so hilly he's at a pretty good fitness level because of it! He took a short bicycle excursion with the cycling instructor there to a local town to pick up some bits and bobs. As well as wanted to get some cycling in, one of the reasons he (and other guests) were keen to go on this trip to the town was to pick up water. You can't actually drink the water at the resort and although it's provided at all meal times in between those times you need to buy it from the bar at €2 a bottle which I did think was quite steep especially with kids and with so much sporting activities in the sun.
Tom said the instructor was brilliant and he also went on a trip with him later in the week up one of the mountains to some pretty waterfalls! You can see them in the video below, its great that there was someone on hand to have mapped out some great routes before hand and take guests to these amazing views.
If I'm honest the main downside to this trip was how tired the rooms are are. The shower in particular was quite hard work and the shower curtain kept sticking to us as it was quite a small space in a hot room. I would say that with young children you tend to spend quite a bit of time in your room on holidays, taking naps or having quiet time in-between actives and we found it quite hard to do so with the rooms provided. There was a outside area with plastic garden furniture which we ended up sitting on quite a bit but again in the sun that's quite tricky with littles. It's worth bearing in mind that we had a triple room and not a superior room which I know have been updated recently. I think once these ones are updated it would make a huge difference to the comfort of the guests staying.
I think it's also worth mentioning that we have two very little children (4 and 7 months) and if you had teenagers or perhaps children over 8 it wouldn't be such an issue. That being said I think it's always worth while to ensure the bed you stay in on a trip is super comfy especially if you're doing so much sports which unfortunately these weren't. That being said the maids were brilliant and the the cleanliness of the rooms was faultless.
In terms of activities I did, I only really tried out the yoga but it was lovely being able to do it on the beach, especially the relaxation techniques. Nothing better than closing your eyes and just hearing the sea and feeling the sun on your face, much better than at a gym for sure!
There is a lot said about the price of Mark Warner holidays. For example this holiday with two adults, one child and a baby it would have cost around 3k during the week we stayed. I always feel hesitant to say whether something is well priced or not because its so subjective to peoples individual circumstances. However if you consider two adults both taking part in half day activities daily, plus childcare, food and wine, accommodation, flights and transfers I do think its well priced. For our family who only took part in three classes and found the accommodation quite hard work with small children I think we probably didn't get as much out of it that others with older children might of.
I made a little video of our time there too if you fancy a watch!
We we sent on this Mark Warner holiday as part of the 'Mark Warner Mums' ambassador programme but all words and thoughts are my own