Sunday, 25 September 2016

Our Holiday to Levante Beach Resort with Mark Warner- Part 1

Looking out of the window here now, with the weather slowly turning from late summer to autumn, I find it hard to believe that just over a week ago now we arrived back from one of the most amazing weeks away together to the beautiful island of Rhodes in Greece- our first holiday as a family of four.  While our tans and the freckles on our noses are fading now, I look back at these photos now and it sort of feels surreal that we were there. It really was the most wonderful week and I have to pinch myself just looking back at the photos as they bring back so many lovely memories. 

Earlier this year, we were really honoured to be chosen as Mark Warner ambassadors after submitting our entry showing what our dream holiday looked like (which you can find here). After a bit of research, we opted for Levante Beach Resort in Rhodes, Greece. I'd seen a couple of other bloggers had been here before and raved about it, so we were excited to book our week away there.

We love nothing more than to travel- I lived abroad as a child and constantly dream about our next holiday. We have taken LO on two sunshine holidays before (once to Menorca and then last year to Porto Santo), and both times we chose hotels which were located on beaches, which had excellent pools and which served amazing food, so we had high hopes for Levante Beach, and it most certainly lived up to our expectations. The difference here though was that we were now travelling as a family of four and that it was with Mark Warner- a holiday experience we have never tried before. I must admit, we were a little nervous about taking two young children all the way to Greece and wondered whether we would actually get any respite on our holiday at all, but we really needn't have worried. Because of the fantastic childcare provided by Mark Warner, we both came back feeling truly refreshed and it was most definitely the break we so needed...

We arrived at Levante Beach around 9pm, a little later than planned (more on that shortly...) and upon arrival were checked in, our bags were labelled and we went straight to dinner in the buffet restaurant. It was obviously dark when we arrived and we were so tired but couldn't wait to get up the next morning and have a proper explore around the resort in the sunshine. It certainly didn't disappoint, and after a great first night's sleep, we were amazed at how beautiful the resort was with it's modern white buildings, lagoon pool and lush greenery. 

For the past three years we have opted to go on holiday at the start of September as the schools are back then and the heat is a little less intense. On our first morning in the resort we were amazed at just how quiet it was. We were in the Wednesday arrival group which flies in from Manchester which is less popular than the Saturday arrival time, so not many people arrived with us. We had the baby pool to ourselves a lot of the time and we got into a real routine of spending the whole morning in there after breakfast. 

LO adored the pool and because it was so quiet we were able to set up camp by one of the many sun loungers in the morning and just let him splash about in his swim jacket while I sat in the shade and fed Little L. 

He's always been such a water baby. We got this spiderman ring last year when we went to Porto Santo and it came along on the ride with us to Greece this year too. 

We were so pleased with the location of our room. It was room 6006 which was on the ground floor which was ideal with the pushchair. It was in the first block next to the baby pool but with a terrace leading out to the main pool too. 

These two enjoyed spending lots of quality time together and I was able to sit and watch from the sun lounger. Little L would have his little routine of going for a short swim and splash, exhaust himself, be fed and then have a mega 2 hour snooze in his pushchair. 

We tend to choose hotels which are located right on a beach as it's so nice to be able to take the boys for a stroll in the morning or in the evening after dinner. The beach here wasn't the best beach for little children as it was stoney rather than sandy but LO did enjoy throwing pebbles into the water. We went down for a wander after dinner on our first full evening. It is so pretty with all the colourful kayaks lined up on the beach. 

I think watching these two throw pebbles into the water will be one of my favourite memories of the holiday and it reminded me so much of our holiday last year before we had Little L.

LO has grown up so much since he turned 3 back in July and he just thrived so much this holiday, a lot of which was down to the amazing childcare provided by Mark Warner.

The beach here was really beautiful and there were clearly defined zones with a large section cordoned off for watersports and a smaller swimming area. As it was quite stoney, an improvement would be if they could create a small sandy area for children to play in as I didn't see many children playing on the beach at all. That being said, Little L is at that age where he wants to put everything in his mouth, sand and pebbles included, so we tended to spend more time around the pools. 

The weather was perfect when we were there- just the right temperature for the boys. The sunlight in the evenings was just stunning. There are four pools altogether- the baby pool, the main pool, then the  adult only pool (above) and then the beach bar pool. 

My little family and totally outnumbered by boys! For some reason it was extremely hard to get photos of us all together this holiday as LO took a dislike to the camera. I had to keep pinching myself the whole week we were there that we had such a wonderful opportunity to go away together as a family of four for the first time. 

Little L was fascinated by the stones on the beach. We used the Mark Warner childcare for both LO and Little L, but this particular afternoon Little L wasn't feeling well as he was teething badly so we kept him with us instead. We ran out of Calpol but amazingly, we discovered from the helpful lady at the on-site shop that there was an on-site Mark Warner nurse! She was able to sell us a bottle of children's paracetamol for €7 and Little L was back to his normal self within a few hours. 

The childcare for LO meant that we were also able to spend one afternoon with just Little L. It was nice to have that one to one time with him so we took him down to the beach to watch the sailing boats which he was fascinated with. 

I love these photos of my three boys and feel so incredibly grateful that we got to spend a week together enjoying the sunshine in Greece. We were a little daunted by going away with a baby and a three year old but actually, it wasn't difficult and I really think that travelling helps them to learn and develop so much. They both came on in leaps and bounds while we were away and their bond as brothers grew stronger each day. 

My favourite photo of my three. 

Little L loved going away and since we have been back he has changed so much. The facilities for families at Levante Beach are amazing- we were so incredibly well catered for it made taking an 8 month old baby away on holiday very plain sailing- from the incredibly comfy travel cot in our room to the bottle steriliser which was in our room on arrival to the endless supply of highchairs (all of which were impeccably clean and covered in cling film before use). It made our lives so much easier and we welcomed the change of scene from our normal routine at home. 

We had a really fantastic week away and I am pining to be back there again with these three. It was a seamless week which went by far to quickly. We could easily have spent 2 weeks there as we were so well catered for. I think it really says something about a resort when you feel that a week there with a baby and a three year old is almost as easy as it is at home with all your creature comforts. It really is a very beautiful and peaceful location and we loved making memories together there. Our first holiday as a family of four.

This is just the first of a couple of posts- I took so many photos I couldn't possibly fit them all into one post. I want to share so many other photos and I will be doing a more in depth post all about the hotel too, plus I have a video of our week, so be sure to pop back later in the week.

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