Want to relax? It’s child’s play! After leaving TV’s Good Morning Britain, Clodagh Higginson heads for Rhodes and a well-earned rest for her family
Bye bye Mummy, you can go now,’ my five-year-old son and his three-year-old sister happily shoo me away from the kids’ club, and so began our Mark Warner holiday in Greece.
Worries melted as fast as our suncream as my husband John and I strolled hand-in-hand to the sunloungers to soak up the heat along with a cocktail or two. We could even open our books poolside, uninterrupted, for the first time in years.
Let’s face it, holidays with small children can be less than relaxing. As one friend said, a self-catering break with the kids usually means ‘same job, different location’.
Brilliant break: The Mark Warner resort in Rhodes, where Clodagh Higginson enjoyed a family holiday
Not so at Mark Warner’s Levante resort in Rhodes. For a blissful three hours every day, children can be cared for and entertained by British nannies. It means you can switch off and relax while your offspring make new friends and enjoy an eye-watering range of activities.
After my working hours as political correspondent on Good Morning Britain, getting up at 4am to make the flight from Heathrow at 8am was a doddle, allowing us to arrive in Rhodes in time for lunch after a 30-minute transfer.
The Levante is Mark Warner’s five-star flagship offering, designed and custom-built by Mark Warner as its ideal resort.
Low-rise and spacious with 200 rooms spread over a vast site, it boasts six pools, one of which is dedicated to lane swimming.
Our ground- floor suite was perfect for our little family, with a comfortable super- king bed for the grown-ups and a dividing door into another bedroom where the kids had their own single beds, complete with bed guards.
A private patio opened on to a lush garden leading to the biggest pool we had ever seen – half as long again as an Olympic pool at 83 metres. This was the family pool, which has a gentle slope and which never felt crowded during our week in July when the resort was fully booked.
Clodagh and husband John were able to enjoy their holiday while the children were cared for by British nannies
We spent mornings splashing around with the children. Five-year-old Hector’s swimming improved more in one week than after years of lessons back home. He cast off his armbands and flew across the pool.
After lunch and a little quiet time back in the suite, the children were raring to go to the kids’ club for their afternoon session. Our free afternoons meant we got a chance to explore the activities on offer. I’m a keen tennis player and made the most of the private lessons, improvers’ sessions, cardio tennis and doubles games every evening.
John tried out yoga for the first time and set off every morning to get zen while I took the kids for breakfast. John also enjoyed the sailing, water-skiing, and cycling tours. On the second to last day, I felt ashamed I had not set foot outside the resort, so I joined John for a two-hour bike ride along the coastline to a little cove.
There we enjoyed a couple of ice-cold lemon beers along with the hip young things of Rhodes before heading back on the bikes in time to pick up the children at 5pm.
There was time after their supper for another splash around in the pool, or a trip to the small but perfectly formed wooden playground before going back to the suite and into pyjamas to get ready for the nightly babysitting service. Hurray!
All aboard: The kids’ club takes to the water. For a blissful three hours every day, children can experience babysitting with a difference
We were thrilled to be able to have dinner for two alone together every evening. Parents are not allowed to leave the resort when using the kids’ club group babysitting service. If you do wish to do so then private babysitting in your own room is available for €14 (£12.66) an hour.
After jam-packed days we were happy to stay on site and enjoy the three restaurants. The main terrace was buffet-style and everything was delicious, from calamari and kebabs to sushi and Italian dishes.
We met one couple who had returned seven years in a row and joked that it was like Hotel California but in a good way. The woman said: ‘As soon as we leave, we book for the next year.’
Our only regret is that we did not venture into Rhodes old town.
So, we will be back – and next time for longer.
A week at Mark Warner Levante costs from £649 per adult and £539 per child for arrival on May 4, 2019, including return flights from Heathrow, transfers, five days’ full board and two days’ half board, water sports, tennis, children’s clubs and evening childcare. markwarner.co.uk; 0344 273 6813.
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