For those who have been on a Mark Warner holiday before - you know the deal…and much of the following should ring true…
For those who have not been on a Mark Warner holiday this is my sense of the formula at Levante and a few highlights and lowlights on the resort.
Overall an enjoyable 7 days with a 4* rating but probably would not go back.
As ever, you arrive and commence with induction overload…sadly for us and a number of others, this involved a wait for one hour before our rooms were ready. The process then runs something like this… “welcome drinks at 7:30, Mini’s briefings at 8, Junior’s briefings at 8:30, beach briefings at 10am…tennis briefings is at 11am…forgotten how to put your trunks on briefing at 11:30..’ [@Mark Warner – my sense is that you could make this part of arrival a little more personal.]
Once you are relaxed and through induction chaos you start to appreciate the resort which is really rather nice. We paid a little more for a Family Room away from the main block by the adult pool. This was beautifully furnished with a patio, a good fridge, great aircon and a sliding door to separate you from the children’s beds in the evening. Decor was in excellent taste and a very high quality finish.
The resort is large, green and well maintained with a number of places to relax beside 4 pools (1 inside) as well as a number of bars/snackbars and the beach. Note the adjoining properties are less attractive - an industrial site on one side (a receiving station of some sort I think) and an unfinished hotel on the other. These don’t spoil the resort but a wander along the beach (particularly north) is not all that attractive.
The main pool (as described by a number of other reviewers) has been cunningly coated pre-season with a mix of banana skins and margarine. The result is that as the pool gently tapers away from the edge, it tends to take your feet with it before your body is entirely ready. [On a serious note – this needs to be fixed.] The main pool is lovely but was also fairly grubby by the end of our week. A swim along the bottom of the main pool at the end of the week wearing a pair of goggles was a mistake in retrospect.
[@Mark Warner] The odd thing about the pool is that in the day, at the height of Summer, it is about hot enough to make Hades reach for his suncream. The moment however the temperature comes down to any sort of comfortable level (say from 7pm)…they shut the pools…uhhh…why?
There are a lot of MW staff at this resort (80 or so I was told) – the Mini’s team was outstanding while we were there and an initially timid 3 year old loved his time…some of the other interactions with staff were hit and miss. It was extremely hot and the staff work hard. At times this showed a bit. [@Mark Warner – as an aside, I think you need to up your game on the whole password thing which struck me as a bit sloppy.]
Overall though the childcare is very good and you can be prepared to see your children make friends, partake in various activities and randomly appear around the resort singing ‘I don’t care what people say…’ etc. Given the heat, some of the children’s games should really have been played indoors in one of the gym rooms in my view.
The Greek staff who run the resort itself are outstanding – they work hard to resolve any issues, have lots of advice about things to do and places to go and are great with the kids.
A few highs then:
-A BA charter from Heathrow T5. Liked that a lot.
-Tennis and sailing facilities are excellent as is the gym. (Mostly frequented by the ‘have you seen my biceps’ fitness staff).
-Evening movie club was great (though note that Minis and Juniors are not allowed to watch together which seemed a shame).
-There are endless ways to get involved across a full timetable of events. Equally I am reliably told that the spa is also excellent.
A couple of lows:
-One huge annoyance to me was the WiFi. I tend to like the ability to connect when I am away. The WiFi in Levante was sporatic even in main reception and non-existent anywhere else in the resort. In theory there was fast free WiFi in reception and a hotspot around the rest of the resort. Mostly I saw people endlessly flicking in and out of settings unable to find a way of connecting. (This seems a bit of a basic requirement to me these days…).
-Honestly the beach is not great and really needs a bit of care. Don’t arrive with an Indian Ocean mindset – instead think sharp sand, aggregate and duckboards. There are however some lovely beaches not far away – we went by Taxi to the Anthony Quinn beach to snorkel only a few kilometres away (where the Guns of Navarone was partly filmed….)…this is well worth the 15 Euro taxi ride or a cycle. [@Mark Warner – the volleyball court could do with a simple rake to remove the stones…]
-Food is good and plentiful but had a slightly cafeteria feel to the ambiance. There are simply a lot of people to feed and buffet style for that number can be a bit chaotic. We tended to eat a few times in the Pan Asian restaurant which has a 15 Euro supplement for Hotel Guests. The menu here was really good and the ambiance is calmer/more elegant. (Although they seemed to want a reservation even when the place was largely empty – not sure why).
Overall then a 4 star – a good holiday with a bit of room for improvement.
@Mark Warner – a final random thought - perhaps the one thing I would lose was the ‘feta level cheesiness’ of the airport drop-off briefing by the MW rep…(said in a tone of admirable sincerity)… ’and remember with Mark Warner Holidays…everyone is a winner’ (unless you are trying to get onto one of the Levante WiFi Hotspots that is…or trying to make a graceful entrance into the pool…)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Five Star Hotel ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Levante Beach Resort Rhodes/Afandou, Greece