Never go back to an amazing holiday – right? WRONG!
This summer we laughed in the face of those unspoken holiday rules and returned to Rhodes for a bit of Mark Warner action at their stunning Levante Beach Resort. We first visited years ago and we do always vow never to repeat a holiday – so the fact we headed back tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about how awesome it was that first time, and how hopeful we were for a repeat experience.
Nestled on Rhodes longest beach, Afandou on the eastern coast of the island, Levante Beach is a purpose built, contemporary Mark Warner resort with state of the art tennis, watersports, cycling and purpose build childcare centres. That’s the sell on paper but the place is SO much more!
A short 25 minute drive from Diagoras International Airport, the minute we were met by Manager Sue Thomas, we felt like we’d arrived home! Finding ourselves also greeted with the warmest hugs by the beautiful Mika who runs the restaurant, we knew coming back was the right decision and this was going to be a pretty special week – and it was.
There is SO much on offer here – not a chance of anyone getting bored. Whether it’s cycling, tennis, sunrise yoga, fitness classes, aqua aerobics, chilling, spa, diving – whatever it is that rocks your world, you’re in the right place! I loved a bit of sunrise yoga, and 45 minutes of calm to myself before the day began. The spa also looked delicious and had the most divine treatments on offer.
The breadth of activities on offer for families is beyond impressive and we spent every morning on the water! Having tried SUP Yoga once before I was desperate to try SUP (stand up paddle-boarding) – little did I know it would be THE hit of the week! We started with the kids on the front of our boards but by the end of the week we were taking 4 boards out – each on our own. The calm out on the water was pretty spectacular and we literally spent about 2 hours a day – every day – as a SUP family!
I could tell we all thrived on doing things together as a family. I also loved the kids seeing us be active as parents and we had a go at so many new things, it was awesome. Trey nailed the windsurfing this time and I loved watching it happen. Yup – he’ll kill me if he reads this but seriously, life is so hectic and you often don’t get the time to sit back and “appreciate” your own bit of eye candy! So thank you Mark Warner! #sorrynotsorry!
Ahem! Anyway, back to business!
The attention to detail when it comes to safety on the water is impressive and you all have to sign in and out so they know who’s on the water. Special mention to Katie, who signed us in every morning and who’s memory for names I will always be jealous of! With a Trey, Kaya & Akira in the family, we’re not easy to remember but she managed it – every time!
Mark Warner is famed for its quality of Kids Clubs, and rightly so. Last time we came, I told Kaya she needed to try the kids club once at least, so I could write about it – thinking that she wouldn’t love it and feeling like I was packing her off for my own convenience. How wrong was I?
She went that first morning and – that was it! She was hooked and from that moment almost bolted her breakfast in a bid to get to the fun. On every level – the clubs just seem to work. Amazing for socialisation, great for confidence and pushing new boundaries and learning new skills.
The schedules are on the wall so you know where your kid is the whole time, and what they’re up to varies by the hour so nobody gets bored. They also seem to flip flop between outdoor and indoor / shaded activities which is vital, given how brutal the mid-day sun is and the proximity of Rhodes to the equator.
The rooms at Levante are gorgeous. Contemporary and stylish and, well, just a bit lovely.
There’s a massive range of accommodation, including 100 suites. We had a family suite which was perfect – double bedroom, bathroom with shower & bath and two single beds for the kids, with a huge sliding privacy door between our room and the kids section. Oh – and the kids LOVED that our room was called “BooB”! *collects Mother of the Year Award!
All the rooms have a private balcony or terrace and we totally lucked out because there had been a cancellation so we were put in one of only 7 Family Suites with Pool!Which we didn’t know about until the morning after we arrived and we pulled the curtains to see the balcony and all SCREAMED!
I’ll be honest – I’m not generally a fan of buffets as I can’t be doing with queues! But wow – the Amalthia restaurant at Levante is another league altogether. Run by the delicious Mika, the best Maitre’D you’ll ever find and, coincidentally, one of the loveliest souls on the planet, we didn’t need to queue once. The food is amazing, varied and, although all healthy options are available, it’s hard not to leave with a Levante Layer! Rude not to when on holiday! And the outdoor terrace is stunning. Being able to eat al fresco for every single meal is one of the joys of holidays for me.
There’s also a poolside snack bar which was perfect for lunchtime pizzas, salads and fruit platter, not that we became pretty expert with our order or anything! There’s also Annora a la carte restaurant and Greek Taverna, which we loved one evening, overlooking the resorts ancient ruins.
Mark Warner organises coach transfers from the airport, but we opted to get our own hire car so we could explore the island a bit and enjoy a couple of days out. Which we did – and LOVED.
WHAT THE BROCHURE DOESN’T TELL YOU!
It’s impossible to quantify what it is that makes Levante unique.
It’s everything! The clean, contemporary styling, the amazing food, the kids club options for families – it’s about the VIBE of the place. There’s just something about it, lead by the most incredible staff.
And water – SO much water! Whether at the beachfront doing watersports, in the enormous main pool with our watermelon (the worlds largest inflatable – thank goodness for the goddess in the resort shop for haivng a pump!) at the adult pool, or sports pool (yes – there are 3 enormous main pools!) the water added so much fun, family connecting and memories.
And the evenings – I can’t finish without mentioning the evenings. None of the “dress for dinner” nonsense you often get – of course if you WANT to dress for dinner, you’re more than welcome. But “come as you are” is also welcome! And that’s the thing for me – a family holiday is all about chilling.
The walk from our room to dinner through the centre of the resort was magical, every night – like the resort was winding down for the day.
As I said, we NEVER return anywhere. I’m always one for forging forwards, never going back but there’s just something about this place that’s just a bit special.
It’s an amazing option as a family – to get time alone as a couple when the kid clubs are on, then to re-connect as a family – it’s perfect! We made so many memories – everything from waterfront action to long lazy lunches – even Akira’s pebbles he collected on the beach and decorated. And yes – they ALL had to come home! Excess baggage anyone?!
Returning to Rhodes was THE BEST! So much so – we’ve actually clocked how much fun it would be to go with other families we know! When does THAT ever happen? Getting together as mates, knowing the kids are having a great time together and faced with the option of chilling in the spa, by the adult pool, by the sea, learning a new skill, sailing, SUP, yoga, fitness, tennis – LAUGHING?
It would be INCREDIBLE!
THE FINE PRINT:
Mark Warner gifted us our week at Levante for the purposes of writing this blog.
All flights and extras were paid for by us.
All views are my own.