A Mark Warner Holiday to Corsica
Plans for the summer holidays changed significantly three weeks ago. I received an email from Mark Warner asking if I wanted to review a discounted holiday at the end of July. It took a few days to think hmm can we afford it, for me to move some money around and cancel a UK holiday at the end of the summer. All was sorted so with a few days’ notice we packed up and disappeared for a week to beautiful Corsica. We are so glad we said yes!
Corsica is a French island off the coast of south of France and to the West of Italy. It’s a stunningly beautiful island with mountains and much greenery and nowhere is far from the beach. Hubby unfortunately couldn’t make it, due to work commitments so I went as a lone mum with three boys, could I cope?
The holiday started off with a perfectly timed flight from Heathrow on a chartered BA flight at 7:30am on a Saturday morning (the day after schools broke up!). British Airways really looked after us, we had a special family check-in point with no queues and the boys were all given goodie bags for the flight, nice touch. We checked in and went through security all very quickly, the boy’s excitement growing at each point. Terminal 5 at Heathrow is lovely with tons of cool shops, I had a stroll around Prada and Smythson’s. Prada are going to fix my scratched sunglasses for me.
Before we knew it, it was time to board the plane. The three boys sat together and I sat on the other side of aisle. Big learning, don’t sit three excitable boys together on flight going to holiday!! I made a friend, I was sat next to a lovely woman and we chatted for much of the flight, in between me telling the boys off at least 10 times.
Arrival in Corsica
We landed and got through Corsica security very quickly, we met the Mark Warner welcome team, jumped on a nice air-conditioned coach which took just 30 minutes to reach our resort and by 1pm we were at the hotel eating lunch. Our bags were waiting at our room after we finished lunch and we hit the pool straight away!
The Saturday was spent in various meetings to figure out the week, it was a bit overkill. Water sports meetings, childcare meetings for mini club and junior club. All my boys wanted to do was jump in the sea and play in the pool!
We had two rooms on opposite sides of the corridor of the first floor, it was booked so late there were no family rooms left. There was the choice between sea view or mountain view. We ended up basing ourselves in the pool view room the side that the sun rose. The beds were huge, all four of us could fit on the one king size bed so we did that for the first couple of night before I realised we could ask for a put-up bed!
The proper rest/holiday begins
Sunday was the first full day with a bit of structure. Breakfast was served at 7am, we were all up at 7am most mornings. Breakfast was lovely, with choices of everything you could think of, croissants, fruit, cereals, full English, yoghurt and much more. Good coffee too.
At 9am it was drop off to Junior club. This is for children aged 6 to 9, so was for Josh and Dylan. The club was for three hours every morning. And again, for three hours in the afternoon 2:30 to 5:30pm. The clubs were supervised by the most amazing staff and included everything from sailing to kayaking to wind surfing to volleyball to mocktails making to hide and seek. It was so well organised with a different activity every hour.
At 12 noon, I collected the boys and we went for lunch. Lunch was always buffet style with food perfect for children and adults. There was always a healthy salad choice or hot food like pizza or hot dogs. The boys were burning so many calories that they stocked up so much food at breakfast and lunchtime. There was also wine available at lunchtime for me.
At 2:30pm all three boys went off to their clubs, the mini club for Jack (age 3 to 5) was only for three hours a day. I chose afternoons as I thought by then I would be ready for rest and a little sleep😉 This gave me three hours most days to do what I wanted by myself.
There were a few exceptions to the childcare, there was a day when Jack was sick, through the heat and activity levels. Also, Dylan got an ear infection so had to miss out the water based stuff for the last 2 days. Typical that Jack was sick on the day when I was going to have an Indian head massage!
At 5:30pm there was children’s dinner with things like spaghetti bolognese, profiteroles, fish, chips and vegetables. After dinner, we headed back to the pool every day for another hour as by day 2 they had made lots of holiday friends. At 7:30pm the children could, if they wanted, all go to movie club which was another three hours of supervised childcare in the evening in the childcare centre. The boys didn’t want to do this in the early part of the week but by the end of the week they were more than happy to all go off for three hours, meaning I could sit and chill drinking wine at adult’s dinner and chatting to new found holiday friends.
I did so much in my three hours every day to myself. I went kayaking and paddle boarding. Both of which I have never done before and they were brilliant. Josh ditched his club one day and came out paddle boarding with me, we were both pretty good at it. I went on a three-hour waterfall walk and swam in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. I did lots of yoga, Pilates and core exercise classes with the unstoppable Jen. The mountain bike ride was missed as it was just too hot in the afternoons for that exertion and I didn’t quite get to the tennis.
The adult dinner was lovely, every night it was either a la carte and waitress service or buffet. There was a barbeque for two nights, fish, lamb, salmon. So much lovely food. And lots of healthy choices if you wanted, although I did manage to put on a few pounds despite the exercise and activity levels.
The flight home was perfectly times as well, at 12 noon. We had breakfast and left the hotel at 9am. We met hubby at arrivals at 2pm and was home by 3pm. There was a slight delay to the flight, which the pilots filled with letting every child on the plane sit in the cockpit!
It was such an amazing holiday, I had a chance to relax with the children and without. There were very few crossed words because everyone was so happy, well fed and amused with activities. The staff were just brilliant, mostly youngsters, but so skilled at their jobs from the water sports team to childcare, everyone knew their stuff and loved to chat about anything and everything. The manager of the hotel, Wayne, and operations manager, Hannah, were both so good, particularly at dealing with our many trips to first aid, five in all!! I have never had such a holiday with injuries, all self-inflicted! From glass in foot (me) to fingers trapped in sun loungers (Josh) and ear infections (DJ). Everything was dealt with a smile and lovely chat.
Was there anything that could have been improved?
The hotel facilities were amazing but the hotel itself felt tired. It was three stars and a good quality three star at that, but it needed a refresh. The rooms felt tired. There was an issue with the showers for three nights with cold water. Which everyone moaned about, then it got fixed! That was about it for the negative stuff. Not much as it was such a fab holiday.
Is Mark Warner value for money?
I spoke to many guests about their views on value for money and did think about this a lot. Most people paid around £1,200 per person, although there were late deals you could get for around £980ish per person. So nearly £5,000 for a family of four if booked in advance. But this includes everything. All these things I have talked about in this article are all included. From food to wine, to childcare to sports activities to excursions to guided bike rides. The only things not included were snacks, ice-creams and drinks that were not wine. Our bill came to 60 Euros. The trip to doctors also cost us 40 Euro! £5,000 might sound like a lot but I think it’s good to compare to our holiday from last year in Spain.
We went to Southern Spain for 2 weeks in August and all in, it cost us £5000 and this was me saving in as many ways as possible. This included £1,300 for accommodation, £1,000 for flights, £2,000 for food/ eating out/spending money/activities, £500 car hire, plus a few other bits. Two weeks was too long and the boys did complain about being bored, or we ended up spending money to relieve the boredom. Plus, it wasn’t at all relaxing as we constantly had the kids, we had no time to ourselves and by the end of week 1 we were ready to come home!
Would I go back?
I think now if I’m going to spend £5,000 on a summer holiday then Mark Warner is the way to go. A holiday where I am going to feel relaxed is key, where I can talk to my husband without shouting and lie by a pool or beach for three hours a day (at least). I even got to read two whole books!! I would like to see other Mark Warner resorts too, manyguests were Mark Warner regulars so have been to a few and raved about a Sardinia resort and a Kos Lakitira resort. That’s my plan for next year!
Disclaimer – I received this holiday at a discounted rate for which I am incredibly grateful for.