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Last week I spent 7 days on the Corsican Mark Warner Resort San Lucianu. Having never been on a Mark Warner holiday before, I really didn’t know what to expect. I of course realised that there would be lots of sporting activities, but I went with no preconceptions as to what the concept of a MW holiday offered. There were several other bloggers and their families at the resort, I had decided to go solo, due to ages of my children and that they were also both, doing important things at school on the dates I was due to be there. However I decided that doing this would help me have the chance to observe and fully participate in what this kind of holiday could bring, and perhaps offer a different perspective to the bloggers who went with their families.
Situated on the ruggedly beautiful east coast of Corsica, the hotel is within gorgeous gardens that lead down to a lovely stretch of sandy beach, with soaring mountains and eucalyptus groves as a backdrop. The ancient Greeks called Corsica the ‘Island of Beauty’ – and with good reason.
Now I liked the façade of the building, though I know it’s perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea, I thought it had a 1920’s feel, and the signage reminded me of the american typography that I love to collect on Pinterest.
The front of the hotel had a palm tree-lined avenue leading up to the hotel, and in the distance from the hotel entrance you could see the neighbouring mountains and hillsides.
A large grassed area with loungers was at the rear of the Hotel San Lucianu and this then turned to the sand, as the hotel backed onto the beach and sea. As you look toward the hotel from the grassed and tree area, you can again see the mountains in the distance beyond the hotel, a very picturesque setting.
The hotel was a short 25-30 minute drive (on a coach) from Bastia airport, a huge plus as a transfer time. The flight was with BA (British Airways) and so the quality excellent, definitely a pleasant and speedy flight at just over 2 hours. MW representatives were there to greet us at the airport, and help with luggage. Our rooms were all ready for us when we arrived, so if you needed to, you could change, shower and unpack as soon as you arrived.
I had been allocated a newly refurbished superior room that overlooked the sea. The room was huge, perfect as a family room, as it can be really frustrating I think, to be all cooped up in a small room, even if you spend most of the holiday outside. The en suite shower room was gorgeous, very clean and again felt spacious. No bath, which is something to check if you have very small children. I however believe you could get room with a bath that overlooked the mountains.
I am a bit of a shower addict when I’m on holiday, so having 3 or 4 of them a day, I can confirm that the water was always hot, and the shower powerful. Two shower heads meant I think that the smaller one, would be useful to wash children’s hair with, after a day on the beach, pool or children’s club.
My room had a simple and modern feel, with plenty of built-in storage and a small refrigerator. There was a dressing table and a TV. As I know Mark Warner caters a lot for families, I think I expected there to be children’s channels on the TV, and there wasn’t any that I found just news and sport channels. However I appreciate that most families bring with them tablets with favourite programmes and films on. The room was light and bright, with patio doors leading to a balcony with seating.
Plenty of sockets were found all around the room, including by the bed, as a tech addict, this definitely gave the room bonus points for me. There was a double wardrobe with wooden hangers and a single door, with plenty of shelving inside, definitely enough storage for a family. I think more hangers would be beneficial, there was enough for me on my own, but not if there was a family staying in the room.
The floors were tiled in both the bedroom and the bathroom, and these were washed daily (as was the room) by the cleaning staff, who were excellent throughout my stay. A full length mirror was on the wall next to the bathroom.
As I mentioned previously, I’ve never been on a Mark Warner Holiday, so I was delighted that the concept and more about the activities included (which was lots) were discussed on a welcome meeting the evening we arrived. The pool bar was also where, on the last day, the staff gave out prizes to recognise some of the holiday makers sporting achievements. It was a fun way to get together on both occasions, we weren’t ever pressurised to purchase things, in fact this was never mentioned our whole holiday, which I think is sometimes the case on resort holidays, but definitely not on a MW one, in my experience.
I think my favourite thing about the holiday was the staff. You can really tell that they love their jobs, and they seem to have a great rapport with one another as well as the holiday makers. I had several conversations with them (they didn’t realise we were bloggers or reviewing the resort) and around 50% had done multiple seasons with MW, its things like that really make an impression on me. Mark Warner not only offer sun holidays such as this but also ski ones too.
The pool bar in the evening was a must if you wanted to get involved in the entertainment, with quizzes, wine tasting and The Cube being amongst the things you could participate in.
To the rear of the property was the outside eating area, partially covered to protect from the sun. Two pools, one for adults or older children only, whereas the other was more for pool games, and was divided by a wall, with a more shallow side suitable for much smaller children/toddlers. Around each of these pools were loungers, so adults could happily watch their children whilst they played.
I think you can tell from my photographs too, how quiet the resort was, even at full capacity, I would imagine it would never feel crowded.
Mark Warner Activities :
Activities are abundant at whichever Mark Warner resort you go for, you can read more about that HERE. Whether you wanted to do something organised and timed (see above) or get involved in the tennis, biking or various water sports that happen exactly when you want them to, you could be active every single minute of your holiday, if you wanted to. If you didn’t have much experience of the water, or were a little rusty, with things such as kayaking and wind surfing, MW offered free instruction and were on hold to give you advice at any point. If you simply wanted to know about cycle and running routes at all levels, maps and bikes were also available. The equipment seemed to be available for free, and great quality, as well as some tuition. One to one and more specialised tuition was available for an addional fee.
Emma from Emma and 3 blog couldn’t wait to try her hand at windsurfing, and I volunteered to take a few pictures of her, as she and the rest of the group were taught the basics.
I was so impressed at how quickly she picked it up, as it looked really tough from land.
The master at work!
Not everyone wants to get involved in the sporting activities, maybe that’s your partners thing and not really yours, and its just as much fun to watch from the sidelines in the sunshine, with a Pimms and a good book!
Food & Drink
Holidays are available at half board in the resort, but you can upgrade to full board too, this is surprising good value at £49 for an adult. None of the drinks are included in the price, so you need to take that into consideration before booking. A bottle of Corsican wine for example is 14 Euros.
Example of an evening menu.
Breakfast and Lunch were buffet style, whereas most of the evening meals were à la carte in style. They did cater for different dietary requirements, you just needed to ask, but there was a great labelled selection on the menu too. I enjoyed the evening meals the most, as I’m vegetarian I did ask the people who ate meat and fish, and they also enjoyed those.
I loved that the evening meals were slightly more formal, and it gave me a chance to dress up a little.
Fresh fruit and salad was available at lunch times, together with hot accompaniments, and the occasional local dish. At breakfast time there was an egg bar (which turned into a pizza bar for lunch) so you could order them exactly as you liked them, as well as other hot breakfast items. I think breakfast and lunch felt very samey as a vegetarian, and my feedback would be that they really needed to mix up the salad and breakfast options within a weeks stay. I also think the serving area is in need of an upgrade, as it was a little tired and unloved. If there was a downside to my week it was the food in the day, it definitely left me disappointed, more variety and healthy options were definitely needed.
Children’s Clubs and Activities
Even though I didn’t bring my girls with me, I did attend the welcome meeting for the kids clubs so I could get a feel for them. I was impressed with the full programme they had on offer, so many things to do and see and learn. I will link up to the other bloggers who did attend with their children so you can see in more detail the fun they had.
Update : Here are more posts that cover the childcare in more detail than I could in my post.
MamaOwl : Finding their sea legs
Family Madventures : Why Mark Warner offer the best child care whilst on holiday.
OlderSingleMum : General Post on the resort and the kids clubs.
PodCastDove : Tennis
Hollybobs : Part 1 of her Mark Warner Adventure
Little Likely Lads : 5 reasons to choose a family holiday at Mark Warner
I was left with a really good feeling about the kids clubs, you could really tell they had strict health and safety guidelines, and that is something that would definitely be a top priority for me, when leaving my children in the care of others. Mainly though what I observed was the kids having great fun.
The children’s club was suitable from the ages of 2-12, there was also a teenagers club, and evening childcare. Children could eat with you in the restaurant in the evening, but there was also a special ‘high-tea’ time available for them to eat all together. They could then watch a film or play games at the children’s club, whilst you ate at a later time in the evening. This service was available free of charge, as is the childcare I mentioned above, and you needed to pick up your children by 11 pm.
If you are part of a couple or family that didn’t want to do the sporting activities at the resort, Corsica has other opportunities available. I would recommend hiring a car, so you can see the Island that way, but there are also other options too. You can walk to the local town, its only 10 minutes away, enjoy a meal, coffee and a ice cream, as well visit the local shops. I went to the pharmacy on my quest for French skincare, and picked up some great goodies, and I will be covering that on my travel blog : We Blog Travel. We wandered back to the San Lucianu hotel by walking along the beautiful sandy beach, which took around 30 minutes, but it was a really great way to walk off that ice cream!
A short taxi drive (approx £50 euros) away is a village in the hillside, which I will also be covering in a photo post soon.
You can of course enjoy a little pampering too on site, with manicures, facials and massages using Elemis products. I opted for a pedicure, and it was a decadent end to my week.
There are a couple of organised trips out, one unfortunately was cancelled, as only a couple of people wanted to go on it. I think that shows just how much people were enjoying spending time on the resort, and didn’t want to leave. I however, am a real wunderlust traveller, and have itcy feet if I stay in the same place, hence my need to visit the local area. We did however go on an organised by the hotel waterfall walk :
One of the highlights was the herd of goats.
This one was definitely eyeing me up!
I did mange a selfie, whilst I was there.
I had a fantastic week whilst in Corsica, saw and tried new things, I loved the setting, hotel and the people, I came away smiling and wanting another trip away, but this time with my family who I just know would love the Mark Warner experience too!