“A flappy sail is an unhappy sail”. Wise words indeed from the Mark Warner instructors teaching a group of three and four year olds the art of sailing in the shallow waters of the Aegean. Truth be told, these nippers got the hang of it much better than the Kiddicare team did.
These nippers remembered to duck when the boom swung from port to starboard. These nippers managed to remain IN THE BOAT. And had these nippers attempted stand-up paddle boarding they wouldn’t have needed a rescue speedboat when they drifted far out to sea. Ahem.
But therein lies the joy of the Mark Warner holiday. That you and your family can rock up at the beach and try out a whole host of watersports from kayaking to sailing a one-man Pico to windsurfing. And marvel at how much better the kids can do it….
Our friends at Mark Warner know a thing or two about family holidays – they should do – they’ve been in the game nearly 40 years. So when they invited us to review their Lakitira resort on the island of Kos we graciously accepted the challenge (no really, no need to thank us).
Stepping on to the tarmac at Kos’s tiny airport the first thing you notice is the completely cloud-less sky. “We don’t do clouds” says Mark Warner’s Polly. A 15 minute ride in a speedy minibus and we arrive at the resort.
First impressions? Just how spacious it all is: 4 acres of landscaped gardens, tennis courts, swimming pools, a watersports beach and a dedicated kids’ beach.
The accommodation ranges from traditional whitewashed villa style apartments in the Village (below), 5 star luxe in the Suites or single/double/triple/interconnecting rooms in the Hotel where you’ll find 24 hour kitchens with microwaves, sterilisers and fridges.
And the childcare? Childcare Manager Rachel talked us through the jam-packed itinerary (all overseen by qualified nannies and trained instructors).
“It’s just all about the fun”, says Rachel. “Older kids can come for a week and spend their mornings in the tennis clinic and their afternoons getting their RYA (Royal Yachting Association) certification. Younger kids can sail in the funboats, stand on windsurfs or learn to kayak.”
So that’s the kids sorted. And what about mum and dad? Well this is where the Mark Warner crew have got it spot on. You can be as active as you like with watersports, tennis clinics, aquagym, pilates, yoga, aerobics or a strenuous (but rewarding) mountain bike ride up the Yellow Brick Road to a ruined castle at the top. Or you can be as INactive as you like and flop on a lounger. After our disastrous attempts at Pico sailing and stand-up paddle boarding we got horizontal on this very beach…
And for dinner? No need to venture off-site as there’s a traditional taverna (the lamb meatballs are sublime), a trattoria (the salmon and vodka pasta ditto), a beach barbeque and a big family buffet restaurant.
You can’t visit Kos without a trip to the beautiful hill-top island of Kefalos. A must-see is the ancient Agora, a series of fourth century ruins featuring a temple dedicated to Hercules and a shrine to Aphrodite.
Once you’ve ambled the cobbled streets of Kefalos Old Town do stop by The Aegli Cafe in Eleftherias Square and watch the world go by while sampling the 12-dish delights prepared by the women’s co-operative. Then back to Lakitira for sundowner cocktails at the Barefoot Bar.
7 nights’ halfboard accommodation at Lakitira Beach Resort costs from £825pp. Price includes return flights with British Airways, transfers, activity programme, watersports tuition, tennis and mountain biking plus childcare (free from 2 years). Call 0844 273 7397 or visit Mark Warner.
For all those holiday essentials including the lightweight pushchair, visit baby specialist Kiddicare.