Hotel Review: Mark Warner Paleros Beach Resort, Paleros in Greece
Words by Georgina Rodgers
When you have small children, finding somewhere luxurious to stay almost inevitably leads to a compromise – happy adults or happy kids. Factor in a desire for the simplicity of a package holiday and you may feel like you are even more on the backfoot when to comes to locating your slice of paradise.
Not so with Mark Warner’s latest five-star offering in Paleros in western Greece. Opening last May, the stunning resort offers the perfect jigsaw of luxury accommodation, fine dining, three swimming pools, popular kids’ clubs and vast choice of water and land-based activities for everyone.
The resort is nestled in a beautiful bay, surrounded by rolling, olive grove-clad mountains and lush gardens. It looks out over the shimmering Ionian sea, across the water from the Island of Lefkada and the private island of Skorpios, once owned by the Onassis family.
This area boasts everything that is enchanting about Greece; unspoilt and picturesque coves, traditional and timeless tavernas, a history going back over 4,000 years and picture postcard views with incredible vistas. Added to this; the resort is just 30 minutes from the airport, so is ideal for families with restless children.
The hotel and its grounds are beautiful and have been refurbished from the ground up as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment. The accommodation is set in low-rise, traditional Mediterranean-style villas, with terracotta roofs and terraces amid flower-filled gardens.
The rooms range in size from twins and doubles to family rooms. We occupied two interconnecting, ground-floor rooms for ourselves and our two young daughters; this is the holy grail of family holidays because everyone can have space, privacy and peace of mind. The rooms showcase a chic simplicity; the interiors are bright and airy; the beds spacious and comfortable, the bathrooms immaculate.
Most of the resort is run and managed by the locals and the rooms were kept spotless by the cheerful and warm Greek staff. The feeling of service and amiability runs throughout the resort; I was often met by my first name and the children were doted on throughout.
Eating & drinking
The hotel has a choice of restaurants, with sumptuous food and smiling staff at every turn. The main restaurant served a variety of international dishes, alongside more local cuisine. There were colourful salads and stews; fresh meat and fish cooked in front of you; both sumptuous and simple vegetables, pasta dishes and more. Exotic fruits, teeth-tingling Greek delicacies and freshly-baked desserts ended all meals on a sweet note.
Breakfast is included every day and dinner for five nights. Lunch was available at an extra cost in the main restaurant or at the beachfront Taverna Avli, which dishes up fresh salads and authentic and fresh Greek dishes, including plenty of fish, pasta and melt in the mouth moussaka.
Even the children’s high tea did not disappoint, with kid-friendly versions of the adult cuisine. They really have thought of everything when it comes to reducing stress associated with holidaying with children. Kids piled onto tables with their new friends, whilst the adults kicked back and relaxed.
The pools and entertainment programme
The bay in Paleros has the perfect conditions for water sports (the bay seems almost land-locked) and the hotel runs an extensive water sports programme including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, water-skiing and wake-boarding.
If land-based sports are more your thing there is also an extensive cycling programme, ideal for exploring the rugged coastline with a group or on your own, along with tennis classes, scuba-diving tuition and a packed fitness programme, with everything from circuit training to yoga and morning stretch classes. I roused myself from my sunbed for several fitness classes and a cycle tour and was left feeling invigorated and smiling afterwards.
The main pool is vast and with two smaller pools (one for the children and an adults-only pool in a quiet part of the hotel grounds), there was never any chance of not having enough space to swim and lounge nearby. After one strenuous forehand or lie-down too many, the tranquil spa offers a large menu of treatments, from Elemis deep tissue and sports massages, through to facials and scrubs. My deep tissue massage was excellent and soothed away the knots and released some weeks’ worth of pent-up tension.
The childcare here is simply brilliant and offers the ideal mix of relaxation for adults and action-packed fun for children aged from two to 17. Childcare for babies is at an additional rate.
The childcare centre has big, light and airy rooms for each age group. My four-year-old loved the ‘mini club’ hideout, packed with wooden toys, puppets, three-wheeled sit-down scooters, books and more. The children could be signed in and out as we and they wished, to take part in a range of fun activities, including windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, pool games, tennis and volleyball.
Younger children all have their own key workers and they run a password system. In the evenings, there is a supervised film, followed by lights off quiet time for those five and under and games for older children. We could enjoy a romantic meal each evening – totally undisturbed – followed by a walk along the sea or the daily evening entertainment. For us, the fact the children couldn’t run there fast enough, felt like bliss. There is also a babysitting service if you wish to leave the resort.
Exploring Paleros and the nearby areas
If you want to explore the local area, then Paleros provides the perfect backdrop for adventure. You can discover Kechropoula Castle, where King Kechropoula once ruled and the archaeological site of Sterna, with its remnants of two watch towers and ancient wall. Ideal for hikers and keen cyclists to see is St Demetrios Monastery, set into the foothills.
On returning my eldest daughter declared this was “her best holiday ever” and I wouldn’t disagree. Mark Warner Paleros delivered on all fronts for us, so if you are fantasising about escaping the daily grind, this is the place to go.
7 nights at Paleros departing 5th October from only £599pp.
Address: Mark Warner Paleros Beach Resort, Aktio Vonitsa 300 12, Greece
Phone: 037 0218 5679