10 July 2015

Our Mark Warner Holiday to San Lucianu, Corsica.


In all the many times I have been fortunate enough to travel with Mark Warner, never before have I been quite so taken with one of their resorts.

Although the majority of these trips were taken prior to having my boys, it is their family holidays that they are best known for.  Along with the provision of qualified childcare and tuition for any age and level for water sports and tennis or skiing - all of which are included in the price - there is also the friendly and professional nature of the management and staff, which, in the intimate environment of the San Lucianu Hotel in Corsica, noticably came to the fore.

The eldest wasn't very impressed when we first arrived though.  He said he wanted to go back to Lemnos, where we stayed last year, exploring a Mark Warner holiday as a single parent family and he took a bit of persuading to keep an open mind!

This is one of their smaller centres, with around only 160 guests staying when we were there (and a maximum capacity for 250), but I liked the feel of it.  It was quite cosy - yet not intrusively so - and the children could roam more freely than usual, because it was possible to still keep a keen eye on them.  They soon got to grips with that and, together with being able to sign himself in and out of his Kids Club, now he's old enough to be in the next group up from last time, the eldest began to like his extra independence, mercilessly milked it over the next few days and was quite quickly won round after all!

But how could he not be?  Here is the sight that greeted us from our (Superior) room.  We would learn that this pool is for proper swimming as it's unattended and that there are two others for proper playing - one for tots that's supervised by a lifeguard all day and an adjoining one that was central to our stay.  These are blessed with the beautiful mountain backdrop that some of the other bedrooms overlook.

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The pool for proper swimming.

The pools for proper playing.
We were very lucky to be with these lovely other bloggers on an official press trip and it was interesting to see how differently we interpreted what was available.  Most of us did our own thing.

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L-R - Jen, the Manager, Carissa, Alice, me, Julie, Lisa, Charly, Emma and Amanda.
Carissa and her Little Likely Lads, loved trying out new sports, Alice and Emma have five children between them, two of whom have special needs, so they were exploring that angle.  Julie (five of her own) enjoyed keeping up a fitness routine that has seen her lose 55lbs in the last six months, Charly (famous for her photography) took advantage of lots of tennis coaching with her husband and Lisa (famous for her videos) liked being out to sea, while Amanda and Kate (not pictured), when not focusing on their new collaborative project, relaxed and checked out some of the spa treatments.  Well, someone had to...   

Karen, who has been travel blogging since before it became fashionable is also, sadly, not present in this group shot.  She worked on her websites and supported her fellow Scot whilst watching Wimbledon and, additionally, Monika was temporarily missing in action as she’d hired a car and gone out to explore Corsica with her kids, covering six hundred kilometres in three days!  

Others only made it to Moriani, the local town, which is just a short walk (or kayak!) away, but better than that was a (free) organized outing to a local waterfall and a few of us spent a special afternoon there, swimming and standing under it, feeling spiritually cleansed and fortified.  Apart from the bit when the eldest decided to climb up and throw himself off a rock from half way up (see the video below).  That kind of had the opposite effect.  

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This was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life!
But we were all glad we’d done it.  The freezing water is welcome after a hot and, sometimes, tricky trek.  It’s good to be guided there and, although they advise it for children over age 14 only, mine managed it easily enough.  It’s currently put on weekly, but directions can be given should you prefer to go it alone.   

On other days, we took up a recommendation of a (50 Euro return in a taxi) visit to Cervione, a village in the mountain we'd heard about, but, generally speaking, it’s tough to tear yourself away from the facilities on site.  Most of the children were taken care of for parts or all of the day and if you’re not satisfied with your biggest decisions being beach / pool, sun / shade and beer / cocktail when they're not around, there's plenty of stuff to do.  It's not only the  youngsters who can be improving their water-sport and tennis skills courtesy of this company - it's what they do!  

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Learning to sail, a kayak safari to Moriani for Italian ice cream (10 Euros) and a wind-surfing lesson.
Plus, there’s (all also included) guided mountain biking (adults only) – or again, you can go out independently and there are frames suitable for bigger children if they fancy joining you.  There’s a volleyball match every day, a small football pitch, a badminton court and table tennis as well as water polo, aqua aerobics and copious other exercise classes.  

The beach is all white sand and huge and there are loads of loungers.  Towels are for hire - although they rather risk annoying aficionados of Mark Warner as they're normally supplied as standard and some of us consciously won't have packed any - but there is my new favourite place in the world to sit around and watch it go by after all that exertion - their brand new beach bar.  It. Has. Sofas.  But, please be warned, you may get much too comfortable listening to George Ezra and the like and have your heart completely captured by Corsica - or 'Fritaly,' as my kids call it!


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My new favourite place in the world. A beach bar with sofas!
This is the place where gentle evening entertainment takes place. It normally starts at 10pm (not forgetting the complimentary Kids Clubs go on until 11pm) with a variety of quizzes, although at the outset of the week and scheduled much earlier, are orientation and a wine tasting.  

The table wine with meals is not included as gratis here - but, again, it usually is.  However, who can complain when we get to try out a variety of ones from within the vicinity of San Lucianu - so we can be confident when ordering them?

Wine is the biggest produce of the island, but it's rarely exported because it's so good the locals like to consume it all!  And it's customary for restaurants to serve only those from their area, so you can drink different ones depending on where you're dining around it.  (Now there's a holiday idea if ever there were one!).  The reds and roses I 'researched' were fresh, full bodied and moreish and it's offered by the bottle which can be kept with your name on, if it lasts that long (*winks at Amanda*) and this, way, it works out less expensive than purchasing it by the glass, if you prefer.    

Another difference from the larger resorts is the slightly more sophisticated a la carte arrangement for dinner, where individual wines will be recommended for each meal selection.  There are meat, fish, vegetarian and gluten free choices, all presented prettily and, seeing as it's all fairly informal, we found this adds to its charm.    

Breakfasts and lunches are buffets comprising food still sourced, as always, as locally as possible - fantastic fresh fruit and pastries, meats and cheeses.  There is an egg cooking cum (excellent) pizza station, lots of seafood, pasta, salads and baguettes as well as a Dish of the Day.  It's not always the Tuscan fayre Wikipedia promises, but it will certainly please most palates.  Do look out for the Tapenade - it's terrific!

Bookings for half board are taken with the option of upgrading to full board - at £35 per child and £49 per adult (paid in advance) for the whole week.  Fresh water is served everywhere, but some squash put on for the kids wouldn't go amiss so they don't sting us for so many 'mocktails.'  Paninis and chips are available in the beach bar (5 and 3 Euros), again, if you prefer, but you'd be missing out on some seriously lush French desserts.  Those on full board can request to have a packed lunch prepared for them if they're going out for the day.

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Conclusions.
In the end, the eldest said it was 'Epic because of the choice of activities.'  The youngest had a ball with everything and particularly enjoyed being in the childrens' show on the last night.  I managed to do some decent swimming, alongside a little mix of work, rest and fun and found the place perfect considering I was travelling as a lone parent.  All in all, we loved it.

This is a 3*** rated resort - and priced as such, but we think it's better than that.  Our holiday would have come in at around £900 each at full price, yet a last minute substantial discount can often be found and bring it down to around half that.  (Drinks and any private lessons are extra.  Group stuff and independent hire of their equipment - for those who are confident enough - are included.  For those who aren't yet, a parent and child sail with an instructor can be paid for).

Mark Warner Corsica is compact without being quaint and strikes a brilliant balance between being as quiet or lively as you want it to be, depending on your mood of the moment.  Their format is tried and tested and it works for everyone - to the extent they recently won 'Best Family tour Operator' in the Sunday Times travel magazine.

All their resorts, reliably, have heaps to offer and the video at the very end of this post - made mainly to capture the marvellous memories - gives you an opportunity to check out San Lucianu more thoroughly, see the kind of things we got up to and decide whether you want to or can be be taken by it (or elsewhere) too.

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Lively and fun, San Lucianu, Corsica.
Our video -



Disclosure - We were invited on our holiday for the purposes of this review.  All words, opinions and pics are our own or kindly shared by the other bloggers.  

39 comments:

  1. it just looks wonderful Anya. I really want to go and try out a MW holiday now. My kids would adore the clubs and all the watersports. So glad you got the chance to have this break with your boys. Mich x

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    1. Thanks Mich - there's something for everyone there and you'd all love it :) xx

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  2. My daughters would have loved all the activities on offer at Mark Warner when they were little and I can see why it's a firm favourite with families. So happy to hear that you had a wonderful time x

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    1. Thanks Izzie - they're never too old, you know! There is a special 18-21 age group dinner and social stuff arranged for them, I think..... And families of all ages go - year after year! xx

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  3. It looks amazing! Such a shame they don't offer anything suitable for large families - our lot would have loved the activities.

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    1. That's a shame - I wondered if we were near you when we were away but it was so last minute I didn't get chance to ask you! Speak soon xx

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  4. It looks amazing, so glad you had a good time, the boys look very happy to be there x

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    1. It is amazing Jean - you and your girls would love it - can't go wrong with MW really xx

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  5. Great review Anya, really feels like we're there with you! When making such a significant spending decision, as you do with a holiday, it's great to read a blog and get a first hand experience. :-)

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    1. Thank you Claire. I completely agree. There is so much included with Mark Warner though - it's good to bear that in mind and the point of the post and the video was to show things how they really are, so am glad they worked for you! Their last minute offers are always really good, the discount code can be used additionally and Corsica works out a lot less than some of the other resorts :)

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  6. Ooh - looks fab! I'm looking forward to our summer sunshine even more now! xx

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    1. It was Katy - right up your street I think xx

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  7. I went to Corsica when Thomas was 6 months old, we travelled all the way around in a camper van and it was lovely. I would love to go back one day and revisit the beautiful places I saw back then.
    What a fabulous trip, I'm so gald you ahd fun

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    1. Oh Mari - I'm so jealous! Would love to do that - and for it being so close to you it must have been extra special. It certainly is beautiful and thank you for your kind comments. We can't help but have fun with so much at hand! xx

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  8. It looks like absolute bliss there Anya, and just like package holidays used to be, with everyone arriving & departing on the same day, and travelling home with the new friends you've made. My kids would absolutely love all the watersports, as would I - followed by a few drinks at the beach bar ;-)

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    1. You're so right Helen - how you make new friends and travel back feeling quite different to how you arrived. You sound like the perfect holiday companion ;) xx

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  9. Ooooh Anya, it looks amazing. I'm a bit in love with that waterfall.

    My eldest loved the extra independence too, they are growing up so fast aren't they?

    I love your video too, it gave me a really happy, lovely feeling about the resort. I'm so glad you had a great time. xx

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    1. Oh Emma, that waterfall was one of the highlights of my life! Can't explain it - had an amazing effect all night and ever since! I felt cleansed. And yes, I see your kids growing up so fast too - moving on to the next level of group and increasingly independent. Thank you for your kind words about the video and I'm glad its feel came across. It's still hard on my own with two kids but we did have a great time, thank you :) xx

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  10. It sounds ideal for us. As our oldest is leaving home this year I think we could do with a holiday where we also get to enjoy it and it's not just for the kids. I LOVE how cheap it is to upgrade to full board!

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    1. I think it's great how every member of the family is catered for, no matter how old / young they are. And the teenagers have Indy Clubs to meet those the same age - still with appropriate activities - so parents are free to do as they please :) X

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    2. I do love how they have things for each of their interests.

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  11. Oh it looks great we all love playing tennis so this would just be brilliant. And that waterfall.....

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    1. It's so hard to fit everything in so it's good to have a focus! We found it too hot for tennis when we had the time and I always regret not playing more with the boys. Hope you manage to get there one day - esp that waterfall x

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  12. That rock lagoon looks amazing! I definitely need to try Mark Warner Corsica, though I can't blame Monika for exploring - such a lovely island!

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    1. It's definitely worth the trek Helen and Monika said she'd have liked a fortnight so she could mix up the exploring with enjoying the facilities on site more - the perfect solution!

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  13. Such a wonderful place and such a fab opportunity. The boys must be thrilled. That's what memories are made of. Water has such a strong link to our emotions I am not surprised the waterfall made you feel cleansed. Must be fab going with a big group like that so that you have adult company and the boys have instant playmates. Lovely thorough review too and your video is truly fabulous.
    Liska @NewMumOnline x

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    1. Thank you for all that Lisa - yes it was a wonderful opportunity and the boys are very comfortable with exploring the watersports now - in a way they never could at home. I couldn't believe the effect that waterfall had on me - it was quite incredible! And yes, the group was lovely, but we mainly did our own thing. The kids are missing their new mates and we hope to catch up with some of them over the summer. Thank you for the compliment on the video - I really appreciate it XX

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  14. lovely photos, something to suit everyone.

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    1. Thank you Gemma - and, indeed! Even you and your crew ;) XX

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  15. This looks just amazing, Anya - I have never been to Corsica, and this is giving me itchy feet! Still haven't managed to get ourselves organised enough to try a Mark Warner holiday, maybe one day! Cheers again for sharing this - appreciate it.

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    1. Thanks Helen - I know you have very active holidays and this would be right up your family's street - especially the cycling for you all. I'm sure you'll manage it one day xx

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  16. I'm so glad you guys had a great time Anya! The place looks gorgeous and the activities look brilliant for older children especially. I met Alice at Blog On this year, she is such a giggle. We're off to Portugal next week and I can't wait to lie down A LOT :) xx

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    1. Thank you :) Alice was the glue that held us all together - very lovely lady indeed! Hope you have a wonderful time in Portugal and get to rest A LOT! xx

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  17. Great review Anya! Feels like SO long ago now :( xx

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  18. It looks just lovely Anya. I am adding to my list. It's interesting how you were all in the same place, but managed to have very different holidays!

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    1. Thanks Emma. Will have to enquire about which list - whether it's which MW you want to go to next or something else?! I think the fact we all got such different things out of the holiday - in addition to all our kids doing the same says a great deal about the company :) XX

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  19. Great review Anya.... it looks beautiful - that beach (and the bar), gorgeous! So glad you all had such a wonderful time, and in such great company too. Mark Warner are clearly great for families. X

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  20. I love the look of that cooling waterfall! Today it's muggy and boiling in my office and I'd appreciate a kayak ride or trek to a waterfall!
    Glad you all had a lovely time, what a fabulous holiday

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