The Mark Warner Paleros beach resort hotel had only opened in May of this year, so you can imagine how new it looked. It even smelt new it was that new! Everything was clean and modern looking, the decor was light and neutral with stone slabbed flooring, white walls and big windows to take in the epic surrounding views. A modern Greek hotel, complete with three pools, 2 restaurant, 2 bars, tennis courts, water sports, a spa, childcare and of course, fitness activities.
It had everything you could possibly want on your holiday in terms of facilities and services offered. A rare find in a hotel to be completely accessible (all on one floor), like this in such a stunning and undiscovered environment! Unlike other Greek resorts, Paleros comes across like a hidden gem, an unassuming west Greek location that has the traditional Greek architecture and authentic greek vibes, without the tourist build up we see quite often in super popular resort areas. A very welcomed surprise!
The Mark Warner Paleros beach resort is located around 20 minutes from the airport and around 5km from the quaint little seaside village of Paleros on the Ionian coast. I had a chance to both run and cycle to the village and it was easily accessible by a coastal pathway. When you get there you’ll be greeted by a small harbour full of boats and a few cafes, shops and restaurants.
It was clear from the get-go that the Mark Warner Paleros beach resort was well run, and by someone who clearly knew what they were doing. Mark Warner veteran Sue Thomas was the lady in charge, and something I noticed straight away was Sue’s presence continually on-site, both interacting with guests and staff. It was obvious Sue loved her job and most importantly did it extremely well, she clearly cared about the guests’ experience and her staffs’ wellbeing and happiness.
Sue and her husband have been part of the Mark Warner family for many years, and I do always think if you have employees that stick with a company for years it speaks volumes of how staff are treated and the environment they work in. Whilst I’m talking about staff, all the Mark Warner Paleros beach resort staff were fantastic. Some people might be thinking, of course, they were nice to you, you were on a press trip, but nobody really knew that. It was a genuine passion for their job and it made the experience even better.
I have been on a Mark Warner holiday previously but we had never had a chance to do a Summer stay with them. My previous experience was of a high level (read my review of my winter in Tignes), but the summer had always tempted me more. The sheer extent of services available is a big box checker for family’s due to the incredible selection of childcare and of course, the extent of incredible activities included. It is important to note that whilst it works for families, it also works for couples too. For example, Nick and I don’t have children but love the activity side of things, so it caters to everyone.
Let’s start by talking about the rooms available. I was staying in a suite, which would be perfect for a family or a couple wanting a little more space. Suites were either up some stairs or on ground level (ideal for accessibility needs), they had a huge double bed, plenty of storage space for unpacking, a bathroom complete with stand-alone power shower, and some suites had a bath too. The difference with the suites to standard is the seating area which could be made up into beds, this portion of the room had sliding doors, so should you be sharing with kids or friends you could make up two separate rooms. This room also had a balcony with four chairs, a table and a rack to dry your swimwear on. My balcony overlooked the adult pool, which I visited at 8.30 am every day for my morning swim! I was in room 624 in case you wanted to try and book that specific one!
Your other room options were the following;
- Twin or double
- Family rooms
This is the juicy part of the post, the incredible selection of activities available at the Mark Warner Paleros beach resort. I had a chance to SUP at sunset, sail from coast to coast, play a bit of tennis, take part in a yoga class, cycle to the village, and sea kayak to Cleopatra’s beach. Keep in mind this was over 4 days! I also went for two runs and swam in the pool and the sea. For me, this was like the best Bootcamp ever! The staff at the waterside were super, with plenty of free introduction classes for residents and the additional options (for a charge) of 1-2-1 or private lessons.
To be honest lots of times there will only be a few in the group, for example, sunset SUP was an option which three of us signed up for, with one additional person. It was such a spectacular feeling paddling across the calm coastline as the sun began to set, that I would have paid good money for the privilege, but I didn’t need to because any guest could have joined the group.
There are waterside staff and a manager who are happy to help with anything you need. Between the adult watersports centre is your beach loungers, followed by the children’s watersports centre.
Mark Warner Paleros beach resort watersports options
- Sea kayaking
- Stand up paddleboarding
- Scuba diving
There were other activities such as different fitness classes like yoga, HIIT sessions, boot camps and of course, the holiday classic, aqua aerobics! I was surprised by how popular they were. I love taking part in these sorts of things on holiday but often find the numbers twindle, certainly not the case from Mark Warner Paleros beach resort! Classes were always full and looked heaps of fun!
There is also childcare and a spa which are part of the additional service. The spa is currently getting decorated and it already looks great! There are lots of options for treatments and there is a gym too if you don’t fancy the fitness classes.
The next important thing on a holiday in my opinion other than your room is the food. With Mark Warner, you have the option to be half board. This particular option would consist of breakfast from 7.30-10 and then dinner from 7.30 pm until 10.30 pm, both were buffet style with an eclectic mix of cuisine available. They also can cater to your dietary requirements such as gluten-free etc. The food was delicious and I was highly impressed with the diversity of options available each day, you weren’t getting the same food again and again.
Normally I have my food expert husband with me on trips who tend to be able to do the food part breakdown. Hopefully, I can give you enough information, but I’ll start with the basic, it was very good! With your Mark Warner Paleros half board option, you get your breakfast and dinner included. Breakfast is a complete mix of your classics being cereals, pastries and cooked full English style options. It then branches out into pancakes, waffles, omelettes, different kinds of eggs, fresh fruit… honestly the selection is vast! The same applies for dinner time, you have your classic ‘universal’ options which tend to be what most people like, but it then ventures out into new and exciting choices. You have an extensive salad bar, fresh seafood and good meats, but the best part is the puddings! Seriously every night I just wanted to try them all and the most exciting part is that all the food, not just puddings, were different each day. You would never be bored – a very refreshing buffet option!
Lunch, you would need to pay for, however, even so, I would highly recommend at least trying lunch at the hotel one day. During our time there I had a summer salad, a Caprese salad and the ‘Italian’ pizza. All absolutely mouth-watering! If you don’t feel the main menu is for you, the catering team have daily specials to tempt you. A reasonably priced menu you for a jolly good selection of food. You still have options throughout the day to have drinks and snacks from the bar as you either lounge by the pool or after an activity. If you did want to explore off-site the little village had some lovely looking restaurants.
Would I recommend this Mark Warner holiday – yes? I personally love nothing more than to have the balance of relaxation, sunshine, sea and activity. The option to pick up activities if you wish, or just relax either by the adult-only pool, go for a dip in the main pool, or lounge by the beach. I also would like to highlight how much of a hidden gem this holiday find is, the Mark Warner Paleros beach resort is in a stunning location, which you have got the option to go off and explore but to be honest you don’t need to because there is so much to keep you occupied.
*This was a press trip with Mark Warner