Back at the end of May 2015 we went to MW Sea Garden resort in Bodrum, Turkey and it was everything the perfect family break should be. The travel and accommodation was just right and knowing the kids were happy and well cared for in the childcare facilities they have on offer meant that hubby and I got to spend some time together too.
Our first evening was spent finding our feet, we attended two short meetings on the lawn – the first to explain which restaurants and bars were included in the all-inclusive package and any other important information and the second was to talk about the childcare facilities and what they offer.
On our first official day at the resort we dropped the kids at their respective childcare and headed down to the waterfront for a safety briefing. As the teen club was not running that week, we had booked Kian on to a RYA Sailing course but were keen to see what else they had on offer. We filled out safety forms and were briefed on how and when to use the equipment they provided.
The great thing about Mark Warner is that the waterfront activities are free, unless you wish to get a qualification. There are free group sailing lessons and clinics for sailors of all standards five days a week, with a great range of equipment for children right up to seasoned professionals. Free group lessons and clinics for windsurfing or you can take out a kayak or paddleboard and paddle around the bay.
The Waterfront at the Sea Garden Hotel is situated in a small sheltered bay which is fantastic for beginner sailors. The small bay opens up into a large bay which consistently has good wind conditions more suitable for intermediate and advanced sailors. The winds are mainly light in the mornings building through to a Force 4-5 cross shore.
Breakfast and lunch for the family were served Laguna restaurant looking out over the bay as far as the Greek island of Kos. There was a huge variety of food to choose from, set out as a buffet with something that suited even the fussiest of palettes. There was even a chef on hand to cook bespoke Omlettes for breakfast if you wanted one or wraps at lunchtime.
Evening meals were served in the Amphora restaurant. The kids had their children’s meals at 6pm and then went off to play games or watch a film leaving us to eat our meals in peace. The range of food was huge and beautifully displayed again in a buffet style. There were traditional Turkish options as well as English food, salads and the most delicious desserts I have ever seen. You could even watch the chefs cook the behind a glass panel.
There was 5 restaurants to choose and we were did try to book La Cuccina for our last night but sadly it was sold out. The only time we didn’t eat in Amphora was for Turkish night, which felt very much like a street party with traditional live Turkish music and cooking in the streets in Mini Bodrum – a 10 minute walk from our hotel, or a couple of minutes in a golf buggy. The food was delicious and the little ones discovered they like kebabs!
There was so much to offer on site that a) we didn’t get to do even half of it and b) we had no need to go offsite. There is a full fitness program, tennis, golf, a spa and a gym but hubby and I concentrated on the water sports during the mornings we had without the children.
We took out a kayak to explore the bay but ended up stalking Isaac and Kian who were learning to sail. It was lovely watching them grow in confidence and take part in an activity that they wouldn’t have tried at home. It was commented that Hubby and I had kayaked before as we were so in-sync with our paddles, but although we both have, we have not kayaked together before.
On the Wednesday, Kian had a break from his RYA Sailing course so we booked him and Hubby on the beginners windsurfing course whilst I chilled out with my book and watched from the comfort of the shore. I have to admit that I was expecting them to spend most of the time in the water but they did really well.
Back in September when I visited MW Levante in Rhodes with a group of bloggers, the lovely Monika from Mumonthebrink took me out sailing and managed to bury the hull of the catamaran we were in, dunking us in the sea. She was mortified despite me finding it hilarious, although I have to admit that my nerve around sailing boats went after that and I was determined to get it back, so hubby and I also booked a beginners sailing course. On the day we were due to do it, the wind had whipped up and the beach was already on a blue flag, with storms heading in. We made the fateful decision to go back out on the water until the guidance of our instructor Will.
The tethered Laser’s were all over the place but Hubby made the transition from the dingy to the boat with no problem. I on the other hand didn’t as a gust of wind took the boat with me half on and guess what happened – Yep! I ended up in the sea. I did, however, give it a go, but I think I need to learn when it is calm as I was very nervous. Thankfully the red flag soon went up and we headed back into shore and safety.
Thankfully I fared much better on our Scuba Discovery Dive with Erman Dive Centre who are situated onsite. We had a practice in the pool to see if we would like it and then did a short course before going for a beach dive. It was so much fun we did it twice and saw an elusive Octopus who tried its best to hide.
Sadly we didn’t get the chance to try Paddle Boarding as the weather took a nasty turn at the end of our holiday and we weren’t allowed out on the water thanks to some thunderstorms, however we made up for it by larking about in the pool.
Our family holiday with MW Sea Garden was the perfect mix of family adventure, with all of us getting a well-earned break, the chance to make some new friends as well as spending quality time together, be it playing table football on the beach, jumping over the waves, leaping into the sea or having a nightcap at the Beach Bar.
Thank you to Mark Warner Resort Sea Garden and all the staff. You made our first holiday abroad as a family perfect!