Greece is a blissful spot for a family holiday, one with picture-perfect beaches that the kids will love around every corner.
Citizen Enfants recently checked into the newly re-opened MarBella hotel on Corfu island, as well as into its mainland sister property, Elix, for a two-centre, parent-pleasing holiday that is equally child-friendly in each location. Here’s why it’s worth visiting both of these properties during your next family holiday in Greece.
WHAT TO PACK
Family-owned Greek hotel chain, Mar-Bella Collection has re-opened MarBella, their Corfu property, after extensive renovations. Expect 67 new bungalow rooms and suites, many with private pools and gardens, and a new ultra-all-inclusive offering aimed at families. Both MarBella and the neighbouring mainland sister hotel, Elix in Parga, are contemporary ocean-side retreats with plenty to keep children of all ages entertained. There’s a kids’ club and an aqua park, while the new all-inclusive programme offers the ultimate freedom so you can enjoy childcare, unlimited scooped ice-cream, refreshments, à la carte dinners and water sports all week – with no need to think about any extra costs.
The two hotels are very much linked in style and offering, and travelling from one to the next is made super-easy by boat. The ride transfer passes secret sandy shores, caves and inlets, and drops you just a short five-minute car transfer from your new destination. Elix occupies a prime position on a hilltop, looking out over Paxos, Antipaxos, Corfu and the glistening sea with a picturesque beach cove below. Both properties have sophisticated, earthy-chic rooms with beachy neutral decor and raise the question as to whether they are too smart to be family friendly – but the atmosphere is relaxed and truly anything goes. The reception at Elix is reminiscent of a celestial spa with barn-high ceilings, glass walls framing infinity views, and plenty of comfortable seating to relax in with a glass of bubbles while the friendly staff check you in (and simultaneously entertain toddlers).
The rooms at both MarBella and Elix are stylish and spacious with all the necessary baby kit available on request including cots, bottle sterilisers, change mats and baby baths and a well stocked all-inclusive mini bar. In the newly renovated rooms at MarBella and throughout all the rooms at Elix, the aesthetic is a soothing oasis of earthy pine floors, woven wood headboards, low-hanging bronze lamps and balconies that maximise views over endless pools, grasses, flowers and the glittering sea. Many of the new two-bedroom bungalows at MarBella have their own private pool or garden and include two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a separate living area; perfect for a large family or up to six guests. At Elix, there are nine family rooms to choose from, some two-storey and some with show-stopping panorama pools, as well as plenty of interconnecting room options.
THE CHILD’S PLAY
Kids will love the facilities and organised fun across both hotels. Both have plenty of open space for playing as well as a shaded outdoor playground, and both offer the fantastic Grasshoppers’ Kids Club with childcare from four months to 12 years – as well as lots of experiences for restless teens. Think trips to local villages, boat rides, hiking, sailing, sea kayaking and cycling. Managed by the brilliant Worldwide Kids team, the staff are a super-friendly bunch who give their all to keep kids happy. The crèche (for children aged four months to four years), is an additional cost, and there are cots on hand for naps. So much thought has been put into younger guests throughout the properties; there is scoop ice-cream on tap around the pool and an area of the beach has been sectioned off for play huts and toys. The main pools are filled with children who are watched over by attentive lifeguards and in Corfu the day ends with an upbeat dance class in the shallows. There’s also a reliable evening babysitting service for an extra fee, making sunset cocktails even more relaxing for parents.
THE FOOD + DRINK
New this season, the enhanced premium all-inclusive option allows dining in all the restaurants across whichever property you’re staying in (six restaurants at Corfu, four restaurants at Elix) and includes four à la carte dinners per week. At Elix, choose from the popular Greek and Mediterranean buffet served at Saffron to the stylishly romantic Pearl or Italian Indigo pool restaurant which is ideal for casual light bites in swimwear. The stylish, easy-breezy beach side Deck Bar & Grill restaurant at MarBella serves cool cocktails, zingy Greek salads, fresh fish – and each restaurant has a creative kid’s menu. Highchairs are brought to the table before you ask, and crayons and colouring paper are provided for kids while they wait for food to arrive. All have phenomenal views across the ocean. Restaurants start serving evening food from 6:30PM or 7PM, which isn’t entirely child friendly, but you can pre-order from the kids’ menu to be delivered anywhere in the resort at any time, and the staff will even puree meals and warm milk to accommodate the youngest of guests.
THE TO-DO LIST
Both these striking contemporary properties come with spacious sea view rooms and prime beachside locations. At Elix the infinity pool is truly photoshoot-worthy. Between days reclined on a lounger or hiking the Epirus hills with your oldest, try out the paddleboards and sail dinghies or watch your youngest splash in the shallows of the shaded kid’s pool. There are pretty towns nearby, such as picturesque Parga and shipwreck-strewn Sivota, but there is so much to do on site that between fitting in a sunset cruise, gym classes and a spa treatment, you might not have time to leave the resorts.
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