Mark Warner Perdepera Beach Resort, Sardinia
We departed Heathrow Terminal 5 on a civilised Saturday lunchtime flight with British Airways. It’s only a short 2 hour 20 minute flight to Cagliari, so we were pleasantly surprised to be served a tasty tortilla wrap on board and be treated to free tea or coffee and drinks from the bar! We landed in Sardinia (an hour ahead of GMT) late afternoon and were greeted by a friendly Mark Warner representative who directed us to the coach for our transfer to resort. After a 2 hour transfer we were very grateful to be invited to make our way directly to the restaurant for our first evening buffet, while our bags were taken to our room.
The beach resort at Perdepera is very intimate and has a laid back Mediterranean atmosphere. Meandering pathways lead to predominantly single storey villas which are set amongst landscaped flower gardens. All rooms are fully air-conditioned with their own en-suite bathroom, television, fridge and safe. Each villa has its own private terrace providing shade from the heat of the sun.
The resort has a large freshwater swimming pool and a separate children’s pool. There are plenty of sun loungers and a real bonus was that beach towels are provided at the beginning of the week and can be exchanged for clean towels mid-week.
Just a stones’ throw away is the stunning white sandy beach of Perdepera with crystal clear water and a dramatic mountainous backdrop. The coastline is beautiful and unspoilt, and with most children occupied in the various age specific clubs, the only sounds are of the lapping waves and the gentle flapping of the sails of the boats in the beach club; a truly relaxing experience.
The food was excellent. The resort operates on a full board basis with wine, water and soft drinks included at lunch and dinner. All lunches are buffet but the evening meals are either buffet or a la carte and include a wide selection of local Sardinian dishes and a great range of salads, antipasti, grilled fish, meat, cheese and vegetarian dishes on offer. Meal times were particularly sociable as people chatted to each other about their day. After the first day we were invited to join another couple for dinner and by the third day there were 20 of us dining together, laughing and sharing our experiences!
The first morning involved heading to various introduction meetings to find out what was going on during the week. There is so much to do and the first few days were fairly hectic trying to fit in and experience as much as possible. By the end of day 2 I had tried sailing, kayaking, mountain biking, tennis, aqua aerobics and a sunset stretch.
The pace seemed to slow down a little after that and making time to read and relax became a higher priority for me. Other activities on offer were windsurfing, paddle boarding and a variety of exercise classes throughout the day. For those with way more energy than me there was a hill time trial on the mountain bikes and a triathlon on the last day.
There is a PADI dive centre on site but the activities on offer there require additional payment. There was a free dive taster in the swimming pool on the first day and then the opportunity to sign up for dive experiences or to do the full PADI course. There was also an optional morning or afternoon snorkelling trip which I opted for and found to be quite enjoyable – although snorkelling in Europe is not so impressive if you have snorkelled before further afield! There don’t appear to be many colourful fish to be found in the waters around Sardinia.
I quickly settled into a holiday routine of a leisurely breakfast, followed by sailing or kayaking and a swim before lunch, followed by an afternoon of beach relaxation or social tennis, a sunset stretch or sunset cocktails on the beach and then dinner.
Evening entertainment included a quiz night (which we won), Sardinian dancing and a presentation night on the last night where guests were given certificates to recognise their achievements during the week.
Some people took the opportunity to venture outside the resort, enjoying a full day boat trip, a trip to the local caves or a spot of shopping, but most chose to stay and make use of the fantastic sports facilities or just to relax in the September sunshine.
The main thing I noticed from this, my first Mark Warner experience, was how friendly and sociable everyone was. Couples, singles, groups, families of all ages mix together and enjoy each other’s company. I was travelling with a friend but could easily have travelled alone and would have felt comfortable and accepted.
The plane journey home was an opportunity for new friends to exchange email addresses, share photos and talk about an amazing and fun filled week!