If you’ve stayed in a James villa before, you’re probably of my mindset and know just how convenient and enjoyable it is to have your own haven to escape to. What you might not have considered however, and I what I really want to share with you are Holiday Resorts, which offer a unique twist on villa living.
Think purpose-built, village-style resorts with a welcoming, community vibe. Gated and secure with an on-site reception, it’s a slightly different set up to the typical villa holiday that we know and love. You still get to enjoy all of the perks of your own villa, but with a whole host of other activities and facilities on the doorstep. I’ve been to La Manga Club – one of our Holiday Resorts – and could wax lyrical on the time I had there, but the real experts are the James Villa Travel Advisers, who spend a good deal of time visiting our villas so they can use that first-hand knowledge to help you lovely lot plan an amazing holiday. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of our most popular Holiday Resorts, from the Travel Advisers who know them best.
Aphrodite Hills, Cyprus
Nestled on the south-west coast of Cyprus is the beautifully situated Aphrodite Hills resort, with its 18 hole golf course, tennis courts, kids’ club and even Segway hire, amongst other activities. Our Sales Manager – Jane, who heads up the team of Travel Advisers – has been. “Aphrodite Hills is the perfect combination of relaxation and leisure at your fingertips. The 18 hole golf course is incredible, although you need a good handicap. The restaurants were fantastic on the nights we didn’t feel like cooking from the villa or barbecue, but it is so close to Pissouri Bay that you can easily drive down to the numerous restaurants and beach there, which has a more traditional village feel. The resort has its own beach too, if you fancy a change from the pool at your villa. My favourite though has to be the spa; it was amazingly relaxing with a great choice of treatments – one I would definitely recommend!”
Travel Adviser Kate has also been; “What I liked most about the resort was the village-like ambience and the beautiful views. The accommodation ranges from 1-bed apartments to 5-bed villas and most have views of either the sea or the greenery of the golf course. It’s a really good choice for couples, groups and families of all ages, with a lovely kids’ club and Soccer School, plus an easy drive into nearby Paphos. There are also offers exclusive to the resort quite often. At the moment if you book by 30th April 2016 and travel between May and October 2016, you can get a free place in the kids’ club for 20 hours, so there’s extra added-value for money” (you can check out the Ts and Cs here).
La Manga Club, Costa Calida
One of the world’s most renowned resorts – Costa Calida‘s La Manga Club simply has to be mentioned. First of all, it’s enormous; the resort covers an area the size of Monaco, but don’t let its size intimidate you. Travel Adviser Christine can assure you that it retains the friendly ambience of a community – “it is a big resort, but the layout is also spread out so it doesn’t feel crowded anywhere, even in high season.” It’s made up of many small communities with different styles of accommodation, including apartments, townhouses and villas, so there’s something for everyone across a range of price points. It’s also definitely somewhere you would need to hire a car to make the most of the fantastic selection of activities. I mean it – if you might want it, La Manga Club has probably got it, with no less than three golf courses, a kids’ club, spa, bars, restaurants and shops, a football school, private beach, 28 tennis courts (yes really – 28), communal pools and more besides. More indeed than I saw and experienced by the time I’d factored in some time beside the pool, and outings around and about the Costa Calida’s wonderful Mar Menor region.
As you can probably tell, this resort is a haven for sports enthusiasts. While I enjoy a spot of tennis, I much prefer relaxing in the spa! If you’re like me and you like to keep some flexibility to your plans, La Manga Club can cater to all your party’s needs and wishes, whether they want relaxation, recreation, or a bit of both. And Alexis’ tip – “there is a small Spanish town just outside of the resort which offers some more dining options that are traditional – and delicious!”
VidaMar Algarve Resort
On the Portugal’s famed southern coast, the VidaMar Algarve Resort is situated right on the beach, however as it’s self-contained, the resort still enjoys a lovely sense of privacy and exclusivity. Our Travel Adviser Anna has been, and is a convert. “Our trip to VidaMar was a memorable experience and one I would recommend to customers, friends and family alike. It’s a first-class, compact resort (great if you don’t want to hire a car) and the staff can’t do too much for you. There’s a beautiful private golden beach, communal pools, a handful of delicious restaurants and even an impressive Gin Bar! For those who might want to even out the indulgence, there’s a lovely spa with Turkish bath and even a selection of exercise classes, from yoga to meditation. The villas are so spacious and modern, with the benefit of their own private pools. We woke up extra early to walk along the side the lagoon and gardens on our last day to watch the sunrise – it’s something I definitely recommend to customers when we’re talking on the phone.”
Pine Cliffs Resort, Algarve
Another beautiful spot in the Algarve is the Pine Cliffs Resort. I couldn’t help but feature the Algarve twice, as there’s just so much to do and great natural beauty to be enjoyed in this part of Portugal. Anna is obviously an aficionado of the Algarve – she says: “Pine Cliffs is an absolutely beautiful, gem of a resort. It boasts huge, beautiful grounds and the facilities are outstanding and very well kept by the friendly and accommodating staff. You need not even leave the resort if you wish, as it offers everything you could possibly need during your villa holiday, including an excellent kids’ programme throughout the peak months to keep them entertained.” Although catering to all parties and tastes, families with young children will be particularly glad to hear from Kate how accessible the resort is. “There’s a lift down to the resort’s beach and a wooden walkway, so it’s ideal for buggies. The kids’ club is also amazing, and there’s a lovely play area with a large galleon as a central feature. Families – or indeed any holiday party – don’t even need to hire a car if they prefer not to, as everything is walkable within the resort.”
And what kind of Algarve Holiday Resort would be complete without dabbling in the region’s famed golf scene? You can enjoy a beautiful 9 holes here with equipment hire onsite, or take up a racket on the tennis court. When you want to unwind there’s an idyllic spa, or of course the chic comfort of the resort’s Residence Suites, Penthouses and – of course – villas. The highlight though for Anna? “The cliff top champagne bar sold it for me, overlooking the beautiful blue ocean.” Sounds good to me, and could be next on the Bucket List for myself and my own young family.