We have been going on Mark Warner holidays for 20 years and have visited most of their clubs several times, so we are used to their rather unique way of doing things! This time we travelled with our grown-up sons, now in their 20s, who wanted to enjoy free sailing on tap. What we hadn't expected, travelling in the first week of June, was many children so you can imagine the boys' expressions when we boarded the flight to be confronted with a sea of babies and toddlers - probably 50 under 5s!
This was our first trip to Perdepera and it is, without a doubt, the most basic MW club we've ever been to. The rooms are large but cavernous - no soft furnishings, only a single sheet and one pillow each on the beds, no rugs. Our furniture comprised of a double bed, tiny bedside tables, a small dressing table with mirror and a single bed masquerading as a sofa. The TV was an old cube-shaped analogue with no signal. The accommodation is in 'cottages' so most rooms have terraces but these are dark, with no view, as they look out onto brambly foliage - it was a bit like sitting in the sort of 'den' we used to make in the bushes as kids!
The food was very disappointing. Breakfasts were basic - the hot food is barbecued which makes for interesting bacon - with the same basic few fruits on offer each day and no lovely local apricots or peaches despite these being available in the supermarket. Criminally, the coffee was literally undrinkable, being dispensed from an office-type vending machine in tiny amounts of brown sludge. The tea was no better as the water from the machine wasn't boiling and so wouldn't brew properly. Luckily, the bar had a proper expresso machine so quite a few of us resorted to buying coffees every morning instead.
The lunches were poor with the same offerings every day - especially the salads, sadly for us. Bowls of tomato, leaves, cucumber, red onion slices and tinned sweetcorn were accompanied by a couple of 'interesting' mixed salads which featured whatever hadn't been eaten at dinner the night before. So various meats, cheeses and fish were mixed into pasta or rice. There were no dressings - just bottles of oil and vinegar - and no fresh lemons. There was a pasta counter every day plus fresh pizzas, which suited the kids, and various grilled meats or fish on offer (unappetisingly displayed under an inexplicable bright red light which made everything look gruesome).
Things were better at dinner. The a la carte meals were very good but the buffets featured predominantly the same dishes as lunch with perhaps some prawns added. Sadly, as the club is literally miles from anywhere, there is no opportunity to pop into town to sample the local fare.
Also worth mentioning, although i understand this is being rectified, the wifi was almost non-existent. It involved getting a ticket with a unique number from reception which offered access for an hour within a 10' radius occasionally. I managed to download my emails twice in a week despite trying several times a day. If you need to keep in touch, this isn't the place for you.
On the plus side - the staff, as always, were wonderful. Everyone was friendly, upbeat and fun from Hayley in the restaurant to the Charlottes on the bar. All of the sailing and cycling kit was new and first class. And, i'm sure that if we'd had small children, we'd have been delighted with the set up as they all seemed to have a ball in the Kids' Clubs and the pool area with 2 shallow pools was perfect. The beach is fabulous too.
Finally, be warned, apart from a couple of bars a good 20 mins walk down the beach, there is nowhere to go. There is a supermarket a 20-minute cycle away and a small town 20km away with a Friday market (not worth the effort) So, with a captive audience, we were surprised to find that the bar was very good value. Happy hour from 19.00-21.00 was offering 2 cocktails for £5! And 2L bottle of water was only E1, although soft drinks were more expensive.
Bottom line - we had a good holiday at a great price (off-peak, discounted) but having looked at the prices for the school holidays - they must be joking!