My husband and I spent one week on a press trip in late June/early July with Mark Warner Holidays at the San Lucianu Beach Resort on the French island of Corsica.
Heathrow to Bastia (Corsica)
Our BA charter flight left Heathrow’s Terminal 5 at 7.45am. Flying with BA was great, as they have a generous carry on luggage allowance. You can take one bag up to 56x45x25cm and a smaller bag up to 45x36x20cm. Plus, you’re permitted one larger case weighing up to 23kg as hold luggage.
I’ve only briefly seen Terminal 5, when a delayed flight from Edinburgh meant that I missed my connection to Venice. I was then dispatched to Gatwick for a later flight.
I was impressed by Terminal 5. There were plenty of check-in desks open for the Mark Warner BA charter to Bastia in Corsica. We didn’t have to queue for long to check in our case.
The flight to Bastia took around two hours. Complimentary hot and soft drinks and a ham and cheese croissant were served during the flight.
Transfer to Resort
There was a Mark Warner rep to greet us at the exit from baggage pick-up. Our luggage was labelled with our room number before we boarded the transfer coach. We were informed that staff would take our bags to our room and that room keys would be in the room door on arrival. We were warned that due to the short turnaround time, some rooms might not be ready.
The coach had very inefficient air-conditioning, so I was hot and bothered after the 30 minute transfer to the resort.
Entrance to San Lucianu Beach Resort
On arrival at the San Lucianu Beach Resort, we decided to take out own bags to the room. If our room wasn’t ready, we’d go straight for lunch. Fortunately our room was ready.
Our Room at San Lucianu Beach Resort
We were allocated a superior twin room with a sea view. It looked as though the room had been recently refurbished. The room had a fridge.
The WiFi in the room was pretty bad. You had to sign in every time you wanted to get online. Often we couldn’t connect and were constantly being kicked out. It was so annoying, as I had some work to do and I prefer to upload photos and videos as I take them, to avoid a massive uploads on my return. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect to mobile broadband through Three’s Feel at Home scheme, I assume that was due to the rural location and the mountainous terrain.
We found the twin beds to be very comfortable. There were plenty of electrical sockets in the room.
Our balcony overlooked the restaurant terrace. It had two plastic chairs and a hanging clothes drier. It would’ve been good to have a small table in the balcony too.
The spacious bathroom was lovely; I wish I had one like that at home. There was a large walk-in shower with a rain head and a hand held shower fitting.
The housekeeping service was very good. The room was cleaned every day. Sometimes I don’t bother getting my hotel room cleaned every day, but wth all the sand which we brought into the room on our shoes, a daily vacuum and mop was required.
We had to keep the air-conditioning on most of the time. At night, we set it to around 25 degrees.
Activities at the San Lucianu Beach Resort
One of the big attractions of a Mark Warner holiday is that many of the activities are included in the price.
There’s a variety of water sports on offer including sailing, wind surfing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. There’s free group tuition and clinics for sailing and wind surfing.
My husband went kayaking. As an experienced kayaker, it was rather frustrating that that he had to stay within a fairly restricted area, but he understood that this was for safety reasons.
He also went for a few cycles, and was impressed by the quality of the Cannondale bicycles.
He was disappointed that he couldn’t get access to a bicycle or kayak before 9am, or after 5.30pm. He would’ve preferred to be able to do sport either in the early morning or in the evening, when it was cooler. Perhaps the total opening hours could be maintained by a lunch time closure?
I had intended to play a bit of tennis. But I have to hold up my hand and admit that I didn’t take part in any of the activities on offer.
This was for a mixture of reasons. It was very hot, well in the 30s, so there was no way I was going to go cycling, play tennis or do daytime aerobics on a sunny wooden platform. I don’t have good co-ordination, so I was nervous about doing water sports. The press trip was at short notice, so I had quite a bit of work to do, which took ages to get through due to the poor WiFi. I did go swmming in the sea three time a day most days. I really enjoyed this, as it was good exercise and refreshing.
However, for a couple, or a family where at least one enjoys sport, a Mark Warner holiday is perfect. My husband was able to do activities on site and meet up with me for meals and swimming.
Lobby at the San Lucianu Beach Resort
The lobby was nicely furnished and has some sockets for charging devices. It didn’t feel as though the lobby was air-conditioned, as it was too warm there most of the time.
I spent quite a bit of time in the lobby. I had hoped to watch some of the tennis at Wimbledon through iPlayer in the hotel lobby, but the poor WiFi signal made this very frustrating. I’d hoped that the WiFi in the lobby would be decent, as is often the case in hotels, but it was as bad as in the room.
Food at San Lucianu Beach Resort
We were on full board. A standard holiday included half board, but we paid £49 per person to upgrade to full board.
It was sometimes hard to find shade in the restaurant terrace.
Breakfast was a buffet, served from 7.30 – 10am. I most enjoyed the plain Greek style yoghurt and the fresh fruit selection of three types of melon. The croissants were some of the best I’ve ever eaten. There was a selection of cooked items including bacon, sausage, beans, tomatoes and mushrooms. Eggs were cooked freshly to order.
Lunch as also a buffet, served from 12.30 – 2pm. I wished that lunch was served until at least 2.30pm, as it seemed to soon after breakfast. Staff started clearing the lunch buffet at 2pm one day. so if you wanted a leisurely lunch you had to go to eat at 1pm.
There was a good selection of salads, cheeses and cold meats. You could help yourself to cold water, tea or coffee to drink.
There was a pizzeria which usually offered three types of pizza.
There was delicious vegetable lasange one day.
There was a fresh fruit and one dessert choice. I was surprised that ice cream wasn’t available.
Dinner was called ‘a la carte’, but with a choice of three starters, three main courses and three desserts, I’d call it a set menu. You were requested to book a time for dinner.
Tap water was brought to the table. You could order soft or alcoholic drinks if you wished.
The food quality was variable. My favourite starter was goat’s cheese and duck, pictured below. The Thai fishcakes starter didn’t appear to have been cooked right through.
The lack of proper cooking was a common theme at dinner. My husband had to send his partially raw tuna steak back to the kitchen. Another evening his chicken was just about cooked. I had a similar issue with the salmon one evening.
I enjoyed the beef, pictured below.
Most evenings, I had the three dessert selection (assiette). My favourite was the strawberry trio.
There was self service tea or coffee available.
Personally I’d have preferred to have a buffet in the evening too. I found it quite annoying if, WiFi permitting, I had to abandon a match at Wimbledon to go to dinner. Plus, when on holiday I’d rather not be tied to a specific meal time.
Grounds and Beach at San Lucianu Beach Resort
The fact that the resort was right on the beach encouraged me to go swimming in the sea frequently. I didn’t go in the pool at all. This was because the sea was so accessible and I was afraid that the chlorinated water in the pool might aggravate my eczema.
I liked that there was a lot of grass in the resort grounds. You could always find some shade under the eucalyptus trees. There were plenty of well spaced sun loungers. As ever, you should exercise caution with sun loungers, as my husband had his finger squashed when one collapsed. We reported this to reception, and later saw a member of maintenance staff inspecting the sun lounger.
We saw some beautiful dusks. One evening there was an orange moon.
On the first evening there was free Corsican wine tasting at the Beach Bar (pictured below) Another evening, the entertainment was some kind of music quiz, not my cup of tea.
Journey back to Heathrow
The transfer from the San Lucianu Beach Resort to Bastia Airport was well organised. This time our coach was much newer and had working-air-conditioning.
On arrival at Bastia Airport, it wasn’t obvious which queue was for the BA charter to Heathrow. I asked a member of airport staff and was told that the check-in would open in five minutes. By the time I queued up to go to the (none too great) toilet, we ended up second last in the check-in queue. There were far fewer check-in desks open for our flight than at Heathrow for the outbound flight.
Bastia gets my vote for the airport with the longest queues. Out of the more than 90 minutes at the airport, I sat down for around three minutes before joining the final queue to board the plane. As an adult, I could tolerate this, but it was an ordeal for families with young kids.
The flight to Heathrow went smoothly. It took a while to get out of Terminal 5. We had to take a shuttle train to pick up our luggage.
My Verdict on the Mark Warner San Lucianu Beach Resort
I enjoyed my week the Mark Warner San Lucianu Beach Resort. The atmosphere was very relaxing, our superior sea view room was comfortable and the location scenic. The staff were very friendly, hard-working and helpful.
In my opinion, the Mark Warner package starting at £450 per adult at the San Lucianu Beach Resort, offers excellent value for money. I’d recommend that you enquire about the supplement for a superior sea view room.
It’s great that childcare for 2-12 year olds and a variety of activities/sports are included in the price. One Mum told me that her son, who had Down’s Syndrome, received one-to-one care, at no additional cost. It was ideal for us that my husband had access to activities, while I worked or attempted to watch Wimbledon. It’s the sort of set up that would also work well for a family holiday with our grown up twin sons.
I think that earlier opening and later closing times for the watersports and bicycle hire, would allow guests to enjoy the activities more in the lower temperatures.
The WiFi was awful. This had an exaggerated impact on my stay, as I had work to do, but other guests were getting frustrated too.
On the whole, I enjoyed the food, but I’d prefer the evening meal to be buffet style. The kitchen should ensure that meat and fish is cooked right through.
Read our article on five of the best attractions in Corsica.