James Villas veterans Carl and Mandy from West Sussex tell us about their villa holiday comeback, (without the kids).
You’ll always remember your first family villa holiday. The kids splashing in their own private pool, their laughter that fills the days and the thrill of extended evenings when bedtime is flexible. Sitting on the terrace at the end of the day when the excitement tails off and the kids are sound asleep, you sip on some local wine and reflect on another day of fun. It’s these memories that stay with both you and your children for years to come.
As they grow up, fly the nest and have holidays of their own, group getaways turn into bookings for two. And eventually, life comes full circle and you become built-in babysitters on holidays with their own little ones. Families evolve, grow and change. But the villa at the heart of the memories remains the constant.
With a lifetime of villa holidays, the Flinn family have first-hand experience of just this. We sat down with Carl and Mandy to hear about their James Villas holiday history, both travelling to their most loved destinations as a family and then later on without the kids.
Carpets of lavender fields and glorious vineyards by the River Rhone – a Provençal holiday in the south of France is full of colour. Back in 2007, the year of France’s controversial Six Nations win and the opening of the Grand Théâtre de Provence, the Flinns took their very first James holiday here. Children in tow, they were about to embark on the first of many.
“As a family we started going on villa holidays more than 10 years ago when both of our daughters were still at school, and continued to travel as a family of four until they went to university. Even then they would come and visit sometimes!” says dad Carl.
He recalls how his girls loved the freedom to splash in the pool or read a book, while he and wife Mandy could chill out with a bottle of wine and sample the local cheese. The villa lifestyle suited them all.
“These days it’s just the two of us and we continue to enjoy the home from home comforts of a villa holiday.”
Their number one tip? Revisit what was left undiscovered the first time around…
Heading back to Provence in 2017, the couple stayed in Villa Romarin, where relaxation was still the number one priority. Close to the beach and pretty French villages as well as your very own private pool and space – what more could you want?
“We stayed close to where we holidayed the first time, which was nice as we could go back and see some of the places we’ve been to before when we were with the children.”
But with no extra mouths to feed (and no kids to keep amused), day trips to St. Tropez and soaking up culture in Cannes were now on the holiday itinerary.
“We were able to do some of the things we possibly wouldn’t have done when we were with the kids. We even revisited some places and took our time, and it was all the more relaxed! All of the villas we’ve stayed in we’ve enjoyed, but probably enjoyed our latest trip to Provence in Villa Romarin the most.”
Chilled out Costa Calida
As their girls grew, the Flinns fell in love with the natural beauty of Costa Calida. A round of golf in one of the many beautiful courses or snorkelling in the largest natural pool in the world at Mar Menor – there’s so much to discover, one trip here isn’t enough! It was the Flinns love of exploring the small towns and finding quiet crowd-free beaches that kept them coming back.
“For a relaxing, sunny holiday, Costa Calida is difficult to beat!”
Served by two Spanish airports and under three hours from the UK, it was the perfect choice to take their daughters for an easy getaway. It was here Carl and Mandy discovered Holiday Resorts which gave them the best of both worlds – the privacy of a villa mixed with hotel-style facilities.
“As well as your own pool you can head down to the bigger pools so the children can play with others. Or you can hire a bike for the day. It’s also really handy having restaurants onsite.”
With the security of a gated resort, they had that all important peace of mind.
So where next?
Well you guessed it, the Flinns are rediscovering another old favourite.
Spanning only 100km, Mallorca’s easily navigated island landscape means its day trips galore with a new town or cove to discover every day. From Alcudia in the north, it’s only an hour to the capital Palma meaning you can have a city break and beach holiday rolled into one.
Carl and Mandy first explored Mallorca in 2015. Going back later this year they’re swapping bustling Alcudia for the chic resort of Cala d’Or.
Nowadays it’s about finding a traditional villa just on the outskirts of town that’s quiet enough for a peaceful break yet close enough to town to pop in for dinner. Villa Margarita will be their home from home.
“Our next holiday is within walking distance of the beach, marina, restaurants and bars. We’re looking forward to going somewhere else, eating in new venues, exploring areas that we’ve never been to before, and maybe even driving further afield.”
“We always take the car. The villas have so much going for them that you don’t have to go far, but it’s nice to have that freedom if you want to.”
One thing is clear, Mallorca won’t be their last villa holiday. The Flinns plan to continue revisiting old places that ignite family memories, keep exploring new places, and who knows? Perhaps they’ll be back again with their grandchildren one day.
“It’s difficult to choose a happiest or funniest moment, because there have been so many.”