The new Corfu: The changing face of family travel mixes spa, lux private pools and family all inclusive

MarBella Corfu mixes spa retreat, lux private pools and family all inclusive

MarBella Corfu’s location on the glittering south-east coast of Corfu makes it a prime spot for short-haul holidays. Just a three-hour flight, with lots of carrier options, this quieter side of Corfu is emerging as a fabulous place for spa, gourmet and nature lovers, particularly in shoulder season when there are fewer crowds.

A short jaunt from the airport, MarBella Corfu is upscale yet family friendly and behind the lush gardens and manicured walkways, this hotel squirrels away just under 400 rooms, though you would never know it.

Boutique in atmosphere but resort in reality, MarBella Corfu boasts luxurious sea view and garden view rooms, family rooms, one- and two-bedroom apartment suites (some that offer private pools), junior suites with outdoor whirlpool hot tubs plus six restaurants and four lounge bars. In fact, there are around 15 different options of room type and guests can choose from half board, full board or full-board plus (with a range of beverages included) and all inclusive.

We opted for a beautiful junior sea view suite with whirlpool, which we never wanted to leave. Sinking in to the outdoor tub, with the azure sky meeting Corfu’s electric blue sea, the stresses of everyday life ebbed away. The organic Apivita bath products are a great introduction to the hotel’s spa where again relaxation is the name of the game. The Aptivita spa is tucked away in one of hotel buildings and treatments focus on a natural, Mediterranean skin food menu, based on the nutritional and antioxidant ingredients of the Mediterranean diet. My Royal Honey body scrub and luxuriant and hydrating massage treatment left my skin glowing and velvety soft.

With many families and groups opting for apartments with private pools, the main pool areas remain pleasantly uncrowded and with such a large site – the hotel occupies a pine-clad hillside, lush with vegetation and is arranged on different levels – the hotel is able to put space and serenity between family friendly areas and more adult zones.

There are four pools – the children’s fun-filled playground and play pool complete with waterjets and small slides is set lower down the gentle hillside and closer to the beach and family suites available with patios on the children’s pool level.

The private beach feels more south of France than the middle of the Med, with pontoons edging the water and stylish deck chairs and loungers criss-crossing the decking.

The six restaurants and four bars all wisely make the most of the views, with capacious outdoor seating overlooking pools, sea, beach or olive groves. A la carte restaurants serve authentic Italian, Greek and Mediterranean cuisine while the American diner is a hit with kids. From the poolside restaurant to the casual dining at the beachside Dolphin restaurant, options are really varied and again the spacious layout means whether you want a family outing or an a la carte romantic meal, it’s all possible.

La Terrazza is the main buffet restaurant and suits families including children really well and the balcony and open-air tables with sea views still give it an upscale feel.

For the jewel in the crown, La Bussola restaurant is perfect for foodies. The beachfront setting and elegant atmosphere make this seafood restaurant the ideal choice for romantic dinners right on the waterfront.

What MarBella Corfu offers in gargantuan proportions is choice. A choice rooms, a choice of restaurants and activities and options for all ages. The apartments with private pools or decks with romantic whirlpools work really well for groups and couples accordingly, making MarBella Corfu a really solid choice for multi-generational, family or summer holidays for couples. For shoulder season, the balmy temperatures and quiet pools are a major bonus.

With a host of activities, from aerial yoga to dancing, sailing and snorkelling, those young at heart will be more than satisfied. And if you’re after rest, relaxation and some glorious Greek sunshine, it fits the bill as well.

If you can tear yourself away, the picturesque side of Corfu is well worth exploring. The UNESCO-listed Corfu Old Town is is located a short cab ride from the hotel – the concierge can also organise a boat to pick you up from the hotel jetty. And for those who enjoy an active break, there is the 137-mile Corfu trail and see some of the most picturesque beaches and countryside.

For a day trip on the water take a boat to the beautiful tiny islands of Paxoi and Antipaxoi in the Ionian, located around 10 miles off the coast. During peak season, boats depart daily from the central port.

Information: reservations: +30 26610 71183-7

Visit: MarBella Corfu

MarBella Corfu offers rooms from €130 /£113 per double room per night.