It’s 6.30am. Even on holiday my body clock seems to think that we need to get up for school. The rest of my family is still asleep in bed. I’m sitting at a glass-topped table in my pyjamas, my daughter’s favourite scarf around my shoulders. In front of me is a large window through which I can see a pale blue sky, softly pink where it meets the Adriatic sea. This part of the Adriatic is scattered with islands of all shapes and sizes and from where I’m sitting I can see a corner of a green island through the window. To my left is a glass door through which I can see a row of arching sun loungers looking out to sea from a wide terrace.
Dubrovnik Sun Gardens
It’s the Easter holidays and I’m staying for a week with my husband and two kids (16 and 12 years old) in a James Villas apartment in Croatia. The apartment is on the luxurious Dubrovnik Sun Gardens resort which is about nine miles from Dubrovnik along the coast road. The resort boasts a 5-star hotel, spa, restaurants, bars, swimming pools, sports facilities, kids club and holiday apartments.
James Villas sent us a very helpful information pack about the apartment, the resort and the area before we left home. The directions which they sent us explaining how to reach the resort from the airport were particularly useful because the sat nav which we’d brought from home doesn’t seem to work in Croatia.
The Sea View Residence apartment where we’re staying is perfect for our family. It’s modern, roomy, comfortable, well-equipped and tastefully decorated with high quality furnishings. It has a double and a twin bedroom, both with roomy en-suite bathrooms. Every day the apartment is cleaned until it’s spotless by some lovely, smiley Croatian ladies. There are heating and air-conditioning controls in the living area and in each of the bedrooms. We’re all pleased to find that the resort offers unlimited, free wi-fi to guests – although the connection is a bit patchy in our apartment.
Right now I’m in the large, open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. Behind me is a hallway with a small cloakroom. The walls throughout the living area and bedrooms are painted in off-white tones and the solid oak floor is pale gold. At the windows there are two layers of hangings so that you can choose how much light to let in. In the bedrooms there are also blackout curtains. The living area has a large, flat screen TV which we haven’t watched (although my husband and son did go to the resort’s sports centre to watch an Arsenal football match one day).
The galley kitchen is well-equipped with a large fridge, halogen hob, microwave oven, dishwasher, kettle and toaster. There are pans, crockery, cutlery and tea towels for you to use. We haven’t cooked anything here as we have breakfast at the Radisson Blu hotel at the resort and we’re always out and about at lunch and dinner times. But, apart from an oven, there’s everything that you would need to cook a meal here should you wish to do so. An odd thing about the kitchen is that the only accessible power socket is at knee height on a bare wall. This makes using the kettle tricky but I’ve found the sideboard in the living area to be the best place to plug it in.
Behind me is the L-shaped hall area. At the other end of the hall, by the front door, there’s a wooden wardrobe with a safe inside it. I like the safe because it’s large enough to accommodate both a laptop and a DSLR camera as well as other bits and bobs. My son, generally locked out of the kids’ en-suite bathroom by his teenage sister at crucial times, has taken to using the small cloakroom in the hall to clean his teeth and to do whatever he does to his hair.
The main bedroom has a very comfortable double bed, plenty of storage, a desk, an armchair and double glass doors leading to a small balcony with a sea view. There are towelling robes and slippers for us to use. The main en-suite bathroom is very spacious and has a large tiled walk-in shower with glass doors, a large square sink on a marble top with a wide mirror above it, and below it a wooden shelf with a hairdryer and piles of towels. There’s also a heated towel rail which is handy for drying swimming stuff.
The kids are sharing this room. It has comfortable twin beds with a wooden bedside cupboard and a lamp in between them, a double wooden wardrobe with drawers inside, a cream armchair and a luggage rack which my daughter has appropriated for her overflowing suitcase.
The kids’ en-suite bathroom is similar to the main en-suite bathroom except that instead of a walk-in shower it has a bath with a shower above it and a glass shower screen along its edge.
Outside the living area is a wide, enclosed terrace with views of the sea and of the nearby islands. On the terrace is a round table and four chairs as well as various sun loungers.
All four of us are very happy with this apartment. I think that it has everything that we need for a comfortable and relaxing break. I would definitely recommend this as a great place for families to stay. Back at home I ask the rest of the family what they thought of the apartment.
My 16 year old daughter says: ‘It was all nice. It was modern and not cramped. I really liked the shower, and the pillows and mattresses were nice’.
My 12 year old son says: ‘I had to sit in your bedroom to get wi-fi’.
My husband says: ‘It was really good. It was spacious, light, comfortable and everything was of good quality’.
Family travel lowdown
We stayed in a two-bedroom Sea View Residence at Dubrovnik Sun Gardens for seven nights during the Easter holidays. The cost of this accommodation ranges from £1,206 to £3,593 for seven nights through James Villas.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing more about the resort and about what we did in Croatia. You can read about our ill-fated trip to the cinema to see Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik here and about things to do with kids in Dubrovnik and why we wanted to go to the city here.
Disclosure: Our accommodation at Dubrovnik Sun Gardens was provided by James Villas for review purposes but all opinions are my own. James Villas is part of Wyndham Vacation Rentals, the world’s largest professionally managed holiday rentals company.