It was first a drunken Topshop Lycra-embellished post-GCSE jaunt to Magaluf in 1997, then onto Tuscany with a bunch of mates for a more bourgeois affair of bruschetta scoffing and frizzante necking, which brings us up to the current day where I’ve more-or-less ditched the group mash-up in favour of going away with Mum (resident Nanny McPhee), Dad (resident sommelier), my husband (resident chef) and the urchin (resident life burden).
Quality family time I believe it’s called. Gosh, who’d have thought after years of trying to skitter away from the homestead, I’m in the nook once more.
Holidays are no longer for whiling away the early hours discussing the merits of Love Island (side note: SO good). No more – I’m in this for shut eye, R&R, QT and inhaling extraordinary amounts of Lays ready salted crisps; the taste of summer, no? I’ve made peace with this anti-social behaviour and the focus now is on location and ensuring there’s relentless sunshine as I recline for a week, allowing Mum infinite ‘quality time’ with the urchin.
Cue James Villas. If you are after the sort of holiday that only requires you to leave your cloud-like sanctuary in a fire emergency, then James and his top notch pads (we stayed at Maitreya in Son Bou) are where it’s at. Think 5 star hotel – complete with daily maid service and a friendly concierge on-call – without the additional faff of having other humans around you. (We’re talking turbo anti-social behaviour here and I feel no remorse.)
The thing that James gets is space. The fact that while families are built on pillars of love and vague respect, ensuring there’s a private nook for each member of the clan is essential for mental survival. Our Menorcan villa had a private balcon for each room; this equates to alone time with a Mills & Boon tome and absolutely no judgement abounding. Win-win.
The pool was all crystal clear azure waters and sofa-like loungers with an in-built bbq nearby for the primitive men folk to grill the life out of some meat. Each of the bedrooms was like something out of the aforementioned Mills & Boon novel; all plush surrounds with a Jacuzzi dotted here and there for romantic measure. Needless to say I was conked out and pyjama-ed up to the eyeballs at 9pm every night but for those seeking amour, this place offers a fruitful Mills & Boon-worthy backdrop with requisite ochre sunsets.
The key to a stress-free familial villa holiday is ratio. James Villas gets that; they understand that for every one child you need approximately four adults to keep the peace and ensure everyone gets downtime and an interruption-free cold one. Everything is set up for the full clan – there’s no missing chairs or weirdly matched crockery. Everyone has their own bathroom to save the potential catastrophic moments of accidentally walking in on your Dad in the shower. There’s Nespresso coffee makers for a sterling morning brew and things like egg poachers for the avocado toast crew.
All in all it’s a veritable familial palais and I never thought I’d say it, but Magaluf, you were a fruitful (apart from Dean from Abby National who never called) escapade, but I’d prefer to hang out with Mum and Dad.
Team Mother Pukka – that includes Papa Pukka, Grandmother Pukka, Grandfather Pukka (ever-elusive on Instagram) and the urchin – travelled with James Villa Holidays to Maitreya Son Bou in Menorca for four nights. James Villa Holidays has knock out parent-friendly collection of top notch pads or stand-alone villas that sleep up to 20 people – perfect for big clans. www.jamesvillas.co.uk. 0800 074 0122.