Back from an untimely and to be quite frank, unnecessary break from which I do not feel replenished or refreshed – just sad that I have been away from my blog for so long. It’s no secret that I struggle to carry a plate topped with many heavy, life related things… I apologise but, I have gathered a few Smartie stories in my absence. (I sincerely hope they make up for my being gone-ness).
So, with my most sincere apologies and my full attention from now on I decided to still do the part 2 from my holiday to Menorca however, my aim is to review and rate the hotel and location, not necessarily the holiday itself as I feel too much time has passed to fill you in on all the tiny details – some of which I can’t even remember now. My initial plan when I began blogging was to do the occasional review and I have not yet dived into that aspect yet which makes me a tiny bit sad. So, here goes… Menorca, Cala’N’Bosch part 2.
I would like to point out that the hotel we found ourselves in was not the one I booked 10 months beforehand… A few months after I booked the holiday I received an email from Thomson saying the hotel I originally booked would not be ready for May due to refurbishments, the alternative they offered was the Holiday Village. This of course did not help my pre-holiday panic but it worked out for the best really – we ended up with a better hotel at no extra cost to either of us
I’ll be honest, once Scott and I unpacked and decided where we would keeping things for the next week, we paused and looked at each other sort of helplessly, as if we had no idea what to do next and in fairness, we didn’t! I had the whole airport and travelling process planned out step by step but, I hadn’t planned the actual holiday… I don’t think my brain even reached that point. An awkward silence fell away from us and we hurried out the room to gather excursion information. We slipped back into our usual selves and wandered hand in hand back to reception, which was a vast square of marble floors, quaint sofas and towering pillars – the staff at reception were polite and friendly, they always wished us a good morning and flashed a warm smile behind the blue tiled counter as we went for breakfast and we exchanged “good evenings” when leaving the restaurant at night.
We basically spent the first day finding out where everything was, firstly the main restaurant (because food first, obviously!), then where we would exchange towels and from there we had a wander around the hotel itself, finally we walked to the nearest supermarket to stock up on bottled water. Due to previous incidents thanks to heat exhaustion, I was under very strict instructions to drink as much water as possible – I also had Scott checking every so often making sure I felt hydrated and happy to stay out in the sun. I love the supermarkets abroad, how air conditioned they are especially after spending a good few hours in the blaring sun and how they greet you when you enter. Scott and I are major water guzzlers when we need to be so we bought four large bottles and said we would return when we started to run low. By the time we got back to the hotel it was drawing closer to our first evening meal so we got ourselves washed and ready to go.
The layout was relatively similar to other all-inclusive restaurants I had been too, a large room mostly filled with tables and chairs and the top part was dedicated to the food and its presentation. Two counters which were probably the length of half the room, one had the main meal options and the other had the starter options then there were 2 other small islands that had the drink options there. Now, I’m not going to complain about the food because all in all, it was great however, if you don’t eat red meat then you may occasionally struggle. The only time I thought to myself “there is literally nothing I can eat here” was at the snack bar which was available mid-afternoon for an hour or so – which in fairness is blatantly designed more for children than adults. Truth is, I’d just rather not eat hotdogs and burgers anyway… Anyway this was a very minor snag in an overall excellent holiday and I certainly didn’t let it ruin anything. Each night there was a theme for the evening meal, this was something that I hadn’t come across before but, it definitely worked. My two outstanding evenings food-wise was the seafood evening (although not Scott’s favourite) and the Mexican evening. I suppose the only issue I found with the evening meals was that the themes were great but, they didn’t really move away from them which meant if you didn’t like what was there then you were a little bit stuck. Thankfully we didn’t have this issue but, some fussy eaters might.
The Holiday Village is without a doubt, through and through a family hotel that caters for children and families in an incredible way. I get that children can be hard to please sometimes (especially in a strange place with lots of strange people) but the staff prevailed at every effort. I witnessed many parents asking staff for this, that and the other over the week for their children and every time the hotel staff provided whatever was required. On top of this, the animation staff were even more superb – each day there was different activities going on for kids whether they were with their parents or whether it was provided to give the parents a couple of hours break. Staff were frequently around the pool during the day doing quizzes and challenges, again involving the children and parents. This was occasionally overbearing but, Scott and I didn’t really spend a tremendous amount of time around the pool so we escaped most of the “oh they are doing that quiz again” problem. The evening was then topped off with Peppa Pig on a cinema like screen in the lounge – (for the children, not me). You might be wondering why a 19 year old with no children is amazed by the amount of care and thought put into families in this hotel, I have been privileged enough to holiday almost every year to many different places, hotels etc. and I have seen a lot of hotel staff completely disregard families, especially young ones like they are a total nuisance when in fact they are there for no other reason than to enjoy their one or two weeks away from work and home life – just like everyone else. Which is unfair, nobody deserves to be treated in such a way for a family. So yeah, thumbs up to Thomson and The Holiday Village for looking after all the families there and overall, food was pretty good too.
Earlier on I mentioned that Scott and I had went to get some excursion information, we sat in our room and had a lengthy discussion over where we should go, then we realised that some excursions only happened on certain days so we had to have lengthy discussion #2 on where we could go. Anyway a little while later and we had picked two excursion that we wanted to do that were within our week of being there.
The first excursion started with a catamaran ride along the coast where we were given a talk through of the history of buildings as we went past also (this was obviously something that was recorded years ago and is just played on a loop for people) but, nevertheless it was interesting, I really enjoy knowing the history and facts. About 30 minutes later we circled back on ourselves and head to the port again but, before we did that the catamaran stopped for a few minutes to allow people to take pictures of the spectacular surrounding views. Scott and I went to the front of the catamaran and soaked up the sun and the picturesque views – it was truly delightful.
So we headed back to the port and got back in the bus, we waited for the coach to manoeuvre itself out the tiny car park and head to the capital, Mahon. If I’m being totally honest, Mahon reminded me a lot of Durham – cobbled streets, busy market and people stopping every 5 seconds to take a picture. We had a tour guide/historian waiting for us once we got off the coach which was an added bonus really, with the guide we visited what seemed to be an ancient cheese shop which had the strongest smell… It was phenomenal. We were offered tastes of the local cheeses and meats whilst given a breakdown of where it originally came from. Then we were taken on a small tour of the city whilst given the historic facts (yay for me), after 40 minutes or so the guide left us in the centre of the city so we could enjoy the rest of the afternoon at our own pace, I have fond memories of Scott and I sitting on a bench people watching and eating crisp sandwiches. After lunch we wandered around the shops, we found a really nice camera shop and I decided that once I’d got back home, I was going to buy a nice DSLR (and I can confirm that I did indeed buy a Canon EOS 1100D). It. Is. Gorgeous! Finally we visited the gin distillery just outside of Mahon, there was of course a lot of tasting available – however at 3pm in the afternoon I decided against it… I left with a selection of mini bottled gins and hoped they wouldn’t smash in the suitcase on the way home.
The second excursion was probably my favourite, Scott’s too – it was quite different to a lot of other excursions I’ve done previously, partly because it was just me and Scott but overall, they were unique and interesting. We drove off to the village of Binibeca – this was without a doubt one of the most abstract places I’ve ever been to. The village itself was tiny but, it’s most delightful feature is the tiny white houses all stacked on top of one another. Some are empty, some are being refurbished and the rest are rented out over the summer as small holiday houses… “Small” being the key word there. The walkway to each door was a very narrow, cobbled alleyway. When I put my arms out I could touch both houses and my arms are pretty damn small! The visit itself only lasted about 20 minutes because that’s all it took to weave our way through the TARDIS-like village, I’ll never forget it though.
Next we went to a quaint town of Punta Prima with a vast, stretched out beach accompanied by restaurants and cafés. We walked across the rocky beach avoiding rock pools and other various jagged rocks. After a 40 minute walk we stopped at one of the cafés for a tuna sandwich, this was typically British of us but, it was an amazing sandwich. Although there wasn’t an awful lot to see at Punta Prima, it was pleasant to walk across the beach and enjoy the sun before it started to disappear slowly. On the way back to the coach I bought some souvenirs, you know the generic tea towels, random things on a pebble and key rings before we left for the final visit of the day.
Finally, we travelled up to a cave that was turned into a nightclub. Yes, you did read that correctly… A cave that was turned into a nightclub. I was actually impressed at how they’d accomplished such a thing, I mean it was literally a night club inside a cave! Baffled and amazed, we sat and had our 1 free drink and then explored the rest of it. The lighting and décor were just amazing and it had fast become one of the most popular night clubs in Menorca, outside there were seated areas that were reserved for private parties. Situated on a rocky ledge on a drop that would send you into the depths of the sea, I am surprised that they don’t get the occasional tip over the after too much alcohol consumption but, I guess I’ll never know! That drop was enough to assure me that I would never drink there but, I definitely see the appeal – well done to everyone who made it the obscurity that it is!
So, that pretty much concludes my holiday – we had a safe flight home and of course I had a Smartie greeting waiting for me for when I got back! He gave me a brief cuddle and then decided to get one of his many toys from his toy box (yes, he has a box for his toys) as he had obviously decided that I had been away far too long and I owed him some serious tug of war – so I obliged in exchange for help with unpacking… However, he just sat and watched what I was pulled out of the case, thanks Smartie!
Like I said earlier I wanted to review the hotel and I return the current 4* it already has. Food, care, service and excursions were fantastic however, this truly is a family holiday hotel and I don’t believe I will return unless it is with children of my own. A big pat on the back once again to Thomson and all of their hard work.
Enjoy the pictures!