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Ibiza

So Ibiza was somewhere I had looked at a few times, but never booked. This looked like a beautiful island, and I had heard good things about it, despite its reputation for being a party island.

 

It was a lot more expensive to go in September than I thought it would be, and I wanted a quiet part of the island rather than the party scene. So I went for the Sirenis Hotel in Cala Llonga. Right next to the beach this looked an amazing location and really is. It is quiet, but it is a village with shops and restaurants you aren’t in the middle of nowhere. A taxi to Ibiza Town cost about 20 euros. There is a bus and a ferry. But we couldn’t find the bus stop in Ibiza and the sea was so choppy we didn’t fancy a boat.

Sirenis Cala Llonga
Sirenis Cala Llonga

The ferry stops right at the bottom of the hotel, so it was really close. There are a few ferries that stop here, and will take you to various different places, you can pop round to Ibiza Town, or take a longer trip to the island of Formentera.

The Sirenis Hotel is made up of 3 blocks and it puts a lot of effort in, I’m not sure whether I’m just a snob, or just fussy but it just wasn’t as nice as I had hoped. It is clean and the staff are fantastic but it is just a fine hotel nothing more. The location makes it. There are 3 pools which is nice, 2 snack bars and 3 pool bars, and 2 restaurants to choose from for breakfast and the evening meal. 

In the snack bars there are menus and it is table service which is very nice for a 3 star hotel. The food is freshly prepared so it comes piping hot, and a better option than going to the restaurant for lunch in my opinion. They also come round sometimes and take orders for drink while you are laid on your sunbed, again this is a nice touch for a 3 star.

view from hotel
View from hotel

A few things I did like was that the sausages at breakfast were “English breakfast” sausages, and the coke was actually coke. Sometimes it can be the little things that make a hotel more appealing. Overall the food was fine, it was cooked well and tasted ok, but it mainly seemed like a lot of sides and very few mains. It didn’t change much daily, and there was often 2 trays of the same thing I had beef and pork and the meat was very tender and pleasant. They seemed a little obsessed with tuna too. There just seemed to be a lot of tuna. I’m not a fan, so was disappointed with what I thought was ham pizza, but it turned out to be ham with tuna hidden under it. As I’m not a massive seafood fan I avoided the seafood paella but the vegetable one was great, a must when you are somewhere Spanish.

The room was clean, but small, which isn’t a problem as we didn’t spend a huge amount of time in it. We had a twin room and both beds were doubles which was very nice. Our balcony overlooked the beach so it was pleasant to sit on, and a real sun trap in the afternoon. The only thing it lacked was a fridge, and a kettle as it is nice to be able to make drinks in your room. From what I have read some rooms do have a kettle but none of them have fridges. The walls are very thin. There is a hatch between the showers and you can hear everything that is going on in the next room, while you are sat on your bed, and I mean everything!

Beach
The Beach

We took a taxi into Ibiza Town and wander around one morning, it was quite quiet and pleasant we wander into the old town, which was scenic and had fantastic views from the top.

Ibiza Old Town
Ibiza Old Town

The sea wasn’t freezing, and once the storms had passed it became very calm, and beautifully clear. You can see the little fish swimming around your feet, and it is only a few steps down to the beach from the hotel so really nice to pop there for a change of scene from the overcrowded sunbeds.

sunbeds
Sunbeds

If you are quick in the mornings getting a sunbed overlooking the beach and sea is a must. To be laid in the sun overlooking a beautiful blue sky with not a care in the world is what holidays are about.

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Crete

So I was only going to do a few city holidays this year. But it turned out I can’t resist laying by a pool doing nothing, so I needed to find a cheap all inclusive hotel that would be warm in June. I turned my attention to the Greek islands and found a nice looking hotel, 4*, that was under £500. So I went to Chrissi Amoudia in Crete.

Chrissi Amoudia
Pool

Most of the rooms aren’t in the main hotel, they are little villas that make the complex appear to be a small Greek village and with plants all about it make it a very pleasant place to stay. I paid a little extra (£26) and got a room with a sea room. There was a small balcony, and the room was pleasant with a small bathroom just off the room. There was a fridge but no kettle, but I had seen this on the reviews so I bought a small travel kettle, cups and my own tea and coffee. 

The food was nice in the main restaurant. Freshly made pancakes were served at breakfast and other continental hot and cold food. With help yourself drinks, the way I like it. There was a balcony area that was undercover and gave stunning views of the sea, a great way to start your morning.

View of the restaurant
View from the restaurant

By the pool was a snack bar that opened about 10, where you could help yourself to drinks. From about 11 it started serving snacks. The pizza slices were so good. We ate there rather than going up to the main restaurant at lunch as they had pizza, chips, a pasta dish, a meat dish and soup with rolls, filled rolls and a small salad bar. In the afternoon they also served cake. There was ice cream available all day too, you just helped yourself.

The pool was large, although it was quite chilly. There was never a lack of sunbeds, as they use a large grass area around the pool to put the sunbeds on. 

The beach was about 10 minutes walk down a gentle slope. It was quite gravelly sand and the sea was quite rough. But it was a beautiful blue colour and nice to paddle in. There were water sports available if that was your thing. We also spotted a train that went on a little tour, although we never ventured on.

beach
Beach

Not gonna lie, I did miss the private pool I had the year before. But this was a very pleasant hotel, and the weather was brilliant.

 

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Portugal

I decided I wanted to go to Portugal, when I was looking for all inclusive holidays they weren’t cheap and I only went for 4 nights, and paid the same as I have for a week in other places.  This was the first time I actually organised and book the holiday myself. This was the first time I spend hours and hours looking into hotels, reading reviews and looking at pictures.

The hotel I stayed at was called Salgados Palm Village. I had a twin room, and I have to say it is still the nicest room I have stayed in. It had a separate living room area, and there was a little hallway between the bathroom and bedroom.

Portugal - Living room
Living Room

The balcony was the length of the the bedroom and the living room and you could access it from both rooms. The complex consisted of several blocks of rooms and as a result there was about 7 pools. Most were around the main area, but with a couple in between the buildings.

Portugal - poolside
Poolside

They weren’t really deep, this is a problem I get being so short, a deep pool means unless you are swimming, you need to stay need the edge. They were a pleasant temperature and because there was so many they were never crowded. 

There was 3 different restaurants, a main buffet one, an Italian one and a grill one. There was food available all day from at least one of these. The sauces were branded, and it was little things like this that made this hotel stand out for me. 

Portugal - Outside the restaurant
Outside the restaurant

There was a large grasses area with an outside gym and a play area.

It was about a 15-20 minute walk to the beach. The hotel did have a little train though. The beach was beautiful golden sand, but the sea being the Atlantic was chilly. But you would not fault it for the scenery and amazing sunsets.

Portugal beach
The beach
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Majorca

The first “sunny” holiday I went on was to Majorca. When we landed it was a little cloudier than I was anticipating. But not really knowing what to expect and being excited for my first All Inclusive holiday I ignored it. We stayed at Belvedere Hotel about 20 mins away from the airport. Our room was clean with a balcony where we could see the sea, see the hills, and watch the planes coming and going.

View from the balcony
View from the balcony

Within about 20 minutes of being there we decided to try out the snack bar by the pool. It was quick, efficient and with varied  choice of food that did change a bit each day. It served things like chips, burgers, hotdogs, chicken nuggets and toasties. In the afternoon there was also freshly cooked pizza from their pizza oven. It was amazing pizza. 

The food in the restaurant was nice, lots choice and there was served until quite late, which was great if like us you fancied a late evening snack.

The pool was freezing, and we stuck to the “hot tub”, they were warmer than the main pool, but far from hot.  The sea was much warmer.

Belvedere Hotel
Belvedere Hotel

The walk to the beach was down hill, and took about 10-15 minutes, and was effort on the way back. But the sea was warm, clean and inviting. The beach was beautiful and golden. It was close enough to plenty of shops if you wanted to explore. There was also a bus put on by the hotel that took you to Palma Nova, and also stopped by an aquarium. We went on this one day as it was raining, in Majorca, in August. 

Majorca Beach
Beach

I was also ill for a couple of days which didn’t make this the best first all inclusive holiday, but it was somewhere to start. The thing I learnt from this holiday was that the hotel is everything.

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Introductory Blog

Just thought I would do an introductory blog to what the other blogs will be about, although they might change overtime.

I grew up in a large family so we never had a lot of money but we always went on holiday to Devon or Dorset. It was always on the beach and often in a tent.

Tent

The South West coast of England is wonderful to me, with golden sands and clean seas. Cornwall has amazing blue sea and waves if you want to bodyboard or surf.

cornwall
Cornwall

I was (and still am) a little afraid of flying, that combined with no spare money meant that I didn’t travel far, other than the south west coast of England. I didn’t go properly abroad (not sure Republic of Ireland counts) until I was 28. That was a skiing holiday and I was not good. I might blog my experience another time.

I first went on a “sunny holiday” when I was 33. I have now caught the bug to see other places, but I also like a great hotel. I travel with siblings and often with my cousin. I am happy to admit I am lazy on holiday and I do lay by the pool a lot. So a great hotel is essential. So thinking about the blogs I plan to write I will cover my trips, and include reviews of the hotels etc. Hopefully you will find them helpful.

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