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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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Zante

So Portugal gave me a little taster of a nice hotel. I was looking for a holiday on any of the Greek islands when I saw rooms with private pools, I was intrigued. I looked at a 5* on Rhodes and was considering it when I came across Bitzaro Grande in Zante. The price was a lot less, it was a 4* but had excellent reviews, which I read through and take in the bad and the good. I honestly think that some poeple look for things to moan about. It was also really close to Laganas Beach where the Loggerhead Turtles come to lay their eggs, the thought of getting a glimp of a turtle pursuaded me.  

Bitzaro Grande
The front of the hotel

The hotel was a couple of minutes walk from the main strip with shops and restaurants, and also only 5 minutes walk down the Laganas beach. It is a fine sandy beach with beautiful clean blue water. We took snorkelling equipment and an underwater camera and watched the little fish swimming around our feet.

Laganas beach
Laganas beach

There is no water sports on the beach, and you cannot dig or put sun umbrellas into the sand incase you hit turtle eggs, but there are pedalos. We hired one and managed to nearly get stuck as we looked for turtles (they send the little life boat out to check we were ok). We did see from a distance one come up for air a few times and then after peddling for what seemed like forever to get back in one swam under the pedalo (when we were pretty close to the shore). 

fish
Look closely for the fish

Our room was very nice, the private pool, which was described as a jacuzzi was really a plunge pool, and big enough for 2 air bed to float about on. It was brilliant. The only criticism I would have for the room was there was no door on the shower and bath. Which if you are sharing with a friend or family, not a spouse, means one staying outside while the other showers. But there was loads of seating with shaded areas so it is comfortable. There was a double sunbed that is a suntrap, and the sun is on it from early morning until about 3.30pm

private pool
The private plunge pool
private pool
The pool at night
Outside seating
Outside seating

 

 

 

 

 

The food was fantastic in the main restaurant. The puddings where the best I have had in a hotel, it was the first time I actually looked forward to pudding.  I do read a lot of reviews before I book a hotel, and this one had a couple of bad reviews from people and I honestly don’t know why it was great. 

There were snacks from the pool bar. These were freshly cooked and again tasted amazing. We never went to the restaurant at lunch, we always ate from here. The only criticism I would have would be for the drinks (soft drinks) which came from bottles and although they branded, they were often flat. There was a fridge in the room so we would buy coke from a local shop and keep in there.  There was also tea and coffe making facilities. Having a private pool also meant that you could use your room more, for hot drinks and your own toilet which made the stay way more comfortable. 

The airport was really close to the hotel and the planes are quite low, but there wasn’t a lot and I enjoyed watching them go overhead. They also stop fairly early so they don’t disturb the turtles (or you at night). 

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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