“ Location: Solou, Catalonia. On the edge of Cambrils, 50 metres away from the beach „
Costa Dorada, Solou - Spain is one of my favourite Holiday locations as there is so much to do there for every age and every type of person. Costa Dorada is where you will find the Esmeralda Apartments, it is located in Cambrils which is very near to the centre of Solou. The location of the Esmeralda Apartments is pretty much perfect to be honest - it is literally across the road from the beautiful beach so you can be there in a matter of 20 seconds, the glimpse of the Meditteranean Sea is wonderful. There are a few restaurants and bars around the area where the apartments are located, but they aren't the type of places where you hear a lot of noise from in the early hours, so you can actually get some sleep here. The more lively bars and the majority of shops are about a 10 minute bus ride away and the bus stop is conveniently right outside the apartments, so everywhere is quite easily accessible. The bus to the brilliant Port Aventura Park stops right outside the hotel too and Port Aventura believe me is not one to be missed if you are visiting Salou! You can also catch the bus to the Salou Harbour which has some lovely picturesque views, shops & little Restaurants.
The apartments themselves are quite standard Spanish-looking apartments, but to be honest they are just what you'd expect for 2 Star Apartments. Some rooms are bigger than others as you can book small Studio Apartments or bigger 2 bedroom apartments. I've stayed in the Esmeralda twice and both times we had quite a large room with 2 bedroom, bathroom, small kichen and dining area & a balcony with seating. I was happy with the size of them and they were kept clean by the maids who changed the towels daily and cleaned the apartment 2 times a week. So they might of been basic but they were by no means horrible, there were the basic cooking utensils too which is handy if you are going Self Catering.
Downstairs in the hotel you will find the Reception which has a couple of TV's and a seating area, a games room and the bar. The reception area is pretty standard, you check in and check out there and you can also hire Fans and Safety Deposit boxes from reception. The Games room in small and quite dark and to be honest I didn't go in there much, but there were 2 pool tables outside by the pool which we sometimes used. The bar is a nice size with seating both inside and out, there is entertainment on every single night which in my opinion was all quite good. There are usually boards displaying each nights entertainment situated around the hotel so you can see what's in store. Entertainment varied from musicians, comedians, bingo, bands, quizzes etc. the usual holiday stuff! The bar also serves food til quite late and the prices for food and drink with reasonable I thought.
The swimming pool at the hotel is very small which is probably my biggest gripe because it meant that there often weren't any free Sun Loungers, as the Apartments are on a main street and the Swimming Pool is at the front, the main road is just metres away which feels a little strange when you are in the pool! The staff at the Esmeralda all speak English so communication is easy and they all seemed very polite to me.
It takes about 20 minutes in a bus or taxi from the airport to reach the apartments, longer if you are travelling with a company such as Thomson or Thomas Cook as I think Esmeralda tends to be one of the last "drop off points" on the coach. To stay in the Esmeralda expect to pay about 40-50 Euros per night for a Studio Apartment, 50-70 Euros per night for a 1 bedroom Apartment and 80-100 Euros per night for a 2 bedroom Apartment. They aren't bad apartments and I've certainly never had any great problems when staying there, in fact I've always quite enjoyed myself. It's just a shame about their tiny Swimming Pool which is based right by the road, so you get all the noise off the traffic too!