“ 3 star hotel in Puerto Pollensa, Majorca) „
With great thanks to whoever made the administrative error, rendering the self catering apartment that we had chosen, double booked, I have just spent an unexpected week upgraded to the 3 star Pollensa Park Hotel in Puerto Pollensa on the north east coast of Mallorca (or is that Majorca?) It was dark when we reached our rooms, after the 50 minute taxi transfer from Palma airport, but stepping out of the patio doors onto our balcony we were greeted by the view of a serene turquoise pool lit up and the pleasant sound of a duo singing on stage with people sitting around enjoying the balmy evening heat. We were ecstatic to have been given a room where we could look out at the pool and could see ourselves enjoying the evening entertainment from our balcony. The next morning as I awoke the first thing I did was to peak out through the curtains to get the first true glimpse of where we were staying. My husband asked what the view was like and my immediate words were 'to die for'. Not only did we look out over the pool, but we had stunning panoramic views of the horseshoe shaped Pollensa Bay, with its many sailing yachts and mountains on all sides too - beautiful! The hotel is arranged in 'Y' shape with each aspect being curved in shape. Due to the bay also being curved two of the arms have sea views and the front side looks inland towards the mountains. It should be noted that one arm overlooks a parade of useful little spar type supermarkets and shops selling ice creams and everything that could possibly be needed for the beach or pool as well as an English bar offering nightly entertainments such as tribute bands and karaoke. This worried me as it appeared quite noisy and other then the Abba night when we would quite happily have sat on our balcony and listened, we were really glad not to have a room at this side of the hotel. I'm not sure what time this ended as we didn't stay up late, but the poolside entertainment was finished about midnight. Having said that when we closed our double glazed window on one of the two nights when there was poolside entertainment we could hear very little and dropped off to sleep without a hitch. The rooms are all air conditioned so sleeping with the window shut is no problem and due to the heat we preferred this anyway. The hotel was not full when we stayed and it did seem that the rooms with a pool view are used as a priority. **Location** Puerto Pollensa has a long sandy man made beach and the Pollensa Park Hotel is set back, just 2 or 3 minutes walk from this with just one row of low level buildings separating residents from the sands - great for being able to pop backwards and forwards between beach and pool. With 316 rooms Pollensa Park is the largest hotel in this family orientated, quaint harbour resort. At 8 stories it is the only high rise building in town so it does dominate the skyline and is a bit out of place among the2,3 and 4 story hotels, apartments and luxurious looking private residences, but the height gives the views, so it is well worth staying here. A pleasant fifteen minute stroll along the palm tree lined promenade leads to the harbour and the resort centre which is alive with bustling cafes and tourist shops. Buses run along the front every fifteen minutes with a stop level with the hotel and stopping at the centre, so for those with walking difficulties or if it's just too hot to walk there should be no problems reaching the centre. Within the hotel ramps and lifts give access to all areas. Watch out for a follow up fuller review of Puerto Pollensa later. **Life Inside the hotel** Our room: I've been trying to increase my walking so great news, I had 7 flights of stairs to reach my room at the top of the hotel - ok so sometimes I was lazy and took the lifts, but I did pretty well! The room had a typical layout of many modern hotels; bathroom to the right on entry and then opening up into a spacious bedroom area. It was spotlessly clean and appeared newly painted with no marks on the fresh white walls or cream ceilings. The furnishings felt well matched to the rustic Spanish feel of the resort with the headboard, bedside tables, suitcase rack and 2 chairs all being painted an antique effect bluey green colour. The curtains and bedspread were a matching yellow, green and blue floral pattern with neutral beige tiled flooring. A large built in wardrobe with teak effect doors contained plenty of hanging space with enough hangers and ample shelving for all of our clothes. The lowest level was a great size to hold a small suitcase or shoes and bags and also contained a safe. Keys for the safe had to be rented from reception at a cost of 14 euros for our week long stay, but with passports and currency this seemed an annoying but essential cost. The two single beds pushed together were so comfortable, that I even slept well on my first night which I never normally do. A wall mounted TV which we never even thought to turn on, ceiling, wall lights and over bed reading lights finished off the room. The whole room felt very relaxing and peaceful and each day the maids reverted it back to pristine condition. Out on the balcony two white plastic chairs and a small table made this the perfect place to sit and let the world go by. The rails doubled up as clothes airers for all those beach towels too. Back inside, the bathroom was equipped with a white toilet and bath with a powerful overhead shower and sink set into a rust coloured marble surround. A good sized rack is also supplied to store all the bits and bobs and sachets of soap, shower gel, shampoo and a shower cap are provided as well as a reasonably powered hair dryer. The group Cabot chain who manage this hotel pride themselves on being eco friendly, and have a Travel Life silver award, so encourage repeated use of towels and economical use of water. We didn't mind not having a mini bar or no tea and coffee making facilities in the room but how we wished we had a fridge to keep all the bottles of water we brought chilled and refreshing. This along with difficulties we experienced with gently coaxing our keycards to let us into the room were our only gripes with the rooms. **Reception** Our first view inside the hotel was of the grand marble reception area in rust and grey colours with a commanding sweeping staircase. We found the receptionists, who are on duty 24/7 to be helpful whenever we needed them and they spoke good English. They accompanied us up to our rooms to help us use the stubborn keycards and efficiently booked us onto a trip, as well as looking after us when we first arrived, thinking we'd be sleeping out on the streets after the aforesaid cock up. Reception also houses a cashpoint machine, which didn't charge me for my withdrawal from my post office travel card, and a very small discreet games arcade and internet cafe. Off of reception a bar area serves all the normal drinks and cocktails that you'd expect. A pool table resides here but it is generally a quiet area to sit and not at all rowdy. Steps and a ramp lead to a spacious lounge area with bucket chairs and tables to seat well over 100 people. A small dance area is used for the childrens' club and evening entertainment. Off to one side is a huge plasma screen showing mostly sport. We didn't see this used much and it wasn't intrusive. Wi fi access is available throughout the lounge. **Restaurant** Our 'upgraded' status included breakfast and dinner. The dining room is large with 2 central serving areas for hot food; full English for breakfast and a range of hot food, mostly of English type at night. A third serving area contains a range of fresh fruit, cereals and bread and pastries at breakfast and more fruit at tea as well as cakes, ice creams in about 6 flavours and things like crème caramel. I was quite disappointed that it was so English and my one regret at no longer being self catering was that we had far less opportunity to sample traditional Spanish fare than we had anticipated. My husband was quite happy though and it would be easy to find things from the plentiful choices to please even the fussiest of children. The waitresses were quick and efficient, but the same ones seemed to be on duty all of the time and many appeared to be over worked and perhaps not as cheerful as they might be. Wine waiters took orders for evening meals with soft drinks costing 1.8 Euros and 5 Euros for a small bottle of wine. Juices and coffee are served with breakfast. Disappointingly breakfast and dinner are only served indoors. I longed to be able to sit outdoors to eat and this is a big thing that was missing at Pollensa Park for me. **The Spa** I failed - I didn't use the spa with it's indoor pool, gym, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms as well as treatments at a reasonable price. Well, with temperatures in the 30s why would I want to cocoon myself indoors in even hotter environments when there was a deliciously cool pool waiting outside for me, but it's all there if you like that kind of thing and makes this a hotel that has appeal all year round. **Moving on out** The pool - this is where we most liked to be! No fancy shape to this pool, but the rectangular pool was large enough to accommodate everyone without ever feeling crowded. A rope barrier sections off the shallow end for small children and this then leaves masses of room as the pool shelves away to a depth of 1.8 metres. A swivel seat is fitted so that anyone with physical impairments can use the pool too. A real plus to this hotel pool was the constant presence of a lifeguard with his emergency kit keeping a reassuring watch out over all. Little tots also have their own paddling pool. You can tell there were no Germans staying at Pollensa Park - how? - because we never had a problem securing sunbeds around the pool. Signs request you not to reserve loungers with towels. We were staying right near the end of the school holidays though and the hotel was probably not as busy as at its peak. Further loungers were placed on two large grassy areas in the shade of trees, but as we were constantly in and out of the pool we headed to the shady loungers under thatched umbrellas by the pool to while away the hottest parts of the day in the company of our books. Tables and chairs are set out to one side of the pool for those using the pool side bar for snacks such as pizza for 7 Euros, pasta dishes and salads at 5 Euros and humongous portions of nachos for 4 Euros, or just chilling with a relaxing drink or an icecream at about 2 Euros. Trampolines at 3 Euros for 15 minutes, a carting track, tennis courts and a fun looking childrens wooden playground with swings, slides and rope bridge and climbing wall round off the facilities. We would have loved to hire bikes that were available but it was just too hot to consider anything energetic - another time! **Entertainment** The animation team worked tirelessly to entertain the troops day and night. An hour long aqua gym class was just what I needed to keep me cool and to burn off all those extra ice cream calories and this proved popular, but to my dismay and to the detriment of my waistline, come 1st September we were out of high season and this stopped. For 4 - 12 year olds craft sessions and daily pool games continued to be held and the mini disco looked really good fun each evening with all the favourite party dances and games, not that my 12 year old would go near these organised activities. Archery, air rifle shooting, water volley ball are also on offer as well as evening entertainments such as singers, acrobats and bingo. Again as September approached these moved indoors and the pool bar closed at night which seemed such a shame. **Who goes there* Spanish and English guests were definitely in the majority with a few French and Italian thrown in. Both the resort and the hotel are more geared to families and there were loads of children of all ages while we were there. Cots and high chairs are provided. We noticed an influx of retired couples too as September flew in. The rowdy crowds of the Southern Mallorcan resorts fortunately steer well clear of this area. As a family holiday with 12 and 16 year old girls based around the beach, pool, exploring old towns and markets this proved to be a perfect base. **Cost** Isn't it good to come back and see what a bargain you're had, as obviously we'd only paid for self catering accommodation? Looking at the Thomas Cook brochure though, our week at the end of August would have cost £509 per person based on 2 adults sharing a double room and £295 for a child under 12 and significantly more just a few weeks earlier. Breakfast and evening meal are included. We were shown a superior room which has 4 beds and a fridge and looked ideal for families with small children, but as ours are older we chose to have 2 double rooms and the girls really liked the freedom of having their own double room matching ours. The Thomas Cook brochure provides customer reviews of 95% rating excellent or good for their accommodation, 97% for location and 86% for food. I would have to agree with these and give this hotel 4 stars with the food and lack of outdoor dining facilities losing the star.