“ All inclusive resort. „
I have been away from dooyoo for a while, but I do have to say how nice it really is to see so many familiar faces around, plus the addition of a few new ones who seem to be setting a very high standard, to keep us older members on our toes.
Anyway after a long awaited return I have decided to review a hotel my and my partner stayed in when we went on a last minute holiday to Spain at the end of July.
WHAT A DEAL
We booked the last minute holiday through the teletext holiday section on teletext web site, we had never gone with them before but as it was such a good deal for this time of year and we desperately wanted a little bit of sunshine, it was perfect for us as we were not expecting anything lavish, this way we would not be disappointed.
I managed to get a seven night stay in an all inclusive hotel and all flights and transphers were included, for the bargain price of £568.00. Which I think is brilliant as it is high season and the school holidays, which is the most expensive time of year.
I do have to say the location was perfect, it was situated in a small town Tossa De Mar on the Costa Brava Spain. It is a quaint little fishing town surrounded by scenic views of the ocean, beaches and it was all encased by stunning cliffs, which dominated the town and gave you the isolated and enclosed feeling.
The thing that really appealed to me was the face that it was not really a tourist destination unlike LLoret De Mar which was only a few miles down the road, so if you wanted more excitement you could head there, or relax and take it easy in Tossa.
Tossa de Mar can be reached by either flying into Girona of Barcelona airports, Girona is the nearest and eliminates an hour and a half bus ride from the alternative Barcelona airport. We flew in to Barcelona and took the hours journey by bus to reach our hotel, the trip was very scenic with some stunning views, but I think the Girona airport would have been a much better option for us.
THE TOSSA BEACH HOTEL
The hotel is called the Tossa Beach hotel, which sounds very nice but you expect a beach with a name like that don't you, there is a beach but it is a fair distance down the road so I personally thought the name was very misleading. But I wasn't going to be put off by this as we had got the holiday so cheap.
The Tossa Beach Hotel is a three star all inclusive hotel that offers over one hundred and twenty rooms, which consist of doubles, singles and family rooms. The rooms are situated within two different buildings which are both connected by the ground floor, each building is accessible by a different stairwell of lift. Which makes is a stayable place for the disabled, but I personally feel like the disabled would be limited on where they could go easily as there were stairs and step everywhere.
The rooms are all located on the top to floors and on the ground floor you will find a lavish reception area with massive doors and a thick wood reception desk, here you are greeted by pleasant and nicely dressed staff, who are willing to help without hesitation.
Upon arrival you were issued with your room key and then the cheese factor took place and you were issued with a bright blue wrist band which was to be worn for the entire stay, this enabled you to eat, drink and take advantage of all of the hotels facilities. Adults are issued a blue band and children under eighteen are issued with a red band, to make staff aware that they are unable to drink.
Also on the ground floor you have computers for internet access and there is a small charge of 1 Euro for fifteen minutes, which is not too bad if you only need to check email.
The ground floor also consists of a Luggage room, where you are able to leave luggage if you are traveling later in the day, as the hotel expects you to vacate your rooms by 10am on the day of departure. Along side this you will find a massive venue room where you will fined the bar, pool tales, video games and an air hockey game, which also cost you 1 euro a play.
It is as you get to the bar area you see that this hotel is not all it seems, the bar area was dirty looking and very seedy, it did not seem to be cared for at all. The bar staff were rude and they all looked dirty and unwashed, they looked like they had just come into work after a night out and they had not been home.
The hotel had entertainment every night, which consisted of children's entertainment until 9pm and them the adult entertainment from 9pm until midnight, when the bar closed down and you were told to go to your rooms. I did not like this one little bit, yes I understand they have to work to a no noise policy to cater for all of the guests, but actually being told to go to bed by a grubby waiter was not what I expected from my holiday.
The restaurant is located in what can only be described as the basement, it spanned the whole length of the hotel and consisted of a help your self type buffet for breakfast, dinner and tea time meals. At fist there was a wide selection of food of so I thought, but as the week went on I soon noticed that it was the same old food day in and day out, anything not eaten at breakfast was put out and lunch and so on and so forth.
The swimming pool is a big but not massive enough to swim in freely, it was situated in a courtyard and was surrounded by twenty of so big plastic sun loungers which consumed the patio where all the smokers congregated. To be honest I thought it was a health and safety hazard as there was not even enough space to walk through and around the sun loungers, so I don't know how many people slipped in to the pool accidentally.
This was very basic and a little bit on the small side, when we fist entered the room it was very dark and dingy but we pulled the closed curtains to let in some light, which it did indeed but it also put us in full view of the hotel across the street, who's guests could see directly into the room they were that close, I would have to say it was a car length distance between us and the hotel next door.
Even though it was a little bit cramped, it was adequate to suit mine and my partner's needs. It contained a double and single bed, chair, bedside unit, cheat of draws and a wardrobe. We also had a television with one English Channel, a telephone, kettle and safe which is basically everything you need when you are on holiday.
The room was advertised as having air conditioning, yes they had the actual units but it did not work luckily we were away from the sun and the floor was done in ceramic tiles so it was cool enough for us two, so with the help of the ceiling fan we were fine.
The room can with a small balcony, which basically touched the hotel next doors balcony, it had a small fold away seat and an ashtray for any smokers, not that I would fancy standing there in full view of everyone smoking. We were positioned away from the sun so the sun never even hit the balcony so this may have been added for smoking purposes only, as the hotel does not permit smoking inside.
The room also came with an ensuite bathroom which had a bath and over shower, toilet, wash basin and cosmetic area. This was basically half the size of the bed room, so in a way I feel that it should have been made smaller and the room made a bit bigger, however as crazy as it sounds if I felt claustrophobic I would go and sit in the bathroom.
Many people tend to opt for all inclusive hotels so it saves them on food and drink bills, so I can see why it appeals. In this hotel the all inclusive status offered you a wide array of things.
You got inclusive access to food which included Breakfast buffet, Lunch Buffet and dinner buffet. This could only be accessed at certain times during the day and worked on a help yourself and eat as much as you can basis.
The restaurant opened for breakfast at 8.30am - 10.00am, for Lunch at 12.00pm-2.00pm and dinner at 6.30pm-9.00pm.
If you were outside the time frame for the set buffet meal times you could go to a snack bar located in the bar area and have ice cream, pizza, chips, hotdogs and other food items. This too was included in your all inclusive package. The snack bar was only open when the dinning room was closed and it shut early in the evening, so I can't comment too much on the food as I only had a hotdog once and to be honest it was not the fantastic, but filled the gap.
In the bar you get free alcoholic drinks and soft drinks, but to reduce queuing times you are limited to only two drinks at a time. I found this perfect for us as there was only two of us, but many larger families were complaining as one in two of them also had to go to the bar. The bar is open from 10am - 12pm.
All entertainment and children's entertainment day and night was included. This included membership to animation which is a kids club run by qualified entertainers, they entertained the kids during the day and held a disco in the evening from 7.00pm until 9.00pm
You were offered a daily maid service, which we did on the first day but then declined and did it our selves from then on. On the first morning we were rudely awoken by the maid at 7.15 in the morning, she just walked in and started to clean while we were still in bed. So this we did complain about this and started to secure the door with a chair to avoid any similar occurrences, surely a do not disturb sign would have been much better.
Me and my partner did not really do anything at the hotel as the staff were rude, and the other guests who were just there to get plastered started to really grate on us as we were there to have a bit of sun and relax, so for that kind of holiday this is not the place to go.
The thing that really annoyed me was the fact that we had to wear those plastic wrist bands, mine was put on so tight is cut into my wrist and they did not seem to soften up at all throughout the stay, I actually had to ask someone at the airport to cut it off on my way home, and beware you will come back with a white bangle when you return home as the sun seems to attract to the band.
The restaurant food was okay for the first few days, but after that I found it all to be very bland and repetitive, I am not sure how people could eat this stuff all day everyday but if they have paid for it then why not, as I am sure that many of them paid a lot more than we did for our holiday.
I can only describe this place as that of the TV show Benidorm, where all the guests are rude and only there to either pull or get drunk. I personally found that this is not the kind of place for me.
Even though I have many gripes about this place, for the money we paid I could not complain. As I saw it the money I saved could be then spend on meals and drinks out, in the many bars and restaurants located through out the town.
Although the beach was a walk away I was happy as it was a pretty sandy beach the offered me the relaxation I wanted with brilliant views, plus it got me away from that awful hotel and all the noise.
I loved Tossa De mar itself and I would visit again, but as for the hotel I don't think I will be returning to it or any all inclusive resort for that matter as if feel we would not get our moneys worth.
I feel this is a family hotel or even better suited to stag and hen parties, if you are a couple looking for a relaxing break with nice food and a few quite drinks then this place is a definite no no.
This is quite a nice hotel and you get what you pay for. We stayed at this hotel in June for one week. We just wanted to get away and got a good deal at tossa beach hotel. The food was not too bad, plenty to choose from, fresh everyday, lots of salad everyday, a few different types of meat to choose from. For breakfast there wasnt that much that just cereal, croisants but if you miss breakfast or are still hungry, you can get something from the snackbar when it opens. The rooms were clean, the people were fun, although maybe got a bit carried away with the free alcohol. The entertainment was ok, but probably more for the kids. The pool is a bit shade, but if you just want to sunbath the sun comes around at about 11 and moves its way to the other side of the pool.
Had a 4 night stay in this hotel last summer. Myself and my girlfriend went here on an all inclusive break. It cost us around £600 for the 2 of us in the height of summer. I cant really fault the hotel to much as it was reasonably priced and we certainly got our moneys worth at the bar. It was however a typical spanish all inclusive hotel. the food was good but as usual in spanish hotels there was very little variety.
The staff were very polite but there english was not fantastic.
The location was good. tossa de mar itself is not huge so you are never to far away from the beach no matter where you stay.
The rooms are basic but have tv and are comftable.
The pool is clean but the area around the pool always seemed to be very busy. The brits are starting to take over this quite little area so if you are looking for a traditional spanish holiday its probably best avoided ... if your looking for a home away from home like many do when visiting spain you will find everything you need for your holiday.
Many are here just on a 3 or 4 night "fag run" as many say... the sale of there cheap cigarettes usually pays for there 3 days in the sun.
Having booked a week's holiday to go to America with some friends at the end of July, we ended up giving up due to the cost of the flights. So having booked the week off it seemed a shame to waste it and so Jenny booked the same week and we started looking for a late deal on lastminute.com. It was an all inclusive holiday to Tossa De Mar on the Costa Brava for £528 for both of us for 3 nights. The hotel, which was meant to be allocation on arrival turned out to be the Tossa Beach Hotel. This price included the flights, transfers and all inclusive accommodation, which during peak season was a bit of a bargain.
The transfer from the airport dropped us at a bus stop in the middle of town and the driver pointed us in the right direction, approx 200 meters down a side road towards the beach. As we walked down the road the hotel was quite easy to find, on the left hand side of the road there is a ramp up to the glass front doors, with Tossa Beach above the door. The reception was located just inside the front door, with a few internet terminals. Some chairs, a sofa and various information about local attractions.
The reception was pretty well staffed at all times and from the moment we checked in all of the staff were very helpful for the duration of our stay. At reception you are presented with a water proof band, blue for adults and red for kids, to show for meals and drinks in order to show your all inclusive status. The check in procedure took about 5 minutes and we were told our room number and where to go. In reception as well as the hotel's services they also book excursions for a local company to Barcelona and Montserrat.
From reception your room could be in one of the two buildings and within the hotel there are a total of 122 rooms spread over three floors. In addition to this there is a main bar on the ground floor and a restaurant in the basement. Our room was on the top floor above the bar and faced out onto a side street. The corridors and all quite well signposted and as well as a main staircase to each floor there is an external staircase and a lift to access all area of the hotel.
For us the room was exactly what we were looking for. We didn't intend to spend a great deal of time in there and so even though it may be classed as a little basic it did for us. We had a double bed and a single bed in the room, with a large double wardrobe, a TV and an en-suite bathroom. The bathroom was nice and clean and consisted of a bath with a shower in it, toilet and sink again this was exactly what we were looking for.
Each room came with a number of extra features, including a small balcony with 2 seats, which although not particularly big enough to sit on, was ideal for drying towels on. As well as the television the room also came with all the mod cons, kettle, a hair dryer and if you were willing to pay the small charge there was also a small safe to keep your documents in. The room wasn't the type of place you could spend long amounts of time but it was an ideal base, with a comfy bed and that was all that really mattered.
The only complaint we had with the room itself was the cleaning service. While we didn't have any problem with our room being cleaned, it was how early the staff seemed to want to come in and clean. It was always right after breakfast, rather than during while we were trying to get ready to go out for the day, which became a little bit of a pain.
We opted for all inclusive to try and keep our spending while we were away to a minimum. The restaurant in the basement was pretty reasonable. There were three set meal times, 7 till 10, 12 till 2 and 5 till 8 where the downstairs area was open. This was all included within the all inclusive bands and served a good variety of various English foods from sausages to chicken. While this was ideal for keeping costs down, it didn't really give you much of a chance to savour some of the traditional local food and for that reason we ate out in Barcelona during our trip down there.
The final area of the hotel covered by the bands was the main bar. It was located next to the pool and acted as not only the main bar but also the pool bar and snack bar. There was a minimum limit of two drinks per person, I assume to stop people from getting too many drinks at work. While I found the system quite easy, you just waved your band and were given your drinks, the fact they were in plastic cups gave certain drinks, beer in particular a funny taste. While it said on our information that snacks were free it should really have been pointed out that this included everything but packets of crisps.
All of the gripes were pretty minor though and with a hotel that was only 200 meters from the beach, right in the centre of town you couldn't ask much more. The hotel also had its own pool but during the 4 days we were there it was impossible to get anywhere near it, instead we opted for the short walk to the beach. The hotel itself operated a no noise policy after 12am but as long as you weren't over noisy it was easy enough to just pop into town after the hotel bar closed. Of course this policy also helped on those nights you want an early, peaceful night as there isn't a lot of noise keeping you awake.
Overall it was a nice enough hotel for what it was. It gave us a good central base in Tossa De Mar to get our heads down and eat and was close enough to explore. The old adage that you get what you pay for is certainly true, but I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with the Tossa Beach. It ticks all the boxes due to its close proximity to town and the beach and the fact we needed very little spending money. It was my first taste of an all inclusive holiday and for me it suited everything we needed within our budget. For the best deals on Tossa Beach holidays it's best to go through Lastminute as this includes flights etc and dependant on your travel dates the price can vary quite a bit.
Here I am going to review a recent trip me and my husband took to Tossa de Mar on the Costa Brava. Our hotel was less than impressive but for the 478.00 paid we got return flights, return transfers and a seven night stay in a four star all inclusive hotel, so we were not expecting much.
We were very impressed for the money we paid as it was only 239.00 each, you cannot even get a mini break in the UK for that money.
At Barcelona air port we collected our transfer and made the two and half our journey to Tossa de mar. The trip was rather daunting as this bus hurtled up very narrow roads that consisted of sheer cliff edge drops on the right hand side.
Other that the very erratic Spanish driver and the frightening experience of the cliff edges, the trip as truly stunning. After dropping other tourists off at LLoret de Mar we continued up into the hills of the Costa Brava, this long wining road followed the cliff allowing you perfect views of the bright blue ocean and the forests surrounding Tossa de Mar.
On arrival at Tossa our driver dropped us off in the centre of Tossa and pointed us in the direction on the hotel, this was less than perfect as we didn't speak much Spanish and the driver didn't understand any English, so basically we didn't have a clue where to go.
Finding the hotel was relatively easy to thanks to the clumsy driver, lucky we pound a lovely Spanish lady who spoke good English and she gave us perfect directions.
ARRIVING AT THE TOSSA BEACH HOTEL
As we walked up to the hotel, we were pleasantly surprised as it was all very modern compared to those surrounding it and it had a huge glass fronted double door and entrance, which supported the hotels four stars and looked really impressive.
Within the reception area we were greeted by three young but very friendly receptionists, who checked us in and gave us all of the information need for our week long stay, we also got branded with ugly blue hospital bands that we had to wear all week and the kids got given red bands, this is to let staff know that the people with red bands cannot be served alcohol.
The reception area consisted of computers for the internet access and huge comfy sofas for guests to read through recommended tours and booked them if they wanted to, but it was not forced upon guests, they could browse at their own leisure.
The hotel consists of 122 rooms, in two different apartment like buildings over four floors, the buildings looked nice and fresh as they had just been re-painted salmon pink which is not appealing to the eye, but it did look clean.
You can gain access to all floors by internal of external stairwells and an elevator is also available for guests, but if you are able to climb stairs I would advise you do this as the lift is so small you can only just squeeze two people into it, this then makes waiting for it a lot longer, so it is much quicker to walk the stairs.
The rooms are situated on the top two floors and the reception area, luggage room, bar, entertainment hall and restaurant are all situated on the bottom two floors.
Bar and entertainment finish promptly at 12am as the hotel run a strict no noise policy, so at five past midnight they expect you all to leave and go to your rooms without making any noise. We didn't go directly to bed we skipped down the street to one of the many bars that stayed open until 2am.
The only way I can describe this room is as very basic indeed, it was very clean and tidy but a little bit on the small side as it had both a double and a single bed in it. There was plenty of storage in the form or a chest a draws, wardrobe and bedside unit.
There is opening glass patio doors that lead out onto a balcony, which was also very small, I would really call it a ledge instead of sun terrace but it had two chairs outside, so I couldn't complain.
The view from the balcony was less than impressive as it looked right into the hotel next doors rooms, so good timing was essential when venturing onto the balcony. I wouldn't have really spent any time out there but as I am a smoker and the hotel has a strict no smoking policy, I had to go out for the odd cigarette.
All rooms came with a television, hairdryer, telephone, balcony, safe (with a small charge to actually lock it up), Air conditioning, kettle, a bath and shower.
As I have said these rooms are very basic and simple, but I feel these rooms would cater for a small family but no any more than two people you would feel like tinned sardines.
As far as standard all inclusive hotels go, the entertainment was also very basic but kept children and adults entertained.
The kids club animation is run by half a dozen Spanish youngsters in their early twenties, they did a kids disco between 7-9 every evening which was great for the little kids doing the chicken dance, but every night this was held in the main bar area, so those without kids had to endure screaming brats and the same rubbish songs every day.
At 9pm every night the hotel held the adult entertainment, this isn't to say kids were not allowed in because they were, it just meant that we didn't have to put up with their music. The entertainment over the week consisted of a flamenco show, karaoke, competitions, live singers and bingo.
By checking into this hotel you also have the opportunity to go to the Tossa beaches sister hotel that is situated across the road, here they held quiz nights and other entertainment. So if you bored you could stroll over and see what was happening, here I noticed that there were many pensioners so it was not as lively as the hotel we stayed in.
The bar is situated in the main entertainment hall and also had pool tables, air hockey, fruit machines and car racing games for you to play at a small charge of 1 Euro a play.
The bars drink range was massive, yes it was all Spanish ranging from larger, beer, spirits, juices, cocktails, coffee, tea and smoothies. The larger was refreshing during the day but as the week went on it started to taste funny, or a night I would drink the UKs equivalent to Malibu and coke.
You could only obtain drinks by flashing your blue hospital band and you were limited to two drinks per person, which I thought was mad surely one was enough but now I understand why this policy was put in place, as some people can be so greedy.
The swimming pool buffet is also located in the bar and offers snacks such as toasty sandwiches, burgers, chips, pizza and ice creams. This pool buffet is only available when the restaurant dining times were closed.
The only thing I will criticise about the bar and the restaurant is the fact that they serve all of you drinks in plastic beakers, which in my opinion were never cleaned or washed properly as they always seemed to have lipstick smudged all over them.
The restaurant is very clean and tidy with more than enough room to cater for all of the guests staying in the hotel, so there is never any shortage of tables.
This restaurant is run on a serve yourself buffet basis, you can eat as much or as little as you want and you can return to the buffet as many time as you like. They try to cater for three courses at each sitting, these being, starter, main and puddings.
My only gripe her was the crockery, it was all cracked, chipped and sometimes still dirty and the knives and forks were even worse as they were all bent and welded with yesterdays food.
As for the food the first few days were fine and sometimes enjoyable, but as the week went on it become very repetitive and we started to notice that the sausages from breakfast were coming out at tea time, but they added a sauce to disguise the fact it was left over's.
The continental breakfast was by far the best sitting for me as I got good old tea and toast, the lunch buffet consisted of pasta and salad every single day and the dinner buffet was stew, pasta, rice and that was about it.
I really don't know how people could eat in the restaurant three times a day, with this same old food. We only ate at the breakfast sitting and grabbed a bite to eat at one of the beaches restaurants that were located nearby.
This was our first all inclusive holiday I have been on, and I have to say I don't think I would do it again as I didn't eat at every meal time and I didn't really drink a lot. I maybe had two drinks a night so I don't think it is worth my while doing it again, but I can see how it would appeal to some.
All inclusive entitles you to the breakfast buffet, Lunch buffet, Dinner buffet, bar drinks soft and alcoholic, pool side snacks and live entertainment.
The restaurant is open for breakfast at 8.30am - 10.00am, Lunch 12.00pm-2.00pm and dinner 6.30pm-9.00pm. There is no need to take drinks down to the restaurant from the bar as it has a mini bar down stairs, which you can also use free of charge.
The pool side snack bar is open 10.30am-12.30pm, 3.00pm-5.00pm and open 5.00pm - 10.00pm for children's ice creams.
There is a large swimming pool surrounded by big bulky sun loungers, these make it difficult to walk around the pool as they only just fit long ways by the pool. I feel if you tried to pass the lounger by the pool you would stand a good chance of falling in.
The pool has a children area so your kids will be save from harm, there is not life guard so you can go into the pool at your own risk, at the side of the pool there is also a jacuzzi, which sounds good but it was never working while we stayed.
You can only go into the pool until 7.oopm and then it closes allowing the pool area to become a beer garden for the smokers.
OTHER ITHINGS THE HOTEL HAS TO OFFER
The main Tossa beach is located 150 meters down the street, so if you are disappointed with the pool area of just need a change of scenery then I would recommend a visit to the beach.
The hotel offers a money exchange service, which was very competitive with the exchange rate so I would recommend you to exchange cash, but don't change it back as you will lose out. You will be better waiting until you get home.
You have to check out of you room at 10.00am on the day of departure, so they offer a luggage room for you to store your belongings. This is very handy if you have a late flight, but I would advise you to keep all of you valuables, cash and passports on you as they give the key to the room, to any guest that asks for it, so you had better be safe than sorry as they staff don't monitor who goes in and out.
Internet access is available in the main reception area, along with a telephone to call the UK. It is recommended you use the phone down in the reception and not in your room as it will cost you a small fortune.
All of the staff speak fairly good English, but you have to get them in the right mood as they can just grunt at you. The bar staff were polite once you started to leave them tips, but if you showed them no respect or didn't use your manners they could be very off with you.
I can understand why the staff are so rude, as they work very long hours and guest treat them like muck. I have to admit I was ashamed to be British just seeing how the brits treated the staff made my skin crawl, as manners don't cost a penny.
After a few days the staff started to be friendlier with us, so I think that they are off with you from the word go and just assume you are like everyone else. Once they realise you appreciate the job they do, by saying please and thank you or even leaving small tips they actually start being pleasant.
The only staff I didn't like was the chamber maid, she never cleaned the room and the shower was in a disgusting state from the word go, we never once had clean towels and my ash tray was never emptied for the whole stay. We are not messy and don't expect people to clean up after us, but surly these are jobs she should have done.
Another thing that bugged the life out of me was the fact the maids started at 7.00am, we were one of the first rooms she would tackle so she expected us out of bed and out of the room at this time in the morning, and hence why we had breakfast every morning.
I hated the idea of the hospital bands to gain access in the bar and dining areas, it would have been much better with card or key to prove all inclusive status. Not only did I feel branded by the bands but it also ruined my sun tan, as I removed it I had a huge white band around my wrist that I have now been unable to cover up.
The go to bed and shut up policy felt like you were on a school trip, and I didn't appreciate being told to go to our rooms, but to a certain extent I can understand why the staff try to get rid of you, because they want to go home as they have been working since easier that morning.
The staff could be very rude, but if I was being treated like rubbish I would be rude too, wouldn't you? I really had to take my hat off to these guys as some would work 12 hour shifts and combine that with a load of drunks and rude people, it can't possibly be a great job to have.
I hated the fact I didn't even get a lay in on holiday, I just wanted to tell the maid where to stick her duster she never even used.
For the money we paid, we were happy with what we got but I would never go back again. I really don't understand these families that go on holiday and slob around drinking and never step foot out of the hotel, this is basically every person that stayed in the hotel.