Newest Review: ... which cost to hire, there was also alot of free space where one was able to lay down a few towels or kick a ball about. The beach is man... more
I would go again
Beaches in Spain
Member Name: lisajo
Beaches in Spain
Advantages: Lots to do to keep the kids entertained
Disadvantages: Nightlife is a bit lacking - but too much to complain about, it is a family place
I visited the resort of Son Bou, Menorca in May of this year. There were seven of us in the party; 4 adults and 3 children, aged 6, 2 and 7 months. We had booked the holiday back in November 2008 through Thomson holidays. We paid around £285 per adult and paid for just one of the kids at £149. That was for two weeks in a self- catering studio apartment.
SON BOU THE RESORT
When we landed at Mahon Airport we were transferred by mini-bus to our apartment complex, Girasol Garden Apartments, in Son Bou. The transfer took arrox 25 mins (which was a great relief as we have initially been told on booking that it was 1 1/2 hours transfer - phew).
Son Bou itself is quite built up with many beautiful apartments, villas and a couple of high rise hotels, built into the hills. For somewhere so tourist-y it is remarkably picturesque and pleasing to the eye. There is still some building works going on, although some of it looks like nothing has been done for a while.
It boasts the longest beach in Menorca, approximately 2km. The find golden sand seems to stretch for miles. The sea is clear blue and was quite warm at that time of year. There are three beach hut style restaurants/bars/eateries along the beach. It was wonderfully relaxing at one with a jug of sangria! The west side of the beach is popular with naturists - we steered well clear, but I am sure that the residents of the high rise hotels had a very interesting view to say the least. Not for those who blush easily.
Behind the beach, and running the full length on the hill above is a large development of privately owned 'villas, between these and the beach is the area known as San Jaime.
San Jaime was clearly built with family holidays in mind, with supermarkets, shops, restaurant, chemists, medical centre, car hire and money exchange places on hand. Basically everything a family would need.
Son Bou also homes a Christian Basilica, one of only three on the whole of Menorca. You would find it at the eastern end of the beach ( I am guessing that it's because it is the furthest away from the naturists on the west side, as possible!!) at the side of the two Sol hotels.
PLACES TO EAT
KIT KAT BAR - ONLY BRITISH BAR IN SON BOU
Kit Kat bar has plenty of entertainment including quiz nights, karaoke nights and course Sky Sports (The lads spent a lot of time there!) Its a great friendly atmosphere and very popular with the English; no surprise. They have air hockey and pool tables indoors and a sheltered street terrace to eat. Its great for any time of the day. Though the menu is quite limited - they don't have a full kitchen, just microwave, toaster and toasted sandwich maker from the sounds of it - the quality of the food is superb. They do great meal deals i.e. toasted sarnie and a pint for 5 euro. If you go for nothing else you must try out the Tapas menu. Though its not what I would call traditional Spanish Tapas, its tasters for sure. Try the Chilli Con Carne. Its perfect. I asked for the recipe but its a no go.
The staff are all English and really friendly, know a lot about the area and are not afraid to recommend somewhere else to eat or drink. There is a great cocktail menu too
Great for a traditional English Brekky at a great price. They use English Sausages and (they say) English Bacon (I reckon its Danish - but hey!)
THE IRISH BAR
Do great toasties, sandwiches etc. There is nothing much Irish about the place, though they do serve Magners Cider and have a lot of sport on.
Again, have a lot of sport on, serve sandwiches etc. Everything comes with chips. Its a friendly place. Worth a visit
We found two. One call MUNDO'S. Another whose name I forget (found next to the Hawaii Cocktail Bar). Anyway, we didn't try MUNDO'S, but the other one. The food was good and the price for a set meal was great (9.50 euro for three course and a pint or glass of wine (the glass of wine turned out to be a bottle, but was pretty gross). However, everything else about the place was poor, the staff, although not rude, where unfriendly and quite difficult to understand (I guess it was vice versa also). The toilets were right next to our table (behind two doors obviously) but not nice.
A lovely eatery, massive place. There is a pool table inside and little slot car machine things for the kids. They also have an African Grey Parrot inside, which got a little scared when my 2 year old nephew tried to get her attention with the pool cue!!! TIME TO LEAVE. Anyway, I digress. I like to try 'new' food on holiday and so opted for the Ostrich. Got a message back from the Chef to say 'no Ostrich', so had the suckling pig inside. It was beautifully cooked and presented well with mixed veggies and chips. My mate had a whole shoulder of lamb. Our waiter promised her a pint on the house if she managed to eat the entire meal, which she did. He kept to his promise! The staff are friendly and the prices not bad at all. I would personally recommend.
We ate here on the first night, for some strange reason everyone fancied pie and chips!! It was indeed pukka pie, served with chips but no options of mushy peas or beans which was a bit disappointing. The kids had sausage and chips. Twice we returned the sausages because they were pink and clearly undercooked. On their third attempt they are almost chargrilled! The ice cream sundae desserts were really good, but because of SAUSAGE GATE we never returned to eat!
GONDELIERS / GONDOLA
This was the Restaurant at our Hotel, but was open to everyone, with a bar and eating area downstairs and ala carte upstairs. Similar menus in both, but with upstairs being a bit posher. Things to try are Tournedo Rossini, Grilled Squid, the Goat dish and Profiteroles. All amazing, as is the Chicken Curry. Its not cheap upstairs, expect around 50 - 60 euros per couple. The ala Carte requires booking also, as they can get quite busy on a Friday and Saturday night.
Well, there is not much going on!!
Upstairs at Copacabana is a 'nightclub', if you can call it that. The place is okay really, loads of pool tables and fag machines dotted around. The barmen and women are great fun, some of them whizz about on roller-skates. They have a great cocktail menu. They have regular entertainment, mostly singing acts. We saw the Temptations tribute act twice and they were actually really good. There is a real mix of Brits, Spanish and Germans there.
HAWAII COCKTAIL BAR
Is a Sister of Copacabana. They basically serve Cocktails is extravagant ceramic jugs adorned with fruit, sparklers and oversize straws. They have comfy bamboo furniture everywhere and even seating suspended from the ceilings (I swung on one, one evening and couldn't stop myself with the momentum and ended up wiping out a table full of drinks! The staff were amused, cleaned up quickly, replaced the drinks and offered us 'free' shots. I think they wanted me to drink more and repeat.
The staff skate over and regularly take photographs which they claim they put on a social networking site.... I can't find them when I search unfortunately.
Its a great place, they readily welcome children. Whilst we were there one evening they even had a Youth event, looked like 13 -16 year old, drinking cocktails. I don't know what the regulations are there. There are football tables, air hockey, pool tables a ride on carousel and sit on's for the kids and the big kids.
Disco Disco Discotheque. Well this has to be the worst example of a Discotheque I have ever seen. We made two attempts to visit, but both times were completely put off by the lack of other Discothequers in attendance. There were none. So, both times, we quietly backed out the door and went elsewhere.
Just a quite place to have a few cocktails and play a bit of Pool in the evening.
CLUB SAN JAIME/SON BOU GARDENS/GIRASOL GARDENS
These three hotels seem to club together and share the night-time entertainment out between them. There is almost always a mini disco for the kids in the evening, a quiz or live band/singers. They also held a BBQ night, with quiz, kids face painting and loads of entertainment for 15 euro an adult and 7.50 a child, with food, drink and prizes. That was quite a good night.
The only issue everyone had with the hotel entertainment was that it was held right by the swimming pools. Really puts you on edge when there are 50 -60 young children running riot, afr to close to the edge!
GIRASOL GARDEN APARTMENTS
We had a 2 bedded studio apartment, with a pull out double bed and cot in the lounge area. There was a small kitchenette, well stocked with glasses, crockery and cooking utensils, oven, hob , microwave and fridge. It was very clean. The maid service was not regular enough for us though and we did have to ask at the Reception several times for more toilet roll - two rolls would not last 7 people a week surely!
The swimming pool at the apartment was manned by a 'Lifesaver' during its opening hours 11.00 - 6.30am and was clean. There is an adult pool and a baby pool too.
We were also able to use the 'mushroom' pool at Son Bou Gardens Apartments next door. This pool was bigger, also with and adult pool and baby pool, but with the added interest of a self operated Jacuzzi and mushroom shaped water feature. It is attached to the Gondola bar and restaurant and therefore taking your own food and drinks to this pool is strictly prohibited. Not too strictly though - it didn't put us off and there was never any come back. Having said that the prices at the bar were not bad 2.50 euro for a beer (not quite a pint as in a paper cup for sitting by the pool). The pool was a decent temperature too. It was absolutely scorchio while we were there so chucking yourself in the pool was the only way of cooling down.
The reported 5 minute walk to the beach was more like 25. There is a protected march land between Girasol Gardens and the beach so it was a long walk round. That was a bit disappointing.
LOCAL THINGS TO DO
We spent most of our time by the pool or at the beach but did venture out to Mahon. The coach departs hourly from loads of locations throughout the resort. We paid 2.25 euro each for the coach travel to Mahon and didn't pay for the baby and the 2 year old. It took about 25 -30 minutes to get to the Centre of Mahon. We visited on a Tuesday, which is market day. The market was okay, not really my thing but they do have some bargain Espadrilles (about 15 euro compared to at least 40 euro in the shops).
We went on the glass bottom boat Don Jaun for a trip around Mahon Harbour, which is the second biggest harbour in the world, next to Pearl Harbour. This was not quite what we expected, but was enjoyable nonetheless. We expected to see a really wide Harbour with hundreds of luxury yachts! The Harbour is very very long, there are some luxury yachts, but the guide naturally focuses on the history of the Harbour and the beautiful hill top villas. Richard Branson used to own a place there. Spot it if you can!!
Mahon is also home to the Gin factory, which was one reason I wanted to go. Sadly, we didn't make it to the Gin factory as the boat trip took well over an hour and we wanted to get back as the kids were weary. We could have done with going again, but tanning was clearly more important to us.
There is loads of stuff to do on the island, Water parks, visits to historical building etc, but we didn't do it, so I can review it. There was a Dancing Horses show we would have likes to have seen but found that the Thomson reps were selling for 35 euro per adult, which we found a bit steep, hence didn't go.
Most Cigarette machines sell at 3.25 euro, B&H, Lamberts, Marlboro, that sort of thing. There are a couple of vending machines about that sold 200's for around 31 - 32 euro. IF you plan to stock up cheap you would be better to go into Mahon or Alaior to the Tabacconists. There are no Tabacconists in Son Bou
I took £700 which converted to 730 euro and had 12 euro left at the end of the holiday. We ate out everyday at least breakfast and evening meal and probably 7 out of 14 lunches, and loads of drink. I could quite easily spend that in the UK if I ate out that often. The supermarkets were quite expensive and the euro - sterling exchange rate that credit crunch definitely had an influence.
Thomsons ran Kidzone to help keep the little ones entertained. Children need to be over 3 years of age. We didn't use it as we prefer to keep the children with us on holiday, plus only one of them was old enough and wouldn't have gone on her own.
A great family resort, with loads to do if you can be bothered to get on a Coach. Clean place, friendly residents, staff and holidaymakers. Excellent time. I would go again.
Summary: Great all round family holiday