Apologies in advance for the length of this review. If I were unsure I'd want as much information as I could get and so I hope I can convey my thoughts based on our experience at the PSV.
This is the first time I have ever been compelled to write a review of a holiday destination, but our experience at PSV warrants it.
I am not really the holiday person in my family. I tend to go where I am told but on this occasion after my wife chose the PSV last year, I very much voted for going back, and will try the same next year, and probably the year after.
Holidays are my wife's passion, she lives for them (and the children!). She puts a great deal of effort into planning the ideal holiday so that we can enjoy quality family time, but because of that she looks for variety and new experiences. While it is great to find a fantastic place, there are so many holiday destinations to visit in the world, that it's a waste to spend the limited time we have replicating a holiday experience we've already enjoyed.
It's the same with food. We are foodies, and make a habit of trying out every top London restaurant we can. Even if we find a great place, there's no need to go back, because the choice is so vast.
Yet despite this, my wife was also happy to go back to the PSV and will agree with me next year. It is with some reluctance, but it is hard to deny its qualities and attractions.
No place is perfect, and while I can understand some of the points in the negative reviews I have seen, they are not sufficient to deter us from coming or enjoying our holiday. I think it is unfair to blame a resort for the behaviour of some of the other guests, but I can assure you it is not indicative of the "type" of people the hotel attracts.
We made friends the first time we visited, and exchanged numbers, we saw many of those same people back again this year. It is actually astounding that of everyone we chatted to around the pool over the two weeks we stayed, we only met one couple who were visiting for the first time, they knew within two days that they’d rebook.
This simply doesn’t happen in any other place we have been, and we’ve made a point of doing the rounds of what are considered the “top” resorts in Europe.
The reasons for this are simple. We are restricted to child friendly places, with hot weather. We like a decent pool and if possible a beach. Chiefly for us it’s about the food. We need variety and quality. The Sani and especially the PSV has answers for all of this and then provides added features. When you roll this into one package, it might not be perfect, but it ticks far more boxes than any of the many places we have tried previously, and believe me my wife’s standards are high – except for her choice in husbands!
Weather – perfect and flawless the entire length of both our trips.
Flight time – three hours from London
Transfer time - 40 mins.
Customer service – unrivalled outside the Far East.
Beaches – stoneless, white and deep, with reserved areas and free child care, plus waiting staff and towels provided. No they aren’t right next to the hotel, but they are less than three minutes’ walk through a lovely marina, and if you can’t handle that, ask for a free golf buggy at reception and they’ll take you anywhere. This ignores the best part of the beaches which is the clean clear water, which is as warm as the pools (also perfect temperature unlike in Spanish, Portuguese and Canarian resorts I could mention) but more importantly that it is two to three feet deep for upwards of 100 yards, meaning children of all ages can really use it, with and without adult supervision. There’s also a huge selection of water sports available.
Restaurants and food – enough for huge variety with typically with excellent quality, we are vegetarian which restricts us to some degree but no more so than we struggle with anywhere in the world.
Pools - dedicated toddlers pool - ranges from three to eighteen inches. The normal pool also starts at three inches with a gradual slope increasing in depth. It's one of the few hotels with a 3.5m deep pool for diving. There's also an adult only pool very close by (45 feet away) which somehow manages to be extremely peaceful. This is attached to the spa which has an indoor (opening up) pool including directed jets for massage and relaxing purposes.
Kids Club – well staffed by young enthusiastic girls, almost exclusively English.
Topography – almost perfectly flat – great for hiring bikes – but not tiring to walk around.
Entertainment – night time shows in relaxed environment of Garden theatre, again with waiting staff providing a captivating experience for the children. In addition, there is the white knights party night which is like clubbing on the beach but again children are welcome – incredible atmosphere if you can stay awake in the heat! There’s also the amphitheatre which shows very up to date films on a projector with a great sound system in an outside setting. Then there’s the kids mini disco although this appeals for only a limited age range and its locations moves between Sani hotels. Then there’s the appeal of hiring a boat, or the complimentary trip around the coast, or the sunset cruise. Or you can just relax in the lovely setting of the Marina and walk around the multi-million pound yachts.
Please note. I can't comment on the spa as I didn't go in, and my 4/5 rating below for value, is aimed at the industry prices and is only a reflection on the fact that I am struggling to come to terms with the costs of holidays now. In comparison to anywhere else I would consider going, the value is excellent, but I just struggle with the costs of holidays in general! If I could change it to reflect reality, I would give 3/5 for price and 5/5 for value given that I have to accept the industry price for a 5 star resort.
All the above are just the thoughts that immediately come to mind. The overwhelming feeling is one of security and relaxation. The resort has a very calm vibe, which is ideal for promoting the holiday mood and spirit. It takes only a day to feel relaxed there after the stresses of work. I can’t put my finger on exactly what causes this but it’s likely to be a mixture of all the above, predominantly coming from the children being happy.
Please don’t think that it is perfect. It can’t be everything to all people, nowhere can. That’s probably the reason why I’ve not bothered reviewing a place before because you’ll never know the standards of the reviewer and your own experience will differ based on your patience levels, taste in food, heat tolerance, the delay in your flight etc. Anywhere you go is going to be a risk, but on paper and on recommendations, the PSV is by far the least risk of any of the options we have or will consider in Europe. The reason we’ll go back is that although there’s a chance somewhere else might be better overall, it can’t be much better, and will probably be worse. For two precious weeks of my life, I’m not prepared to be disappointed that I made a mistake not sticking with what I know. The world is a small place, especially with the internet letting anyone, even me, turn into a reviewer. If anyone really does find somewhere better in Europe for a holiday with children, please tell me where.
I had my gripes after the first holiday, but I wrote to provide feedback and they listened. I complained that they didn’t serve Diet Coke, to which I am addicted. On arrival this time they had noted this from my email 10 months earlier and had it waiting for me. The manager was waiting as we arrived and helped in person to unload our luggage – where else do you get that?
Another example, the breakfast is possibly the nicest I have experienced anywhere in the world (make sure you try the a la carte). They have a pastry chef who bakes fresh cakes daily. Early on I happened across the almond croissants which were divine, but they stopped being served for about three days. I mentioned it to the manager who sent a text there and then to the chef to make sure they were served the following day. They were not, and I casually, jokingly expressed my disappointment – believe me I don’t need them. That afternoon, I returned to my room to avoid the 2pm sun with the children to find a platter of almond pastries of all kind, and an apologetic note along with two bottles of wine!
Things like the staff on the main desk knowing you and calling you by name whenever you approach them. Little touches make a huge difference to your impression of a place.
I have some new complaints, all minor, but in speaking to senior staff members, they welcome anything I can tell them and I know from previous experience, that they will take note of my
points in search of perfection – making next year’s trip even better.
How can anyone complain about that?
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.