If you want a lively, British, pie and chips, kareoke, Butlins by the sea, stop reading now. However, if you want a clean, well maintained, quiet, well-behaved complex with fresh local food, in a stunnng location with an international clientele - read on.
We booked this complex early on a special offer through Direct Holidays and got a great deal (to book through Thomas Cook or Thomson it would have cost over £600 more). This is one of the nicest complexes (for us) that we have ever stayed in - having said this, checking on the internet over the last couple of days, we won't be back unless we can find another special offer as 2010 prices are completely out of our league - our continental cousins pay far more for their holidays than we do!!!)
Our one-bedroom apartment was a good size with loads of storage. No kettle/toaster (hireable from reception, if you want). The apartment had been recently refurnished/tiled/repainted and was very pleasant. On the downside, the bathroom had no window or extraction fan and therefore there was some mould on the paintwork and grout etc (understandable as the complex is only open for 6 months of the year). It was great to have aircon without having to pay for it!
The hotel gardens are nicely laid out with mature planting and lawned areas giving lots of shade and were very well maintained. We only used the big pool (our apartment faced onto it) but this was clean and tidy. Sunbeds were not a problem except possibly at peak times (there seems to be a changeover most days, this helps). There are not really enough parasols and some parasol theft did take place! I have never been anywhere where at 0930am you can saunter out, reserve 3 sunbeds and a parasol and have a good swim in an empty pool, with no blaring music - bliss. The animation team did provide some kids activities in a corner of the pool in the late afternoon but this didn't interfere. I can't comment on evening entertainment but we always got a good night's sleep (perhaps to do with aircon and double glazing). There were a lot of young children around the complex but they were extremely well-behaved and well supervised (other nationalities seem to put the Brits to shame!)
Food was excellent, lots of fresh salad, fruit, grilled meats/fish, tapas and menorcan dishes with a slight bias towards Dutch/German cuisine. Drinks were reasonable (2 euros for 1/2l water). We had decided to stay half board because of the pound's parity with the euro and, looking at prices in supermakets, cafes and restaurants, it was a sound decision.
Hotel reception was pleasant and efficiant but their English was slightly limited. Maids were friendly and helpful. The hotel has an international clientele, weighted towards the Dutch/Germans (who have very high standards) but we also heard Italian, French and Spanish. Very few Brits stay here.
Menorca seems to have had a major problem with car hire this summer, we normally book online before we go but couldn't get anything 6 weeks before departure. Although the Thomas Cook rep tried her best, AVIS couldn't find us a car at all. Luckily, as soom as we arrived we asked hotel reception if they could help, within half an hour they had provisionally booked a vehicle from Nuracar for a week in the middle of our holiday (slightly more expensive than Avis but a higher category).
The hotel location is superb, it's on a quiet, rocky headland giving direct access to the main Cala'n Bosch beach (beautiful but crowded) and two mins from the western end of Son Xoriguer beach (sand and rock - excellent snorkelling in the evening). The marina is only 5-10 mins walk but a world away. There was a little occasional noise from the appalling 70s Hotel Cala'n Bosch (across the bay) but no disturbance (double glazing and aircon again).
I would recommend a hire car for exploring the island - there are bronze age sites everywhere (some with a minimal entrance fee and a leaflet, most not), they are easily found (purple road signs). The cave necropolis at Cala Morell is stunning as are the huge caves near Es Migjorn (40 min scramble down a ravine). Cala en Turqueta is beautiful, but get there early as there are only 120 tightly controlled parking spaces. Cap de Cavalleria is wild (puffins and goats) with good snorkelling at the tiny Playas de Viola. Playa de Cavalleria is beautiful but it was windy when we went, high surf and a strong undertow. Gala Galdana seems to have a problem with what the locals call spiderfish (seems to be similar to our poisinous weaverfish), when we went the water was far from clear and there was a terrible smell of sewage/seaweed. Instead we went to Cala Mitjana - the car park is closer to the cala than at Turqueta but the access is 1km of concreted hairpin with steep drops, 1 1/2 car's width with few passing places - not again!.
If you go to Ciutadella, park near the port - free parking all day and on the way back, don't miss the Lithica (sandstone) quarry and botanic gardens - signposted from the bypass (ronda). The cheese factory at Ferreries is worth a quick visit as is the animal park (not really a zoo) at Alaior. The Menorcan Stallions (Ferreries/Galdana) are spectacular and you can go and see a mini-show in the afternoon - their evening appearance 'Somni' looks like it would be worth seeing - but expensive.
It is worth noting that the main, non-resort beaches, are well protected (they are all part of the Biosphere reserve) and as such have limited facilities. Every one that we went to had toilets and noticeboards about flora and fauna but no sunloungers/beach bars etc. Most of them have parking some way from the beach and in some areas, access is by wooden steps. The beaches with limited parking have electronic signs at the bypass roundabouts indicating whether they are full - saving you a 5-10km trek down narrow roads, only to be turned away by a tourist board official and a load of traffic cones.
The only poor thing about our holiday was the flight home (Thomas Cook please note). We were delayed because two big families had decided that they would not pay for pre-booked seats but, on boarding, insisted on being sat together. In the end the pilot had to announce that the plane would not take off until the seating was sorted out and asked for volunteers who were willing to move. Having paid for pre-booked seats for our party, to prevent this happening, I was extremely annoyed by these 'freeloaders'.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in front of the beautiful beach of Cala' Bosch with direct access to it. Apartments: Living room. Kitchen. Double bedroom. Bathroom. Heating/ air-conditioning. Sat-TV. Terrace. Sport & Leisure: Two swimming pools, separate children's pool. Swimming lessons. Children's playground. Evening shows. Tennis court in 20 m Gastronomy: breakfast and dinner buffet, Show Cooking. Snack & Lounge bar. Services: Babysitting service. Buggies, intercoms and high chairs rental. Car and bike rental. Internet. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grupotel Aldea Cala`n Bosch Hotel Ciudadella
- Grupotel Aldea Cala'n Bosch Spain/Minorca