We have been visiting Nerja for 20 yrs and have made almost 60 visits (mainly DIY) in this time. This was our first stay at the Balcon Hotel, we have previously stayed at over 15 other locations in Nerja, usually apartments. We had seen it as a special offer from Thomson - Half Board. It was also a first to travel by coach from Malaga as we always rent a car. The Rep in Malaga told those of us booked at the Balcon that a minibus from the hotel would be waiting at the Hotel Monica where the first group would be disembarking. There was no minibus, for us or the other 2 couples destined for the Hotel Balcon.
After 10 mins one of the others asked in the Monica about the bus and was told it was en route. After 40 mins in shade and a cool wind, we decided to walk to the Balcon with our cases and left the others. On arrival at the Hotel Balcon we informed the receptionist of our wait. She told us the driver had left some time ago to collect us. We went through the check in, after which, the other 2 couples arrrived. This was 1 hour after being dropped off in resort. The receptionist did tell us that the Rep phoned the Balcon to say we would be there about 12.00 but we were there over 20 mins before that, and the minibus arrived at the Monica hotel at 12.30. That was a problem made by Thompson, however the following day a large tray with a fresh fruit basket, & mineral water, was delivered to the rooms of those affected by way of apology from the hotel, no apology was forthcoming from the Rep.
The room was ok, very clean & comfortable, with no view, except an enclosed 'vertical tunnel' but we had not paid anywhere near the normal price so accepted this. 'Happy Hour' 5.30 till 6.30 was good value but the waiters were surly, this comment was heard from several guests during the week. The 'happy hour' crew were also the dining room crew for dinner !!The breakfast was excellent, cereals, full continental including Andalusian choices, and hot buffet, and bottles of cava on ice. Dinner however, was a totally different and mediocre matter. The Maitre d' insisted on taking the order for all 3 courses at the same time. The noise from staff laying up each table for breakfast 30 mins before end of service was very loud and intimidating, and the habit of reaching across ones face to clear tables, was very unprofessional.
The daily menu was posted in reception and offered at €20. I am a worldwide traveller, I am normally very easily pleased with food of all cusines. The food served here however was far less attractive across the week than I would have expected for an €8 menu del dia. Meat was 'wet' and tastless and for most meals the vegetables were bland. I am a ships steward and am regularly assessed on food safety and 'temperate aware'. The food had appeared not to have been 'probed' for the correct serving/holding tempurature as it was usually just warm & never hot. One evening on our way to dinner we could smell fish on our floor which was 2 floors above the Restaurant. 2 nights per week dinner was a buffet (this seemed to coincide with the Maitre d's nights off) This was by far the better option on both occaisions, food was of a more acceptable temperature and the extra choices were very welcome especially being able to choose course by course, however we were bemused by a couple of offers for deserts - one was marshmallows on sticks, and the other, a bowl of Haribos (mainly the fried eggs & coke bottles) For a 4star hotel I found this an amazing miss match. There were no children staying at the time. In fact I have stayed at 2* ApartamentoTuristicos in Nerja with higher standards.
It was 3rd week in November, and contractors spent several days putting up Christmas decorations, I began to think I was staying in a British Turkey n' tinsel hotel rather than a 4* hotel on an iconic Andalusian landmark, or am I just a Bah Humbug?
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