We have just returned from ten days at the Bonaire on an all-inclusive basis. We had a nice holiday, travelling with a two year old and a baby but wouldn't consider returning.
The hotel is great for kids, which is why we chose it. There are plenty of high chairs in the restaurant and the cots, playpens etc provided in the rooms are of a high quality but if you have no children, avoid this hotel like the plague! We were travelling off-peak which meant that the children were young so the hotel wasn't too chaotic, but I imagine in the middle of August with the older children and their lilos and water pistols in the pool, it would be chaos!
A hotel with so much entertainment is probably more appropriate for older children than toddlers. The whole concept of "organised fun" is not really our thing, and although our daughter loved the mini-disco and Thomson the Dog, we couldn't bear to go to the evening entertainment more than a few evenings out of the holiday because it was all very amateur and made us cringe somewhat. We found sitting round the pool listening to the constant music, inane chatter on the microphones and organised activities quite tiring after a while, though can appreciate that some people would enjoy it. The entertainment team couldn't be faulted for their enthusiasm in spite of their sometimes fake smiles, but some of the kids reps made it clear they did not really want to be on stage. We had one day of rain where the entertainment moved inside and the inside bar reminded me of a working man's club with décor from the 1970s. It's in definite need of a refurb!
Our room (5008) was very noisy and as we have small children, we intended on putting them to bed and then sitting on the balcony with a few drinks. Unfortunately the noise from the stage made this impossible, as even with the balcony doors closed, we could hear everything so we had to sit in the lounge, which was disappointing as we can do that at home. The loudest event of all was the Broadway evening, which I believe was also the reps cabaret, which was ridiculously loud to the point that it really annoyed me. I can't imagine there are many rooms where you could escape the noise from the stage so if your children are very light sleepers, it may be worth bearing this in mind and asking for a quiet room. Even in the day there was noise from the road if we tried to sit on the balcony. We considered asking for a room change but decided it was too much hassle with the kids.
Don't expect much from the children's buffet, it's basically chips, beans and burgers with one more option every single lunch and dinner time with yoghurts and cakes as desserts. Luckily our daughter didn't realise she could choose her own food so we could restrict her chip intake but it would be a battle with the older kids! Lunch at the splash pool is burgers, pizzas and chips, though there is a slightly wider choice at the main pool bar. It's served as a buffet so if you don't eat at the beginning some of the food looks quite grim, so I would recommend a fresh chicken baguette that is cooked fresh.
We initially intended on booking B&B but decided to go AI as it didn't work out that much more expensive by the time we had bought drinks and ice creams around the pool every day. We ate our evening meal in the hotel a couple of times but couldn't have done it every night for the whole holiday. The dining room staff are lovely but the room itself needs a refurb as it's soulless, lacking in atmosphere and the food is mediocre. Breakfast is of a higher standard than dinner but eating in a hotel every night is not our idea of fun so perhaps that influences our opinion. The drinks in the pool bar were served in disposable cups and the food on plastic plates and, whilst I can understand why they don't use glass, it made it feel very down market.
The rooms are nice, recently refurbished with everything you need as long as you aren't really planning on cooking. The shower is very weak, the room only gets cleaned five times a week and the cleaners literally only make the beds and give a quick sweep and that's it. (The curtain had got caught behind our cot and hadn't been moved at all after the cleaners had been in- They definitely don't move any furniture to clean!) The beds are quite hard and the sheets quite scratchy but in a hotel of that type I wouldn't expect anything else.
We hired a sterliser which was really useful, and they also provided a bottle warmer. When we first used our microwave at around 10pm at night, we discovered it didn't work and our toilet wouldn't flush. Within 15 minutes we had a new microwave and fixed toilet. Very impressed with the service, and the reception staff were very friendly and helpful.
The resort of Cala Bona is pretty with some lovely restaurants (our favourite was Oliva) and the hotel is ideally located at the end of the resort. We got the mini-train to Cala Millor, which as a resort felt much bigger and less authentic although the beach was nicer. It did surprise us that the staff virtually everywhere came from the UK or other European countries but I suppose that is just Majorca. Having been to Menorca and Ibiza previously, it wasn't what we expected though.
All in all I would summarise this hotel as clean, safe and suitable for children and exactly what I expected from a Thomson Family Resort. I think 4* is pushing it a bit but the apartments do meet this standard and it's expensive for what it is. If you like English entertainment, food and an easy holiday then it's an ideal choice.
Ask for a room without a pool view!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.