We booked the Inturotel Esmeralda Garden Hotel at Cala D' Or based on both favourable reviews and photographs and had high expectations. Our flights with Ryanair were not a problem apart from our baggage weighing far less on a new pair of scales at home than it did at the airport. Goldcar was a different case altogether and we will certainly never use them again. However, this is not the place to tell that story.
So to the hotel, which by the time we actually got there in the middle of the night, thought that we were a no show. The room was utilitarian but clean, possibly a bit dated and as proved to be fortuituos, situated at the rear of the building. It was not however, the same hotel that the photographs had shown and led us to believe that we were staying at when we booked.
The main hotel is indeed idyllically situated but horrendously noisy. The block that we were in faced on to a Karaoke / tribute act bar playing decades old music for the most part and whilst they did finish at midnight, would have been dreadful had we been in rooms at the front.
We had booked half board and our first visit to the restaurant for breakfast showed a comprehensive spread of breakfast ingredients from Europe with some odd additions such as vegetables including sprouts !. The English breakfast consisted of rusk sausages of poor quality, bacon of the typical Spanish type both sitting in bain maries. Eggs were cooked fresh but unfortunately the rest was cold and this proved to be the case throughout our stay.
So we tried dinner. Too early the first time since the restaurant was packed with screaming infants running amok. Once again, copious quantities of food which was adequately presented but sadly lacking in any taste and obviously created using the lowest budget ingredients. It might be OK for the kids to be offered beef nuggets (disgusting as always) and other food along the lines of the now defunct "turkey twizzlers" but for grown ups, something a little more appetising and palatable is in order. As with breakfast, the food generally tended to be barely lukewarm.
During our stay we endeavoured to continue to eat in the restaurant (since we had paid for it) but the story of the first night remained the same. When we arrived, we had been told that dinner was served until 21.30 hrs. so to avoid the creche we turned up for dinner at 20.45 hrs. one night only to find that by the time we had finished our starter, all of the rest of the food had been cleared away. The manager said that the normal time was 21.00 but until a day prior to that it had been extended to 21.30. Pity no one told us.
Food never improved even on the so called gala night and we discovered after each meal that we both felt bloated and uncomfortable. Laxatives are usually the very last thing required in Spain but anyone living of this sort of stodge for any length of time is going to need them. On one of our last meals in the restaurant, the manager came over to us and said that he had heard that we were not impressed. We saw him go over to the food, touch it for temperature and immediately call for it to be replaced with hot food. Later on, he then showed me that there were lights and lifted up the bain marie. Unfortunately, the lights were merely to light the food, not to keep it hot and the bain maries had no water in them and were merely relying on an element which should have been used to keep water warm rather than a couple of inches of air.
I suppose if you have kids or live of beans on toast every night then the food might have been almost acceptable but for normal adults, it was quite frankly, appalling. (if you had wanted to have a meal in the restaurant and paid for it, it would have cost something like 16.95 euros which would have been outrageous.
The hotel is not German owned or run as might be expected but was originally part of the Spanish Iberdrola chain (now defunct). This might go someway towards explaining things because a German run hotel would never allow such low standards of food etc.
The general staff however were always friendly and polite and did their utmost to try and help and address matters.
Finally, the beds in the room were by far the most uncomfortable that we had ever slept in (and that includes sleeping on the ground in a tent ! Each had a rubber sheet which made them feel like you were sleeping in sandpaper. Once removed it was marginally better but still very uncomfortable.
Staff started cleaning rooms from early in the morning and the moving (loud grating) of furniture from rooms abov, below or adjacent, precluded any lie in - assuming that you had had any sleep in the first place.
We were asked the day before our stay ended what time we would be checking out and replied "by 11.00 hrs". On the morning of our last day a knock on the door at something like 08.30 was answered to a maid wanting to clean the room - she was told firmly but politely that actually we were still in bed and to go away. This was followed by a phone call asking us again what time we would be vacating the room.
Settling our bill for drinks etc. proved to be difficult since no one knew where to pay and even suggested taking our English phone number so that they could ring us with the final total (they had already taken details of a credit card). Fortunately we were able to settle up eventually without recourse to such an action.
We booked with great expectaions based on research, descriptions and photos as well as many favourable comments on Trip Advisor. Sadly things did not meet those expectations. Had it been a quick 200 quid each job including flights etc. it might possibly be churlish to be quite so critical but our holiday cost considerably more than that and thus I have to say that it offered poor value for money.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.