I can honestly say this is the most disappointing holiday experience I ever had. I requested and paid a supplement for a single room. There are 3 Lapoint properties in Ericeira. As it was early September only the main camp was full and the other two houses where single rooms are located were empty. So the management decided to stick me in a 4 bed dorm on my own in a shack beside the office on the main property. The sheets were damp, the room ridden with mosquitoes, other insects and dirt. After a sleepless first night battling the insects I complained in the morning and they switched me to a dorm in the main building. The dorm was a 6 bed, I felt especially guilty about being there as they then decided to stick two newcomers in my mosquito shack but I was so tired I took it up for a few nights before more people arrived and I switched to one of the other Lapoint Ericeira properties, Mollinos. I have absolutely no complaint over this second house in Mollinos it was clean and not overrun by insects.
I am Irish, I appreciate this camp is Scandinavian but given that they have a website in English and when I enquired seemed happy to take non-Norwegian speakers as guests, I thought it should be fine. I was travelling alone but speak French, German and a little Spanish and Portuguese so thought I'd be sure to be able to strike up a few conversations. In the event I did but found the staff were exclusive rather than inclusive. For them seemed a real pain to have to explain things to me in English. On the plus side I now have a few words of Norwegian and Swedish. However, overall I found that the overriding staff attitude seemed to be that they were there on their holiday and their guests were an unwelcome intrusion. It was very cliquish with the staff and a few long term guests being the cool gang and the short term 1 or 2 week guests being in the uncool club, especially if they were not experienced surfers.
Finally I should say something about the lessons. If you are an extremely ambitious surfer who is looking to be physically challenged and pushed to improve then you'll love this camp. If on the other hand you're less driven and are really there for a holiday and to improve your surfing rather than for an absolute all-in work out then this is not the camp for you. You are given clear objectives before each outing, which I think is great. What I didn't like so much was the individual criticism which was given out to each student by the instructor as the other students stood around in a circle. Surfers were divided into 3 sections, beginner, intermediate and advanced and then each section had an A and B team. Your criticism also included a promise of possible promotion to the A team or demotion to the B team of your category if you'd been a bold boy or girl. I could have sworn I was back playing under 12 football. One instructor was the stereo typical latin macho man, fawning over the girls, flexing his muscles and showing everyone how it's done, paying much less time to the guys or anyone but the most attractive ladies. On the other hand the second instructor was great, modest, helpful to all and an all round nice guy.
My trip was in September 2013, I am writing this in June 2014. I was originally so disappointed I didn't want to write a spiteful review. I just wanted to forget about an awful time and move on. I am writing now so that anyone as I am on another surf trip and hope that anyone who is likeminded: i.e. who wants both a holiday and great surf, makes a better choice and avoids this place. I am currently on a surf camp in Surfivor in Esmoriz in North Portugal and am having a great time. In Portugal have previously stayed in Extreme Algarve in Lagos and think that place is the absolute best of many surf stays I have had. I have also stayed with Peniche Kite & Surf centre back in 2006 an that was good too. I know there are other options in Ericeira but I didn't stay in those so cannot comment, had I not prepaid for my stay I would have moved on from Lapoint after the first couple of days.
If I could sum up Lapoint Ericeira in one word: AVOID
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, you will certainly find plenty to do at our surf camp in Ericeira. This is the perfect spot for people wanting to surf in Europe since it has everything to make your trip a success; good waves, a relaxed atmosphere, great people, and lots of things to see and do. We offer various forms of accommodation to suit singles, couples, families and groups. Lapoint Surf camp Portugal combines comfortable accommodation with surfing instructions. It is based on a vision of establishing an unpretentious environment where the aim is to have fun together regardless of age, gender, nationality or surfing skills. All our camp staff love surfing, and their job is to make sure that you have as good a time as possible. WHAT TO EXPECT Lapoint is synonymous with a pleasant atmosphere, plenty of surf, and meeting new people. This is what we guarantee. The rest is very much up to you. Hope to see you soon, we look forward to surfing with you! ... more less