Ok, 5th return visit in 6years, and to my favourite island of Mallorca.
Palma with all of its changes, and more to come, is as busy as ever and the changes to it are for the better. Coach journey to the resort and hotel, was 25 mins. 1st drop off in fact, bonus.
Check in - Quick, but our room was not quite ready as we arrived pre Noon. Had to wait a little time, but to be fair that was expected. The reception area has not changed in the 5 years we have been, its clean, cool and of course minimal in its design/layout. 4 lifts (2 people and 2 cases max) take you to the floors.
Rooms - Basic, clean, what more do you want? Bedding could do with being replaced by now....as the sheets and mattresses have seen better days, but you only spend about 10 hours a day in there at most....and thats sleeping. Air Con worked for us no problem. Maids clean every day, our towels if needed changing were done every day (pop them in the bath). Interestingly, we only ever received a NEW towel set, once in 14days, so the NEW VIVA towels must be in short supply, but if you ask, I am sure you will receive.
We had 3 single beds, which we arranged to our own satisfaction after 2 days, and they were never moved by the maids which was good.
Our room, 1st floor, overlooking the road side, gave us a view we wanted, but I should have asked for a 2nd Floor Road view, which I think is better. Plus we were over the Kids indoor play area, therefore limited noise after 11pm. Talking about noise, Santa Ponsa, switches its noise off at 11-12pm, and closes its Disco doors, so it is fairly quiet.
DINING ROOM - ample big enough to accommodate guests.....3 isles are setup, the first on the right as you enter for evening, consists of salads, and the mains, the middle is the dessert isle, with cakes etc, and the left isle is similar to the first, but it also has a kids section on it. The drinks with all inclusive are served from the serving hatch at the back of the room and immediately on the right as you walk in,
Food quality - well after 2 weeks it became repetitive, but all in all, it was ok, and we challenged ourself to come up with inventive meals in the evening. Breakfasts, have all the English cooked breakfasts you would want, English or Spanish bacon, scrambled or fried eggs, black puddings, cold meats, breads, croissants, jams, honey, teas,coffees and 3 juices served from the vending machines.
Lunchtimes, you can eat in the restaurant, or at the coffee bar outside near the pool. Inside, its similar to evenings, only ever saw Gazpacho once being served, and that was in a SHOT glass.
It does get hectic, people can leave their tables in a state, and sometimes, 2 people take a table thats been setup for 6.....
Moving towards the indoor bar, which is large, sometimes cool, depends if the switch on the air con or not, and there is a large TV being screened (volume down, unless there is a major event on.....Commonwealth games was on and the volume was thankfully turned up for that). The indoor bar probably ought to be made bigger (are you listening VIVA), as in the evening it can be a wait sometimes. But there is plenty of staff to try and get you your drink.
Outside, the bar serving area is even smaller, 1 serving area is closed during the day, leaving only 1 bar area with 2 waiters, serving anything you want. The seating area is used for shade during the day, for eating from the snack bar at lunchtime, and for some kids, as a unique football pitch....(parents, please control them, or even invite them to take part in the Kids Club activities).
Lunchtime Snacks are salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato and onion), which a choice of Chips, Sausages, Burgers, (Nuggets as well I think), with Buns to go with them. Outside of this, you can help yourself to Sandwiches to toast, Ham and Cheese, and a variety of FRESHLY made baguettes, filled with a variety of things - never tried so cannot comment.
The Entertainment area is raised, (and its for the entertainers) not for a mini 5 a side competition to see if you can knock lights out. LOL.....
Pool area - interestingly, and please note from history I can make these comments with a degree of honesty, the situation regarding sunbeds as gotten better. There is enough sunbeds, for possibly 200 people. Thats because of the space around the pool, which is NOT big enough for the number of guests. SIMPLE. So if you want a sunbed, be early, say 7.30, 7.45 and hey presto. BUT, be warned, if you do not use your sunbed after 10.00am, for 30minutes./40minutes or more, you are likely to find all of your belongings at the lifeguard station. They patrol around the pool and the sunbeds looking for beds not being used. Twice I was personally asked if my fellow family members were using them.....so be warned. ( I personally think its a good idea). AND, if you cannot find a sunbed after mid day......ask the lifeguard to find you one.....saw that happening and have to say, its a good idea. AND FAIR.
Pool is busy......as its NOT big enough.....but thankfully they have stopped inflatables being used. Plenty of ball games, (thats footballs, down to tennis balls) being used, so if one hits you, smile, and throw it back....hits you again, throw it out of the park).
Now, for our vacation, the pool was closed for 3 times. Mainly due to a individual (most likely to be a child), taking a toilet break in the pool. Not only is it closed, its disinfected, rightly so....however, please take note, that perhaps younger children should be wearing something a little more to stop these things from happening. This didnt stop our holiday being ruined, just made us get up and visit the beautiful beach and Sea.
Entertainment - VIVA sort it out. Ok, when we booked we were looking forward to another 2 weeks of MIXY MIXY SHAKY SHAKY mad Max and his team, but obviously they have moved on....or has he? He visited twice in the time we were there....and I have to say, The kids do live him.....it was like a breath of fresh air entered the place, as he entertained the kids for 30minutes and even his trademark head first dive had everybody laughing, apart from the better half who was told to WALK THE PLANK......
Cannot comment about KIDS entertainment but I guess it was a little subdued, however, the evening entertainment, NEEDS bringing up to date. If you are playing Bingo for 20minutes, make it exciting please. If you have acts on, make them good, as opposed to average.
I have seen the same acts for 5 years, and apart from George Pena and the Beatles, it was BORING.
Now, the interesting part. It must be the 21st Century. As the teenagers looked BORED every day. The previous time, the entertainment team created a teenagers club to get involved in with activities. NOT THIS TIME. They need something to do. Unless of course, teenagers like to sit around, faces embedded into tablets and phones......EVERY NIGHT......
Outside of the hotel, its a short stroll to the beach....evening time, street vendors come out to sell you paintings, laser lights, Whistles, or just stroll by. Turning right at the end, takes you past McDonalds (Free wifi but a little slow), and you can venture into shops, the Irish "Quarter", where there are plenty of bars, heading upwards and left, takes you eventually to the "Square" where there are plenty of bars and activities (its a good 30minutes though).
Outside of the hotel, heading left at the end of the street, takes you past more shops, supermarkets, chemists, a great LATIN Bar, where a really OLD but cool guy teaches anyone Salsa dances, and if you catch it right, there is a DANCE WAR going off between the bar patrons, and people across the street. Heading towards the roundabout, you can catch buses to Palma, for 3.50 euro. Be warned, be prepared to push....do as the locals do...take the right change if you can.....it drops you off at the Cathedral, and you can catch it straight back. Takes around 30minutes.
Heading past the roundabout, keeping the beach on your right, some more bars and restaurants. A good one, is El Balcon de Maria (See seperate review)
There was also a little street market in Santa Ponsa, with dancing Micro Pigs....unbelievable.
The hotel finds itself in its season before modernisation. I think the staff look and feel like the hotel.....tired and want a pep up. Good to see management taking on board comments, but first time visitors may be in for a shock. Overall, we were happy with the service/quality etc. we knew what to expect, and dont forget, the rooms are only used for getting ready and sleeping in.
If the changes come (from 3star to 4star), it may be really beneficial to the hotel. If the price goes up however, it could put people off. Roof top Pool? Have to see that to believe it.
As always, thanks to the bar staff for getting drinks sorted in a hot and busy environment and people, please try and be nice to the staff, a polite Ola, buenos días and Gracias makes the difference.
Tips - 1st or 2nd Floor Roadside as opposed to rear view., or try top floor. 7.30 for 7.45 for sunbed towel excursion, back to bed, breakfast at 9.00, sunbed for 10.
2 room keys can make the difference....
NO FREE WIFI....try McDonalds, or Burger King, or see what your airtime provider comes up with.
Dont bother asking for drinks without ice.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Within 200 m. from the stunning beach of Santa Ponsa, the Zafiro Rey don Jaime hotel features a wide range of facilities for children such as games, animation programme, pool, playgroung and much more, which make this exclusive 4-star resort the ideal accommodation for some family holidays in Majorca. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Rey Don Jaime
- Rey Don Jaime Santa Ponsa
- Zafiro Rey Don Jaime Santa Ponsa, Majorca