A microwave oven sits next to the soup tureens at the Sol Milanos Hotel. For a very good reason. The soup was served most nights I was there lukewarm. Indeed, that microwave also came in handy for heating up fish, various vegetables and on one occasion, after I had waited for the chef to dish up the freshly cooked portions of pizza, those same pieces, after I discovered my selected two were inexplicably stone cold. I'm still puzzling over that one. Also, avoid the lamb chops, you'll be struggling to find any actual meat on them.
Maybe it was because it was extremely early in the season and the hotel hadn't quite hit its stride, because to be fair in my second week there was a far greater selection of food, though the problem of less than adequate hot plates heating it remained.
This is a very family friendly hotel and the restaurant area had its own little corner obviously designed to appeal to the younger ones, if not to our National Health Service, which served chips, burgers, hot dogs and chips every night, occasionally augmented by fried onion rings and chicken nuggets. Full marks to those parents who led their children up to the extensive salad bar each night. Funnily enough, it was those youngsters who invariably appeared brighter, more alert and healthy.
Accommodation at the hotel was perfectly adequate, with comfortable beds and powerful showers, though extra payment was necessary for use of the safe in the room. The room was cleaned daily and a reported problem one morning with the flush in the toilet was corrected before I'd returned from breakfast, which I thought was very efficient. The hotel doesn't provide free wi-fi either and I thought its price rather expensive. Luckily, I was able to pick up MenorcaWiFi.com, coming from the centre of the resort and at 20 euros for the fortnight I found that good value. I received a reasonable signal on the second floor but this disappeared at ground level, so it couldn't be used in Reception on days when the sun wasn't shining. Oh, and it's a very noisy hotel, too, in the sense that everywhere, including the floors, are tiled and sounds echo round the building all the time.
There are two pools outside and I was pleased to see a lifeguard keeping a careful eye on these, even though, because of the weather, on many occasions he was staring forlornly at an empty expanse of water. Whilst well wrapped up in a wind proof jacket.
Did I mention Menorca was a windy island?
It was on these days that the Animation team had to redouble their efforts and find ways of entertaining the kids inside. For some obscure reason this hotel has a Flintstone theme, with life sized models of Fred and Elma(?) - never really watched these cartoons back in the seventies dotted around incongruously. On one occasion, as the wind howled outside, my reading in the Reception area was rudely interrupted when a team member dressed in a Fred Flintstone costume marched past, with thirty or so kids and toddlers trailing in his wake,all chanting at the tops of their voices "Barney! Barney!" I naturally assumed there was going to be a fight but it later transpired he was just looking for his best mate.
The beach was very popular on the days that the sun shone, with plenty of lifeguards in attendance. Ten minutes walking along the beach and the crowds thin out quickly and more and more people are wearing less and less, if anything at all. But it's heavy going along the soft sand and although there's a walkway at the back of the dunes, that also becomes sanded up. It's worth it though, because Son Bou is a beautiful beach and at its end is a clifftop path that leads into the next resort of San Tomas. Spectacular scenery on the left and beautiful countryside, uncannily familiar with its dry stone walls, on the right. Recommended! And if you're particularly energetic you are able to continue the cliff path at St. Tomas, where, if anything, the scenery becomes even more breathtaking. And I passed a number of family groups with young children along the way.
I'd also highly recommend two excursions which were in the Jet2 programme. One visited the historic former capital, Ciutadella and the island's own "mini- Stonehenge" Torralba, the other Mahon, today's capital, a trip that included a boat ride round the harbour, Binibeca, the designer fishing village and Cova d'en Xoroi, a spectacular cave half way up a cliff face which has been converted into a discotheque. The island has such a rich history and it was fascinating to visit the more important cities and sites.
In summing up I'd say that the holiday was relatively inexpensive but well worth the money. The staff are helpful and friendly. And If you have kids I wouldn't hesitate in recommending the hotel to you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sol by Melia presents SOL MILANOS PINGUINOS, resort located on one of the most famous and longest beaches in Minorca Son Bou Beach. Rooms with stunning views of Son Bou Beach. Ideal for vacations with your family full activity programme, parties, shows, musicals and live music. For Children: Katmandu Adventures Clubs. One lagoon-style pool and the other a sports pool. Enjoy our magnificent international theme buffet and local specialties. Enjoy Holidays with your Family!! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sol Milanos Pinguinos Hotel Son Bou
- Sol Melia Son Bou
- Son Bou Sol Melia
- Sol Milanos Pinguinos Son Bou, Minorca