I visited the Donaire Beach hotel in September 2010 with my wife and her family and we returned there with our own 19 month old daughter in August/September this year for 11 nights.
The hotel has not really changed a bit since we were last there but has been well maintained and subtle improvements. Having just read the previous 2 pages of reviews I would say that most of the points good and bad about the hotel have been covered quite accurately.
A few other pointers to add to what they have to say...
WiFi - there is now free WiFi in the reception and main bar areas. You can get a code from the reception desk to enter once you connect to the wireless network, and this lasts a few days. They will provide you as many codes as you need if you lose the one you had. The connection is acceptable, but the reception area is almost always busy with people using it so the bar is sometimes better and quieter to use your smartphone/tablet/laptop.
Lifts - the lifts were always busy and this was a bit of a headache for us while using them with a pushchair. There were constantly able bodied and fit young people taking lifts 2 or 3 floors down the way to the pool or reception when they could easily have walked. Besides this, there are only 3 lifts servicing 8 floors with over 400 rooms and in the height of season they do become busy. We were on the 6th floor so the lifts coming up or down were filled before they got to us. The other gripe about the lifts is that people become so anxious about getting in that they will try to walk in before anyone gets out and when you have a buggy or a toddler with you it is pretty rude and ignorant of others needs. And yes, mostly it was the Russians but not always, and some of them were kind enough to allow us to step out before getting in without us having to say anything.
There is a lift at the back of the hotel where we were, but it only goes to floor 1 and not 0 (Reception/Dining Room) so if we did leave the buggy we could use that and walk the baby through the bar to the main stairs and down 1 flight of stairs to the dining room.
Fridge/Safe - The cost of a fridge was €5 per day with a €20 deposit. I was a bit anxious about getting a fridge as we emailed ahead to let them know we would need one to keep milk for the baby. The reply advised me that they would not reserve one, so basically it is "first come first served" which I don't think is very good service.
When we arrived we were lucky that there were a couple left. When we paid for the fridge we were also given an electricity card which was to be left in the slot in the room at all times. The obvious advantage of this is that the Air Conditioning also stays on so when you nip out for a walk or a swim you can come back to a nice cool room. So effectively your €5 a day for the fridge also comes with 24/7 AirCon.
The safe, as I said in my previous review of the Donaire Beach, is merely a moneyspinner for the hotel. I still believe that these should be provided as standard in this day and age. That said, they know that people will pay for peace of mind and to satisfy your travel insurance requirements. We were charged €30 with a €5 deposit for use of the safe.
The safes have not changed, and are fixed in the room. You are given a lock barrel and key from reception. I posted a picture previously of the type of lock barrel (but forgot to refer back to it myself - d'oh!) so if you plan ahead you could get one and take it with you and use the safe for free.
Food was good as usual at all times of the day, no complaints there. Waiters were usually quick to take drinks orders. Bottle of mineral water (500ml) €1.60. Bottle of own brand (local Catalan) wine €7.40 or €5.40 for a carafe of "house wine". Beer €2.50 for a pint. Soft drinks/juices etc also all about €2 each.
At breakfast, tea/coffee/juices are included.
Picnics are available. They are delivered by another company (we saw their van delivering in the yard, and the same picnic boxes etc at other hotels...) These usually have a sandwich, a small roll, an apple, a biscuit/pastry and bottle of water. This comes in handy if you are full board and want to have a day trip away somewhere.
Pool - we were never down at the crack of dawn to put the towels down although it does seem they do not open the doors until 8.15 or so from other reviews. We managed to get a couple of loungers without much problem most days despite that, and if you are only going for a dip there are plenty of empty chairs/tables on the terrace to sit at as long as you don't mind the shade.
TV - They have upgraded the TV since the last time with a flat screen digital (Spanish equivalent of Freeview) TV. There are 30 local channels and also BBC World News, BBC1, ITV and C4. The remote controls for the TVs are available from reception but you need to put down a €10 deposit to get them.
Rooms - The rooms are quite small and very basic. The beds are fairly low and as usual supplied with only 1 pillow but the reps (Thomson for us) will organise a spare for you if you need it. The rooms have had a coat of paint over the brickwork but are still quite dated looking. There is a fitted wardrobe but very little drawer space, with only one small drawer on a bedside table and one on the desk. There were only 2 sockets in the room, one of which was used for the TV and another for the fridge we hired.
To use chargers/hairdryers/straighteners etc etc we bought a European 3-way adapter and plugged the fridge into it and our UK converter into that and then a UK 4-way adapter and everything was tickety boo with it. (disclaimer - I cannot be held liable if your stuff gets damaged by similar setups!)
Bathrooms - The bathrooms are pretty small and in need of proper refurbishment. The bath we had was small with a small poor shower head. There is no mat to stop babies or the elderly slipping. The bathroom waste bin was very small which filled up quite quickly with nappies and was the only bin in the room. The room, bizarrely, has a bidet which we did not use. This was no good as the toddler just wanted to skiddle in it all the time. There was no lock on the door and no extractor fan in our room as it had a window, but the window opens to the balcony. Not ideal if your other half is sitting on the balcony while you are sitting on the can....
Overall, as people have already said, this is a solid 3 star family hotel. The clientele is predominantly Russian, British and Spanish. You will enjoy yourself if you are not snobbish about your surroundings and do not go with massive expectations. If you have kids aged 5-12 this place is the ideal base right on the beach and Port Aventura 10 minutes away. The rooms may be basic but they do the job and the food is more than you would expect from a 3 star buffet. For couples looking for some more luxurious surroundings, as I said last time, you will get better value elsewhere. The Donaire is what it is and it does it well.
Other local tips
Bus cards (Plana Bus) can be bought at the Tobacconists just along from the hotel for €15 which is the cost of the card and 10 journeys, then cost €11.40 to top up another 10 journeys. One journey is a single trip for 1 person. So if 2 of you go to Port Aventura and back, that equals 4 journeys, but it is still pretty good value.
Port Aventura - Brilliant for all the family. We didn't use many of the rides as we had the baby with us and didn't want to leave each other for the entire day queueing, but we found the Sesame Street (Sesamo Aventura) area was good for her with a show, outdoor soft play and so on. Also some of the adult shows were more than suitable for her, such as the night time Polynesian fire show, the bubbles show and exotic birds show. It is expensive
Costa Caribe (Port Aventura Water Park) was also brilliant for the little one (or any toddler confident enough to swim). There were a few shallow pools that she could wade/splash in as well as water fountains she could walk over and through. Great for adults too and do the King Kahuna if you dare!
Careful about taking juice/picnics into the park as they do look in your bags, but if you are subtle enough about it you will not be made to throw away perfectly good food or drink.
**Message to the hotel management**
Your hotel is obviously very good at what it does, and I think that is why it does not change much. But you could easily make the hotel even better by the following improvements:
WiFi throughout the hotel including rooms and balconies.
Notices asking people to walk down the stairs rather than needlessly use the lifts.
Better room furnishings - drawers to put clothing in.
Safe provided as standard.
Update the bathrooms and get rid of the Bidet.
I think this hotel has great potential to be even better with the proper improvements to the rooms and with proper modernisation. The location is excellent and Pineda has improved as a resort overall.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Golden Donaire Beach
- Golden Donaire Park
- Golden Donaire Beach La Pineda
- Golden Donaire Beach Hotel La Pineda, Spain - Costa Dorada