So, I’ve been back just over a week; but I thought I’d share a little of my holiday in La Pineda, Costa Dorada, near Salou in Spain!
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a travel post; but much like I did with my Disneyland Paris post; I will include some tips as well as what we got up to; including a night out in Salou and of course Portaventura World.
I was recently invited to go on holiday with Kara for a week; and of course immediately said yes! So this month we flew out to La Pineda, Costa Dorada, in Catalonia, Spain, with TUI on an all-inclusive package.
Kara is one of my best friends! We’ve known each other for so long, and this was our second holiday together! You can always guarantee that we’ll have a good time, and we live quite far apart now; so it’s obviously always good to have a drink and a catch up!
We stayed at the 4* Hotel Estival Park, in block 3. There are three hotels as well as a kids club; and a leisure centre (with indoor pool and gym) as well as access to a spa which costs extra.
You can go in to any of the three hotels during your stay. As we were all-inclusive, this still applies in any of them. Which meant we got more of a choice of evening entertainment; and sometimes just a change of scenery, which is always nice. You can also visit the bars; restaurants and pools at any of the three hotels.
Our room was a nice size; the original sleeping arrangements a little cosy for some; though there was space to separate the beds a little! There was lots of storage space for our stuff; a balcony; and bathroom; with all the usual stuff, shower over bath, (a reasonably decent shower, I might add which is ALWAYS a plus).
Check out our UK break to Somerset in this post.
The one major complaint we had was a total lack of plug sockets; which let’s face it, in this day of smartphones; meant that we had to unplug the TV (nothing on anyway) and a lamp; so that we could charge our mobiles!
Also, the hairdryer was IN the bathroom, which y’know, two women sharing a room, wasn’t ideal; but I didn’t use it, and decided to just air dry my hair all week. It would probably take forever with one of those hotel hair dryers in all honesty. Otherwise, it was comfy and air-conditioned!
The room also had a fridge (aka empty minibar), and with all-inclusive they offered both small and large bottles of water in the fridges in the bar to help yourself to, so it was nice to be able to grab one for the room, and be able to keep it cool. Also very handy for going out, because you can just grab a bottle on your way out for the day!
The Pool and Bar
The hotel has a nice pool with a self-service bar and seating in a little pergola which was cute; and somewhere we ended up sitting fairly often, as the seating outside the bar got a little crowded. The pool was FREEZING! (I dipped a foot in, that was as much of me that went in) though I did ask; and someone rather unconvincingly told me it was “fine” while shivering…
The bar area is nice; all-inclusive offers a range of soft drinks, teas and coffees, milkshake, juice, Sangria, local beer (Estrella), and a cocktail of the day (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), there was also a slushie machine which was up and running by midweek.
There was a counter from 11-11 serving a range of snacks, such as burgers, chips and chicken nuggets, as well as crisps and pastries available throughout the day. I’ll cover the restaurant meals in my next post.
The hotel staff were really friendly and good fun, the evening entertainment varied, some was great; some was downright terrible! But as I said above, you had three hotels to choose from! This was the alcoholic cocktail one of the days (dressed up at my request; ordinarily you get a glass or plastic glass, and some ice, fruit and a plain straw). Many of these were rum based, but other spirits were available, the usual vodka, gin, whiskey etc, premium spirits were also available but not included in the all-inclusive package.
The pool in block three was fairly crowded, it was a walk in pool so better for children, and there were many families present, there were plenty of places to sit or lounge by the pool though, and of course the other two hotels have similar pools, and are only a short walk away.
Out and About
Five minutes out of the back of the hotel, you will find the beach, which was sandy and nice. There is also entertainment and stuff along the beach in the evenings. One thing we did notice were a lot of people attempting to coax you into getting your hair braided, which got old pretty quickly. The beachfront is also where you find an array of shops bars and restaurants, as well as the bus stops for travelling further afield, like Salou and Portaventura World, even Barcelona!
Our reps did mislead a little when it came to busses, which I’ll go into a little on my next post, but before travelling, I would recommend visiting a Bus Plana shop! (They’re everywhere) And speak to the staff there. If you’re travelling more than once, it’s well worth picking up a travel pass, which works kind of like an oyster card, you top it up, and can add more money to it (which never expires so great if you’re revisiting).
Salou – House of Illusion
We went out after a couple of days, chilling at the hotel, heading into Salou on the bus to visit top rated night out House of Illusion, they do a couple of shows which do vary on some nights. We went to the late Dreams show, which included drinks. The earlier show includes food too! It was a really fun night out, arriving in Salou early, we had a walk, and then we had a drink on the sun terrace, and shortly before the show, you get to see (and get involved) some close up magic with one of several of the acts to be seen in the show. This was really good fun, and sets the tone for the show.
The evening is cabaret style; and you’re seated with others if you’re a smaller group; with wine, beer, sangria etc on the table and replenished throughout the show. There is one glass at each seat, I would add that I had wine; and when I asked for some water; I was just presented with a jug! Lucky for me I also had the glass from my beer on the terrace, but it was a little thing that bugged me.
The show was great, involving many people from the audience, and was a fun varied mix of magic, humour and mentalism, so there’s a little something for everyone!
There was a short interval, where we got to chat to Rodney, the very talented mentalist, and owner of House of Illusion, and the show then continued focussing on the concept of dreams. We had a really good time, I managed to get my card signed by Glenn; the magician who we met doing close up magic earlier, myself participating, so it now doesn’t just have my own name written on it! And Kara got a ‘rose’ to take home!
The show finished later than the busses; but the staff happily called us a taxi, and it cost a fairly reasonable €13; to get from Salou back to La Pineda. (Bus there was €2.15 each).
So this was the first half of our holiday… check out my next post for the second half, our Portaventura World theme park fun! And some info on dining at Estival Park, and the busses to get around.Follow me on social media