We recently had our first holiday abroad with our 13 month old baby W and apart from him suffering from the heat and teething, we had an absolutely great time! This hotel has mixed reviews, so I thought I’d give our take on it….
The rooms are as described on the Thomson website – pretty basic but very clean and functional. A few reviews said that there isn’t much storage room and I would agree with that – but we had a set of bunk beds in there which we used for storage! There was a travel cot ready for us in the room (on wheels so we put towels around ours to stop it moving!) and we rented a fridge for baby W’s milk at the cost of about 2 euros per day.
We were in room 209, we had amazing views over the sea and saw some cracking sunsets. This side of the hotel gets the sun in the afternoon so when the boys were napping in the afternoon I could sit on the balcony catching some rays :)
One downside of this side of the hotel is that in the evening you can hear the entertainment from outside the hotel next door – but it’s not too bad and always finishes by 11pm.
Restaurant, bar and lobby areas
I have to mention the lobby – only because – at the Thomson rep desk, they have a crate where people leave their unwanted goods – I thought this was a great idea, and we left books and our inflatable toys there, I saw everything from clothes to swim nappies in there!
They seem to be half way through doing this hotel up – so the main bar area looks a little bit dated, but it’s still absolutely fine and I love how you just help yourself to soft drinks/lager/wine without having to be served – oh and help yourself to free tubs of ice cream! Next to the main bar, there is another bar (cocktail bar?) which has been renovated – it’s clean, modern and very-well air conditioned – this area was always really quiet and a lovely respite from the heat!
I hadn’t realised til we got home (otherwise I would have taken photos) that the restaurant photos on the website are out-of-date – the restaurant is in the style of this bar – airy, clean, modern – really nice. They have an area for families with highchairs at the table ready – much fun watching baby W babbling to the other babies in the vicinity!
We absolutely loved the food and couldn’t work out why the food would ever get bad reviews – we’ve stayed at a few posher all-inclusives than this one but this food was excellent – always a fish of the day, always meat, always pasta (baby W’s fave!), always something child-friendly like chicken nuggets, always an amazing choice of salads and a few desserts. My favourite meals of the week were their paella, local meatballs and their chicken fajitas… oh and I had nutella pancakes for breakfast every day – yum!
Because of the huge choice of food, there was always plenty for baby W to eat – from cheese slices to his watermelon! The staff there were lovely – giving baby W lots of attention (and we left them a nice tip at the end of the week as they’d spent so much time helping us clean up after him ;))
My only bugbear about the restaurant was that it didn’t open for lunch til 1pm – noon would have been better for us as we’re up so early with baby W! But you can free toasties/sarnies in the bar between 11 and 1 so I couldn’t really complain!
The pool areas, grassy area and beach
As you might be able to see from the photo from our room, there are 3 pools – a play pool with little slides etc, a small baby/toddler pool and the main adult pool – all good!! The reps do dancing and games every afternoon – you’d never catch me getting involved but it was fun to watch ;)
I’ve seen a few reviews moaning about not being able to get a lounger – by the end of our week we struggled too but we just put our towels down on the huge grassy area instead – which was perfectly fine :) As well as the pool-side loungers and grassed area, the gorgeous sandy beach is just a minute or so away! We didn’t spend long down here but it was lovely, and you can hire loungers here too.
On of the reasons we chose this hotel is because it has a creche. We thought we’d put baby W in for 4 out of the maximum 6 hours a day (!!) but because of his teething etc, we only put him in for 3 mornings but he loved it! The 2 girls working there, Terri and Ashleigh, were absolutely great – warm, calming and put you at ease right away – we all loved them!
We had pre-booked our sessions before we went and just sorted out the times when we got there, but you can do it all when you get there and they’re pretty flexible if you need to switch etc. They only take a max of 6 babies/toddlers per session but when we were there it was never full.
One of Baby W’s highlights of the holiday was the softplay area between the pool and bar. The photo doesn’t really do it justice – it’s quite small but perfect size for babies/toddlers of baby W’s age – a ball pool, and some big foam things to move around – ace!!
So for older toddlers/kids, there seems to be 2 x kids clubs (I’ve no idea what the difference between them is) and 2 little park/play areas. For baby W there was a hidden bonus – by one of the kids club was a little area which 2 x wendy houses and a car – he loved it!! And a part of it was always in the shade – as baby W had just started walking before the hols, this area was perfect for him and kept him entertained.
Other baby-friendly facilities
Next to the creche (on the first floor, near the restaurant) there is a baby room which has a steriliser, microwave, kettle…. cot…. little ball pool, books and some toys, and a changing area. This was great for us, before or after dinner baby W would love playing in the ball pool – oh and there’s a TV/DVD player in there so he loved playing with the remote control too!
The other baby-friendly thing I must mention is that you can hire a buggy from the hotel. We had taken our brand new Chicco lite stroller with us but stupidly forgot the sun canopy and quickly realised we’d be buggered without it, so we hired one from the hotel (they have a room full you can choose from including a double buggy!) and I think it was only 2-3 euros per day which I thought was a bargain!
The resort – San Tomas
So we couldn’t really fault the hotel – and we LOVED the location! Santo Tomas is a tiny little resort so don’t there if you’re looking for ‘action!’ – it only has about 5 restaurants/bars and a handful of shops but we loved it – our highlight was our twice-a-day walk down the promenade, the sea on one side and lovely hotels and houses on the other. I think the resort has a mix of hotels and self-catering accommodation so as well as lots of other young British families we also saw backpackers, and older European travellers – I always like a good mix of people!
While I remember, the hotel is right opposite a supermarket, pharmacy and doctors surgery… and a bus stop – great location!
In the opposite direction to the prom, there is a cliffside walk over the next resort – we walked about half of it while baby W was in creche this morning – was lovely (there’s me on the rocks there!) and would have been ace to have the time to do the full walk!
Must also mention that a few minutes from the hotel is a softplay you can pay 3euros for – baby W was a bit small for it really but it would be great for older children, and they also had a trampoline etc.
Because of the mixed reviews we’d read, our expectations were exceeded of Hotel Victoria Playa – we loved:
- the food
- the softplay and other play area
- the creche – Terri and Ashleigh were ace
- the baby room and being able to hire a buggy
- overall a very baby-friendly hotel
- friendly staff
- our view overlooking the sea
- the location – San Tomas was a real nice surprise for us, we loved the seaside prom – the whole place was so chilled and clean, lovely, quiet atmosphere
- hotel has free WIFI – I didn’t use it, enjoyed an internet break!
The only real downsides I can think of:
- the rooms are a bit small and basic but they look exactly as described, so I’m not really complaining!
- would love to have lunch at 12, and dinner before 6.15 (baby W normally eats at 5.30pm at home) but we got by fine!
- it didn’t bother us, but it’s quite a bustling hotel and obviously with it being a ‘family’ hotel, the majority of guests are young families – as you might expect, the clientele is a right mix which is fine for us – if you’re going there for peace and quiet you might struggle ;)
Hope you found this useful, if you’d like to know anything else about the hotel/area, leave a question in the comments and I’ll get back to you :)
Small print: I wasn’t asked to write this and I certainly didn’t get a free holiday (or any form of payment!) for this, I just wanted to share our experience with you!