REVIEW: Playamar aparthotel and spa, Puerto Pollensa, Majorca

A month ago we spent a fantastic week in the Playamar, we loved it so much we want to try and go back in a few months!

Puerto Pollensa pine walk playa mar hotel

Lobby and public spaces

From the minute you arrive, the hotel has a lovely feel about it, a lovely lobby with soft drinks and fizz to welcome you after your journey.

As you navigate to your room after checking in, you’re welcomed with some lovely bits of nature like ponds with Koi and frogs in, then the inside of the hotel blocks having lovely light atriums in there.

Rooms

When we booked, we paid a bit more for one of the ‘superior’ rooms. I think these are the same size indoors as the standard rooms but you basically get a decent amount of outdoor space with a Balinese bed, instead of a standard balcony.

All the superior rooms are on the ground floor, and as all the other rooms half face the pool while the other half face the rear. I think our room number was 4013 or similar and we were pleased with the location… towards the end of a corridor so not too much passing noise like our last hotel stay, and we were overlooking the kids play area (and could see the hills in the background!)

We were really delighted with the room… nice modern decor, lots of space and plenty of storage space. The boys shared the bedroom, while me and the OH slept on the pull-out bed. The pull-out bed was really comfy! And there was a sofa too (whereas usually the sofa turns into the sofa bed)

We were surprised not to have a bath, just a shower but within a day or two the boys were loving the new routine of having a shower after dinner!

So we loved the inside, but we LOVED the outside. It was so nice having basically an extra room for the boys to play in, such a decent-sized area and a nice place to sit in the sun!

Swimming pools

The pools are the focal point of the hotel and they were perfect for our little boys… a couple of really shallow pools with slides and big animals to play with!

Also an adults pool, and while we were there, plenty of sun loungers!

Other facilities for kids

Every evening (about 8pm) there was kids disco and entertainment where the amazing staff did singing, dancing and at the end Coco the mascot came out which the boys loved!!

In the daytime there were some kids activities running late afternoon in the kids club. We only went one day when it was ‘Coco’s birthday’ and had face painting, and a birthday party including cake and balloons which was brilliant!! I’m assuming in peak summer, the kids club is open all day?

There’s a play area which kept the boys entertained for ages at a time and there’s a mini football pitch too.

Play area playa mar hotel Puerto Pollensa

So all in all very good facilities for young children!

Other facilities – spa

There’s a lovely, modern spa with pool, sauna, steam room etc. During certain hours you can take children too. I was treated to a massage and can vouch that it was well worth it!

Location

The Playamar is located right at one end of Puerto Pollensa. It’s a 20-30 minute to the main resort along the beautiful ‘pine walk’ along the coast. We saw some beautiful sunsets here, and made some lovely memories paddling in the sea etc.

The walk is lovely but a little bit bumpy for pushchairs etc just to warn you!

It’s a lovely resort, not tacky at all! Plenty of restaurants and shops, play areas on the beach, and the obligatory weekly market in the square!

We didn’t venture further than Puerto Pollensa but the area is very popular with cyclists and lots of people hired cars to explore the nearby mountains, villages and beaches!

Overall summary

We absolutely loved the Playamar and hope to return this year! It was perfect for our little boys… the pools, the space, the spacious rooms… and Coco!

The staff are very friendly and efficient, service is great! We loved the location too.

The only negative we found is that we thought the food in the restaurant was quite average. It wasn’t particularly bad and we always found something for us and the boys to eat, but we have had better quality and range at other all-inclusives. This wasn’t enough to put us off though… we will be back!

Small print: I wasn’t asked to write this review and Playamar didn’t know I would be writing this review.

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REVIEW: Hotel Benalmádena Palace, Benalmádena, Costa del Sol

Back in January we spent a week in Benalmadena… our first holiday abroad as a family of four!

Our trip was a late deal, we came across the hotel Benalmadena Palace on OnTheBeach, booked it, packed it…. loved it!

Rooms

The rooms are pretty much as seen/described on the website… a living/dining/kitchen area with sofa bed, a separate bedroom with twin beds and a bathroom. One of the reasons we chose this place was the fact it’s an Aparthotel and you have a little kitchen… so handy!

It feels like it’s been renovated within the last few years, quite modern and feels fresh, very clean and spacious enough.

We got a cot bed for S and in doing so blocked the space in front of the wardrobe so we ended up living out of suitcases for the week which is ok, but you’d be fine without the cot in the way!

Facilities – kids club

Another reason we chose the Palace is because they have a kids club. Ours were too young to stay in there unsupervised, which was fine… we just wanted access to a playroom to keep S entertained and we were very impressed!

Benalmadena palace kids club playroom

Plenty of toys, books, craft activities, dressing up… a ball pool/slide and an outdoor play area (which I noticed was in the shade.. very handy for hot summer months!)

For older kids there are lessons e.g. Football, archery

The kids club closes about 3pm/4pm but then opens again later after dinner and after the kids’ disco!

Other facilities

We tried out the indoor swimming pool but it’s 1.5M deep all the way around and I’m not much taller than that so wasn’t much good for me swimming with the boys… W and I stayed by the steps splashing instead! If you’re child-free, there’s a sauna and spa offering massages etc.

Holidaying in January it was way too cold to try out the outdoor pools but these would be fab in the summer.. the little toddler pool looks small but cute!

Food

We were on half board, which meant we had breakfast and dinner included in the buffet restaurant. We couldn’t fault the food. Every night there was something different e.g. Fajitas, Chinese theme, and always plenty for the kids to eat (pasta etc).

There’s a little seating area for families which is handy as yes a bit more informal with wipe-clean tables, and animals on the walls etc. I notice they have an adults-only section of the restaurant too!

We also had lunch a couple of times in the pool-side bar, the food here was great for lunch… pizza, toasted sandwiches, chips etc and it was just about warm enough to sit outside!

Location

The Benalmádena Palace is down the far end of Benalmadena so a bit of a trek (about 30 min walk?) to the main attraction of the marina etc. The hotel has a free shuttle bus every half hour/hour to a place near the marina which is handy!

The hotel is also situated at the top of a hill which a lot of the reviews mention. Although it’s quite steep, it’s not too far and we didn’t struggle with it. Within easy distance of the hotel is a small beach and promenade area, a supermarket (and Burger King with playarea!)

Benalmadena palace from the beach

Any negatives?

We really liked this hotel, the room, food and kids club were all great. I can’t say it was the best holiday as my OH spent most of it ill in bed with man flu!

But anyway, the only negative about the hotel was the noise levels from our room… we were in room 314 which was the same level as the main lobby… the bar is on the floor underneath and the sound just varied up the stairs, not so much the music but more just kids running about etc… they didn’t seem to go to bed til about 11pm! From the bedroom this wasn’t too bad, but sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room, you could hear everything!

In hindsight we should have asked to move, and if we go there again (which we definitely would!) we’ll ask for a quieter room, maybe the 2 floors above the main lobby (as they don’t have the open staircase)

Benugo, John Lewis, Cardiff: the Christmas menu

I hardly ever make it to any ‘blogger events’ so I was delighted that I could make it to lunch at Benugo’s last week to try out their new Christmas menu…

My office is pretty much next door to John Lewis but I’d not checked out Benugo’s before, luckily the event was sandwiched between two of my meetings…

I arrived to a lovely selection of sandwiches. I say sandwiches but really they were more like wraps, mini baguettes etc. Posh sandwiches!

I tried:

-Roast beef (rare) and horseradish sauce

– chicken and avocado (with a little kick)

– middle Eastern mezze wrap, (with hummus, falafels etc)

ALL were delicious! (And I think the latter two are available all-year round) Really tasty, flavoursome and good quality. I think they had a festive turkey, bacon and cranberry baguette on the menu but I was a bit late and missed out on that!

These were washed down with a glass of fizz and mulled wine 🙂 I only had a few sips of each as I had to go back to work, but it was a nice treat to have them both! My first mulled wine of the year… smelled and tasted like Christmas in a cup!

And to cap off a wonderful hour, we were given Christmas scones which contained cranberry, orange and cinnamon.

Again: delicious!!

Before I knew it, it was time to head back to work, but what a magical hour I had! Was lovely to meet John Lewis’ Ruth and local bloggers KellyAllenWriter and NuggetStumpBlog.

I will definitely be back for lunch! Thanks for having me Benugo’s!

Disclosure: I was given a free lunch but wasn’t asked/paid for a review 🙂

REVIEW: Cocobubble – dinosaur bath-time fun for kids!

I’ve blogged before about how much the boys love their bath-time as part of their evening routine.

So it’s always great for them to have new things to play with in the bath… so I was delighted to get sent some fab things to try from local, Cardiff-based company Cocobubble.

For W we were sent a ‘Dinosaur adventure pack’ (RRP £14.50) which is a pack of dinosaur soaps and a dinosaur finger puppet that can help to build a nest of ‘sand’ (lemon-scented play paint/soap) in a coconut shell for the ‘dinosaur egg’ (bath bomb!) Continue reading “REVIEW: Cocobubble – dinosaur bath-time fun for kids!”

Dinosaur babies exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff

The National Museum in Cardiff has just opened a new exhibition called ‘Dinosaur Babies’ and we were very excited to be invited to the launch as W LOVES dinosaurs!

As we approached the museum we spotted some giant dinosaur footprints…. (they had done a great job promoting this event, with dinosaur poo and a knocked-over statue being found on Queen street in the run-up!)


And once inside the launch event there were people dressed as dinosaurs and a dinosaur-themed breakfast… we both loved the dinosaur eggs on lava (the lava being a tart full of bacon and baked beans…. genius!!)


After a short talk from museum staff and CBeebies’ Lizzy Daly then it was time to check out the main event…. the Dinosaur Babies exhibition!


Continue reading “Dinosaur babies exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff”

REVIEW: Bristol airport parking – is parking on-site better than off-site?!

Years ago, when booking airport parking I’d happily book the cheapest deal available – which meant parking miles away from Heathrow and Birmingham and getting bussed in, all adding quite a bit of time to our journey. The funniest off-site parking we did was when a friend booked us parking at a mushroom packing factory near Bristol airport – their minibus was running late so they dropped us off at the airport in a pick-up truck!!

For my recent child-free break to Marrakesh, I wanted everything to be as stress-free as possible, so wanted to park on-site at Bristol airport….

When I got there, it was pretty busy but I did find a space after a few minutes…. after that, what a bloomin’ treat – I could literally see the terminal and walk to it within minutes! (there’s even a bus if you’re at the far end/don’t want to walk)

 

Bristol airport
How close the terminal is to the car park!
Bristol airport car park
Lovely blossom tree overlooking the car park

Continue reading “REVIEW: Bristol airport parking – is parking on-site better than off-site?!”

REVIEW: Sensimar Medina Gardens hotel, Marrakech

On my 4 night break in Marrakesh, I stayed in the lovely Medina Gardens hotel…

Lobby, indoor public areas etc

It has a nice feel to it from arrival, the outside is full of plants and flowers and as you walk into the lobby you see beautiful Moroccan details like light fittings, tiles etc.

Moroccan light
Moroccan light

Continue reading “REVIEW: Sensimar Medina Gardens hotel, Marrakech”

REVIEW: Rockin’ Baby newborn pouch – and our first attempt at babywearing! 

Before S was born I knew I wanted to try babywearing with him as it’s something I didn’t really try with W. So I was delighted when the guys at Rockinbaby offered me a newborn pouch to try. We’d already tried out their fabulous clothes so I knew it was going to be good….
It arrives in a cute compact Continue reading “REVIEW: Rockin’ Baby newborn pouch – and our first attempt at babywearing! “

What to buy a 6 month old for Christmas? Gift ideas for baby’s first Christmas!

Baby S will turn 6 months old just before Christmas. You might think I’m mean, but I’m not going to spend much money on him… I’d rather keep it back for when he’s older!
He has all the clothes, toys and books he needs from his hand-me-downs from big brother W! For W’s first Christmas 2 years ago we bought him small toys like stacking cups, sensory balls and sensory books. So it means we’ve struggled to think of anything S really needs…

What to buy a 6 month old for Christmas

So far all we’ve bought S is:

Continue reading “What to buy a 6 month old for Christmas? Gift ideas for baby’s first Christmas!”

REVIEW: Childs Farm baby and toddler bath products (and our bedtime routine) 

I first tried Childs Farm when I bought some yummy-smelling bubble bath for toddler W, they smell lush and remind me of the discontinued Body Shop range for children (anyone else remember them?!)

childs farm products
Continue reading “REVIEW: Childs Farm baby and toddler bath products (and our bedtime routine) “