Friday, 1 May 2015

From buffet breakfasts to vodka shots - the story of my Majorcan short break...

I've just returned from a 4 night stay in Santa Ponsa, Majorca - our first proper break in almost 5 years, and it was wonderful! In fact, as I write this, I'm suffering the post-holiday blues big time!! It really was the perfect little holiday - relaxing, fun, with lots of lovely food and drink, and a lot of that was down to the beautiful little hotel we stayed in, but more about that later.

As I said before, we hadn't had a proper break or a holiday abroad for almost 5 years now, and this one was a bargain we couldn't turn down after trawling the internet for something cheap and cheerful over Christmas. But what we got surpassed all expectations.

The early morning Easyjet flight over to Majorca was on time and problem free, even if we did have the obligatory bunch of Geordie blokes in Newcastle United football kits drinking vodka for breakfast and lamenting their team's lack of success this season. To be fair, they weren't overly loud - I've certainly seen worse, and that was from a group of girls! - but they still looked and acted like every reason why women read romance novels!! However, after years of travelling back and forth to Tenerife, which involved four and a half hour flights, the just over two hours flight time went over pretty quickly - I just wish I could say the same about the transfer from airport to hotel, which took almost as long!! The coach drove the scenic route (and then some) around Palma, Palma Nova and Magaluf, dropping people off at hotels all over these resorts before it even began thinking about heading towards Santa Ponsa. And whilst it was lovely to see parts of an island I haven't visited since the late 90s, I was seriously losing the will to live by the end. Needless to say we made a conscience decision there and then to bin the return coach transfer and take a taxi to the airport for our homebound journey.

However, once we (finally!) reached our hotel in Santa Ponsa, the holiday could really begin! And what a little gem of a hotel it turned out to be. The Santa Ponsa Pins is a small, very friendly, family-run hotel about 10 minutes walk from the beach.

The Santa Ponsa Pins Hotel
It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but we loved it! The rooms are small but they've all been refurbished, with the most amazing showers in the bathrooms!! Meals are buffet style, and compared to some of the bigger 4* hotels we've stayed in the choice is more limited, but we always found something to eat, and the food was beautifully cooked, especially the desserts! Breakfasts were good, too - choice of cooked (eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, etc...) and the usual pastries, toast, fruit and cereals.

But what really made it was the people who run the hotel. They never stop working! And they were always pleasant, friendly and helpful, even the barman who, in a hotel frequented by lots of different nationalities, only spoke Spanish. But, somehow, he never got a drinks order wrong!! However, a special mention has to go to Stephen, the night manager, who looked after everything after 11pm, including the 24 hour bar, because his gin measures were something you'll never see in a British pub, believe me! The first night we were there he just got hold of the bottle, held it over the glass and said "say when"!!! After that we always made sure we were back at the hotel for a nightcap!!

The resort itself is actually bigger than we thought. Our first night was a quiet one, but on our first full day there we did a bit of exploring, discovering a more lively part of town with more bars, shops and restaurants, which was where we ended up most evenings.


The beach at Santa Ponsa
We did a lot of walking while we were there, which was just as well because we were putting away some calories, I tell you!! But it meant we also found places that became regular haunts throughout our short stay.


The view from our favourite mid-morning pit-stop...
We discovered a lovely cafe/restaurant that overlooked the beach, and we'd drop by there every day for a mid-morning coffee, watching the world go by and enjoying the tranquility.

Then, for lunch, we found a little cafe right on the beach that served the most fabulous toasted tuna fish sandwiches and ice cold beer. Again, it was the perfect place to while away another hour or two in the sun.


Where we enjoyed lunch on the beach...

After a morning of walking and exploring, we usually headed back to the hotel where, because it was a quiet time of year, we more often than not had most of the pool area ourselves. Not sure how this would work in peak season, as the pool area is quite small, but the loungers were so comfortable you couldn't help but relax the minute you sank into them! Had 3 gorgeously tranquil afternoons just lying there, listening to music and scribbling down notes for another Lone Riders book!


Pool area at the Santa Ponsa Pins
After dinner in the hotel, with the most reasonably priced bottles of house wine I've ever seen (6 Euros 90), we'd usually head into town for an evening stroll and a couple of beers - despite my fears it would be expensive out there, it isn't. There are loads of deals on drinks and food in most of the bars and restaurants so we spent a lot less than we thought we would.

We usually sat in a little bar across the street from a more, shall we say, bar that was aimed more at the younger generation, watching the goings-on from a safe distance. But on our last night, seeing as there was a lack of hen parties that evening, and the fact Leicester were playing Chelsea on the big screen and that match was of significance to my Sunderland-supporting hubby, we actually gave that bar a go. And had the best night! The young lads and lasses who worked there were good fun, the drinks were cheap, and although it probably wasn't wise to down all 3 vodka shots in such quick succession, (they were free - would've been rude not to) I felt about twenty-five again! And on the subject of those vodka shots, the apple sour one tasted like shampoo, the caramel one - I could've drank the entire bottle, and the strawberry one was nice, if not a little sweet. Thanks to the lovely Irish girl who sneaked a couple of extra freebies over to us, even if they did contribute to my first hangover in a long time!

Me and hubby - a Santa Ponsa selfie!

All in all, it was the perfect little break - quiet, relaxing, and the sun came out on more than a few occasions! It was just what we needed. And like I said before, the Santa Ponsa Pins hotel had a lot to do with that. When we booked it it was a 2* - and we've never done 2* before, so we were a little apprehensive, even though the reviews it got were all good. But once we got there it seemed to have gained a well-deserved extra star, and it really did exceed all expectations. It isn't a hotel geared towards families - the food choice probably wouldn't suit children, and there's no entertainment in the evenings, unless you counted the amusing if not slightly stomach-turning public displays of affection we witnessed between a German couple staying there; not sure there was any need to feel her arse up by the salad buffet... But, if it's a small, quiet, clean, comfortable (the beds were amazing!!) and friendly hotel you're after, then I can't recommend the Santa Ponsa Pins hotel enough - even if you do have this, what I dubbed the "eyesore" over the road. The Pirates Village.

Pirates Village Resort, Santa Ponsa
Mind you, if you've got little ones then this is probably the hotel for you, but the noise coming from inside it when you walked past made me glad I was going back to my peaceful little haven!

The gorgeous Santa Ponsa
Anyway, it really was the most wonderful short break. And, to avoid another two hour-plus jaunt around the island, we kept to our plan of cancelling the return coach transfer and got a taxi back to the airport for our flight home. That journey from hotel to airport took 20 minutes! 20 minutes!!! Just shows you those coach transfers really do take the scenic rounte - and then some.

Flight back was, again, thankfully on time but it was the poor bloke who sat next to us who made it all the more entertaining. Bless him. He'd had the holiday from hell! Was supposed to be going on the trip with his girlfriend, who split up with him after it was booked and just before they were due to fly out, but he wasn't wasting the holiday. She'd also gone to Magaluf, but they just went separately!! His holiday started off badly when he got off the transfer coach too early, and then had problems trying to find the right hotel at 8am in the morning. He slashed his hand on a toilet roll dispenser (I didn't ask), got so drunk on his final night that he missed his return transfer to the airport and had to race to get a taxi before he missed the flight, and in his rush he left all his bank cards in the hotel. It was also his first time flying, and nervous didn't begin to describe him! And if that wasn't bad enough, he also turned out to be a Sunderland supporter, which started off lengthy duscussions between him and my hubby and meant I couldn't concentrate on my Jackie Collins for the moaning. Still, he was a thoroughly nice young lad.

So, I'm back home now, getting used to the fact I have to cook me own meals again, and trying not to let the post-holiday blues get to me too much. After all, if we can find a deal as good as the one we got for this holiday, we'll be going back for another few days of sun, sea, and more than likely a vodka shot or two. Yeah., I can still party with the best of them... as long as I'm in bed before midnight! ;-) But a huge thanks to all at the Santa Ponsa Pins for a wonderful stay. We'll be back. And I promise, our bar bill will, once again, be as big as Stephen's gin measures!



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