Amanda Brunker: Majorca was the perfect place to keep my boys busy
I DON’t know why it’s taken me so long to holiday in Majorca, but August marked my first visit to the sun-kissed island – and I definitely know I will return
This year I stayed at Family Life in Alcudia Pins – a long-established, three-star destination with five-star food.
It might not have been the shiniest resort I’ve ever stayed at, but according to my kids (who are the bosses), the fun factor was highest.
Setanta and Edward were all smiles on holidays
Family Life might sound like an odd name for a hotel, but considering you’re surrounded by all ages, it describes the place perfectly.
Although the majority of visitors to Family Life are couples with smallies, it’s lovely to see there are plenty of grandparents – and not forgetting teenagers and babies, too.
Having stayed there in August when the hotel was at maximum capacity, I probably would have found it a tad stressful if I’d had a baby with me. Pool space was at a premium, and it’s much easier to navigate the masses for those kids who can swim by themselves.
That said, the hotel is right at the beach, so if you fancy feeling some sand between your toes, it’s right at your doorstep and you can easily keep popping back for refreshments.
While you don’t have to do all-inclusive at Family Life, I would highly recommend it.
Food, alcoholic drinks, ice-creams and plenty more besides are available until midnight.
The offerings change daily at each of the hotel’s excellent restaurants. There are three, one of which needs to be booked and has waiter service. But we never bothered going and always ended up at one of the buffets.
Last year more than 105,000 Irish holidaymakers travelled to Majorca. That seems like a lot, but compare that to almost 3.5million Germans, a couple of million Scandinavians and Nordic types, and that equates to a great deal of tall blondes strutting about the pool.
Throw in all of the gorgeous Spanish folk that like to island hop, and it makes for very attractive eye candy on your summer holiday.
Although my main objective is to spend time with the kids and switch off on my family holidays, I found that now my boys are 9 and 10, they didn’t need me so much.
Over the two weeks they both found different pals to hang around with from the kids club. They’d spend their days in the pool, sneaking ice-pops and playing football, their nights drinking slushies, taking part in the evening shows and spending money in the games room trying to win Minions.
Although it was a busy resort, I felt the kids were very safe. The beach was closed off in the evenings and I was able to allow them a good deal of freedom to roam the complex.
I also met two fabulous women over the two weeks to have the craic with – not that I would endorse staying up till 5am and skinny dipping in the pool at all… never mind TWICE… but, I must say, it definitely was a fabulous distraction from constantly nagging the kids to wear suncream and go easy on the sweets.
Moving swiftly on, if you’ve got sociable children that like to mingle, the kids clubs are ideal. And the evening shows always include those exhibitionists who like to show off
their dancing skills.
What else is important to know? If you need it, there’s an in-house doctor available 24/7. If you’re like me, you’ll just need protection against the mosquitoes. Luckily you’ve got a pharmacy just five minutes away, where you can stock up on spray repellents to keep the bugs at bay.
If booze is more your thing, they sell litre bottles of Smirnoff for €8 at the shops there, but that’s a bit of a waste when you’re on an all-inclusive package.
Although I wanted to get a family room, our twin room with pool and sea view was perfect. We had a decent-sized balcony, the kids had bunk beds, which could be closed off with a sliding door, and the room itself was spotless.
A couple of evenings, we got a bus down to Alcudia town after dinner. It’s a fairly busy area (especially when trying to get a taxi home), but we found some lovely spots beside the water to enjoy a couple of cocktails and watch the sun setting as the kids played on the sand.
Although we never did any of the boat trips or water parks (there are many), we did take a kayaking tour, which was great fun. You might have to paddle a bit more when sharing a boat with a lazy 9 year old, but the views are amazing. Swimming among the coves and snorkelling in the clear water was a true joy.
Also, if you can afford it, rent a car and get out and discover the island.
There are some stunning old towns, ports and beaches across Majorca. It’s clearly a wealthy island and it’s lovely to ogle the massive homes and the gigantic cruisers that float off the coast.
People always ask me what other kid-friendly holidays have I been on. Well, my previous two were on the Greek Islands of Rhodes (Holiday Village) and Kos (Blue Lagoon Village), also with Falcon/Thomson Holidays – and they were both heavenly.
Both were fairly new resorts and I couldn’t fault the luxury, facilities or food. That said, neither resort could be deemed as budget, but if you can afford them, you’re sure to have a fabulous time.
The apartments at Blue Lagoon Village were particularly huge, and perfect for escaping from the little ones if you so desire… wink wink… nudge nudge!
- Be careful with your children in the sea. Occasionally it can get quite choppy and undercurrents can make swimming dangerous, especially for inexperienced swimmers on inflatables.
- Don’t go crazy buying holiday clothes, shades and handbags before you travel. If you’re a shopper you’ll scoop some major bargains (a short bus ride away) at the big market in Alcudia’s old town.
- It’s not my thing but Majorca is a major destination for cyclists. Where there’s a steep cliff or a dangerous bend, there’s millions of them! So if your other half gets itchy feet while you fancy resting at the pool, get them to rent a bike (from €8 up) from one of the many rental stores.
- Be mindful to budget for the local tourist tax. It’s new. All visitors over the age of 16 must pay €1.65 per day for every day of their stay. Two adults over two weeks works out at €23.10 payable on arrival at Family Life.
- Amanda travelled to Majorca with Thomson and stayed in Family Life Alcudia Pins on an all-inclusive basis.
- Thomson fly from Dublin on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; from Cork on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and from Shannon on Saturdays.
- A week in Family Life Alcudia Pins on Tuesday May 9 2017 from Dublin for 7 nights, for 2 adults and 1 child in a twin room on all-inclusive board basis, costs from €2,141 (including free child place offer subject to availability at time of booking).
See thomsonholidays.ie for more information.