Estival Park, my Summer Holiday

I’ve not been doing many spirits reviews recently but I’ve a few to write up and I’m trying something new and it’s taking a little bit of working out, so I thought I’d write up my holiday on here rather than Trip Adviser because some of the things people get away with saying on Trip Adviser is disgusting, so I doubt I’ll bother with them again.

This will almost certainly be rambling at times.

Estival Park

Estival Park is three hotels and apartments bang right on the beach in La Pineda, La Pineda is a short bus journey from Salou but is quieter,the beach is never all that busy, we opted for an apartment which had one bedroom a living/kitchen area, bathroom with bath and shower and a large balcony.

We stayed in Apartment Block 7 which is a two minute walk to Hotel 1 and five to the other two.

Each hotel has a pool, snack bar, main restaurant, bar and entertainment area, I mainly went to hotel 1 as it was nearest but as we were all inclusive (saying were rather than are is so fucking depressing) I did eat in all of them but it’s all the same stuff so it just depends if you want to serve yourself drinks (hotel 2 and 3) or table service at Hotel 1. I thought Hotel 1 looked like an actual restaurant albeit on a grand scale, the other two felt like posh staff canteens, but somewhere where it’s nice to work like I imagine Google or Apple’s head office to be like. If you want wine or water though it’s table service in all of them, half or full bottles of red and white and full bottles of rose if that’s your thing.

One or two minor gripes here. The pools in the hotels were salty, why? The pools in the apartments were not, so why were these? It did not add to the holiday.

The woman at the snack bar in hotel 1 hated her job to the point you would ask her in your best Spanish to get one of the rolls behind her, because the ones out front had all been eaten and she would just raise a hand and say “no”, she would then notice the rolls were all taken and she would spend twenty minutes stocking them up and putting three trays out at once rather than one at a time.

Our Room.

The apartment itself was spacious, a nice sized bedroom with plenty of storage (we were there for two weeks and Mrs Apocalypse packed pretty much everything from our large house so it’s just as well there was) the living room and kitchen areas were a good sized somewhat spoiled by the large indoor table and six chairs taking up far too much of the room, I’d rather have a bigger TV and another couch or sofa bed.

The highlight for me was the veranda, it was fucking huge, a table with chairs and still  loads of room for Mrs Apocalypse and Miss Apocalypse to store even more inflatable nonsense and buckets etc.

The only downside to the apartment was that the air con was in the living room and not in the bedroom, it was fucking roasting and it got so bad some nights I would shower at 2am and then sit in front of the air con until I was shivering and then would dry and go to bed get about two hours sleep and wake up again roasting. It just seemed daft to not have air con in both rooms.

There was also a private pool per apartment area and it was magic, it was huge, bigger than the main hotel pools and dead quiet, the only problem was that it wasn’t thirty seconds walk from a bar.

Food.

Fuck me do people moan and in fact, down right lie at times.

Some of the things said on both Facebook and Trip Adviser are baffling, baffling because there is nothing wrong with the food.

I’ve read that people can’t get anything to eat because it’s too busy, bullshit, the only night I saw it rammed was when England were playing at 8pm local time and at 7pm it was mobbed.

I’ve read that people don’t think there is a choice, I’m not sure how fussy these people are but maybe European travel isn’t for them because there was a huge choice, every serving in all three hotels.

Honestly, stay away from the Facebook pages and Trip Adviser because I’m not even sure some of these people even stay on site, I was actually there eating when Mrs Apocalypse read out some inane lie from someone claiming they couldn’t get a table despite all the fucking tables around us.

I’m going to guess these people have some minor gripe which they play out in their heads and then plan revenge via unhinged reviews.

We stayed in the apartment for dinner twice purely because we fancied a night in, watching the football and chilling out after long days.

All three restaurants offer up a huge range of food, cold stuff, hot stuff and grill stuff cooked in front of you, standard fare but well done and the desserts and pick and mix were decent too, maybe a bit samey if you had to moan but I’m not going too.

Good range of fresh fruit and some lovely breads too.

Each restaurant had a snack bar for the all inclusive crowd, chips, burgers, sausages, salad and apples, oh and chicken nuggets, toasties and some cold meat.

I will have a moan here, I would have liked to see some more fruit, maybe a bit of change but there was also peanuts and crisps although it did allow me to make my own tripe cheese burger with bacon and chorizo with BBQ sauce, which I ate for elevenses and yeah, fuck you.

Drinks.

Self service beer on tap, Sangreia, cocktails and soft drinks, and bottles of water, plus coffee machines or you could ask at the bar for house spirits which let’s just say were made for mixing or you could pay more and get better stuff but who’s doing that in an all inclusive resort if you’re all inclusive?

One minor complaint here is that the coffee from the proper coffee machine behind the bar was much nicer than the stuff from the machine but the staff got proper arsey if you asked for coffee from them, they did it, but they did it with hate in their eyes so I would always order a malibu and lemonade and loads of coffees.

Entertainment.

Dancers, magic, music, they had it all, and I watched none of it apart from half an hour of the Costa Durada Group belting out the hits and some magic guy who was good, to give him his due, but the entertainment was on at 10pm and I was knackered by that time.

People.

The resort was busy, a mix of Spanish, Russian, not many Brits (English schools haven’t given up for summer yet) and loads of Irish, who’s schools have finished up along with Scotland.

Most people were alright, smokers do my head in at the best of times but you forget just how many people smoke when you are thrown into a different environment, fags are cheap as chips here too so people were just going smoke crazy.

I did hear one woman say to her husband “this room should just be for the English” when she couldn’t get a seat in the bar when England were playing, and some people wonder why the English aren’t all that well liked.

The Russians are interesting people, polite enough and the women are just stunning but what is it with them and waste? Every night virtually every Russian dinner table had two big plates of fruit, usually cherries, and loads of desserts, these were then often, and by often I mean almost always, just fucking left, it was like they were using them as table decorations, it was quite remarkable and seems a uniquely Russian thing because no one else was doing it and I was there for breakfast, lunch and dinner most days so I think I know my stuff.

Spaniards do not do queuing, you proper have to fight for your space or you might as well prepare to starve or do a lot of walking but hold your ground they respect you and then it’s all good and I say this as a large man who has no problem making himself known to those around me.

Gym.

There is a gym and indoor pool/spa. There are actually two spas but one is free from 8am until 5pm for all inclusive and the other is thirty euros a day so guess which one I used a few times? I really liked the indoor pool and spa, it was reasonably quiet, nice and calm, was good for a chill, you do have to wear a silly wee pool hat thing, but if anything they make for quite nice souvenirs.

Fake stuff sellers.

Down on the beach front there are loads of women offering hair braids (which we got for the wee one) and guys selling the usual fake handbags, tops etc. I’ve read a fair few reviews where people say these people are aggressive and rude, bollocks.

If you want to see aggressive market traders go to Turkey and then come back to me and tell me these poor fuckers are being aggressive, a polite no thanks and they just walk by or move onto the next person, the people who give these people a hard time on social media platforms are either way too timid to be travelling abroad of just fucking racist because these traders are all from Africa, I’ll leave to you to work out which.

Price wise, well I guess it depends on what you think people’s worth is? Yes you can haggle these women down to a full head of hair in wee braid and weave things for ten euro but to me they are poor souls just trying to earn a living, the police seemed quite heavy handed too, moving them on all the time when they were causing no one any harm.

The Beach.

Oh aye. The beach was magic, being two minutes walk from the hotel helped but it was clean, huge, you could always get a space and the water was magic, even did some boogie boarding, very pleasant experience and loads of showers dotted about to get all the sand off you which is nice. You’ll also be offered a massage and take them up on the offer, for ten euro you get a full on brutal body massage leaving you both in agony and very relaxed, all good.

The beach front walk also had bars, shops and restaurants where I bought some tat, played on some arcade machines and ate a really nice kebab.

The food on the wee strip was actually very nice, I was talking to a few people who ate out a few times and said everywhere really excelled, I ate a kebab which came with drinks and chips for seven and a half euro, and it was lovely.

Buses.

There is a company called BusPlana, they do buses throughout the region and if you buy a ten ticket card, which you can reload, a single bus journey is just over one euro which is next to nothing and means you can dash from Portaventura (massive horrible themepark) to Tarragona (lovely old Spanish seaside town) in twenty minutes for a quid, what’s not to love.

They will also take you to Barcelona for twenty euro if you’re so inclined and a few other tourist hot spots in the region, next year I will make the effort to either go to Reus for a wander around or Montblanc, depending on what I’m allowed to get away with.

Shopping.

For tat and booze head to Salou on the bus and everything is at your finger tips, go early on before it gets too hot though or you’ll melt, or in the evening as the shops seem to shut quite late on.

If you want proper shopping head the other way to Tarragona which has some lovely wee boutiques one way and a massive mall the other way with a Primark which remarkably doesn’t just sell the same stuff as in the UK, it has a great range and if you can be arsed the whole mall is huge, over a hundred stores.

Be warned though, this is a proper working Spanish town, some shops and businesses shut for lunch, for hours, so be warned, but the mall thing seems to just stay open.

For drink shopping I found a few shops selling all manner of drinks, from massive bottles of Single Malt whisky to cannabis infused vodka energy drinks and everything in between, I stocked up on local brandy and some wines because fuck paying three times as much back in this robbing bastard of a country.

I had a lovely time, I had decent company which I guess helps but as we’ve already booked up for next year it’s fair to say I would recommend it, unless you hate foreigners or kids because there are loads of both.

One final point, some of my party stayed in a room with a view of the bins, the noise of the bins woke them up several times, I cannot speak from first hand experience as I wasn’t there but it’s a flaw, why do bins need to be collected at 1am?

Only 50 weeks until Kebab night.

The Captain.

 

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