We decided long, long ago, last year when Rosalie was a teeny tiny newborn that we would like to go on holiday with our friends. There were to be 4 adults and 5 children in our party, 3 of which were under 2, we needed a holiday that would meet the needs of everyone.
There were three main things we wanted from our holiday:1) It needed to be hot
2) It needed to be suitable for children of all ages.
3) The flight time needed to be short.
After many holiday planning meetings, with wine, we settled on the First Choice Holiday Village – Monte Safari. We chose a week long All inclusive package.Here’s what we thought of it…
The Hotel itself has only been open for a couple of years so was very nice.
We stayed in a one bedroom apartment. The room was modern and was kept nice and clean. Our room was made up of two twin beds pushed together and a travel cot. This was fine for us as we only had one baby so there was plenty of room.Our friends with 4 children were given a one bedroom apartment as well, the only difference being that the bedroom in their apartment was slightly larger and had 1 extra bed and two travel cots which didn’t really work for them. If your travelling with a larger family I would make sure you check the sleeping arrangements, we booked through a travel agent and just presumed there would be enough beds for everyone. They did ask for an additional bed which the hotel soon provided. They had the same amount of wardrobes and storage space as we did in our apartment, and ours were full! Just something to bear in mind.
There were 5 pools, 1 toddler splash pool and a family splash park with sprinklers. They was also a toddler play park.
The flight time to Majorca was just over two hours. Our flight time for departure was 6pm and our return flight was at 10pm. These flight times worked really well for us travelling with a 1 year old. After a feed Rosalie slept most of the way there and all of the flight home.
I was a little disappointed to find that pushchairs were taken to the luggage collection hall and not left at the plane door for us to pick up as soon as we got off the plane. We flew BA earlier this year and the pushchair was waiting for us as soon as we got off the plane, I presumed that was what all airlines did. Unfortunately this was not the case, our friends who have two babies under two had both a sleeping baby and hand luggage for themselves and baby to carry all the way through passport control.
The transfer time was around 1 hour. Unfortunately we were waiting for over 40 minutes at the airport for a family to get on the bus. Not ideal at 11pm at night, with 4 babies, and 3 children after a long day of travelling. If I was to go again I would book a private transfer to the hotel so that once you have collected your bag you can get to your hotel as soon as possible.
We chose to go All Inclusive. Breakfast was absolutely fine. You can’t beat a cooked breakfast in the morning, I may have had one everyday…We did find that by day two we were bored of eating the same things for lunch and dinner. Also I found it really hard to find any healthy dinners for Rosalie to eat. They had no cooked vegetables, one night I found some roasted peppers but that was about it. She pretty much had to eat chips and pasta all week. Something to bear in mind if you are weaning a little one.
The food that was there was very nice, I cant fault it, and they did offer new things each night there just were not many healthy options. You could help yourself to unlimited, bread, fruit, ice cream and soft drinks through out the day.
There were 3 themed restaurants that you could eat at but you had to book and could only go to each one once. We headed to reception to book the restaurants the day after we arrived only to find that the restaurants were all fully booked until the last three nights of our holiday.We chose to go out for dinner 3 times whilst we were there and I must say that we had our best meals outside of the hotel. We ate twice in Cala Millor at a lovely Tapas restaurant and a nice italian. On our last night we headed to Porto Christo for dinner. This was a little more up market, we had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant overlooking the harbour.
They had kids clubs running through out the day. We didn’t take advantage of this so I’m not sure how it worked. They even had a specialist swim school and football academy for kids to enrol at.
After running clubs and looking after littles all day the reps then took to the stage in the evening. Our girls loved the evening entertainment, running about and playing games with the ‘widgets’.
The main activity pool was great for the elder girls in our group, with a smaller toddler pool nearby for the babies. They had an outside sprinkler park which all kids loved running around. They also had a toddler activity pool with little slides.
The best part of our holiday was going to the water park at the sister hotel. We were all inclusive so paid only 15 euros per person to go the water park, this entitled us to unlimited food and drink for the day as well. There was a toddler splash pool and two flumes which we all enjoyed. The pool had a Jacuzzi area and swim up bar. It was also a lot quieter than our hotel pool. I would definitely recommend a trip to the water park if you stay at the Monte Safari. We loved it so much we went back again.
We spent two nights out exploring Cala Millor and those evenings were the best of our holiday. We would catch the free shuttle bus into Cala Millor which is only about 10 minutes away. Then have an early dinner and spend the evening walking around the town and looking in the shops. Cala Millor had two different fun parks which the kids loved to play on. They had bungee trampolines, huge bouncy inflatables with slides, bouncy castles, water boats, go carts… The children loved running around going on all rides and I think the parents did too!
And one more thing…
I can’t write a review of this hotel without telling you this. We all came down with sickness and diarrhoea during our stay. Rosalie had it first, the first time in her little life she has ever been sick! With Nick and I shortly following.Fortunately, we weren’t all sick at the same time. Rosalie had it the 2nd night, nick the 3rd, and me on the 4th night. Although that did mean that for 3 out of our 7 days on holiday one of the family was ill. Luckily, the sickness seemed to strike at night time so we still managed make the most of our days even though we weren’t feeling our best.
It seems that the Monte Safari, Cala Millor has a bit of a reputation of causing gastroenteritis. Three of our friends children also came down with sickness. During our stay we witnessed a little boy be sick in a restaurant and a woman throw up in the bar. We spoke to a few families whilst we were there and found a few had also suffered illness. After our return a friend found this article. There are also many trip advisor reviews on the subject here. It seems the holiday company is aware that there is an issue here although no one mentioned it to us, despite us booking our holiday face to face with someone in a travel agent. I suppose it’s obvious that they wouldn’t mention it as it may have made us think twice about going there. I don’t want to write a bad review but I wish I had known of the situation before hand, which is why I am letting you know about the issues now. So that you can make an informed decision about whether to stay here or not.
All in all, we had a lovely holiday with our friends. The kids facilities are amazing, the children had a great time and that’s all that really matters. Yes we were ill, but even then it didn’t ruin our holiday and was still one of the best holidays we have been on. We have lots of wonderful memories.
*Photographs courtesy of Sophie West. All pool photographs were taken at the water park and not the Monte Safari Hotel.