Camp de Mar bay & superyacht Blue Eyes London
New shops are everywhere.
Goodbye Mr Ambassador. Hello Accana.
Boat shack, that's where it's at
Real ice cream at Gelateria Capri
Award winner: The Playa hotel now has 19 certificates
Report by the Camp de Mar Team: May 2016
9, 10 or 11?
Palma airport was basking in glorious sunshine and was a joy to behold after we had left a cold grey UK only 2½ hours before. The recent rebranding of Thomson to TUI was very evident as everything - from reps to aircraft and coaches - were now sporting the company's colours and logo.
We were directed to transfer coach 9 10 11, which some people assumed was coach number 91011 but was really a bus with ⑨⑩⑪ stuck on the windscreen. Our spirits dropped as we thought that the transfer would have a lot off drops between here and our hotel.
Thankfully there were only two stops for two people to get off at each. So, after about an hour, including one stop at the wrong hotel, we arrived in Camp de Mar. Half the passengers got off for the Playa, the remainder for the Gran. Other guests have not been so lucky, with some reporting transfer times almost as long as their flight.
Hello to everyone and everything
It was good to see everyone again, that's staff and other guests who are regulars this time of year. Congratulations to 'little' Jose on his promotion from bellboy to reception desk team this year, and 'Get well soon' or 'Good luck in the new job' to some of the hotel staff we missed.
Around the resort, the seven blocks of luxury apartments adjacent the Playa hotel were now complete and had some weekenders resident. Behind them, the Taylor Woodrow development next to the golf course had completed Phase 1, and Phase 2 was now under construction. Luckily, as this is taking place behind the new apartments and also in what looks like a quarry pit, there is very little noise.
To complement all this development and influx of people, a large number of new retailers were now open. The old Spar supermarket under the Playa and next to the beach has been done up and was half was open as a supermarket. The other half was undergoing refurbishment and we could glimpse refrigerated cabinets similar to those used in the ice cream shops.
Further around the Playa, the units we reported on last year as being readied for use are now an array of shops: from the orignal Tourist Office we now have another ice cream parlour, a minimarket, the Maria Altea store that was once on the main road to the Gran, and another clothes, shoes and bags store. Then comes the Eurocop supermarket, atop which is a new and recommended restaurant - Salt & Pepper.
Unfortunately, the doctor's surgery at the Villa Real hotel has been converted into a minimarket - which means Camp de Mar now has five supermarkets plus the Kiosco and Heladria Nanen for drinks and snacks. However, a doctor is available to see at the Playa on a Tuesday afternoon - credit card at the ready.
Goodbye Mr. Ambassador
The Petit Ambassador restaurant is no more... it has been rebuilt as the Accana Summer Club, an upmarket eaterie that opened during our stay.
All the other restaurants in and around Camp de Mar seem to be as before except the Beach Club next to La Siesta is now named the Acceria Beach Club. For more information, there are plenty of reviews on TripAdvisor.
Hey dude... where's our boat?
Last year we happily reported that the boat trip to Palma had been reinstated. This year it has been replaced with a new boat/open-top bus tour of the island operated by Cruceros Cormoran. So, now the only way to get to Palma was by bus or cab, and anywhere there's a crowd these days then there's a pickpocket. It happened right in front of us at the bus stop as a fellow guest found out his wallet had gone when he went to pay his fare. We suspect it was the smartly dressed young man who had been sitting on the wall at the bus stop, but who legged it once the bus arrived.
We were told that at the Welcome Meeting, the reps had given warnings about a recent spate of thefts, but we had missed it. Therefore keep your valuables hidden away from sticky fingered thieves who look just like tourists themselves. We noted a fair number of people out and about with wallets and smartphones all easily lifted from gaping pockets.
Out in the bay, untroubled by landlubber crime, was 60m superyacht Blue Eyes London owned by a Spanish billionaire
Out and about
The market in nearby Paguera draws the crowds on Tuesday mornings from about 10am. Mixed in among the arts and crafts are also stalls selling local produce: Soller oranges as big as melons, hard cheeses and cured meats such as Sobrassada. Once you have covered both sides, stroll down the Avenida Peguera to take in the shops and boutiques before ending your outing with an ice cream from Gelateria Capri situated on Carrer des Capdellà.
Paguera or Peguera, Santa Ponsa or Santa Ponça? Place names are on the civic agenda again as a toponymy commission has been set up (presumably taxpayer-funded) to sort out the mess. On the main roads, signs proclaim Peguera, but local footpaths have recently been signed by the council as Paguera. Take your pick. You can read more about the non-problem here.
Wednesday's market in Andratx was not as big as it had been in previous years. The local police were obvious in their presence, but one English visitor had already lost his wallet to either a pickpocket or to absent mindedness. Oddly, his partner and her friend thought his predicament rather funny!
You can walk to Puerto Andratx from the market if you're made of stern stuff. Likewise, both the port and Paguera have walking routes signposted from Camp de Mar. In the port are some good cafes and restaurants, and a wide variety of shops.
Walking around the more distant parts of Camp de Mar can lead you down some very interesting side roads that head either inland or to the cliffs and their seemingly precariously perched multimillion euro luxury villas. Last year we came across one such under construction, its glowing white polygonal-shaped stone façade being carefully put together by two oriental craftsmen. This year, we discovered that the iron railings mounted above had not been painted, thus allowing the rusty water to run down and stain the wall. And yet another villa was being built right in front of it, blocking the view.
At the end of road, the Theâtre/Loft villa was undergoing refurbishment. This is how it looked before.
Every Night Something...
Over the years, it seems the standard of entertainment provided by Thomson/TUI has gradually gone down. It may be different in high season when the warmer and lighter evenings allow for use of the outdoor stage and bigger acts, but down in the confines of the dungeon that is Bar Maricel you are limited. A comedian - who we had seen before - a couple of lookie-likey pop acts and the professional TUI entertainment team. The latter did put on quite a few good shows during our stay but, if you were seated off to the side, then you could not see either of the two screens that supported the acts with dazzling graphics.
The TUI recreation and holiday reps based at the hotel also put on a song and dance show - hence our reference to ENSA in this paragraph's title. Natasha can sing (as she is from Wales!) and Jake's fair too, but the rest of them were not co-ordinated in their backing routine antics - which did make them slightly more entertaining ☺. Thinking that there might be better fayre at the Gran, we wandered over to find a clown - we kid you not - entertaining a crowd at 9:45pm with two sticks and honk-honk sound effects!
The sand dunes before development in 2011, and now
Around the pool, the daily games and quiz were well hosted by Natasha or Jake although we could not always hear well. This was explained as follows: the hotel has had to install a noise limiter as there have been complaints from the new residents of the nearby apartments. They have called the police on the quiz - which is a bit like city folk who move to the country and then complain about the noise from the farmyard!
Farewell to all
There is no Goodbye Meeting now, instead you have to discover what your transfer coach time is from a folder in reception. The reps are there to help, but don't expect the right information. We were given the wrong check-in desk number and the assistance request for our disabled team member had not been passed on to the airport.
On departure day, there were three coaches in quick succession as one was for Inca market, one for a tour, and ours for the transfer. This caused some confusion as guests were trying to get on the market bus with luggage to the consternation of the driver, while others were on the transfer coach expecting to go to Valldemossa.
The transfer left on time and was direct with no stops. so we were at the airport quite quickly yet with little time to spare before our flight left. The check-in was heaving with people and there was a rush to get from there to the departure gate for our flight. This meant no time for duty free or the queue to buy bottles of water.
As we were waiting, we discovered that the French air traffic controllers were on strike and could expect delays. By some miracle we were only ten minutes late in boarding and, while awaiting clearance to taxi, the captain explained that they had managed to dodge a five hour delay by being away on time from Luton, thus missing the beginning of the strike when the French were due to start their 'non-working' shift.
Back in England, there were very long queues at passport control, but we were eventually through and headed home to a welcome cup of British tea!
This page created on Friday, June 10th 2016