Ten days in Camp de Mar - October 2004 by David Ward
Having stayed at the Playa Hotel twice before, my wife and I decided to try the first 2 weeks in October so that we could enjoy cooler weather after enduring the previous year's exceptionally hot July. Although the brochures give an idea of the average temperatures and weather for each month, we completed packing our cases at the last minute to reflect the 10 day forecast found on the Weather Channel.
The first week was hot and sunny with clear skies - temperatures were up near the nineties - but nights were cool, especially when there is an incoming sea breeze. (Sunset is around 7.15pm. Sunrise is about 8am). The latter part of the holiday saw a couple of spectacular night-time thunderstorms out over the sea but we only had one light, but warm shower during the day.
Being a Thomson Gold Hotel, the Playa is specifically for couples holidaying without children and at this time of year, the majority of guests were retired people. This was also reflected in the resort as a whole as there was a lack of noise which gave us a quiet and relaxing holiday. Mid-season, the average age is younger and the surrounding hotels are host to couples with young children.
The hotel has made many changes since last year. The extra sunbeds and parasols around the pool have been supplemented by cushioned reclining chairs on each balcony. Each room has new curtains and door locks for improved safety and security. There are new TVs as well, although you still only get BBC 1 & 2, ITV Granada, Sky Sports and Movies Seven plus the Spanish and German channels. Other new items include the toasters in the dining room and a new internet connection that, unfortunately, still has a spanish keyboard and software.
The resort remains its quiet self. There are a handful of new villas and there are still a couple of empty shops near the hotels, but everything else seems the same... except the buses. There is still only one bus stop, so if you still have to ask the driver which way he is going. For example, bus 102's indicator will show Palma then Pt. Andratx and you will not have a clue which is the final destination. Consequently, there is a big rush to get to the driver to ask and, unfortunately, the non-English visitors often do not understand the concept of queueing. I highly recommend downloading the L100 region bus timetables, printing them out and keeping them with you when travelling.
Thomson offer a variety of shows and tours and these are promoted by the reps at the 'Welcome' meeting. Pirates and Son Amar are still going strong and were enjoyed by nearly everyone we spoke to, as were the trips 'Western Encounter' - which includes a ride on the vintage Palma/Soller train - and the 'Caves of Drach'.
Trips are also arranged to popular markets, but shopping time is limited in order to squeeze in visits to other sights. Wednesday is market day in the local town of Andraxt and you can buy food, leather, household and tourist goods here while further afield, Sineu offers a true farmer's market experience - as one guest put it "I wanted a coat, not a goat!" Thursday is market day for Inca in the centre of the island. Sprawling over a large area, this is a great shopping experience but don't forget to haggle. All markets close around 1pm.
For the more adventurous, you could visit these markets under your own steam. Andraxt is a short cab or bus ride from Camp de Mar and there is an extra "market bus" that passes through the resort every half hour from 9 till 11. Inca is accessed via train from Palma (Station), so you need to get the earliest bus you can as it's about an hour to get to Palma and then a further half hour by train - don't queue at the station for a ticket - you can buy a return on board.
Palma has a small market on Saturday, but is blessed with a large department store - El Corte Inglés (The English Cut - a reference to tailoring), C&A and many shops in the fascinating side streets. Sindicat is one of them and directions and a town map can be got free of charge from the Tourist Information Office next to the train station. Another area well blessed with shops is Paguera. The town's boulevard runs for quite a length and there is no shortage of restaurants and bars, novelty goods, leather goods and jewellers. We can recommend both Universal Lieder (Leather) and Barok Jewellers for their excellent goods and customer service. Take the bus to the stop after the 5* hotel Villamil (on the right) and you can walk back towards Camp de Mar so as to get the bus back opposite the Casa Pepe supermarket at the edge of town. Paguera has a tortuous one-way road system and buses to Camp de Mar travel the back streets like Blackpool's Big Dipper.
Paguera, or Peguera depending on the road sign, is a good place to visit during the day after 10am when most of the shops have opened, but it is really busy at night. Another good walk is from Magaluf through to Palmanova with their tacky stores and bars, excellent beaches and watersport activities. A map of the towns is included in the Thomson 'Welcome' pack and it is best to get a cab to the centre of Magalluf, walk through to Paseig de la Mar in Palma Nova and then bus it back to Paguera.
Once again, we had an excellent stay at the Playa in Camp de Mar and look forward to our next visit. See Review 5
This page last updated on Sunday, May 8th 2016