A second week in Camp de Mar - August 2005 by Mary & Bob Haskett
Since writing the report of our last visit to Camp de Mar three years ago, several people have contacted us to say that they booked to stay at the Hotel Playa because they read my report and that, like us, they had a really good time.
We decided to go again this year and booked a week at the Playa during August. Last time we were there we met Ian and Jean from Scotland and enjoyed their company but did not exchange contact details. Luckily, their daughter Gaenor read my review and contacted me to say that her parents would like to keep in touch. We were very pleased to hear that they were also considering another week at the Playa this year and we arranged to meet up.
As we set off on our holiday, we were excited at seeing the place we loved so much again but, at the same time, were a little worried that we might not like it as much second time around.
I had calculated that with the flight time we had, we would be lucky to get to the hotel for the evening meal. As we left Palma airport at 8pm, we discussed which restaurant we would like to eat in as we knew that the hotel meals in the evening were only served until 9pm. Imagine the surprise and pleasure which was felt by us all when we arrived at 8.50pm to be told by the receptionist to leave our cases with him and go down to the restaurant for our evening meal.
We enjoyed an excellent meal - as expected - with a nice bottle of wine, returning to reception well after 9.30 to find that our cases had already been taken up to our room. At once, we knew that we had made the right decision to stay at the Playa again.
I had booked a bigger room at the Playa this year. It was much better, with a fantastic view of the pool, beach and island. The smaller rooms, I understand, are now being booked out to single guests only.
I noticed that the mini bar prices were a lot cheaper than last time, although still slightly more expensive than the local shop. So, if you are passing on your way to the hotel, it does pay to stock up.
First class and plentiful
As with last time, the food at the hotel was first class and plentiful. Everyone talked too agreed that they had "piled on the pounds". If you required a continental breakfast in your room, there is a small charge. We didn't as we like our bacon and eggs while on holiday. Breakfast is served 8am till 10.30am and the evening meal is from 6.30 till 9pm - although you are never chased out: stay as long as you wish.
The staff were, once again, most pleasant and helpful. In fact, we recognised many from last time and the manager, very proud of his hotel and staff, was ever present and always gives a cocktail party to introduce himself and the staff to everyone.
Last time we stayed, we spent most of our time on the beach. This year, while we still enjoyed the beach, we spent much of our lazy time on sunbeds near the jacussi relaxing and chatting with other guests.
The evening entertainment was very popular with guests, many going for a very early evening meal so they could get a good seat. We tended to wander around for a drink in one of the local bars (see below) as hotel entertainment is not really our thing.
I have two complaints. The poolside snack bar served the worst food that I have ever tasted on holiday. The marguerita pizza my wife ordered was flat, lifeless and cold and the toasted cheese sandwich I had at the same time was black on the outside but the cheese was not even melted, or hot, on the inside. It also contained lettuce and cold tomato.
The other fault, and I would say that the hotel could sort this one out, was that although all guests at the hotel were British, many seemed to be playing at being Germans going out early to reserve sunbeds with towels and then not using them for ages. Although it was quite amusing watching them from the balcony, it did seem rather unnecessary as there were more than enough beds to go around. We could always get the place we wanted. It just seemed daft to me that while you can have a nice long lie-in and breakfast as late as 10.30, some people were fighting over how close they could be to the pool as soon as the doors opened.
Anyway, enough of the hotel, what about the place itself. Apart from some new buildings, the main part of the resort was exactly as it was, the island being the main focal point on the beach, with many children throwing bread to the fish from the gangway much to everyone's amusement. The sunbeds on the beach were inexpensive at 7.20 Euros for 2 beds and an umbrella and the shop close to it sold a huge range of drinks, food and other stuff at very reasonable prices.
The island restaurant was busy every day, with people buying paella and fish dishes. We enjoyed a Litre of Sangria at 11.50 Euros or a bottle of local wine at a remarkable 6.50 Euros to drink as we lazed away the early evening before returning to the hotel to get ready for the evening meal.
Good watering holes
After the meal we would have a short walk around the resort before meeting up with our friends Ian and Jean (with daughter Fiona this time) in a local bar. Last time we were there we tended to drink at the Bar Bagari but I had read a bit on this site about Bar Pepe which, I was lead to believe, was very popular because of the antics of the staff think Fawlty Towers it said. Well, I must say that when we went there on our first night, while the bar was full, no one appeared to be talking to anyone, everyone was just sitting and staring ahead, we thought more Stepford Wives meets Village of the Damned rather than the John Cleese classic.
Just to make sure we had not gone an a bad night, we walked past it again a few other nights but each time, although it was quite full there was no atmosphere and certainly no antics, perhaps Basil was away that week.
We did, however, find some very good watering holes. Attached to the Playa Hotel, just around the corner is the 19th Hole, a very welcoming pub run by local man Manolo with probably the cheapest prices in the resort. A large beer and (very) large gin and tonic costing 5 Euros.
The place with the most ambiance was the Bar Petit found down on the beach and accessed by new decking over the sand from the Playa. This friendly little bar had tables on the sand with comfortable chairs, candles along the pathways, oil lamps around the tables and very friendly staff a highly recommended place.
Usually we would end up for "last drinks" at the downstairs hotel bar with friendly staff, good atmosphere and prices and extremely good measure if you are drinking spirits.
We walked into Paguera a couple of times (20 minutes through the woods) and a welcome place to go to while you are there is the Rendezvous. Here you can sit and overlook the beach with a drink or a snack. Best buy was the house special: Coffee, a huge piece of Cake and a Cognac for the remarkable price of 3 Euros. Paguera is the place to go if you like shops with gifts and clothes ranging from high fashion to cheap tee shirts.
We went on two excursions. The Thomson Western Encounters picked us up from the hotel at 8.15am (which was the only downside) and got us back at around 5pm. The day was varied and contained visits to the Michael Douglas museum, a boat trip and a ride on the Orange Blossom train with stops at lesser known resorts and villages. We enjoyed it and would recommend it for anyone who has been to Majorca a few times and would like to learn more about the culture of this beautiful island. The guide on the trip gave us lots of information about place names and traditions, often in a very humorous way.
The other excursion we booked ourselves with the lady who has a stall at the bottom of the road between the Playa and the Riu hotels. This was a 5 hour boat trip that stopped at Sant Elm and the Island of Dragonera. The Sant Elm stop was an ideal chance to have a drink and a snack, while the Island was an excellent opportunity to see some of the unusual wildlife and plants as well as the stunning scenery. The trip also included a couple of stops to allow people to swim in the sea, an opportunity enjoyed by our friend Ian and his daughter Fiona while is wife Jean and ourselves preferred to have a drink (or 2) from the bar and soak up the sun and enjoy the views on deck.
All too soon the week came to an end but, as I am writing this report, I know that Camp de Mar is a place we will visit again before too long. If anyone reading this is also taking a holiday there, I know you will enjoy it as much as we did.
Happy holidays - Bob Haskett
This page last updated on Sunday, May 8th 2016