The hotel was spotless and cleaning crews were working in the public areas around the clock. I even encountered one cleaner up a ladder cleaning the tops of the toilet doors.
The staff were excellent and multi-lingual. English is not their first language, or possibly their second but the chances are they speak much better English than you do Spanish, but learn a few words anyway as it always helps to break the ice and they will help you even more.
Don't be afraid to ask. It's a large hotel and has hundreds of rooms in lots of blocks. If you don't like your room, ask (nicely) to be moved and if they can't do it today, they probably can tomorrow. Also some rooms are a long way from reception. If you want your luggage delivered or collected, again ask. They have a large 'Bellhop' crew and they are great guys, and so helpful.
The main restaurant is self service and can get busy and noisy. It is defiantly not a place for a quiet romantic meal. The breakfast selection is awe inspiring, you could almost stay all day. OK so there is always a queue for toast, but who wants to eat toast when there is a whole bakers shop of breads, pastries, doughnuts and cakes available. Mountains of fruit, lots of cooked food, all the full English classics, cold meats, hot chocolates, teas, coffees, cereals, etc.etc.
There is also a large selection for evening meals. You never go hungry, although you may end up with a selection on your plate that even the most adventurous restaurant would not combine. It is 'all you can eat' no plate rationing, so be adventurous and try something new, and if you don't like it, try something else.
Do visit the other hotels in the group using a dine around ticket from Guest Services. You can either just transfer to the buffet at the other hotel or pay the extra to eat in their a la carte restaurant and pay the extra. You can either use the hotel/Port Adventura Tram to get to and from the other hotels or just ask the Bellhops for a lift. (Again, be nice and ask, they just love to help)
The hotel allows you to link your room key to a credit card and then use the room key to pay at the bar and at the other hotels and at the various fast food stalls and restaurants at the park. We had numerous problems with this. The technology seemed to work but not all the staff knew how to use it. It was always best to carry some cash as a back-up.
Our rooms were spacious and kept very clean. They had a 42 channel TV with some English Channels which seemed to change throughout the week. The air-conditioning was a little temperamental, but we had a wide range of outside temperatures during our staff including several days of very (very) heavy rain. One room had a shower, bath with shower and Jacuzzi, toilet and bidet. The other just had a bath with shower and toilet, so I guess its the luck of the draw. We did long for tea and coffee making facilities in the room.
The nightly entertainment ranged from quite good to village hall amateur dramatics, but again look at the weekly listing and try a different hotel, or one of the shows at the park.
Internet computers, pool tables and air hockey are available, but our top tip would be go into town where they are much better and cheaper.
If we had one complaint about the hotel, it would be the cost of drinks and coffee. (Except at Breakfast when it is free)
The Port Adventura park was so much better than we expected. Far better than anything in the UK. It is not Florida, but it is on a more human scale (but still expect to walk miles).
We had full access every day, so could explore at out leisure a few hours at a time. This is a great way to see the park as there is so much to see and it is not always very well advertised. Even on our last day we were finding rides and attractions we had not seen before. Again the staff are multi-lingual, but be patient they do not all have a full vocabulary, but learn a little Spanish and it will go a long long way.
Salou is a great resort, with plenty going on. There is an amazing amount of public space, with children's play equipment every few hundred metres. Vast public plazas and huge fountains. There is a large range of shops and restaurants and bars. Do shop around and know your prices and haggle as some of the price tags are a bit speculative.
There is a frequent public bus service, but if you are a family you might find it is cheaper to use taxis.
Barcelona is a train ride away. Port Adventura has its own station, near the hotel. You can buy a ticket on the train without any problems (unlike in the UK).
Also visit La Pineda for a spectacular water park and the chance to swim with Sea-Lions, also take a ferry to Cambrils for a quieter lunch.
One last thing, if you are travelling with the same company as us, watch out for excess baggage at the airport. Our luggage weight had increased by a mysterious 10 kg (no idea how) and we were charged a huge excess baggage fee. (Our group could have flown home by Ryan Air for less if the service has started) We definitely flew home feeling our pockets had been picked!
Travel operator: First Choice
The housekeeping was not what I would call 4*.
The food was excellent, the staff were friendly.
Travel operator: firstchoice
We then had a mooch around the hotel and as it was lunch decided to go find something to eat. All that opens for lunch time is a poolside cafe which serves a small menu, chicken burger/bacon cheese burger/ baguettes all with French fries for around
Travel operator: air tours
Travel operator: Direct Holidays
the food was excellent there was plenty to choose from as long as your not a fussy eater.
the location was excellent although i did find it abit of a trek to get to the beach and the shops especially as it is a slope on way back but you can catch the train from the hotel to the theme park which i thought was brilliant they also do this service to the beach club, we all loved the beach club loads of different pools to choose from and some are very relaxing.
entertainment was ok but they were doing halloween stuff on our visit and i thought it was abit scary for the kids.
staff were helpful as we had needed lots of information as we had caught the train into barcelona, which was a nightmare if your thinking of going to barcelona get the bus as we had a nightmare finding it and also it was a trk from the station and the train was jam packed.
i would def visit it again as so much to here.
Travel operator: first choice
Travel operator: Airtours/MYTRAVEL
Our first evening there we were delighted to find a very good selection of meals available. Only downside is if you wish a glass of wine with your meal buy it at the bar and take it in with you because they only sell full or half bottles in the restaurant. (all drinks are paid for at evenings but are free at breakfast). The staff in the restaurant were excellent as their service was very efficient and they were friendly nothing too much trouble.
We did use the dine around vouchers that are available from guest services (you pay the difference between your allowance in the Half Board restaurant and the a la carte or other restaurant you choose) which gives you a chance to try a more personal level of service and choice of food. You can use either of the other two hotels restaurants with this service as well.
Only watched two shows in the hotel the Abba tribute and the Queen tribute both of which were excellent but started and finished quite late. Mind you with access to the Port Aventura Theme Park unlimited you did tend to stay there quite late so by the time you had eaten 9.30pm for the kids disco and 10pm for the show was just about right. Other nights we were too tired to stay up after 9.30.
The location of the hotel is excellent as it is only a 15 to 20 minute slow walk into Salou town centre where there are very good transport links available to nearby areas. La Pineda has a very good waterpark with dolphin & sea lion shows. Tarragona is a fabulous city to visit and has a very good shopping mall for those of you who do not like markets. Plenty of markets available!!
We were lucky enough to have access to the Caribe Waterpark for the full 14 days we were there which is absolutely fabulous with two children 7yrs & 10yrs old we were there every morning then into the theme park in the afternoon most days. free transport to here from your hotel and the newly opened beach club which has another wonderful restaurant. There are facilities here for children but in our opinion is more suited to adults or couples wanting a bit of quiet.
We can honestly say that this is one of the best hotels we have stayed at and will definately be returning at the earliest opportunity.
Travel operator: First Choice
The hotel was lovely and peaceful the grounds are lovely and the evening entertainmet is great for kids and adults alike, the guys who do the kids disco are fantastic how they get up there each evening and seem genuinely happy to be entertaining the kids is beyond me.
Reception staff are at best ok.
The food is ok preferred it in the Portaventura hotel and found the restaurant staff there much friendlier. There is a kids club but we didnt use it.
The pools are freezing but there are always lifeguards on and they really are watching.
Travel operator: first choice
The childrens club was good but nearly every time we arrived it was closed with a notice on door back in 1 hour so we missed it a lot as it was more than an hour = we gave up.
Halloween is celebrated the whole of October in Portaventura park + hotels + it spoiled our enjoyment as the kids were scared + the constant loud dark horrible music added no enjoyment/even the mini disco spoiled by animation team scaring the wee ones. It really was too much with no escape.
The entertainment didn't start til after 10 + the outside acts ok but some nights the animation team put on plays in Spanish??? We walked to a nearby hotel a couple of nights where entertainment started a lot earlier + enjoyed it
Rooms were clean + basic a nice touch = safe + fridge free but walls paper thin
Another huge negative is from 1st October the outside of water park closes as its winter????? + we weren't told this so our older boy wasn't happy as he loves flumes etc
They don't advertise the dine around vouchers which can be obtained at guest relations but they were good as you could eat at any of the 3 hotels + it made a nice change.
Travel operator: direct holidays
Agreed with most reviews about the hotel that have been posted previous, can't really add much that hasn't been said but wanted to mention the upgrade that is available.
We upgraded through travel agents to have a superior room in the 'San Juan' 5 star block. It was fairly expensive but from the moment we arrived it was worth every penny.
On arrival at the hotel reception we were immediately taken to the San Juan reception area which avoided the horrendous queueing in the main foyer to check in. The San Juan has 29 larger rooms, private jacuzzi pool, bar & restaurant and reception area.
The rooms are lovely with 2 huge double beds and a double sofa bed, a TV & DVD player and well stocked mini bar. The ground floor rooms open out onto the private pool and the higher rooms have balconies. The bathrooms are amazing with walk-in-shower, hydro-massage bath, double sink and separate toilet. Lots of extras like branded slippers and dressing gowns are a great touch.
The San Juan appeared very underused only a few other Spanish families appeared for breakfast and the pool and facilities were our own most of the time which was great in an overall busy complex. Staff here couldn't do enough for you.
In the evening there was a champagne reception before dinner which we had at the buffet most nights as the choice was so good there.
Also the upgrade included blue wristbands for Portaventura which entitled unlimited fast pass access to all rides all holiday which was fantastic!(dragon khan is a must it's amazing!)
Overall the hotel, the upgrade and resort of Portaventura were fantastic, salou itself was average and felt dated. Early September was a good time to go if kids are young enough as schools at home and in Spain were just going back so was much quieter.
Beach club was good, trip to Barcelona zoo and Nou Camp was great day and quite cheap. Weather was hot, few storms but still overall great. If you have kids between 2-16 it's a must as is so much to do, we had 10 nights but have already booked for 2 weeks next year!
Travel operator: First Choice
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