Holiday in Majorca - September 2002

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Holiday in Porto Colom, Majorca, Balearic Islands, Spain,
Friday 20th September - Saturday 28th September 2002


The Green links in the text will open separate windows containing photo's of some of the places we visited. Most are my own photos, but some are links to images on other websites. Close the open window when you have viewed the photo. If you wish to see all my photos on the "gallery" page click here.

I have also made a "gallery" page of scans of brochures and leaflets I collected. To see it click here.


Written during the stay on my Psion Series 3c Handheld PC using the built in "Word" application and transferred to my home PC and converted to HTML format, on return home.
Holiday Cost Breakdown (booked on 7th September 2002)
Airtours/Aspro Holidays East Midlands/Palma Porto Mar Apts 1 x 1 Bedroom Apt Pb Sh Wc Bal/Ter
7 Nights S/C
£460.06
Travel Cover Direct UK Holiday Insurance Europe 10 Nights Travel Cover - Couple £22.66
Total Cost £482.72

Where possible I have provided Hyperlinks to other websites giving further information on any of the places visited. Any foreign language pages have translated links via Goggle's online translate service. The original links are in the Useful Links section at the bottom of the page. All information in this "Holiday Report" should be taken as a guide only and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. I compile my reports as a service to visitors to my website who may have a Holiday booked in the future at any of the resorts or accommodation listed. I welcome any feedback or comments you wish to make or any questions about any of the information or establishments featured in the reports.
Continuing my "Holiday Reports" series which have proven to be popular with my Websites visitors in previous years, I am detailing our latest Holiday this year to Majorca. This is a more through report than in previous years, partly because I've got better at knowing what to write about from the feedback from previous reports and partly because it is a way for me to pass the time while relaxing in the Sun. Also it acts as a sort of "diary of events" that I like to look back on. The wife has her books, I have my Psion!
This year we decided to visit Majorca for the very first time. We managed to get a good late deal through Thomas Cook and booked on 07/09/02. In this report all conversion shown between € (€uros) and £ (Pounds) at the rate of € 1 = £1.52 which was about the rate when we visited Majorca.

Friday Night/Saturday Morning 20th/21st September

East Midlands Airport UK

We unfortunately had to take another night flight due to the time period needed to return in time for work. We departed from EMA ten minutes earlier than expected on a "My Travel Airways" Airbus A320. The flight was pleasant if a little bumpy due to some "clear air turbulence" and we arrived in Palma Airport around 12.20am UK time (1.20am Local).

Palma, Majorca

Nice airport, a lot larger than Zante's! Only downside - The considerable trek from your aircraft to the baggage reclaim area. Oh well, the exercise does the circulation good after the flight!

We then found a posse of "Airtours" Reps directing passengers to a fleet of coaches to the various resorts. After having to ask a couple of Reps (The first one sent us in the wrong direction!) we eventually found our "coach" Number 106, which turned out to be a small Minibus with four other passengers on board who were also going to our resort. A Rep popped her head into the bus and informed us that the transfer to our accommodation would take around 1 hour 20 minutes. It was then left to our Spanish only speaking driver to take us there. The plus side to this is that because we were all off to only one resort and in a Minibus the transfer only actually took around 40 minutes.  When we eventually got to the Apartments and checked in it was around 3.45am.

Porto Colom, Majorca.

We don't like particularly busy resorts, so we booked an Apartment in Porto Colom, Majorca which was described as a quiet fishing port/resort.

Porto Mar Apartments

We had been allocated a one bedroomed apartment at the Porto Mar Apartments Complex. At the time booking we requested, although were told they could not be guaranteed, a "Quiet Room, Low Floor, Sea or Pool View". We were not disappointed. We just about got all four!  Apartment number 204A on the second floor of the "A" block. There are two blocks of 81 apartments in total on several floors. There is a lift if you can't manage the stairs. Whilst I can't speak from experience we were pleased not to be put in block "B" as some of these apartments are on top of the shops and bars of the apartment frontage and I would assume that noise could be a problem in these apartments.

Our apartment was large and spacious with more than enough room for four people (Recommended Occupancy) let alone the two of us. It had a separate large bedroom, en-suite bathroom with shower, kitchen area with dinning table and a "lounge" area leading onto a very large balcony with a terrific view of the sea and swimming pool. The adjoining apartment's balconies looked small by comparison. I suspect they were "Studio" type apartments.  All utensils and linen were provided with the exception of a kettle! Little bit of a problem as the cooker hobs failed to get hot enough to boil water. Just got about hot enough for the coffee! I would recommend that you pack a travel kettle "just in case" if you want to make any hot drinks in your apartment. After a while of using them, it became apparent that the cooking hobs wouldn't get hot enough to cook anything, so it kind of put a damper on any "self catering" plans we had. I don't know if this was just our apartment, but I think it is something you should be aware of.

Electricity supply is controlled by your apartment keyring tag. Push the tag in a slot in the wall and you have power. Take it out, as in when you leave the apartment and power is disconnected. At least you always know where your key is and it's a novel way of ensuring you can't leave any lights on. 

The apartment had plenty of drawer and wardrobe space. In one of the wardrobes is a Safety Deposit Box for all your valuables like tickets, passports, money, etc. You "hire" the key for it from Reception at a cost of € 16 (£10.53) a week plus a refundable deposit of € 6 (£3.95). A very good facility which we took advantage of.

We were provided with a "Welcome Pack" of information and leaflets about the apartments, places to visit and excursions. Looking at the excursion prices I don't think we will be going on as many, if at all, as we had done on previous holidays.

The pool area of the apartments is very spacious. Large main pool well marked with various depth points, with a circular shallow pool for the toddlers. Plenty of Sun Loungers stacked around the poolside for guests to use. Not sure if they would last quite so well in the height of the season though. Two Palm trees on either side of the pool add to the overall Mediterranean look as does the pool underwater lighting that is switched on at night. Good lighting around the pool and complex as well. The pool was cleaned every morning about 8am and was then open from 9am till 9pm daily.

Large patio doors and double sets of curtains helped to keep the outside noise to a minimum in our apartment.  No air conditioning though, so the rooms did get a bit warm inside. I find air conditioning an often overlooked resource with regard to foreign holiday accommodation. Also the customary paper thin walls, ceilings and floors seem to apply in these apartments as well, so if you don't want all your neighbours to know EVERYTHING you're up to, you'd better keep the noise down!!

The maid service was about every two days, which we thought was very good, when they came and changed all the towels and bed linen in the apartment.

The Porto Mar Apartments are featured in three main Holiday companies' brochures.  "Aspro/Airtours (My Travel Group)" in the UK, a Germany based tour operator (Alltours) and a Dutch based tour operator (Bel Air, Rotterdam, Holland), so there were many different languages to be heard around the complex, not to mention the Scots and the Irish thrown in for good measure!!

Bugbear - Neighbouring noise: Whilst not wanting to sound a killjoy, I did have a problem with the noise from neighbouring apartments on this holiday. I don't recall noticing it as much on previous holidays so we must have had quieter neighbours on those ones! Trouble is you can't always tell if the noises are coming from above, below or to the left or right of your apartment, so there's very little you can do about it. The apartment's entertainment or music was always switched off before 12 midnight, so there wasn't a problem with that. The Porto Mars own "Welcome" leaflet does ask guests to keep the noise to a minimum after midnight, but some people I believe just choose to ignore it. Noises heard ranged from general heavy footsteps on the tiled floors and banging of doors, through a couples "domestic row" at 1am in the morning to a couple either having a very good time or with an inherently squeaky bed!  It wasn't a big problem for my wife, Marie, as she can sleep through a force 9 gale and not be disturbed!! After the first few nights I took to writing my report and waiting until the noises had died down to a minimum before I went to bed. I know people are on Holiday and out to enjoy themselves, but a little common courtesy towards their fellow guests would go a long way.

Saturday 21st September

We managed to get a few hours sleep till around 10.30am when we got up. We had already decided that Saturday was going to be a "chill out" day after the night flight and to get used to the time differences.

Marie still had a bit of a Migraine headache from the night before so we decided to seek out a Supermarket so we could buy some "essentials" and some bottled water so she could take some tablets for her headache. We found a small Supermarket directly next to the apartments ("Centro Comercial De Miedo"). We bought some milk, butter, bread, sliced ham (for sandwiches), Orangeade, crisps, a Pot Noodle snack and of course some bottled water.

Saturday Night

We decided to stay in the apartment complex rather than go out for evening dinner as we usually do. Marie was still suffering with her headache, so we got a few things in "for tea" and she went to bed about 10.30 while I sat on the balcony and continued writing this holiday report!

By the way, we got our "tea" provisions at another Supermarket just a bit further from the Apartments. I can highly recommend this Supermarket "Ca's Teixidor". A much larger range of products than the one next to the apartments. It's a bit more spacious too, the one at the apartments having cramped aisles. This one also sold cheap boxed (200s) cigarettes if you're after any plus a range of alcoholic goods and souvenirs. You'll find it by turning left out of the Apartments entrance, left again into the main street (Carrer de L'Assumpcio) and head to the top of the road T-junction with Avinguda de Cala Marsal and it's directly in front of you. It has "Ca's Teixidor" written on the top of the building. There's also another "Spar" Supermarket ("Gran Shop") on the right hand side of Carrer de L'Assumpcio as you go up towards Ca's Teixidor which isn't bad either. It has a good range of English newspapers, magazines and books among other things.

Entertainment on this Saturday night at the Porto Mar wasn't bad. A "mini disco" and resident entertainer kept the holidaymaker's kiddies amused until around 9.30pm, when we then treated to a very good display of traditional Spanish Flamenco dancing by four professional female dancers. The entertainment apparently varies from week to week throughout the season and there was a "What's On" notice board near reception. After two nights of listening to the repetitive "Mini Disco" you'll want to make sure you're out of the apartments before it starts the next few nights! Also I found that while the resident entertainer was very good at organising different events every night, she did have one of those voices that gets really monotonous night after night!

Sunday 22nd September

Today we had a lazy day! Well, what are holidays for anyway!! We went down to the poolside around 11am and had a go at joining the "Beach Bunnies" (My pet name for those people who do nothing else on holiday but spend every daylight hour "cooking" by the poolside or beach). Anyway, we found a couple of sun loungers and started bathing for a while.

Marie was first to try out the pool. "Cold!" was how she described it on first getting in. It was okay though once you got used to the temperature. She was out again in about 5 minutes! She spent the next 2 hours lazing on the sunbed reading a book.

I tried the pool a few minutes later. Loved it so much I spent most of the 2 hours in there!

We went back to the apartment about 1pm and had a spot of lunch. Later on we went down to the Supermarket and got some more provisions. In between all this we had a downpour! Yes it rained today!! Just a short thunderstorm that soon passed over and before you knew it the sun was out again and soon drying everything. Some more thunderstorms are forecast for tomorrow, so we'll have to wait and see.

This evening we are going to the highly recommended Chinese restaurant across the road from the Porto Mar. My usual "report" on the food, service, etc. will follow.

"Restaurante Chino Shanghai"

This restaurant had been recommended to be visited in several Porto Colom Holiday reviews I'd read on various websites. It is just over the road directly opposite the Porto Mar. Very authentic Chinese decor, you can't fail to miss it.  We went across for our meal around 9pm as we've always found that most Restaurants in Europe don't really "get going" till after 8pm.  What can I say? A superb meal in nice surroundings, well prepared and presented and with excellent service. Much better than any Chinese I've had back home. For the record we had:

  • 2 x Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup
  • 1 x Prawn Crackers (to share)
  • 1 x Sweet & Sour Pork
  • 1 x Fried Beef Volcano (As hot as it sounds!)
  • 2 x Fried Rice Portions
  • 1 x Pint of Coca Cola
  • 1 x Half bottle White Wine
  • 2 x White Coffees (to finish)

Total Price of all this: € 35.20 (£23.16)

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 9 Service: 9 Price: 10

The one thing we did notice is that the meal portions were just right, without making you feel "stuffed". In the UK, I tend to find that most Chinese restaurants tend to give you too big portions making you feel uncomfortably full. Here we had just enough to know we had a nice meal without feeling uncomfortable. I would recommend this restaurant if you are visiting Porto Colom.

Monday 23rd September

A noticeably cloudier and cooler morning than the past two days, with a quite brisk breeze as well. Oh well we'll have to see how the day pans out weather wise. Today the plan is to explore a bit more of Porto Colom, as so far we haven't ventured more than a few yards from the apartments.

We went for a walk to the port area of the resort. We called at the Tourist Information Office (Officina de Turisme) on Avinguda de Cala Marsal first to pick up a map of the resort. Just ask the person at the Information desk.  They were free and highly recommended. The map you get is also available online if you want to print it out instead to take with you, click here. We followed the main road down to the port area, very easy as the port bay shoreline is to your right as you head towards it. We found the main area of shops, bars and restaurants concentrated directly opposite the moored boats and yachts, just past the Chemists and the "Hostal Portocolom" on a street called "Carrer d'en Cristofor Colom". We always get given some money by Marie's father when we go abroad to get him some continental Cigars. Anyway, in this part of the port area we found the only dedicated tobacconist we'd seen in the resort. So we changed his money into Euros at the Bureau de Change at the Bank next door but one (Credito Balear) Then we went and bought him his cigars. They also have the usual boxes of cigarettes and tobacco so if you are after some at even cheaper prices than the supermarkets, then this is the place to go! You can't miss it if you look for the brown "Tabacos" sign found on most Spanish tobacconists.

Also in the port area you can catch the "Starfish" Glass Bottomed Boat that will take you on a tour of the coastline or to the nearby resort of Cala D'or for shopping. We are planning to do this one day this week.

"Mar Blau" Restaurant

This evening we went out for dinner at the "Mar Blau" Restaurant on Avinguda de Cala Marsal. This is an English owned and operated Restaurant, but don't let that put you off as this place are well above any typical Restaurant back home. The surroundings were very nice with seating both inside and out. We were served very quickly and efficiently, yet at no time did you feel "rushed" to complete your meal to make room for other customers. Admittedly this was like most Restaurants we'd seen so far in Porto Colom in that it was not busy with plenty of spare room for all. I don't know if this is just down to the time of year or if the resort is still relatively quiet in the peak season. Whatever the reason, it certainly makes for a more relaxed holiday to not be dealing with big crowds.

We had a starter course each, which if we'd had known how large and good the main course was going to be we probably wouldn't have even bothered with! For our main course we both ordered the Sirloin Steak. Now Marie is very fussy when it comes to steaks and has a reputation for sending the meal back when it's not down how she likes. We both ordered our steaks done "Medium" and when they promptly arrived boy did they look and taste good! Done to perfection. Huge, plump and juicy and tasting great. Marie commented on it being the best done steak she'd ever had, evening beating a good one she'd had at the Ramarda Jarvis Hotel in Hyde Park, London.  All the trimmings adding to a large serving that we struggled to finish. This may not have been one of the cheapest meals we had in the resort but it had to rate as the best (so far!).

Our order was:

  • 1 x Cajun Potato Wedges
  • 1 x Spicy Chicken Wings (6)
  • 2 x Sirloin Steaks
  • 2 x Vanilla Ice Creams
  • 1 x Pint Orange/Lemonade
  • 1 x Half Pint Orange/Lemonade
  • 3 x Glasses White Wine
  • 1 x 1 x "Justin's Special"
  • 1 x Coffee

Total cost of this meal:  € 60.25 (£39.64)

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 10 Service: 9 Price: 9

Tuesday 24th September

Well, what did we wake up to today? Hot, Bright Sunshine? No, Clouds, Wind and Rain! Kind of reminded us of home!! Trouble is its dark clouds for as far as the eye can see, so it doesn't look like Sunday's passing shower. Yesterday was much the same, cloudy yet still quite warm and only a little drizzly rain. Oh well, we'll see what the day brings. If it had been finer we were going to go on the boat trip to Cala D'or today, but we are now going to wait and see if it clears up tomorrow.

Well, due to the weather we decided to take a bus ride into Palma this afternoon. It gets you away from the resort for a while plus you get to see some of the countryside on the hour and a half journey. We just missed the 11.05am bus by only a few minutes which would have allowed us a bit more time in Palma, so we had to kill a couple of hours till the next one at 1.30pm. So we had a look around the shops on Avinguda de la  Cala Marcal, which is where most of them are concentrated. There is a shop selling all sorts of goods including clothes, jewellery, designer goods, ornaments, souvenirs and more. Next to this is a Perfumery selling "Duty Free" perfumes and cosmetics. Although we found that the after shave I normally buy was cheaper at the Duty Free shop at East Midlands airport so be aware.

We went back to the apartment just after 12pm to get some more travelers cheque's and have some lunch. For lunch we tried the Porto Mar's own Bar/Cafeteria by the poolside. We had 2 x Bratwurst (German Sausage) and chips plus 2 coffees for € 8 (£5.26). Not the most appetising of meals but okay for a light lunch.

We then went to catch the bus. The bus stop is on Avinguda de Cala Marsal to the right of the Ca's Teixidor Supermarket. The bus arrived at 1.30pm on time. The adult fare per person (Single to Palma) was 4.40 Euros. For comparison a "Palma Shopping Excursion" also runs from Porto Colom at a cost of € 20 (£13.16) Per person. Okay you get a Tour guide and return via a visit to a Leather Factory (which the local bus just passes) and free liquor tasting, but you can save a lot by going on the local bus, if you aren't bothered about these "extras". We got to Palma and back for the two of us at a total cost of € 17.60 (£11.58), which would have cost us € 40.00 (£26.32) on the Tour bus. The local bus runs regularly throughout the day so there are plenty of times to set off. An informative note if you do take the local bus: You may or may not (depending on which bus you catch) have to change buses at a town called Felanitx (Next town to Porto Colom). We had to change on the way to Palma but the return bus went straight through. Check with the driver when you board. Also before we set off we got a free map of Palma (and also the whole Island) and some tips on what to see from a very helpful girl on reception at the Porto Mar.

Palma

We got to Palma at just after 3pm. You get dropped off at a Bus Station just by the train station so it's easy to find when you head back. We headed off down towards the "Espanya" which leads off into most of the pedestrian Shopping Areas of the City and if you follow them on towards "Mayor" (a sort of Central Square) and the Bay of Palma (Bahia de Palma) you'll find the magnificent cathedral which overlooks the City.

Had we more time we would probably have visited the Cathedral. But quite honestly we are not a big fan of Cities and this one was much like any other major European city. Busy, crowded with people and traffic and full of designer shops and stores. When you've seen one city they pretty much all look the same. The buses back to Porto Colom were at 5pm and a final one at 7.30pm. Had there been one at about 6pm we may have stayed in Palma a bit longer.

Now call us "sad" if you like (We really don't care!) but the first thing that took our eye on the way down to the Espanya was a "Western Union" Money Transfer office with a big "High Speed Internet Access" sign in the window. Back in Porto Colom the only place we found offering Internet access was "Little Bob's Bar" on the same road as the Porto Mar. He was charging 1 Euro for every 15 minutes which wasn't bad I suppose. However, it appeared that you used the one PC that was placed at one end of the bar top. Not exactly private! The Western Union Office in Palma had a large number of enclosed private booths to use, all very modern PCs and up to date (Windows XP on them). Prices stated in the window - € 3 (£1.97) for 2 Hours access. We decided to send some emails home from here. We spent about 40 minutes sending two lots of email from our web-based email address. Marie sent one to her friends at work and then I sent one to a few of my friends as well. Total cost € 1.50 (£0.99). Cheaper than sending a load of postcards and at least you know your friends will get the emails, provided you've got their addresses right of course!

Anyway, by the time we got to the shops it was nearly 4pm. We decided that we would find it hard to keep amused by trundling around the shops and sights for another two and a half hours should we get the 7.30pm bus back, so we opted for the 5pm bus and had a quick look round the shops.

I have to say that had we caught the earlier 11.05am bus into Palma, it would have been better as we could still have got the 5pm bus back or even the 3.45pm bus and had a few more hours to look around Palma, as we would have liked time to visit the cathedral for one thing. Oh well, maybe another time!

Tuesday Evening

"Sebastion's Pub and Grill - Restaurant Ca'n Tia"

Tonight we went out for dinner at "Sebastion's Pub and Grill - Restaurant Ca'n Tia". You'll find it on Avinguda de Cala Marsal directly next door to the "Mar Blau" Restaurant. It seems to run by a nice older gentleman who showed us to our table. He was very "chatty" and spoke extremely good English. We couldn't decide if it was because he was English or he just spoke it well. Anyway, once again the service and meal here were both very good and I would recommend it.

We ordered:

  • 1 x Glass of White Wine
  • 1 x Pint of Orange/Lemonade
  • 1 x Mixed Grill (off the "Specials" menu)
  • 1 x Poached Salmon
  • 1 x Majorcan Cheesecake
  • 1 x Pear Cake Desert
  • 1 x Coffee
  • 1 x Brandy

Total cost of this meal: € 33.70 (£22.17)

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 8 Service: 9 Price: 9

Wednesday 25th September

Today we woke up to sunshine again - Hooray! A few light clouds about but it looks and feels like it's going to be a hot day.

About 11am we headed off down to Reception to change some more travelers' cheque's and see if the "Starfish" boat was running yet - It had been broken all week - and No it still hadn't been fixed. We were instead then going to take the bus to Cala D'or, if we hadn't already missed it by about 40 minutes! Strange that there wasn't another one till 6.15pm.

We decided instead to go down to the beach for a couple of hours. We headed off to Cala Marsal Beach. (Left at the T-Junction onto Avinguda de Cala Marsal, past the Tourist Information Centre, Shops and Bars and follow the road around the bend). An archway and some steps mark the quickest way down to the beach, or you can follow the road a bit further if you don't want to use the steps. The beach is directly in front of the appropriately named "Cala Marsal Hotel".

It had actually gotten a bit cloudier as the morning went on and I'm pretty sure now we've no chance of a bit of a suntan before we leave on Friday night which is a bit disappointing, but the break has been enjoyable nevertheless.

We found a spot on the beach and hired two Sun loungers under a Sunshade (€ 9 (£5.92) for two loungers with shade or € 3 (£1.97) per lounger and no sunshade). We stayed there for a couple of hours reading the books and papers we'd just bought.

The beach has a "good beach" blue flag and a Lifeguard on duty. I ventured into the sea while we were at the beach. Warmer than the pool, very clean and shallow for quite a distance out.

We went back to the apartment for some lunch about 1.30pm. I noticed that on the now in the majority days when the sun wasn't out and the temperature was a bit on the cool side that by early afternoon the pool and surrounding area looked pretty deserted. We weren't the only ones disappointed by the decidedly dull weather. Well it is the one thing you don't really have any control over!

"Restaurante Mar"

Tonight we went to" Restaurante Mar" for dinner. It's just at the end of a row of shops and bars next to Cala Marcal beach. Unfortunately this turned out to be the worst choice in Restaurants we'd made so far. If you are of the "Chips with everything" brigade and like your food with no taste or texture, you may like this place. I had Grilled Chicken Breast with Chips. It was nicely presented, but it lacked that something - taste! I felt it could have done with a sauce or some Cajun spices to give it a bit more flavour. Marie's meal was even worse - bland and tasteless doesn't even cover this excuse they passed off as Lasagne and Chips. Runny and uninteresting, with a case of "Spot the meat" as well! We ate as much as we could bear, paid the bill and left. Top that all off with poor service and the longest wait we've yet had for a meal, which gave the false impression that perhaps they were preparing something appetising and there you have it. Bottom of the list and definitely not recommended goes "Restaurante Mar".

Our order this time was:

  • 1 x Grilled Chicken Breast and Chips
  • 1 x Lasagne and Chips
  • 1 x Glass of Wine
  • 1 x Fanta Orange

Total cost of this excuse of a meal: € 17.60 (£11.58)

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 1 (I suppose Trade description would just pass it off as "food") Service: 2 (Only marginally better than the food) Price: 2 (Though we wonder how they even dared charge low prices for such rubbish).

To console ourselves, on the way back to the apartment we called in at the "Eurocafé" on Avinguda de Cala Marsal. They sell gorgeous Carte D'or Ice Cream Sundaes. We had a Peppermint and Chocolate one each. Superb! Better than the meal we'd just had. Cost: € 7 (£4.61).

Thursday 26th September

Just one more night in Majorca. We fly home on Friday night/Saturday morning at 2.55am local time. We get picked up for the airport on Friday night at 11.40pm. As the apartment is supposed to be vacated by 12 midday on the day of departure we are going to ask at Reception today if we can keep it on till the departure time. We did ask on Sunday the girl said we needed to ask nearer the date like Thursday.

Today we woke up to a very sunny day. Typical! Due to go home soon and the weather starts to pick up.

We went down to Reception just after 9am to change some more travelers' cheque's and also see if the "Starfish" boat to Cala D'or had been fixed and was running yet. It wasn't! So instead we decided to go on the "Dolphin Dor Glass Bottom Boat". The main difference with this one is that it doesn't drop you off anywhere and return later like the "Starfish" boat. This one just takes you on a 2 hour excursion up through the Resort Coves of the coastline and then back to your pickup point again. We boarded the boat at Cala Marcal beach where it picks up at 9.50am, but you can also join it at Porto Colom Harbour and the various other pickup points it visits along the coast. More views from the Boat trip: 1, 2, 3. Ask at the Porto Mar Reception for more information, where you can also buy your ticket in advance. Cost of the Boat trip: € 12 (£7.89) per person. It was a very nice trip and a great way to see the Majorcan coastline. You even get to see the Porto Mar Apartments from a sea view.

We got back to the apartment about 12.30pm and had some lunch. Then as it was such a nice day we went down to the poolside for a couple of hours. It was very busy today, as everyone was making use of the fine weather.

We had asked in the morning at Reception if we could keep our apartment on longer than 12pm on Friday, our departure day, so we didn't then have to rush about. We were able to keep it on until 7pm which was okay. Also, they said they would know better on Friday if they had any new guests taking over the apartment and if not they would leave a note under our door telling us we could then keep the apartment until departure time. The charge to keep on the apartment was € 14 (£9.21) which we didn't think was bad.

I must say that the staff at these apartments are very friendly and helpful, particularly the two ladies on Reception. This is a bonus as we didn't see a single "Airtours/Aspro" Rep, had we needed to, all the time we were at the apartments, apart from a fleeting glimpse of one as we past Reception one day. To be fair we never went down to Reception at the times they were due to visit, but it would have been nice to occasionally have seen one walking around the complex, just making themselves known as happened with JMC.  Compared to our very good experiences with JMC the services offered by Airtours have been very poor.

"Cafe Es Retorn"

Well tonight we went out for our last but one dinner in the resort. This time we picked a Restaurant called "Cafe Es Retorn" again on Avinguda de Cala Marsal, directly opposite the "Mar Blau" Restaurant, our best choice, up to now. After the fiasco of "Restaurante Mar" last night, we needed something good again. This place looked like it could fit the bill.

We were greeted by and promptly shown to a table by our Spanish waiter. We had a perfect outside table overlooking the beautifully lit Porto Colom Harbour. There were two waiters serving this evening both of whom spoke exceptionally good English. He brought us the menu and took our drinks order. Marie ordered a small bottle of Red wine and I had my usual Orange and Lemonade. When he brought the drinks out he uncorked the wine at the table, let Marie try it for taste before pouring her a glass. The wine was also accompanied by a small bottle of water, which Marie sad was to "cleanse the palette" for your food. Already this Restaurant was showing signs of outstanding service. The waiter then took our order. Marie ordered the Roast leg of Lamb and I ordered Grilled Entrecote Steak done "Medium". They arrived in what seemed no time at all and were very well presented.

The taste, texture and all the trimmings of the meal just couldn't be beaten. Marie's leg of Lamb (the whole leg!) meat just fell off the bone it was so perfectly cooked. As was my Steak, done "medium" all the way through and tasting great. This Restaurant was definitely going to the top of the recommended list.

We then ordered our deserts. Marie ordered Lemon Sorbet with Cava - A sort of long tall drink when it arrived. I had a three flavour Ice Cream Sundae with fresh fruit. Again these were both sheer perfection. Finally the meal was topped off with a Cappuccino coffee for me and a Brandy liqueur for Marie.

All in this entire place is everything a perfect Restaurant should be - Exceptional Service, Outstanding Food, Good prices and Great atmosphere. This Restaurant is definitely Number 1 in Porto Colom on our list and highly recommended. Sorry "Mar Blau" you just lost the Number 1 slot by a whisker!

Here's what we ordered:

  • 1 x Half Bottle House Red Wine
  • 1 x Bottle Mineral Water
  • 1 x Pint Orange/Lemonade
  • 1 x Roast Leg of Lamb
  • 1 x Grilled Entrecote Steak
  • 1 x Lemon Sorbet with Cava
  • 1 x Three Flavour Ice Cream with Fresh Fruit
  • 1 x Cappuccino
  • 1 x Brandy

Total cost of this meal: € 52.12 (£34.29)

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 10 Service: 10 Price: 10

As is tradition with us, we always return to the best Restaurant during our stay, on our final day in the Resort. So, needless to say we will be going back to "Cafe Es Retorn" tomorrow night. I will not be doing a report on our final dinner unless there is anything new to add. We told the Waiter we would be returning tomorrow and he was good enough to suggest that we book a table, should we be dining after 9pm, as they get very busy at the weekends. We told him we would come around 8 to 8.30 and he said we should be okay without booking at that time.

Friday Night/Saturday Morning 27th/28th September

Well here we are, our last day in Majorca. As they say, all good things must come to an end! A bright if a bit cloudier day than Thursday, but still very hot. Already at 9am the "Beach Bunnies" were out in force around the pool!

Today we are just going to take it easy and do some last minute shopping and the like. Well its 2.30pm and we've done our last minute Souvenir and Gift shopping. We're back at the apartment taking it easy for the last few hours until we have to check out at 7pm (as we didn't get any note saying you could stay a bit longer). So then we'll put the suitcases and bags in the Courtesy room they have in Reception and then go for our final dinner at "Cafe Es Retorn", before catching our bus back to the Airport at 11.40pm for our departure back to East Midlands Airport at 2.55am Saturday morning.

Around 12.30pm we decided to get a light lunch to keep us going till early evening, so we thought we'd try "Bob's Bar and Restaurant" in the Placa d'es Corso. This a sort of town square pedestrian area with a few other Bars, Restaurants, Shops and Apartments dotted around it.

The bar was ideal for breakfasts, snacks and light meals, but I wouldn't have used it for a main evening meal although it might suit some people. Marie had a Jacket Potato with Bacon and Cheese and I had the Jumbo Steak Pie with Chips and Peas. To drink we had a Diet Coke and a Fanta. Both meals were absolutely fine and just right for a light lunch. All served very nicely by the English proprietor and his staff. Recommended.

Our order was:

  • 1 x Diet Coke
  • 1 x Fanta Orange
  • 1 x Jacket Potato with Bacon and Cheese
  • 1 x Jumbo Steak Pie with Chips and Peas

Total cost of this meal: € 14.25 (£9.38)

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 9 Service: 8 Price: 10

Here then in order of recommendation are the final placing's for the Restaurants we visited:

  1. Cafe Es Retorn, Avinguda de Cala Marsal
  2. Mar Blau, Avinguda de Cala Marsal
  3. Sebastion's Pub and Grill - Restaurant Ca'n Tia, Avinguda de Cala Marsal
  4. Restaurante Chino Shanghai, C' L'Assumpcio.
  5. Bob's Bar and Restaurant, Placa d'es Corso.
  6. Restaurante Mar, Cala Marcal Beach (Although it doesn't really deserve a placing at all!)

These are only recommendations based on our experiences at these Restaurants and should you visit any of them you may well take a different view.

A bonus came through the apartment door around 4pm. A note from Reception saying we could indeed stay in our Apartment until departure time of 11.40pm.  We used the extra time to try and get a bit of sleep in preparation for the long journey home, before we went out to dinner at about 7pm.

We went back to "Cafe Es Retorn" and the food, service and everything else was just as good as it had been the night before.

We headed back to the apartment at around 8.20pm calling at the "Gran Shop" Spar so Marie could buy some cigarettes. She already bought herself a couple of boxes of 200s earlier in the day. She just wanted another packet of 20 because she was nearly out. As they were so cheap I said why not get 2 packets, which she did making the comment "I'd pay that for 1 packet back home!"

As we were passing the "Beeze Neeze" pub we heard the sound of "Coronation Street" playing on their TV's (It was just after 8.30pm here - 7.30pm UK time). We decided to go in for a drink. Nice English style pub, they regularly play all the soaps, sports and other British TV. Pool Tables and Video Machines complete the atmosphere. We bought a couple of drinks and watched Coro' and Eastenders before heading back to the apartment for some rest before the coach pickup due at 11.40pm.

The pickup coach arrived on time and in just over an hour we were at Palma Airport. Check in and transfer to Departures was smooth and easy and by 2.35am we were taking off, a few minutes ahead of schedule. For a final photo one of the Flight Attendants took our photograph on the foot of the Aircraft steps, as we were about to board.

Again we had another very enjoyable holiday and would recommend Porto Colom to anyone wanting a quiet relaxing holiday. We weren't as impressed with "Airtour/Aspro's" service as compared to our experiences with "JMC" and were glad we didn't need any real help! Oh well, everything can't be perfect I suppose! Time to start saving for the next holiday now!!

Chris & Marie, September 20th - 28th 2002.

Useful links:
PortoColom.org (in Spanish)
Palma Airport
Alltours (in German)
Bel Air Rotterdam Holland (in Dutch)
A to Z Mallorca
Holidays Uncovered - Majorca
Majorca Weather

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