I leave reviews on trip advisor WHEREVER we go. Whether it’s a cafe or a hotel, I always review the shit out of them because you can’t beat an honest review really can you? The one I left for our hotel in Turkey in June has had come with benefits, we’re going back there next year and it’s cost us nothing. We have had meals in restaurants for free due to me reviewing them, but on the down side.. not all of these reviews are good. And there’s no point in pretending they are because what good is that going to do anybody who reads it?
I’m honest. Sometimes I’m too honest. But just like I praise something if I enjoy it, I’ll criticise it if I don’t and hopefully others can learn from my experience and make their own judgement after reading my thoughts.
I asked my followers on Instagram whether or not I should post on here my recent trip advisor review for the hotel we stayed in, in Barcelona and this is what they said..
Here’s my trip advisor review for our hotel in Barcelona, submitted on Thursday ✨
My wife and I recently got married and decided to be spontaneous and book a “mystery holiday” through sunshine holidays. We were guaranteed a 4 star hotel but had no idea where exactly we would be staying until two days prior to our flight. When we finally got the email to say we would be staying at the Pineda palace, I’ll be honest I wasn’t impressed. The reviews were pretty much all crap and the photos showed an old fashioned run down hotel which isn’t my cup of tea at all. After 45 minutes on the phone to sunshine holidays trying to change the hotel, and getting nowhere as it was too close to the departure date, we were left with no choice but to make the best of it and see it as an adventure. The shuttle bus from Barcelona airport to the hotel was absolutely horrific, from speaking to other people on our bus/coach who had holidayed in Barcelona before, we now know that all shuttle busses from the airport to hotels are known to take a long time. We sat on the coach for about 30 minutes before the driver decided to put his foot down, then he took us to terminal 1 to pick up even more passengers even though there was barely any room left on the coach! 1 hour and 45 minutes later we arrived at Pineda Palace, tired, hot and ready to sleep. The front of the hotel is facing a railway track and behind that is the beach which admittedly is beautiful. The actual enterance of the hotel is underwhelming and reminded me of faulty towers! The guy who checked us in was tall, grey and with a receding hairline.. I think he may have been French but I’m not certain. Anyway, he’d obviously been on a long shift because his mouth was incredibly dry and this breath smelt so bad, bless his heart though he was pleasant enough and even gave us a sea view room which apparently is an additional €35 a night!! We were in room 527 on the fifth floor, right by the lift and our view was incredible. The room itself was 1960’s decor and not been updated since. The beds were two singles pushed together and I think my back needs 6 months of physio now after 4 nights of sleeping on it. The bathroom was ok, again old fashioned but the shower was good and really powerful. The TV was a nice size and on the wall but we couldn’t get any English channels which was annoying! WiFi was €10 euros per person for 3 days which I actually thought was quite a lot but there you go, we still paid it because I wasn’t about to be without Instagram for 4 days. The restaurant in the hotel is probably the worst restaurant in any hotel I have ever stayed in (I’ve been to all the Canary Islands, Italy, Tunisia, Ibiza, Turkey, etc) but this restaurant is the equivalent of what I imagine retirement home meals to be like. Nothing is warm, everything is tasteless and boring. I had pasta at every meal but even that was ringing in water because apparently this hotel don’t believe in draining their pasta before shoving it on your plate! My wife had chips and bread at every single meal because the sight of everything else turned her stomach. The Italian themed night was the best, the risotto was edible and we had seconds but everything else was gross. Breakfast was an absolute car crash, the eggs looked like they should still be in the chicken!! I had pancakes most mornings but they tasted like rubber and I couldn’t wash away the taste with the orange juice because that tasted like rats piss so I spent all of my money in the vending machine situated in reception on cans of sprite and bars of kinder bueno, 4 days in and I think I am turning into a kinder bueno so it’s probably just as well we fly home later today. The swimming pool situated on the rooftop on the top floor of the hotel has some pretty views, but the swimming pool itself is smaller than one you could get in your back garden. We didn’t go in the pool once where usually every holiday we go on we spend all day lounging by the pool and swimming. It just wasn’t appealing here. There’s some nice seating next to the bar on the rooftop which we sat at occasionally with a drink only because there was nothing else to do. If you cross the road from the hotel and walk under the subway you will come out directly on the beach and you’ll see the beach bar called Molokos. Definitely worth giving this a go, we went a few times, the seating, cocktails and atmosphere is great and it’s right on the beach so you’ve got a beautiful view. The strawberry daiquiris are amazing and come frozen in a huge glass. We had lunch here one day too, I had tagliatelle carbonara which was €7 and really nice. On our final night we decided to walk left of the hotel down to a pizza place and had dinner. Worst pizza I have ever had in my lifetime! It tasted like charcoal and I dunno what cheese was used on it but it wasn’t mozeralla that I’m certain of. The tiramisu came out of a packet and they charged €5 for that so yeah I would advise you stay well clear of that place. There’s a little train stop opposite the hotel which you can catch once an hour for €3 that takes you into the little town of Calella. We did this and enjoyed it. Calella is okay, it has lots of shops and bars and restaurants so if you fancied a day out you should do this. I’d say that and the beach bar were the best things about this mini break away. I don’t think we will visit Barcelona again, especially not this area and absolutely not this hotel. I am so confused how it’s gained a 4star superior rating, I wouldn’t even give it 2 stars. It’s full of old people who are aged 65 plus and have walking sticks or zimma frames.. it’s all inclusive but you don’t get given a wrist band like in most all inclusive hotels, instead they give you about 5 plastic cards and you have to hand these cards into the bar each time you want a drink. They keep hold of the cards until you return the glass back and want another. The system they are using is soooo strange and seems very bizarre to me. This was meant to be our honeymoon break away, I feel like I need to check into the priory now.
We thought we were being spontaneous by booking a “mystery holiday” as they call it. Choosing the place being Barcelona but not actually knowing our hotel until two days prior to our flight. We knew it was a guaranteed 4* hotel and figured we would just see it as an adventure wherever we ended up.
Until we arrived at faulty towers.. okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, perhaps our standards are just super high. I mean, my mum and dad never took us to any hotel less than a 5* growing up, and every holiday I’ve been on with Tazmyn it’s at least been a 4* plus. I think we just like what we like, and that’s that. So maybe knowing that, we were quite silly to pick a mystery holiday and have absolutely no idea on where we were going until it was too late to do anything about it!
Anyways, we arrived at our hotel in Pineda De Mar, about an hour and 15 minutes drive from Barcelona airport. The shuttle bus transfer was long and hot and annoying, the two old men sat behind me who smelt like tobacco and insisted on telling me about the 28 times they had previously visited Barcelona, the entire journey in their deep husky Bolton accents really did start to drain the living daylights out of me. I tried to sleep but every time my eyes would be drifting off, one of them would ask me where we were staying, where I was from or whether I had flown with easyJet before.
3,000 years later when we had actually arrived at our hotel, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t overwhelmed. In fact, I was rather underwhelmed. The outside of the hotel looks like a hostel that you’d find somewhere in the middle of Kings Cross in london, and everything was loud. I like quiet. I hate loud. The guy who checked us in had obviously been on a really long shift and was unable to grab a drink for quite some time because his breath was drier than the Sahara desert and it smelt SO bad. He was nice enough though bless him, he even gave us a room with a sea view which apparently costs an extra €35 a night so thanks for that, I still haven’t caught his name! Our room is basic, 1960’s style id say and not been updated since. The bathroom is quite large and the shower actually is pretty good, can you even imagine if the shower was shit? I don’t want to. The air con doesn’t work, well it does but only hot heat comes out so we’re sleeping in a sauna pretty much. Each attempt I make to call down to reception and ask them to fix the air con they tell me the maintenance guy is working on it. It’s been 24 hours and he’s still working on it apparently. OoOooOkay then babes. The beds are two singles shoved together. Typical Spanish hotel style I guess. I don’t even care that they’re single beds pushed together, what I care about is the fact they feel like wooden slabs and I’m almost certain I’m going to need physio for my back when back in the UK. Apart from that, the room is fine. We have a mini fridge, albeit it’s not stocked up but we have bought stuff to put in it so it’s all good. Our balcony looks out directly onto the beach and the view is pretty stunning. I loved waking up this morning to see the sunrise over the sea.
I woke up first this morning, duh. I wake up first every morning. But that’s a lie, because waking up this morning would mean I had to be asleep in the first place and I absolutely wasn’t. I didn’t even get 10 minutes last night. So I’ll rephrase that, I got up out of bed first this morning*, looked over at Tazmyn who was sleeping like a baby. Give her a bed of nails and she’d probably still find a comfy spot. I sat on the balcony for a bit, and then got in the shower. We headed down for breakfast at about 9.. I absolutely LOVE hotel breakfasts, they’re like the best bit. All my dreams had come true this morning when I saw the chef in the restaurant making fresh pancakes, oh my god. I had 3. With chocolate sauce. Yep, they were great. Breakfast was good. The restaurant isn’t very big and it’s absolutely chaotic because there’s so many people in this hotel so there wasn’t much room to move, but it was a good breakfast! And the orange juice is nice.
We went up to check out the rooftop swimming pool after breakfast, it’s situated on the 8th floor of the hotel and the views from up there are amazing. The swimming pool itself isn’t very big, but big enough I suppose. There’s sunbeds all around it, a pool bar and some really cool seating over in the corner too. Big sofa chair things with cushions. We sat there for a bit and had a few drinks. It was 26 degrees all day today so really lovely and warm but not too hot. Perfect really.
We went for a little walk along the seafront today too, went in a couple of shops, got stuff to stock our fridge up. Walked along the beach, it’s beautiful. It’s not busy either, I feel like it’s a prettier quieter version of Brighton.
We found a super cute beach bar, directly opposite our hotel, on the beach called Moloko. It was sooo chilled, proper nice seating, sofas and nice chairs etc, chilled out music playing, the whole atmosphere was amazing. I ordered a frozen strawberry daiquiri and Tazmyn got Desparados. My daiquiri was amaaaaazing. A little old Spanish lady came up to us and asked if she could take a picture of us as well which was sweet. I hate when other people take photos of me, I’m even starting to hate selfies these days, but you can’t be on your honeymoon and not have photos can you?!
Tonight our hotel had an Italian themed night in the restaurant which obviously was right up our street. We got given shots of limoncello as we were going in and all of the staff were dressed up in colours of the Italian flag. Tazmyn loved the garlic and mushroom risotto, I did too. The homemade pizza was amazing as well, and the pork steaks and salad. Oh ma gaaaad we ate so much. But we didn’t have pudding, not sure why we skipped pudding actually, I think our bellies were too full.
The entertainment tonight was mini disco followed by a movie quiz which actually does sound like a lot of fun buuuuut we decided to come back up to the room instead, and give the entertainment a go tomorrow. We have also just woke the entire hotel up incase anyone was asleep, as a moth the size of Alaska came into the room and we both started screaming. Maybe miracles really do happen because Tazmyn would you believe actually was the one to kill the moth instead of me this time so that was a result.
Anyway, I’m rambling.
Day 1 in Barcelona has been good, I’m excited to explore this city a little more over the next few days and make even more memories.
Lots of love
Do you ever just meet someone in life and know you’re never going to meet anyone quite like them ever again? That’s who Mary is to us. We met Mary on holiday last year, and stayed friends ever since. She’s so so lovely, there’s a warm presence about her whenever we are in her company and if you’ve ever seen the film “it’s complicated” with Meryl Streep, she plays the role of Jane, a busy mum, everyone loves her, she’s close with her children and she loves family get togethers, she’s successful but modest, everybody wants to have a Jane in their lives. Mary is our Jane.
Today we met up with Mary for the second time this year, we met her at our favourite restaurant brasserie on the river, of course it was fully booked, it’s always fully booked but little miss organised over here booked a table yesterday and we had the best table in the place! Right on the river, overlooking the beautiful river Thames. Mary arrived looking as glam as ever, with a wedding gift for us which was just the kindest thing. We ordered lunch, and spent three whole hours just chatting about life. Time really does fly by when you’re so caught up in good conversation.
Mary and I both ordered the roast beef, I’m a sucker for a roast beef wherever we go. Tazmyn went for the fish and chips, not so much a lover of roast dinners is my wife. The manager of the restaurant saw the wedding card on our table and came over to tell us the first round of drinks were on him which was a lovely little bonus, who doesn’t like a freebie?
It was so lovely catching up today, we all need a friend like Mary I think. Someone who’s a bright and positive energy to be around, we’ve made plans to see her again in a few months time, and I know that we’re both equally super excited already.
If I could have chose any way to spend a perfect Sunday, today would have been it.