Last Minute Holidays – The Good, The “Not” Bad and The Ugly! My Experience.
We decided to try and nab a last-minute deal in January, this year. I had heard a rumour that, because of covid, the holiday companies had reduced their capacity of flights and hotels, which would have a knock-on effect to what was available (last minute). I’m reporting back on the price we paid, the surprisingly good and acceptable, plus the ugly of our “late deal” ….I hope you enjoy it.
Photographs of my young family from our time at Cala Bona, Majorca.
There were some amazing holiday bargains available around twenty to thirty years ago. They would enable “us” both to have little cheapies away – especially, when the funds were low as we got to grips with our first mortgage payments. Later, with our young family, we always got either a good discount or booked a “last minute cheapie” where we enjoyed some very good holidays to mainly Greece and Spain. Usually, it was in basic accommodation. But, it got us the break away we needed. For several years, during the school holidays, we would hire the same apartment situated right on the beach in a place called Cala Bona, Majorca. It was perfect for my two boys to run around, play, and enjoy themselves. This was in August, too, which was one of the most expensive, and hottest months. Looking back, the whole holiday (flights and accommodation) was ridiculously cheap. We all have such great memories of that time.
Since, those early days of last-minute holiday bargains, tour operators have changed structure countless times, through the years. Both airlines and holiday companies are so much smarter. They now have IT systems and algorithms enabling them to plan their businesses, more effectively. Rolling onto the present day, we have, of course, experienced covid, resulting in the travel industry taking a huge battering. But, things are picking up, again, now – thankfully.
The beach, ocean and famous sand dunes between Meloneras and the resort of Playa Del Ingles
But, I digress – so, back to booking the holiday. I enjoy searching for a late deal. It’s certainly a challenge. But, it’s good to build up an awareness of the discounts on offer and the area/hotels of interest. The advent of “TripAdvisor” and other forums have enabled us to acquire travel knowledge from paying customers. Of course, flexibility is key. Up until a few years ago, we had lots of time restraints around school holidays, jobs and other commitments. So, we had to book our family holidays in advance. Nowadays, we still have a few work commitments. I work on a “casual” basis with my former employer and my other half is a musician, so we travel around his gigs and my timetable. But, compared to our younger days, we are a lot more flexible.
Our wish list for this last-minute break was:
temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius during the day;
flight of five hours or less;
clean, quiet accommodation with good facilities (didn’t have to be flashy) and within walking distance to the main resort; and
pleasant, relaxed area with a good selection of bars, restaurants and shops.
Not a lot to ask then????
The Lighthouse area of Meloneras.
We were planning to go the following week, so we began our search by looking at current weather temperatures in the Canary Islands and the “Spanish Costas”. The reason for this was, around five years ago, we went to the Cape Verde Islands which are located just west of the African mainland with Senegal and Gambia as the closest neighbours, and over a thousand miles south of the Canaries. We assumed that, because of this, it would be warmer. How wrong we were! It was basically a windy and cold sandy desert – and we were simply not that keen on the place. The hotel was just okay but in the middle of nowhere. There were no heated pools – which is a definite “must have” for me in the winter months. Plus, the Atlantic Ocean was so treacherous – making it impossible to go for a swim…….I don’t think I’ve ever wished for a holiday to be over as quickly as that one.
Shopping in Meloneras
Gran Canaria was coming out as the “hot” (pardon the pun) favourite. The temperature for the next few weeks was an average of 22 to 25 degrees with little or no rain expected. We visited this island, which is situated off northwest Africa, a few years ago. We stayed in a beautiful hotel in Playa del Ingles, but we weren’t keen on the resort itself. We had been advised by some friends that there were great bars and restaurants in the neighbouring resort of Meloneras. So, most evenings we hopped into a taxi, for the five-minute ride, there.
Weather – It was indeed 22 to 24 Celsius every day, a tad windy at times but we were thankful for the heat! Only seeing a few clouds on the date of departure.
Caybeach Apartments – Meloneras
Our accommodation was in a residential area on the outskirts of the resort. There is virtually nothing around the Caybeach complex apart from private apartments and villas. It is a ten-to-fifteen-minute walk into the resort depending on which route you take.
Our room for the week! The balcony got the sun all afternoon, perfect to relax.
This is something to consider if you like to step out of your accommodation into the hub bub.
It was great for us as we enjoy walking, so if you like the look of it, take comfortable walking shoes. There is an onsite mini market, which was reasonably priced and a bar/restaurant which was very good. We dined at their outdoor restaurant, “Taste”, on the first evening, as we were too tired to venture out. The staff were welcoming and the food was freshly cooked and very good, though it did close at 10.30 pm which I thought was a tad early. There was also a buffet restaurant within the complex but we never tried it.
My favourite swimming pool. It was spacious, heated and most importantly…..quiet!!
There are three swimming pools available which were all heated – whey hey!! My favourite swimming pool was the largest one beside the Spa, (here are some pics). It was quiet and peaceful – perfect to relax and have a little dip into the water. I’m not sure if this pool was “adult only” but I didn’t see any children, here. The kids tended to use the other pools. There were, thankfully, plenty of sun beds, so there were no towels being placed on them by over zealous sunbathers at an unearthly hour, unlike other hotels we have stayed at.
We used to pass this hotel – it is the Hotel Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort & Spa and looked like somewhere we would like to return to – have to start saving!
The Resort – Meloneras
With the accommodation being a little bit out of the way, we got to know the resort quite well. There were a few paths/options to get to the main areas and, as the weather was glorious, we explored, trying most of them. We passed some beautiful private accommodation as well as hotels on the way into the resort, so had a good “nosy” through the fences!
The resort had a lot to offer and since returning we have spoken to people who have visited here, too, telling us about places we didn’t see on this visit – so, maybe next time! The restaurants I would recommend were Mezzaluna, the Asian House and La Sirena (we dined, here, twice). Also, as we enjoy live music, we frequented “The Nineteenth Hole” a few nights, too!
The Flight – the “Ugly”
I was unsure of whether to share this with you – but, if you are a frequent flyer like me, you will probably, at some point, have encountered irritating or unacceptable behaviour – swearing, shouting, chanting, blasting music, spilling drinks – you get the picture – from either an individual or group on a flight.
These individuals selfishly spoil the journey/experience for everyone, usually with no regard for anyone, putting cabin staff on “high alert” and forcing fellow passengers to witness their behaviour. Because, when there’s someone acting in this way, it is felt throughout the aircraft, and being such a small, enclosed space, everyone feels very uncomfortable. We have witnessed this kind of behaviour, several times, and it’s not only scary but unpleasant. Alcohol or other substances are unfortunately always the cause of the problem. We were once on a flight to Majorca, a few years ago, which resulted in the Spanish police waiting to escort the (by this time) shame-faced party off the flight to be arrested.
On our flight to Gran Canaria, we had a group of women sitting adjacent to us. One of them became more intoxicated and louder as the flight wore on. The staff were trying to quieten her down, to no avail. She was shouting and swearing and it just wasn’t nice to be near someone like that. There were elderly passengers and children around her. But she showed no regard for anyone. I felt sorry for everyone around her, and the weary cabin staff, for having to put up with this unacceptable type of behaviour. It’s a serious problem. I hear and read about this happening a lot, throughout the world.
This late deal served its purpose!! It was a welcome break from the freezing cold of “Old Blighty”, in accommodation which wasn’t posh but gave great value for money and delivered well – which was a lovely surprise. Most importantly, the sun shone and it was a good place to relax. This three-star accommodation was basic, but “nipping clean” as we say in the north-east of England.
For Flight/Accommodation (Room only) and transfers
£382.00 per person
£764.00 in total (Such a great deal, I think you will agree).
Until the next time
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