At half term my family and I took a trip to Platja D’Aro in the Costa Brava for a week long family holiday. October is at the end of their season as the temperatures are starting to drop but with an average of 20 degrees when we were there, it was certainly a lot warmer than at home in the UK!
My children get a week off school in late October and so it’s a lovely chance to have a last family getaway together before Christmas, which is typically a very busy school holiday. Both me and my husband have been burning the candle at both ends on the run up to the holiday so we were looking forward to the break and the kids always love that extra time ‘with Daddy’ as when we are at home, I’m the one they see at the beginning and end of their school days! Here is a video to show how we got the family involved to plan the holiday before we went!
Travelling with children is a skill in itself, especially these days with the ever tighter airport security restrictions, long queues at check in and tired or bored kids to manage, so I made it easy on us this time and booked an airport lounge and ‘Meet & Greet’ airport parking to make the process much smoother.
Experts in travel add-ons, Holiday Extras supplied this support. We drove to Manchester airport where we were flying from Terminal 3, and went straight into the Meet & Greet area. You simply pre-book your parking at their website then quote your booking reference at the gate. The barriers will open and you park in the lane they tell you to. All you do then is to remove your luggage, lock the car and drop your car key at the Meet & Greet reception. They will park the car for you in their lot for the duration of your holiday and will also bring it back to the reception area on your return date so you can leave the airport, get your car and be on your way without any hassle! Holiday Extras do offer airport parking that is not Meet & Greet too where you may need to park up then get a shuttle bus in to the airport, but with Meet & Greet you are on the airport doorstep – it couldn’t be easier!
After the easiest car drop off ever at the airport, we entered the terminal and checked in our bags. Then once the hold luggage was safely taken away, we headed to the airport lounge that Holiday Extras had arranged for us. At Manchester Terminal 3 we went to the Escape Lounge. There we could eat and drink as much as we wanted from their selection available, use the restroom facilities, enjoy a comfy sofa with a magazine and generally sort our hand luggage out a bit with some space around us, whilst we waited for the flight to board. As airports are so busy, this lounge offered a bit of respite from the herd of travellers milling around, and allowed me to get myself organised before the next part of the journey. I like to prepare myself in advance to get the items I want with me in the seat like a book or iPad, so that I can swiftly store my bag in the overhead bin and sit down before everyone else gets on. There’s never much room on an aircraft to do all this when boarding!
The flight time to Barcelona was 2 hours 35 minutes, making it a great flight for kids. Not too long so they get cabin fever but not too short that they mistake it for a domestic flight! My daughter loves the take off part of the journey the best – the engines roaring, the plane building momentum and then you are pushed back into your seat as the aircraft lifts off. We enjoyed a trouble free flight and were keen to get to our hotel at the other end – especially as by now it was dinner time and we were all hungry!!
We stayed at Hotel Bell Repos in the heart of Platja D’Aro. This hotel is just one block from the beach and one block from the main street of the town making it ideally located!
The hotel has its own car park (handy for us with a rental car) and free wifi (my kids were ecstatic!) We stayed on a B&B basis in the large family room on the ground floor. This room included a large master bed with a bunk-bed in the corner if needed; and an adjoining bedroom which had two singles. There was also a decent sized family bathroom with a shower (not a bath).
As a family of four it was ideal – my kids got their own room giving us some privacy but larger families (up to 6 or even 7 people) can be accommodated. I say 7 people because the master bed is big enough for a couple to sleep with a toddler in the middle! Our room led onto a small terrace overlooking the car park but we didn’t sit out at this time of year. At the height of the season however, it would be a useful space to dry the beach towels.
The master bedroom also included a mini bar and safe which you pay for separately – both useful additions which we used whilst we were there. There is a daily maid service which means you get fresh towels every day and a nicely made up bed… with hospital corners! There is also a hairdryer available in the bathroom if you need it.
The hotel is a family-run business and you can tell that they really care about what they do. The owner, Sonia and her team couldn’t have been friendlier or more helpful – offering suggestions of things a family could enjoy in the area for example. Everyone speaks English well but they also enjoyed helping me out with my Spanish, teaching me the words for things I asked about each time I passed through reception with a “Hola!” or a “buenas noches” at the end of the day.
Hotel Bell Repos is a two star hotel but a very, very good two star. They don’t have a swimming pool for example, which would increase their star rating but really, given their location and proximity to the beach, they don’t need one! We’d love to stay there again on a future family holiday to Platja D’Aro.
I shot some Instagram photos and did a few Tweets whilst I was on holiday, using the hashtag #InCostaBrava if you want to check it out. My photos were about what we did but to see more lovely photos from their region, have a look at the Instagram feed for @CostaBravaPirineu itself.
Next time I will tell you more about Platja D’Aro the resort and what families can do for entertainment.
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Disclosure: We visited the Costa Brava as guests of the Costa Brava Tourist Board and had press trip support from Holiday Extras. All opinions contained within this post are my own. Visit the Costa Brava website at www.costabrava.org
Hotel Bell Repos is located at Nostra Senyora del Carme 18, 17250 Platja D’Aro, Costa Brava, Spain. www.hotelbellrepos.com