Thanks to the pandemic, it has been 18 months since we last went on holiday overseas, and we definitely made the right choice of hotel to reintroduce ourselves into the world of travel with. To be perfectly honest, we’re usually quantity over quality travellers, preferring to take more frequent and longer trips in budget-friendly hotels. But for this trip, because it had been a while and because who knows when we’ll get away again (if the winter lockdown predictions are correct), we opted for the five star, all-inclusive, family friendly feels, and we loved every minute of it!
The Insotel Cala Mandia is located in the small village of Cala Mandia, just outside of the fishing town of Porto Cristo, to the east side of the island of Mallorca. We chose this resort because we wanted to be somewhere quiet, away from the crowds of Palma and Magaluf, which are to the south of the island. The location was great: the beach was so close it was practically on site, and we were in a great location to explore the island and get around affordably by taxi.
The hotel room was fairly basic, and it was obvious that in a previous life the hotel rooms had been small apartments. You opened the door to a long corridor, off of which was the main bedroom (which featured two single beds that could be pushed together to make a double), and the bathroom, which had a bath with a shower over it, vanity unit with large single sink and toilet. The bathroom looked like it had been newly renovated, and was more modern than the rest of the room. At the end of the corridor was the large living room which had two sofas that doubled as single beds, a coffee table, table and four chairs, and a kitchenette unit with a fridge, microwave, sink and kettle. Because the hotel is no longer an aparthotel though, there were no mugs/plates/cutlery or anything else to make this kitchen functional. Not that you need it, as this is an all-inclusive resort!
The living room/bed room led out to the balcony, and there is no child lock on the door between this room and the balcony, so we didn’t feel comfortable letting the boys sleep there. Therefore, they took the main bedroom, and we slept in the living room. The beds were much more comfortable than the looked, and the air conditioning was brilliant – incredibly powerful. All in all, we felt that the room did the job, and was a great base for our explorations.
If you’re looking for gourmet food then all-inclusive is rarely the right choice! But the food was hot, plentiful and enjoyable. There were tonnes of ‘kid friendly’ options for fussy kids, and the dishes changed daily in the main buffet restaurant to keep the adults interested. At both lunch and dinner time there was a grill station in the buffet restaurant: at breakfast the same station served fresh pancakes and omlettes. There was also a pool bar at each pool serving basics such as burgers/hot dogs/chips/salads and unlimited ice creams: here there was also a bar where kids could have themselves to branded soft drinks and adults were served branded beer/spirts/cocktails etc. There was also an a la carte BBQ restaurant, and an al a carte American diner, which we enjoyed.
We like to enjoy authentic local food when we travel, and this wasn’t on offer here: we went into Porto Cristo and Cala Millor for the tapas and paella we were craving. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the food in the hotel. If you do like a traditional all inclusive offering then I would say that this is a very good one.
For us the stand-out feature of this hotel were the pools: there were 6 large pools located across the resort (one of which we didn’t use, because it was adults-only, but it looked heavenly). There was also a small onsite water park which featured 4 large slides, a huge tipping bucket, and a pirate ship with a series of smaller toddler slides shooting out of it. There was also a smaller pool specifically for toddlers, and a splash pad next to the largest of the leisure pools.
Because there were so many pools, we never visited one that felt crowded, and although there was the usual crew of 6am sunbed nabbers (why do people do that?) we actually never had a problem finding a sunbed, no matter what time we ended up by the pool (though I will admit we aren’t sun loungers: we generally grab one bed between the four of us and use it for dumping our kit on, changing the kids, and sitting on when it’s time for a drink). Giant inflatables weren’t allowed in the pools, which we also thought was good news, as it meant there was plenty of room to play and swim.
The Other Resort Facilities
As I said above, it was the facilities that attracted us to this resort: our theory was that if we were confined to our resort for any covid-related reasons, we wanted there to be plenty to do, and they definitely fulfilled this brief. As well as all the water features, the hotel also offered a huge adventure playground, indoor water playground, flood-lit tennis courts and football pitches, a small amusement arcade, a kids club (which we didn’t use, because we like to keep the children with us and spend time as a family, but they offered a huge array of activities), car hire and a spa.
The spa offered children’s treatments and experiences, as well as adult ones, which was a nice touch. There was a supermarket opposite the hotel entrance (we had a view of it from our balcony- not sure Mr Mum Travel will forgive me for not letting him book the sea view room!) and the beach was just five minutes walk away from the hotel too.
All in all, we had an amazing trip: and most importantly, from our point of view, the kids had an amazing trip. They have repeatedly asked to go back to Mallorca with the same enthusiasm they ask to go back to Disneyland. If you’re thinking about booking the Insotel Cala Mandia for your family then, whilst I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for couples (or maybe even families with older children) it is the perfect place for a family-friendly, relaxing, week away.