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Reviewed August 25, 2008

Hi All, After the review from EJE1, N.Wales, I felt compelled to write a review something I have never taken the time to do before.

I stayed at the Bonaire in May and was more than impressed with all aspects of this Thomson Family Club Extra.

On arriving I found the Hotel Reception Staff very nice and helpful they even offered to take my bags to my room and they explained all about the card system for drinks and snacks. I was also very impressed with the Thomson reps who alway acknowledge you and made sure you were okay.

On walking to my room the pool,kids area, softplay all looked clean and tidy and were like this for my entire stay.

On entering my room I was very impressed with the cleanliness and size of the accomodation. My room faced the tennis courts and indoor pool and the view of the hills was stunning. The kitchen had all the necessary equipment for cooking and was in good condition as was the fridge.

The room was cleaned everyday apart from one which was the cleaning ladies day off, and we all need them. The bathroom was very clean and always had fresh towels.

I felt that the review done by the people from Wales was harsh and totally inappropriate. They should not use there professional status to scaremonger, as a scaremonger tactic for other holiday makers especially there comment regarding the holiday bug.

Please Please do not listen to this ridiculous review, as the Bonaire is Fabulous and all the other review reflect my opinion

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled solo
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6  Thank Summer0816
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 25, 2008

Just returned from ten days in peak summer season at the hotel and wanted to give a clear explanation of some of the pros and cons mentioned in other reviews.

Cleanliness and state of rooms: the review before seems to reflect the hyper sensitivity of an environmental health officer: I certainly didn't feel we were at any risk in our room, things were not 'filthy' but they were a little tatty, knocked and basic. Depends what you need from your room - if it's just a base for an active family, it's fine. You have all the equipment you need and reception are helpful if you need anything else. Maid service is okay but not brilliant - eg they won't clean up around your sink, but they make the bads and tidy the bathroom.

Entertainment: The staff certainly work their socks off and this has pros and cons. If you like it and want to get involved it's great. However, they do overuse the loud PA system, and if you want a quiet meal or drink on your balcony or by the pool you will be periodically interrupted by noisy invitations to take part in events, sessions of blaring pop music, audience participation quizes etc. There are quiet times as well. Between 8pm and 11:30, there is the main show - a series of kiddy disco, audience particpation game show and some form of 'main attraction' like a local band doing classic hits. This can be great fun, but is also very loud and intrusive if you're not up for it. Staying in the apartment with all windows shut you still will hear it above the telly - no chance of a quiet romantic meal on the balcony! The only option is to get out of the hotel and wander into Cala Bona coming back when it's over. No chance of the kids being in bed before 11:30, so just adapt to the routine.

That said - wandering around Cala Bona is very pleasant- a little square with plenty of rom for the kids to run around while you have your quiet meal! You can also walk up the other way to the tranquil and up market Sa Punta Restaurant, where you can have a sophisticated meal while listening to quiet classical music and watching the waves and the moon...

Kid clubs and activities. The clubs are age phased (3-5, 6- 8, 9 - 12) and run at different times during the day. there are also mixed ages 'drop in' clubs twice daily and an evening club four times a week. Each club is for two hours. The kids generally love them, but beware or your trip can turn into one long multiple school run as you run back and forth signing them in and out!

Finally, the towel on the lounger thing: yes, it's still happening - most loungers booked long before 8 am. But you can sit at a table in the bar area which also overlooks the shallow end and kiddy pool, so don't sweat. Then do your sunbathing further back or round the deep end. Be warned if you borrow a Thomson towel - you pay 10 euros deposit and someone swiped one of ours. Short of doing the same to someone else there was nothing we could do and reception very unsympathetic.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank alibrighton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 24, 2008

Just returned from a 2 week holiday with my husband and 6 yr old daughter - I'll try and keep it brief but there is just so much to say, so here goes!

HOTEL/ROOM - I'd e-mailed ahead and asked for a quiet room (yes, I know it's a busy family hotel but I thought I'd try). They allocated us a great quiet room, in Block 5, overlooking countryside. The room probably needs abit of updating - especially the fridge, but the apartment was spacious, clean, air-con great, loads of wardrobe space and most importantly - a TV with Cbeebies on it!
The hotel itself has lovely grounds which are maintained fantastically, the reception area is great, pool area nice and I loved the outside entertainment area. The seating is in tiers looking down onto the dancefloor and stage so it made it easy for us, and our daughter to watch everything.
LOCATION - Brilliant for us. We loved walking down to the harbour early eve for a meal. If you walked a little further along you reached Cala Bona beach, which is rocky in the water but it makes it fab for snorkelling. Walk further along and you reach Cala Millor beach which is lovely and Sandy. You can walk it but we cheated as we had a car for the 2 weeks and easier to drive with a 6 yr old and beach stuff. Our favourite beach though was Sa Coma. It was busy but the sea was shallow quite a way out and it was very wavy which made it loads of fun. I wasn't so keen on the actual resorts of Cala Millor or Sa Coma though as very 'british' and busy - so great so stay where we were but have access to those beaches.
FOOD - a personal love of mine - Favourite place - Vell Mari on the harbour. Great we could get fantastic Sea Food while our daughter could enjoy 'her' sort of food (omelette, jacket potatoes etc..). Also recommend Paparazzi, not really a childrens menu but will do a small portion of twirly pasta if asked. The Panecosto? (the first place you will come to along harbour promenade) was a lovely setting and good pizzas. Only 1 really disappointing meal at Tapas D'Olvia but looking at other reviews I think we just hit a bad night.
STAFF - ALL hotel staff were friendly, polite and professional. Thompson staff were excellent. Awesome Ant and Loopey Lou worked hard (as did others) especially as they were an entertainer down and Loopey Lou broke her toes (she kept working though!). A huge thank you to Flipper the swimming coach - my daughter had 5 lessons and loved them. My daughter would also recommend the chocolate parties!
ENTERTAINMENT - we got back to hotel most eves in time to watch Childrens stuff - Daughter loved the dancing and getting up on stage to sing and tell jokes. We tended to go back to our room before the main entertainment as daughter was usually exhausted at that point. Someone previously made a comment about it being strange holidaying with all Brits - I can see there point but the positive is that all the entertainment is in English (We've been to hotels where its been in German and my daughter has been a little confused to say the least!)
OUTINGS - I would recommend the Caves of Arta which were close by (but need a car), we went to the waterpark twice at El Arenal (expensive but you get 2nd visit at a discount - also we needed to rent a 'ring' as it was very busy) if you go theres loads of grass areas to leave your stuff. It started to rain one day so we went to Aquarium outside Palma - billed as the best in Europe and it was very good. Would not recommend Marineland - we went there on our last day before flight home - the shows were good but only 2 lasting 1/2 each so killed time in between. If you do go take swimming stuff as a kids fun pool and access to beach (I hadn't realised this).
SUNBEDS - thought I'd comment as everyone else has - we didn't have a problem. As we went to beach each morning till lunchtime or mid pm, there were always sunbeds free by the time we got back. This problem though is similar to every hotel I've been to in Europe in peak season and I don't think the hotel can do much about it (they put up signs asking people not to monopolise sunbeds all day when not needed but us Brits seem to ignore this). We brought beachmats at about £1 for the beach and planned to use these on the grass areas around the pool - but as stated didn't actually need them.

Anway - I'm sure I've missed out loads and sorry to go on but as you can hopefully tell, we all had a great time. I would recommend this hotel to anyone with primary school kids, who love to watch them enjoying themselves and understand that this is a loud, busy holiday aimed at kids. If you want a quiet lay round the pool and quiet eves - don't go. Hope this helps you and if you are going soon - have a good holiday

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank LondonRunningman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 18, 2008

We stayed at the Bonaire at the beginning of July and felt completely misled by the rating of this Hotel and the reviews. We booked two rooms for myself, my wife and two kids (3 + 5), and the in laws. My wife is a practicing Senior Environmental Health Officer and my father in-law is a retired Environmental Health Officer.

Upon arrival at the Bonaire we were escorted to our apartments and were immediately taken aback by their dated, basic and tatty appearance. Upon further inspection we discovered torn bed linen. What appeared to be a dead fly was found inside the bedding, this made my wife feel she could not sleep inside the bed and forced her sleep on top using blankets. The furniture was covered in knocks and bumps, and frankly had seen better days. The inside of the drawers were filthy and had not been cleaned properly. The internal doors had been poorly patched up following previous damage, as was one of the internal walls, which had clear signs of cracking plaster. These cracks had migrated to the floor tiles causing the tiles to become loose and subsequently forcing the sharp hardened grout to dislodge from between the tiles, the grout had to be prised out with a pen knife to make it safe.

The Bathroom was no better, showing signs of extensive use with evidence of mould growing on the tile grout throughout the bathroom, which made the whole bathroom feel filthy and unfit to use

The fridge was very noisy cutting in and out every twenty minutes or so, which kept me awake throughout the night as I slept in the lounge/kitchen area. It was so noisy my wife could not read a book in the adjoining bedroom. I inspected the fridge at first light in an attempt to fathom out why it was causing such a racket. Although the fridge appeared clean and new from a distance, I was horrified to find that it had been painted with white gloss to cover its age and dilapidated condition. Upon opening the fridge I noticed the plastic seal around the door was split and had heavy deposits of grime, dirt, food and general filth within the split. I immediately showed this to my wife and father in-law, they were both mortified at its condition. There was a ‘bug’ going round the Bonaire, the condition of its fridges may go a long way to explaining it. The vegetation/garden within the accommodation block was very untidy with rubbish and cigarette butts trapped within.

We booked the Bonaire on a half board basis and the food was another let down, the vegetables were over cooked and mushy the rest of the food was lukewarm and tasteless.

As you can imagine we were extremely dissatisfied with the accommodation, having stayed in four star accommodations in the past, the Bonaire failed to come close to our expectations. We immediately contacted the head rep, Julie, and aired our grievances. She admitted that although it was a four star hotel it was an “old” four star hotel and short of carrying out the repairs herself she could only offer us the option of transferring to another Family Club Extra hotel, the Coma Gran, which we accepted. The Coma Gran was of a lesser rating than the Bonaire but was in a different league, newly refurbished, what you'd expect for of a four star Hotel

It took Thomson two days to move us, and charged us 150 Euros not including the cost of the taxis to view the hotel.

I can't believe the good reviews this hotel has had, it is definitely NOT a ****+ Hotel.

See pictures and decide for yourselves.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with family
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21  Thank EJE1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 17, 2008

I have just returned from a 2 week holiday at the Bonaire with my husband and 15 year old son. I can honestly say it's been the best holiday we've ever had!
Firstly lets start with Cala Bona. This is a little resort with a nice beach and harbour that is ideal for families. It's peaceful and mainly you'll find families there, mostly British but also German and Scandinavian. You will not see a chav or lager lout at this resort as there's no clubs etc.
Only little point is that the first few feet into the sea are stones so if you intend to go to the beach a lot make sure your little ones have some swim shoes.
There are numerous good places to eat in Cala Bona and we found the standard to be much higher that we have experienced in other places in the med. For lunch try the on the beach snack bar at the levante Hotel - fab food and cheap! Look no further than papparazi for amazing Italian food - as good any any you will get on the UK for less money. The servcice is great too.

There are plenty of shops in Cala Bona - girls you must visit the jewellery shop just past the Levante hotel. It has a massive stock of chunky trendy stuff - better than accessorize here and a fraction of the cost!

Now for the Bonaire - this hotel has everything you need for a family holiday. Rooms are bright, clean and airy with very very good air con.

The surroundings are clean and well maintained. An army of maintainance men are out in force daily, cleaning, watering, emptying bins etc. The place is spotless!

The pool area is great - areas for little ones and a deep end for the teenagers. There is litereally non stop entertainment for the kids. kids clubs, poolside competitions, etc. I have never seen holiday reps work so hard as at the Bonaire. Your little ones will be in heaven! There's activities for the adults too - everything from the 1pm poolside quiz to water polo. Theres an hour between 10 and 11 in the evening which ranges from tribute acts to game show. It was all good fun and just a tad cheesy!! No noise after 11pm but bar stays open if you want to stay for a quiet drink.

Food - we only had breakfast in hotel once - at 10 euros each its overpriced and not great. Make your own or walk down to resort.

For lunch the poolside snack bar has a small menu but my gripe was everything comes with chips! Food is good though.
Didn't bother with dinner at hotel. Why sit in a stuffy dining room when you can each down in Cala Bona outside looking at the sea? Don't go half board!!!

The staff at the Bonaire are wonderful. Customer service is fantastic. When we arrived late in the evening and on way to our room a maintainance man insisted on carrying my case. Then we bumped into the hotel manager who welcomed us and said we must ask for anything we need.Don't get that in UK!

I only have one teeny negative point to make - SUNBEDS!! The hotel allocates 2 per apartment which of course is not enough for everyone. People get up an an insane time at this hotel to bag a bed so be prepared. Hubby had to set alarm for 6am get beds and come back to bed so be warned!

Lastly because the price of the hotel is a bit above the norm for a family med holiday you will find the type of people who stay at the Bonaire to be very nice ( sorry sound like a snob but I don't wish to spend my annual holiday surrounded by football shirt wearing yobs drinking beer , swearing and burping!) We made some lovely friends that we hope to keep in tpuch with for many year to come.

If you want to make lovely memories for you family go to the Bonaire and you won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with family
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4  Thank LeedsCarole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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