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All reviews splash pool pirate ship kids club self catering rimini restaurant thomson reps soft play area main pool next year family holiday entertainment team young children evening entertainment excellent family hotel kids love tots half board
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Reviewed September 3, 2010

This hotel has generated a good deal of debate, so it is fair to say that we went self-catering and it was our first visit, so I can't compare it with how it was in its pre-all-inclusive days.
I can understand, however, some of the critical comments. The bar staff were extremely harrassed most of the time and there were always empty plastic drink cups blowing around.
My main concerns were with groups of kids and teenagers roaming around the place unsupervised in the evenings. Parents were clearly relaxing and enjoying shows etc and did not see it as their job to know what their offspring were doing - but it didn't seem to be anybody else's job either. Were all-inclusive parents who could have been drinking all day worse? I don't know, but is a tempting theory. And the deep end of the pool became the naughty corner, where teenaqers would divebomb and throw each other in, putting it almost out-of-bounds to others.
However, the pool is big and there is plenty of room. The pirate pool, in a separate area, is superb and has its own bar. Kids clubs were excellent - my 3-year-old went 7 times in the fortnight and she loved it, my 9-year-old went 5 times.
Entertainment is noisy and if you want to sleep, ask for a quiet room - ie, facing away from the pool & entertainment, which went on till around 11.30pm. All the blocks have a quiet and a noisy side. Going with the flow and letting your kids stay up late and get up late will cause you least stress. The entertainment was popular and good, with the exception of the ghastly cockney Rod Stewart, and the reps excellent.
The rooms - indeed, the whole hotel complex - were cleaned beautifully (I didn't expect the maid to wash up). Utensils for self-catering were pretty basic and didn't make you feel like cooking.
The food had a good reputation but we always ate out - excellent choice and our favourite was Xaloc, a more traditional Spanish / Mallorcan restaurant just beyond the buzz of the port, but Panetosto, the closest to the hotel, was great for take-away pasta and pizza, being run by Italians. It also has a nice al fresco bar area with sofas.
Beaches are an easy bus-ride away - Sa Coma, Cala Millor, S'Illot and even Porto Cristo can all be reached for €1.65 - so if you fancy getting salty and getting the sand under your feet, it is very doable. As mentioned elsewhere, the beach at Cala Bona is not great - the best bit is at the north end, just past the Sunwing resort.
If you take your laptop, you can have 24 hours online for €10, which will save you a fortune on newspapers. But you have to be in the main reception area for a signal.

Date of stay: August 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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1  Thank tooyoungforsaga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 2, 2010

We have just returned from our 10 day holiday in the Bonaire and all I can say is it's EXCELLENT! Have to admit that I did get a bit worried after reading some of the reports saying how bad it was now that it was AI, we had booked self catering but have to say that was completely unfounded. The whole time that we were there we did not see any litter left lying around, drunk behaviour or rowdy children. There seemed to be an equal balance of people staying there that were self catering and AI. We had a few meals in the hotel restuarant and pool bars and have to say that they were excellent value for money.
I cannot find any fault at all with this hotel. The sunbed situation was not too bad, we never failed to get a sunbed and we did not put our towel out at any silly time of the morning even though people did! The apartments were great, basic but for what you pay you couldn't ask for anything more! One of the best things had to be all the British channels you could get, very handy when you came in from the heat and just wanted to chill in the cool. The air conditioning in the room worked very well and was a blessing in the heat that we had!
The best praise has to go to the Thomson team working there, Awesome Ant, Ziggy Zoo, Naughty Nat and all the girls from the kids clubs..... what a fantastic job they all do. The entertainment they provided was great. We used the kids club nearly every day and my daughter loved it. She didn't want to go at first but after the first session we couldn't keep her from there! The kids club girls were great, always friendly and had smiles on their faces. Awesome Ant and Ziggy Zoo were a wonderfully funny double act and you couldn't help but join in.
We will definately be going back to the Bonaire!

Date of stay: August 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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Thank koolstar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 2, 2010

This is our 4th year at the Bonaire and 11th year with Thomson Super Family.

Reception - Five minute check-in, again reception staff excellent. Requested a specific apartment via E-Mail before we went and that was the appartment we got!!

Apartments - Spotless and basket of fresh fruit awaiting us on the table, nice touch.

Cleanliness - Excellent aqs usual

Staff - From the maintenance men working on site right up to the Manager were lovely especially the Bar Staff - Love to Oskar and Dani - Note to manager, your great bar staff do need extra help as I did notice they were run off their feet this year (probably due to AI).

Reps - Much better when Awesome Ant took over midway through our holiday...he has not lost his touch. All other Reps workied their socks off. Special mention to Nutty Nat, managing the Kids Clubs (this girl works hard and does a great Job).

Entertainment - OK, less magicians/acrobats and more singer groups please.

Pool - Love it. With the new pirate ship the main pool area is much less crowded and noisy. Good move Bonaire!

Sunbeds - Same old story. No one will ever stop this happening, so if you can't beat them - join them!

All Inclusive - I saw no problems with AI guests, litter, excessive drinking. The only thing I have against AI is that there are fewer tourist supporting the local businesses of Cala Bona.

Overall - My daughters now 14 and 19 met up again with their friends from previous years and had a great time every day and evening. I did not leave the hotel very much due to a bad back but my husband went out every night into Cala Bona with my daughters for their meal and loved it. Cala Bona is beautiful and hopefully will not be spoilt.

Keep up the good work Bonaire, it greatly appreciated.

The Embleton Family.

Date of stay: August 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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Thank FamilyOfKent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 1, 2010

stayed at the Bonaire from 24-31st August 2010. I was dreading it to be honest after reading all the negative reviews.. I even rang the hotel twice!!" beforehand.. I am seriously fussy believe me! Well I needed have worried at all. I booked it self catering as its cheaper to pupgrade once your there. We upgraded to half board on arrival for 485 Euros for the 4 of us.. theres so much to eat, all inclusive would've been too much. The hotel is spotlessly clean, an army of cleaners were out at 7.30am cleaning away. The rooms were better than they looked on the photo, and the pool area is also much nicer than looks on the photo. The reception area is lovely too. Huge choice of food. All of it was really nice. My two clocked up 30 hours in total in the kidzone!!!... the reps work sooooo hard and my 2 enjoyed going to the club, they are the best i've ever come across. The hotel is minutes away from Cala bona Marina and and very close to Cala Millor with shops galore.. theres not many places I would go to again but the Bonaire we definatley will. The pirate ship pool is fantastic and one of the best features, its knee deep so you can sit on the side and just watch the kids..the only downside is my 2 wouldn't come out and they just wanted to go in there all the time!!! the hotel staff are lovely and so are the restaurant staff, they are all friendly... In the evening after leaving the restaurent we went back to the room as we wanted quiet eve. I asked for a quiet apartment and we were put in block 3, we only heard the music once and it went off at 11pm. we all slept very well. Apartments are great and well equipped too.

Date of stay: August 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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2  Thank maj0rca2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 31, 2010

We booked the Bonaire back in February as a relatively good value AI package - the reviews were very good and we just wanted a family holiday focused on our children.

Some of the negative reviews concerned us and we worried that the Bonaire had turned into a beer swilling chavster hell hole because of the nasty AI guests. We didn't encounter any inappropriate behaviour - nobody was drunk during the day and no issues with plastic plates and glasses littering the pool area.

Instead we exxperienced a very well run hotel with friendly staff who genuinally cared about giving good service. The food and drink quality on the AI package was very good for the price we paid. We were particularly impressed with Pepe at the bar and it was very good to see that the Hotel Manager regularly checking standards.

We were very pleased with the Thomson team - our children 11 & 8 attended the Team & Tribe clubs and enjoyed the other daytime activities. The Thomson team made a decent effort of the evening entertainment - a bit daft but well suited to a family hotel.

The 7am sunbed run was a pain however it was the only option if you wanted to be by the pool. There was never a hope of the hotel seriously tackling the problem leaving 2 choices - moan about it or join in.

I'll finish off where I started - the AI debate. The AI option have been unfairly knocked by some rather pious individuals - the band of shame?. These comments are quite frankly daft.....ignore this nonsense.

I do however accept that the AI option has probably changed the Bonaire and respect these views. The current system generally works however it is causes a headache around the pool with drinks and ice cream for children. If the balance of AI/HB/SC guests remains the same it will be okay next year - not sure if the hotel could handle all guests being AI.

Very good chance we will book again next year.....

Date of stay: August 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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1  Thank RichardW23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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