I’m a day late with this post so please accept my apologies! I forgot that I had my payroll year end to do, if any of you do payroll you’ll know my pain or maybe your a wizard at it unlike me and can fly through it! ha
I’ll include some of my tips and tricks to getting things cheaper when travelling 😉
So last week we took a few days in Costa Del Sol, we hadn’t originally planned to go any further than Ireland for a short break but we found it so expensive to stay here for 2/3 nights that we decided to look further afield for a break! After lots of deal hunting I found us 4 nights in the 4* Sol House Costa Del Sol, Mixed by Ibiza Rocks Hotel, half board with our flights for £250 each…BARGAIN! When I was looking at hotels in Ireland I couldn’t find anything in the 4* range for under £400 for 2 nights so Spain won hands down.
Off we went last Tuesday afternoon, we flew with Ryanair from Belfast International! I am so glad that they have started to fly from Belfast as you can get a cheapy holiday last minute like we did! We only booked our trip 4 weeks before we went and still got it at a bargain price!
TIP: If I booked our two flights together it worked out at £71 each but if I booked them separately I got one for £59 and the other for £70. Now how you find this snippet of info out is… If you go onto the Ryanair site, choose your destination and dates and only 1 passenger, then proceed through to choosing the flights; it will tell you how many seats are lefts at a certain prices. For example when I was booking ours I choose 1 passenger and it told me there was only 1 seat left at £19.99 on the return flight but if I put in two passengers it wouldn’t give me the £19.99 for one of us! So of course to save £12 I booked them separately but £12 is £12 after all and I may as well have it as Ryanair 😉 Now there is a down side to this which doesn’t bother me but it might bother you, if you book separately you are more likely NOT to get sitting together, you can book your seats if you wish but its really an unnecessary cost. On the way out we were sitting one behind the other but on the way home one of us row 11 and the other row 23 but its personal preference! I hope that made sense!!! ha!
Now on to the hotel (Sol House Costa Del Sol, Mixed By Ibiza Rocks), we chose Torremolinos as its close to the airport, it has a nice town centre and promenade, well actually I chose it! lol Kyle pretty much turns up at the airport and is like so were we going and what are we doing! Lol! I deliberated over lots of hotels and had lots of tabs with different holiday sites open so I could compare and contrast with ease! I don’t like having to pay more than I have to for the same hotel! Not because I’m tight with money but because all those pennies I save by searching the web gives me either some of my spending monies or allows me another trip in the year or whatever way you look at it! 🙂
There are a few sites I use when booking hotels and I usually stick to them each time but I do search around a lot and make sure that I am getting a deal! For this hotel I booked through their own website here. They have lots of hotels to choose from in different cities and islands.
When I was booking this holiday I used sites such as Booking.com, hotels.com, Travel Republic and Expedia.
TIP: Be careful with booking.com – if the price of the holiday/hotel is much cheaper than any other site then it is likely they haven’t included something (e.g city tax) that you will later have to pay at the hotel which could result in a higher price than what you could have paid using a different site. Travel Republic are a great site to book through with their £1 deposit scheme, allowing you to book a hotel when your skint and then pay it off closer to the time 😉 Hotels.com offer buy 10 nights get 1 night free and you can accumulate these over the course of the year – not all hotels participate in the scheme. Hotels.com have a good and very easy cancellation system which I have used and couldn’t fault although sometime their prices are a little high and I could find any board options like half board on their website. Expedia is a favourite of mine when booking flights and hotels together for America, I haven’t used them yet for Europe but they are one of the first I turn to when booking anything.
To get to and from the airport we took a taxi, it worked out around €21 each way which is grand. With Torremolinos you have the option of taking the train if your hotel is quite central to the town centre. From my last trip I remember the train being around €3 which is grand but our hotel was too far out of the centre so we would have been taking then train then getting off in the centre and then getting a taxi so we just saved the hassle and got a taxi direct.
Check in was great and very speedy at the hotel, we got our room and much to our disappointment there was a terrible stench coming from the bathroom. After we did some exploring I mentioned it to reception who sent house keeping to have a look as it was 10pm there wasn’t much else they could do! We spent the night but the next morning I could hardly face having a shower because of the smell so I mentioned it again to reception and asked to be moved rooms as I couldn’t deal with the smell anymore! They were very good and moved us to another room with a beautiful view and it smelt lovely 😉 This didn’t dampen our experience of the hotel, in fact the hotel was lovely and the staff in every area where fantastic! The food in the hotel for breakfast and dinner was lovely too, good for picky eaters to like me.
In the hotel there is a VIP area which you can pay to enjoy which gets you a smaller area, with a pool, a choice of sun bed, double beds or cabanas. They come around with fruit skewers and platters and desserts and if you need a drink you just press a button beside you and a waitress will come to you. We choose this one day which was a great experience but it is too expensive to do each day of the holiday.
We didn’t stray much from our hotel, promenade and marina area! Our hotel is situated very close to Belamedena Marina which is lovely to walk around at night! The only restaurant we tried close to the marina was an Italian Restaurant, Pinocho. It was nice but it wouldn’t have been my favourite although they did give out mini ice-creams with your bill which is a lovely idea in the heat. There are lots of restaurant and the vicinity so you won’t find it hard to get something to eat or drink.
Of course whilst I was away I did a little shopping, I just love finding items that I know I can’t get at home and no one I know will have similar. Around Benalmadena Marina and along the Torremolinos promenade there are some beautiful boutique style shops. I could have went mad but my suitcase was bulging on the way out and I am trying to wear the clothes I have instead of buying more well for now anyway 😉
I will definitely return to Torremolinos, I would definitely consider Sol House Hotel again but as I said above I always go for the best hotel deal I can find at the time but I will definitely search for it if I go again.
TIP: One thing I would definitely recommend especially around this time of year when the tourist areas are quiet is to book half or full board with your hotel – if you choose a 4* hotel the food is usually quite good and you can get enough to do. Eating out adds a lot of expense to your holiday – you could be looking at €40 for two at lunch and dinner. Eating in the hotel saves lots of searching about for a restaurant to suit everyone which is a pet hate of mine – when the tourist areas are quiet there doesn’t tend to be as many restaurants open at night.
So there we have it, my time away in Spain along with some tips for good measure 😉 If you have been to Costa Del Sol and have anything tips, places, hotels, restaurants etc that you would recommend let me know by commenting, I would love to know 🙂