When I say Benidorm I bet you are instantly imagining drunken Brits, hen parties or stag parties ..English breakfasts served in pubs that also show Eastenders?
Benidorm has had a bit of a bad rap due to a tiny strip of the town and a TV show which didn’t exactly show it in the best light. In fact I was a bit hesitant about this press trip. It wasn’t really the kind of place I would have chosen to go but now….post trip? I would love to return.
I can tell you up front that I was incredibly impressed by pretty much every aspect of our trip and I really did discover the other side of Benidorm. So what did we do?
My trip began at 6am in Birmingham airport where I kicked off the trip in style with speedy access and VIP service in the No.1 Lounge, I felt a bit special. But there was a small problem… I also felt a little ill. Typical right? It was just a cold or so it seemed but I felt pretty rotten. I decided not to take advantage of the free booze and instead opted for coffee and orange juice before hitting Boots to stock up on cold remedies. Boarding was stress free with super friendly staff and the flight itself was smooth and easy. As the flight went on I just felt worse and worse, coughing and sneezing all the way along ( I imagine to the utter joy of my fellow passengers ) and landing was excruciatingly painful due to the pressure in the cabin, perhaps this was not just your average cold.
On landing at Alicante airport I grabbed a gelato to try and ease my burning throat whilst I waited for my fellow bloggers to arrive. We headed to the hotel, about 40 minutes drive away. The hotel we stayed at was The Melia Villatania and surely it is due some kind of award for being THE most Instagrammable hotel ever. Seriously. Pastel walls and idyllic pools were everywhere you looked and despite the hotel being at full capacity during our stay there was always a quiet spot or an empty stretch of water to play in. All of the images below are ones I have taken of the hotel, never before 9 am so as to give you an accurate portrayal of what the hotel looks like day to day.
After a brief tour of the hotel and a good nose around my room and the beautiful golf course view I headed to meet up with my fellow bloggers Jenny, Prim, Emma, Kayleigh and Victoria as well as Sergio our host from Visit Benidorm and Frankie and Fred from Jet 2. We headed out for lunch at Ulia, a sea front restaurant by Poniente Beach which served the biggest and the best paella I’ve ever tasted, along with a pretty good Sangria. I was still feeling pretty lousy but not too bad and I was excited for the next part of our day, electric bikes! I’ve never tried electric bikes before, in fact I have always been a bit of a wimp with that type of thing but you know what is funny as I get older? I am getting braver and always wanting to try new things. It is as if I am discovering my inner wild child 10 years later than most people.
The Electric Bike tour with Tao Bike was one of the most fun experiences I have had in a really long time. You literally zoom along with barely any effort which is especially handy when you feel so ill and as we explored Benidorm from above around the cliffs it felt just wonderful. The views, the actual high you get when cruising at speed is pretty special and I really recommend it if you visit the area. You can find out more about the electric bike tours here.
With Jenny from She Get’s Around:
After the tour we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and in true Becky style I grabbed a bath, one because all of a sudden I was starting to feel really dreadful but also because the bath was pretty epic. After changing into something a little dressier I headed to meet the others and we went to the prettiest restaurant Llum de Mar in Old Town, Benidorm. As always when travelling with bloggers you need to add a good hour onto any plan as they will always find the most beautiful spots in which to take photos and add fashion bloggers into the mix and it takes even longer. I was quite content to enjoy the sea views and take photos of seagulls although I did indulge in a selfie or two in the golden hour ( sunset ). The food was exquisite.
Unfortunately by about the midway point of the meal I was starting to suffer quite badly and felt pretty awful. I decided to opt out of the wine and just enjoyed the food and the surroundings and thankfully on the return to the hotel Fred from Jet 2 found me some Night Nurse!
I slept for a really long time and missed out on scuba diving the next morning which was pretty annoying but meant I felt a lot better by the time I joined them for lunch. I did get a chance to lie by the faux beach at the hotel for a while with a book so all was not lost..
Another wonderful lunch at Son de Mar along with the best Strawberry Sangria I have ever tasted.
Every meal we had was accompanied by fresh curry bread and aioli. I was in foodie heaven. We also finished all of our meals with Cortado which definitely helped me feel less groggy. We then headed back to the hotel for a relax around the heated pool and I had another soak in the bath and felt a lot better for our tapas evening in the old town. Again we had incredible food, in fact it is some of the best food I have ever eaten on holiday. Something I didn’t imagine when I thought of Benidorm. It was of such a high quality and so beautifully presented that it was a real joy to eat.
The next morning we headed out for a jeep tour to the Sierra Cortina mountain and surroundings. This was a very different experience of Spain and we saw some incredible scenery, it was such an exhilarating feeling the wind through my hair in the open top jeep and we spent much of the day laughing and joking together. After the Jeep tour we went back to the hotel top enjoy the buffet lunch. This was a buffet but not as you know it. I have always been a little disappointed with hotel buffets but this was a proper culinary experience with so much choice.
We then had a little free time to explore the hotel more which was lovely, you could spend hours strolling around the hotel with its many bars and restaurants as well as SO many pools and even a fake beach.
That evening we headed to The Cross of Benidorm in Sierra Helada Natural Park for some sightseeing and there really were outstanding views. We then moved onto Solutula restaurant for another mouthwatering meal.
After getting appropriately sated from the food we visited a roof top bar in the main town for cocktails and it was a great way to finish up the day. We sat in the hotel bar to finish with incredibly large measure of Baileys before headed to bed ready for an early departure.
An early start to take advantage of one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve had and one last wander around the hotel. I am already feeling the need to return to the Melia Villatania. The return flight was ever so slightly delated but we were well looked after by the Jet 2 staff and I had a lovely meal and snacks to enjoy during the trip. I was excited to return home and see my family but quite sad to say goodbye to Spain. I’ll be back I’m sure.
Thanks to Jet 2 and Visit Benidorm for a truly special trip, you looked after us so well and certainly showed us the “other side of Benidorm” and I have already recommended it as a holiday destination to friends. The fact that I was so ill during the trip yet still can’t rave about it enough should tell you just how much of an experience it was. I need more than 72 hours next time..
Fir more information on the Gastro Side of Benidorm check out the Visit Benidorm site here.