I've travelled to Tossa De Mar many times however this is the first time we did it with Thompson. We were expecting the "Full Thompson Service" which we got until they moved the rep to another resort.
TJ who has been the Thompson's rep at Tossa for as long as I can remember was the very reason that I decided to stay at the Esmeraldas. Knowing that she is in there every day (even when she is not on duty) and always on hand and happy to help, I thought this would be the perfect holiday for my children who where on their first foreign holiday.
When we arrived on the Saturday, TJ made a great impression and really looked after us. She ensured that checking into the hotel went without a hitch and introduced us to some of the other Brits at the welcome meeting and the kids instantly made some new friends.
On the Wednesday night we had come back to the apartment to find a problem. The bloke on reception didn't speak English so couldn't understand what I was saying. I went down to see TJ the next morning only to find that she was not there at her usual time. I was told that TJ had been sent to another resort and that a new rep was now at the Esmeraldas but wouldn't be there as much as TJ had been.
I was appalled at this - we had paid over the odds (you can have a holiday in Tossa far cheaper than Thompsons charge if you are willing to do your homework) to have the Thompsons experience and to have TJ as our rep - only to be met with a less than satisfactory service.
Now don't get me wrong here - Alan (the replacement rep) did his best and I have no issues with him. Alan took the time to write a note in Spanish for me to hand in at reception to get my issue resolved and this worked. I also saw Alan in action dealing with an emergency situation and he handled himself (and everyone else) brilliantly.
My issue here is Thompson's decision to move their reps around 'mid season' - which from a business perspective is something they are perfectly entitled to do - however as a customer, this led to a break in service, annoyance, frustration and what felt like a shadow over our holiday (remember my reason for travelling with Thompson in the first place).
To my eyes, for reasons I can't fathom, Thompson moved the most experienced rep in Tossa out of the resort and put someone in who had come from another resort and didn't know Tossa De Mar.
Those who have been to Tossa will understand that there is a certain type of holidaymaker that goes to Tossa. There are no "night clubs" to speak of - no 18-30's - no stupidity. Tossa is a very traditional resort and is the kind of place that you go to if you want to relax and experience traditional Catalonia. This resort needs an experienced rep to give guidance to all that can be seen and done in the area.
Thankfully as I know Tossa very well, this didn't completely destroy our holiday. However sitting around the tables near the pool we overheard conversations in other families commenting on how good the girl was that was here last week and saying that the new rep is never there.
Alan was there at the times stated on his information sheet however it would appear that Thompson had decided that the "full rep service" that we had been promised wasn't necessary as his scheduled times at the Esmeraldas were limited (very limited) 3 days without a rep visit is unacceptable in my book.
The apartments were clean, tidy and the towels and bedding were changed every few days. The girls who clean the rooms are lovely. They speak very little English however they will have a giggle at trying to communicate and this is great fun. The problem in the room was sorted as soon as I was able to explain what had gone wrong (Thanks Alan) and Isabel on reception is great.
I also have to give a big shout out to Juan and George in the bar. These two are real characters and made those days where the kids just wanted to go in the pool much more fun with their jokes and conversation - and excellent Cafes con Leche - Their drinks measures are generous too (I reckon Juan was trying to get me drunk so George could try out his latest hang-over cure....... Point to note - if you are staying at the Esmereldas and have a hang-over, go and see the guys in the bar and they'll sort you out!
My one real concern with the Esmereldas is the pool area. The pool ladders are insecure. In fact one of them came out of the ground when I grabbed on to them because someone tried to push me into the pool. I'm just glad it was me and not my pregnant wife that was on them. The pool is marked up as being 160.m (yes this reads as 160 metres deep) - Now one would assume that this is a simple mistake in the markings and should read 1.60m - However upon checking - the pool is approx 7ft deep (sorry I didn't have a tape measure with me but I'm 5ft 8 and with my arm stretched above my head standing on the bottom of the pool only the tips of my fingers were out of the water.......THIS MISTAKE IS DANGEROUS! My other concern is that although there is a no airbed rule, people broke this and without a lifeguard on duty the dangers of someone getting into trouble and not being seen are very real.
There is no daytime entertainment (even for kids) and the nighttime entertainment starts at around 10pm (or even 11pm one night) which is far too late for people with families. Of the shows that we did see - I have to say that Sasha is a must see.
Overall the Esmeraldas is a nice (if a bit dated) place to stay. The staff are great and as long as you are willing to entertain the kids yourself (and watch them every second that they are in the pool) then it is a great place to use as a base for your holiday. The food in the Esmeraldas is excellent and I would stay there again.
However I wouldn't bother booking with Thompson as I feel that they let us (and the other families) down with their decision to change reps. The reduced service at the hotel is not worth paying Thompson's prices for - It's cheeper to fly with Ryanair into Girona or Easyjet into Barcelona and book accommodation directly with the hotel. Isabel on reception speaks good English and there are plenty of English Speaking bars around who could help you with any problems when out and about.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC