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Gran Sol
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Reviewed 8 April 2013

To my mind the difference between an hotel that's very good - & one which is truly excellent - is that it's almost impossible to think of anything negative to say, & so it proved with the Gran Sol.

We travelled with Thomson on a B&B basis from 15 - 22 March - the first week that the hotel re-opened after a four-month winter closure. It's part of the four property Leva Group - the others are La Luna, Levante & Levante Park - & all are located adjacent to each other in Cala Bona. The Levante & the Gran Sol both have direct access to a small beach - without first having to cross a road. The Gran Sol is easily the quieter of the two - but daily entertainment is available at the Levante if you want to join in. We did for one evening - but the peace & quiet of the Gran Sol was too compelling for us to venture out more than that.

The current Gran Sol was apparently created a few years ago from the remnants of the previous hotel. I've no idea what that was like - but I can say with the utmost certainty that the latest Gran Sol is like nothing I've ever seen or stayed in in over 40 years of what might be termed 'package holidays'.

As soon as you first see the hotel from the street outside, it's obvious that quality is what you're buying into. That quality is in evidence everywhere - front to back, top to bottom - whether it's the fixtures & fittings or, indeed, the top-drawer levels of service from the staff working there. It's spotlessly clean - we saw someone 'sprucing up' the public areas at least 2 or 3 times every day - while every single member of the hotel team deserves much praise for their extremely warm & quite genuine efforts to respond so well to our every need.

We had a second floor, rear facing, sea-view room - & the panorama was wonderful. All 58 rooms have either a terrace or a balcony. About 10 rooms are at the front of the hotel - facing the pedestrianised road immediately outside. Other than perhaps some noise issues this is not such a bad thing - since it's the front of the building which sees the most sun. Around 28 rooms are located along the side, while the remainder are at the rear of the building & have fabulous, uninterrupted sea views. I think it's worth paying extra for the benefit of having full - rather than partial - sea views, but every room is extremely well equipped & very comfortable.

There is a lobby bar opening out onto a very nice terrace - with adjacent decked swimming pool area - while on the fourth floor a small indoor pool & fitness area is complemented by a couple of sun-terraces. Both of the pool areas seemed to have adequate numbers of sun-loungers.

The restaurant is located on the second floor & - like the lobby bar, terrace, indoor pool & some of the bedrooms - has fantastic views of the sea. The quality of the food overall is extremely good - in fact, based on our experience, is borderline excellent. Anyone who thinks otherwise simply doesn't recognise quality when they see it. The included breakfast had everything from simple continental items to 'full-english' - & much of the hot food was cooked to order by the enthusiastic chef. The same was true of dinner - not included on our package, but worth every bit of the 12 Euro charge for an all-you-can-eat buffet. We had planned to regularly go out for dinner - but in the end opted to spend every evening dining in the hotel, such was the quality, value, ambience & service offered by the in-house restaurant. A limited bar-meal service is also offered during the day - including tea or coffee & a yummy cake for 3.50 Euros. Outside of the hotel our favourite haunt was Cafe Thalassa - located 'in' the harbour. It was a great place to grab a coffee or a beer & just sit & chill out - if you're feeling decadent try the chocolate cake!

Cala Bona is located to the north of the urban area making up both it & Cala Millor. It is definitely the quieter of the two - though in the height of the summer it would undoubtedly be noisier than when we visited. There have been numerous comments regarding both places being rather 'grubby'. Cala Millor definitely has the appearance of a typical resort - &, yes, it does have a Burger King & its fair share of 'British pubs'. Cala Bona, on the other hand, though certainly not small, has a lovely little harbour & definitely has plenty of charm without being too commercialised.

It's not often that an hotel maybe under-promises in some ways - but then goes & over-delivers by the bucket-load. The Gran Sol exceeded all our expectations - & by some way. It's not cheap - particularly for the best rooms - but it does make you feel special &, for that reason alone, is well worth seriously considering . Can we recommend it - absolutely! Would we go back - what do you think?!!

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank Geoff O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2013

Overall a very nice hotel,in a good location, with great staff, especially in the restaurant where the food is superb,and the drinks very reasonable.
A short level walk will take you to the pretty harbour, surrounded by restaurants, and a lovely promenade.We had a great lunch at the thai restaurant highly recommended, and if you like ice cream try the hotel Cala Bona where the serve huge ice creams, and the best coffee.
I would only return to the Gran Sol if I was sure of getting a sea view room, as the rooms at the back face the street, dont get any sun, and the walls seem very thin especially the room we had no 218, which has a connecting door where you can hear every sound from next door, including people using the bathroom, not nice.

Room Tip: dont book room 218
  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank peter r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2013

Arrived back from Gran Sol on 29 March 2013, had a lovely time. Hotel was fantastic, staff so helpful, nothing is too much bother. I had a single room, which was very spacious and had a side sea view. Food was excellent, cooked to order in front of you, plenty of variety to choose from. Could not fault anything from this hotel, staff even arranged for my brother-in-law to hire a motability scooter, stored it every night and charged it for him.

Plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to choose from but they do not hasle you, which was nice. Although I went with my sister and brother in law, I would feel very safe going back to this hotel on my own.

We went out for a meal to the Lemongrass Thai restaurant by the harbour, run by a English couple but the cook was Thai, food was brilliant as was the service. Everything about this holiday was so good, the 3 of us have booked to back next March.

Room Tip: I would recommend a sea view.
  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank ThelmaS480
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2013

Arrived back yesterday from this wonderful, clean and quite modern hotel. The staff were very friendly and accommodating to our needs. The pool is on the smaller side but very pretty right on the beach edge and there was plenty of sun loungers for everyone. An indoor rooftop pool and Jacuzzi with amazing views along the beach was lovely. We stayed bed and breakfast and the found breakfast provided was delicious and had something for everyone. We only ate at the hotel one night and found the food good but was not really authentic spanish cusine on offer although there was fish and meats cooked to order and a variety of vegetables which suited us well. The hotel is situated in a convenient location for a leisurely stroll along the beach front to cala millor with restaurants along the way. This resort lacks evening bars if you were looking for a lively night time holiday but is perfect for the relaxed sunny holiday we were looking for. I would have no problem staying her again.

Room Tip: The sea view rooms looked great with balconies overlooking the entire beach.
  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank MillieSevernB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2013

We have just returned from a lovely week at this hotel. The hotel is nicely positioned on the beach at Cala Bona and is it literally just a few steps from the drinks patio to the water’s edge. If you choose a room with a sea view there is a truly magnificent aspect out across the bay and constant changing scenery as water craft of various sorts cross your horizon. The rooms themselves are nicely decorated and equipped with comfortable large beds and a fully appointed bathroom. A TV is provided but the picture was unwatchable on the English stations. I did report this at reception but their engineer’s best efforts achieved no improvement – however, one does not go on holiday to watch Eastenders, does one?

Upon arrival guests are presented with a refreshing drink (non-alcoholic) and the check in process is speedy and efficient. The staff throughout the hotel were equally efficient and polite throughout our stay.

The dining room is on the first floor and offers spectacular views across the bay whilst enjoying dinner. Dinner itself is served from 7 pm onward and seating is not pre-allocated – so get there early if you want to enjoy that view. The décor of the restaurant is delightfully understated and elegant. Table linens, cutlery and crockery were all in excellent order. The food was, to us, a trifle disappointing. We found the menu rather lacking in variety although it was presented well.

On the fourth floor there are sun decks, the spa pool and the fitness room. There is also a sauna. Again the most has been made of the spectacular bay views from all of these facilities and from the pool you can appreciate the full splendour of the vista. The same view can be admired from the fitness room but bearing in mind that the massive windows allow the Mediterranean sun to stream in and the room is not air conditioned anyone who lasts more than 20 mins on the exercise equipment should be given a medal. I was flagging and dripping in sweat after 10 mins. Also the equipment is in surprisingly poor condition bearing in mind the quality of the rest of the hotel. The bike’s saddle is stuck in place. The pulley strings were broken on the weights machine. The running machine had no proper safety cut out and all the equipment shows traces of rust – doubtless due to being next to a swimming pool. This is unacceptable in my view but as I am not a fanatic about exercise I was not minded to make a fuss about it. The running machine was actually removed half way through our stay and not replaced.

The beach just outside the hotel is rather disappointing and can best be described as post-apocalyptic. It reminded me rather of the beach assault chapter in Call of Duty MW3 but without the machine guns. It does however have the strewn concrete slab and blocks, some impaled with iron rods, grey sand, thermo-nuclear rocks and great heaps of dried seaweed – apparently the latter is cleared up in April for fertiliser. There is a much nicer beach along the bay at Cala Millor.

Leaving the hotel by the front though presents the guest with a choice of left to Cala Millor or right to the harbour. Much has been written here about Cala Bona’s lack of Spanish charm. However it does have a charm of a kind and the buildings around the harbour, to my eye, have a Central American feel about them. With a little imagination one can fancy oneself in Panama (although probably without the white linen suit). The walk to Cala Millor takes one past a plethora of pleasant enough cafes and restaurants. There appears to be a lap dancing club called Lollipops if one ventures far enough. The promenade in either direction can be converted to a bicycle ride for a few Euros at a shop opposite the hotel where all manner of person powered vehicles are available – and great fun it was too when we hired a pedalled buggy reminiscent of those seen in the 1960s series – the Prisoner.

The hotel neighbours two other hotels belonging to the same company. The Levante and the Levante Park. All of the facilities of those hotels are available to Gran Sol guests. In the evening this includes the Butlinesque cabaret which, provided the correct mind-set is adopted can be great fun. The show starts at 9 pm and finishes at 10 plus encores (and there are not usually many of those!).

All in all the experience was a charming one and we would be very happy to return.

Room Tip: It is worth paying for a sea view.
  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Geoff_the_Skier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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