As a couple in our 30's we were looking for a quiet, chilled-out week in the sun in late June 2010, and a quality hotel. Menorca had been recommended to us by a few people so we checked-out the TripAdvisor reviews and selected the Audax in Cala Galdana because of its high rating, and because it is adults only. We opted for half board. The Audax hotel has recently been refurbished, and I think the Rough Guide we bought must be a little out of date, as it seems to rate the Sol Gavilanes as by far the best hotel in the resort, and the Audax barely gets a mention.
The Audax is in a pretty good position, only a very short (easy) walk to the beach over a small bridge, but off the main 'strip' of the beach hence it feels quieter, which was great. The hotel has a quality feel as soon as you enter, presumably thanks to the recent refurb. We had a standard room, 521, which was of a reasonable size, also having a good sized balcony with partial sea view, and was well appointed - modern decor, vanity unit with seat, two separate tub chairs, full height mirror with its own light. The room had a safe (free), air conditioning (also free, not too noisy, and set-up perfectly) and a decent number of power sockets (a must these days as we travel with laptop, hair straighteners, phones etc!) Bathroom was excellent - including bath, shower and bidet, and a reasonably powerful hairdryer (albeit one of those you have to keep your finger on.) The only initial downside of the room was its proximity to the Olivia restaurant (next door), which meant that we were awoken most mornings around 7.30 by the scraping of chairs across the marble floor; although this was annoying at first, we had grown used to it by the end of the week, and it actually started to become a welcome wake-up call. There is free wireless internet in the hotel, which was a big advantage (for us at least), advertised as being in reception, but was strong enough to reach our room (and most of the hotel, we were told). The only downside is the island's telecomms infrastructure - although the hotel's wireless router was always available, the connection out to the internet itself would drop now and again, for a few seconds or minutes, which was annoying but not a massive problem.
We felt that the pool area was a little too small and cramped for the size of the hotel. A number of sunbeds were arranged in pairs with their own parasol, but many were arranged in fairly tight blocks where a parasol could not be opened or closed without affecting a number of other people around you. Availability also seemed to be a problem - we were eating breakfast around 9am most days, and looking out of the window we could see that the sunbeds in all the prime positions were usually all already 'reserved' with towels. A few other reviewers have said that there were plenty of sunbeds available - I guess they were getting up earlier than we were! As a result we spent most of our time on the (excellent) beach.
The main Blue Bar was excellent, with a good array of drinks and cocktails (and Lavazza coffee; a real bonus if you are a coffee lover), and seating both in and outside with a nice view of the small marina (where you can become mesmerised watching tourists getting in and out of canoes in an undignified fashion!) The evening entertainment in the bar varied from being entertaining for the right reasons, entertaining for the wrong reasons, and just plain weird (gentleman painting a picture while a young woman played piano springs to mind) but overall was a welcome addition – some of the acts were genuinely pretty good.
The food... We usually go to Greece each year, and normally go B&B or self-catering and eat out a lot, so half-board was unusual for us. There are two main restaurants in the hotel, you can eat in either, and they are kinda similar (although the temperature was a lot more comfortable in the Olivia on the fifth floor, as a few other reviewers have also noted). Breakfast was consistently excellent, with a good choice of fruit, cereals, cold meats and cheese, pastries, bacon/egg/sausage/beans etc.(although the bacon is the typical european syle of super-fatty pseudo-streaky). Equally easy to indulge in fry-up or stay healthy, as there was plenty of choice. Evening meal quality was more erratic, varying from average to very good, depending on the night (on the last night the chef was frying huge steaks in front of you, which were delicious with the sides of cabbage & potatoes, and other veg). It did get a bit 'samey' after a while, but then I guess that’s just the nature of buffets. Again there was a reasonable range, usually with at least one fish dish, plus meat and pasta, but vegetarians may find their options restricted a little. There was also a good choice of salad, breads, one or two specially-prepared starters, and lots of desserts. I have to say, the lemon tart which appeared a couple of nights was one of the best I've had anywhere! The 4th floor restaurant had a slightly classier feel, but we preferred the food in the Olivia on 5. One nice touch was that the staff would keep an unfinished bottle of wine for you in the fridge until the next time you ate. Both restaurant were primarily self-service, sit-anywhere, but waiter service was available in the Olivia – you simply booked a table instead, and a waiter would look after you (food choices were the same however!)
Staff at the hotel were superb, very helpful and spoke good English. Room was kept clean, and waiter service in the bar was excellent. Reception was suitably efficient. Prices weren’t too bad for a 4-star hotel (2,70 euro for 300ml bottle of Heineken, 2,10 for small glass of house wine) but there were some 2-for-1 happy hours (and cheaper prices) at nearby bars so bigger drinkers will want to seek these out.
Locally, there are quite a few places to eat – more of the ‘fast-food’ type, but the odd Tapas place (and even an Indian), and one excellent higher-end restaurant called Cala Mitjana, a short walk away. We ate here one night (our wedding anniversary) and were impressed. It’s comparatively expensive (we paid 26 euro each for a set menu of 5 courses), but the portions are huge and they serve an array of fresh fish (including lobster) and big steaks.
Local beach is superb, soft sand and well-maintained, with clean public toilets (attendant permanently on duty), medical centre, beach lifeguard, supermarket at Sol Gavilanes hotel which sells filled rolls for a lighter lunch, plus a couple of small cafes. There are a huge number of sunbeds, which were very expensive – 17 euros per day in high season for 2 beds and a parasol. However on our final day we were given an indication of the quality of the beach services – a young girl who had got into difficulties and had stopped breathing was pulled out of the sea, unconscious, in a pretty bad way. The medical staff were on the scene very quickly, and were extremely well-trained and well-equipped – they performed CPR, hooked-up an ECG and set-up a IV drip, all on the beach. Within an hour the girl was conscious and recovering well in the waiting ambulance (and the paramedics were being loudly applauded by half the beach). If the medical staff and equipment had not been so close to hand this could easily have ended tragically – if the 17 euros a day for sunbed hire helps maintain such high-quality support services for the beach, then we were happy to pay it.
In summary, we would recommend the Audax and if we returned to Cala Galdana we would stay here again. It suited our needs perfectly – quiet, no kids, high quality accommodation, excellent service – and its one or two minor shortcomings are forgivable.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Artiem Audax in Cala Galdana is located in front of the sea. The adults-only Hotel in Menorca has become a meeting place where you are allowed to relax. It is exclusive for adults, couples, friends or lovers. From there you can enjoy one of the most spectacular beaches of the south coast of the island of Menorca, Cala Galdana, and nearby pristine beaches of Macarella, Macarelleta or Mitjana. Surrounded by an Area of Special Interest (ANEI) and full of "fresh" people, the Audax Hotel Menorca is willing to make a stay an experience to remember. A terraced area, solarium, relaxation area and the best panoramic views of Cala Galdana. The pool at the adults-only Hotel Audax is located on the 6th floor and is a luxury to rest in one of the comfortable hammocks. In high season we organize parties around the pool spectacular ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Audax Spa And Wellness Hotel
- Audax Hotel Cala Galdana
- Hotel Audax
- Audax Minorca