This review constitutes a reflection of our stay at the Azul in late June. Hopefully it can be of assistance to people deciding whether to stay here. It is very critical, but honest. We enjoyed our holiday in Menorca, but did not feel the hotel met the expectations from reading reviews and advertising literature.
On arrival at the Playa Azul we headed to the quiet reception/lobby area to check-in. A few steps or alternatively a disabled friendly ramp will take you here from the road where you are dropped off just outside the hotel. We had emailed the hotel a few days before (prior to the weekend changeover) asking if possible, for a room a far away from the bar area whilst still providing a sea view (which we had paid a supplement for). So our first disappointment was being allocated Room 001. Room 001 is a corner plot on the ground floor right above the bar… The hotel appeared somewhat busy and so we did not contest their allocation, but we were saddened by the hotels inability to reply to an email - either to acknowledge that they were too busy that week to meet our request or just that they did not provide room requests (despite knowing that they do, from reading previous reviews).
Room 001 has a massive balcony (about twice the size of the majority), and provided a sea view (albeit, not nearly as good as those rooms directly above us in 201, 301, 401… etc) as well as a fantastic view of the poolside. We were under the impression that the main hotel rooms (exclusive of the admittedly larger Bungalows) were all the same size. However, we managed a glimpse of a couple of other rooms on our floor and saw that they were absolutely tiny! One of these also had no balcony at all. I was not surprised to see that during a retrospective perusal of Tripadvisor reviews that those guests who has been allocated this particular room had been vocal about it. Based on the geometry of the hotel and our particular room, it appears that the safest option for a large sea-view room would be to select (if your are more successful than us) one of the rooms numbered 001-004, 101-104, 201-204, 301-304 and 401-404. Hopefully this can be of some help.
We’ll be honest in saying that we’re unsure of what exactly to expect from a 3 star hotel in Menorca, but the room is basic and pretty much everything about it feels like it could have been improved substantially with a little more money invested (given its recent refurbishment). The beds are hard and uncomfy and the covers are like curtains. The pillows provided are, as one reviewer said, more resembling a door draught excluder - thin and narrow, and since only one each is provided, a trip to reception to get another was necessary, since an additional set wasn’t available in the room. There is a large wardrobe but few drawers in the desk. The chairs on the balcony, which are also found around the poolside and in the bar, are bafflingly uncomfy. Without sounding too rude, we’ve sat on comfier boxes. Regardless of the hotel star rating, these chairs are unacceptable. As other reviewers have mentioned, it was nice to have access to a selection of British TV channels on the small flat-screen TV opposite the beds. The bathroom was clean and modern. Ours did not have a bath, but it appears that some rooms do. This was not a problem, but other guests might find this useful in requesting a room. Having air conditioning was great, although we’re not convinced the temperature selection worked properly.
Contrary to previous reviews, we found that the room was cleaned poorly with dust and sand just swept into the corners, or sometimes not touched at all. The floor was so dirty with sand and dust on one day, we have been led to believe that maybe the rooms aren’t cleaned until departure. It appears that the only job the cleaning staff do is to make the beds and change the towels (if requested). The hotel offers only to change your bed sheets once during your week stay, but make the effort to guilt trip you into declining this service to save water. A tad ironic on an island surrounded by water (a little cheeky of me, I am aware of the difference!).
While it is presumably allowed, we found that people smoking was a real problem. Cigar and cigarette smoke often wafted up from the bar onto our balcony and into the room, as well as from other balconies nearby. Since one of us suffers from Asthma, there was no getting away from this, and we were forced to sit in the room with the doors shut on several occasions.
British guests might be annoyed to find there is no kettle in the room as standard, and requires a payment of 1.50 euros per day to rent one from reception. Our final comment on this topic is only loosely related. Wi-Fi. For some reason, in this age, Playa Azul finds it acceptable to not only charge for Wi-Fi access, but restrict each payment (15 euros for a week) to one device. We weren’t told this during payment, and so when we connected a phone quickly to check emails, we were forever doomed to use the internet only on the phone. Thankfully the reception staff acknowledged their mistake with the misinformation and provided us with another account for free. So, beware.
The food at Playa Azul was a crushing disappointment. We want to make it clear now that in no way are we food snobs. We like good food, but often eat poorly cooked food at home and a plethora of cheap takeaways. The closest description to Playa Azul’s offering is a school dinner. That may be because of the “restaurant” though, which closely matched a works canteen as others have phrased it. Aside from breakfast which is generally good (although we heard complaints from other guests about the quality of the meat), with a choice of cheese, meats, cereal, breads etc, the lunch and dinner choices are poor. The buffet may be all you can eat, but the food is served in small trays which we are fairly sure encourage you to put less on your plate. When the food runs out, it took a while for it to be replaced, if at all. What dishes were offered were often cold, and the cheapest part of whatever it was. We should mention though that the meat always appeared to be fully cooked, although we could not say the same for the pasta. We noticed, like other reviewers, that food is re-used from the day before, leading to shriveled peas/salad and day old shellfish. Despite not being fussy eaters, we found the majority of meals very poor quality and were not surprised to see that many other guests on Tripadvisor had chosen to eat out.
We did however really enjoy the ability to get your own drinks from the self-service machines; it meant that you weren’t disturbed during your meal by waiters, and could quickly replenish your glass at any time.
Playa Azul’s idea of fully inclusive is ridiculous. Drinks from the bar are only available from 11am, and they are also poor quality. The soft drinks are clearly watered down and the alcoholic offerings are cheap and unbranded (not unusual, to be fair). Most all inclusive hotels offer a large selection of snacks at all times. Why then here do you get fries/burger/hotdog/sandwich between the hours of 11am to 12.30pm only? A poor selection of cheap industrial packaged “cakes” are offered between 4pm and 6pm. To call yourself all inclusive, but then to charge 1.50 euros for a packet of crisps is ludicrous. It doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult for the hotel to offer snacks at the bar at all times (like other all inclusives), and despite the poor quality of them, it would dramatically improve our rating of the all inclusive aspect.
We found that the breakfast times were inconvenient (8am to 10am). If you went down at 9.30am (until final sitting at 10), this translates to an English start of 8.30am, a bit too early for those wanting a relaxing lie in on their holidays. Other hotels we’ve stayed in have been happy to allow guests to eat until 11am. This wouldn’t be such an issue if food was available if you missed breakfast, however, snacks are only available from 11am, which means there is an hour gap if this happens.
Hilariously, the hotel provides a leaflet on arrival titled ‘All this with our “All Inclusive” Formula!’ which actually lists things you have to pay extra for. These include, standard payment for late checkout, penalty fees for late checkout, pool towel rent fees, wifi fees, safety box rental fees, tea making facility fees etc. There’s actually nothing on the list that you get inclusive at all. Are we to assume that these paid services are not available to half board guests? Or even more expensive? What is clear is that Playa Azul does not really understand the concept of ‘All Inclusive’ at all.
The pool is located such that you can view the pretty Cala en Porter cove below. It is a cosy design and situated right next to both the restaurant and bar. There are a few issues however. Firstly, we found it is too small for the number of guests. Half of it is very shallow so that only a very limited area is appropriate for swimming. We would say that it is more appropriate for a cool off. There are enough sun beds for everyone as has been mentioned, but they are crammed together and not everyone will get one in the sun. For those that are in the sun, not all have a parasol, so finding shade at the peak of the day could be difficult. Why isn’t there a parasol for each bed? Menorca was considerably windier than we had expected, and after being funneled up the cove, the first thing it met was the hotel poolside which is exposed. We found it was often cool there.
Cala en Porter is nice village. It’s quiet, with a few bars, restaurants, take-aways and shops. The people seem friendly and happy too. The beach is small and a little cramped during the day, but sandy and the sea is sheltered by the surrounding cliffs, making it a fantastic and safe place for kids. We noticed that the majority of people on the beach were young families so if you want to find a quiet spot, good luck. Every review seems to mention the steps, which could be difficult for the infirm, but they were wide and not too steep to be a problem for most. You can also get down via the road (to the car park). Menorca has a footpath around the entire island, so you can do two parts of this from Cala’n Porter. One goes towards Son Bou which will take you through the Menorcan countryside, whilst the other heads via Cales Coves - a beautiful sheltered and quiet spot with even warmer water than the beach.
Playa Azul really excels at customer interaction. With the exception of the cleaning staff, every face was friendly and helpful. The waiters and bar staff in particular were brilliant.
During our stay the room card key deactivated itself, probably due to the heat. The only option was to ask at reception for a new card. Extremely worrying was that a lady on reception whom we had not seen before provided us with one without checking our identity. This could mean anyone could walk off the street with a fake card, give a room number, and steal all the possessions in there. We would like to think that after re-issuing a key, the reception staff checked our faces against the archived passport image they had of us, although it could be too late by then.
Despite the negative theme, we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. To the hotel management, to substantially improve the hotel:-
* Reply to customer emails.
* Offer Wi-Fi free, or at the very least, remove the ridiculous one device limit.
* Review your security procedures on key re-issue.
* Improve quality of food.
* Learn what it is to offer decent all-inclusive.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- During the winter of 2009, the Hotel Playa Azul has undergone a full refurbishment including a brand new, fabulous, outdoor swimming pool, overlooking stunning views of the bay and stylish, contemporary guest rooms. Popular with both families and couples this is a great choice for a relaxing holiday. In a privileged position on a hilltop, overlooking the rocky headland and sea is the Hotel Playa Azul. Just 200 metres away from the sandy beach, which is down a set of steep steps, the panoramic views are amazing. Located near to the commercial centre, the local shops, bars, restaurants and nightlife of Cala’n Porter are all within walking distance of the hotel, and downtown Mahon is just a short bus ride away. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Jet2Holidays , Ebookers, Hotels.com, Booking.com, TravelUp, Travel Republic (UK), LoveHolidays, Priceline, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd, Cancelon and HotelQuickly so you can book your Hotel Playa Azul reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Ibb Playa Azul Hotel
- Hotel Playa Azul Cala'n Porter, Minorca