Alan Fairfax returns to a favourite holiday hotel, accompanied by his granddaughter, a wheelchair user.
I think everyone has their favourite holiday destination, one that has a special place in their heart, mine is at Illetas in Mallorca. This visit was different, I was accompanied by my daughter and 18 year old severely disabled granddaughter Maddie, who has difficulty in walking so uses a wheelchair much of the time, suffers from Parkinson’s, Downs Syndrome, Arthritis and Cerebral Palsy, so how would we cope? Read on to find out.
The special assistance units at Gatwick and Palma airports were excellent and in no time, we were through the formalities and collecting our cases. Out into brilliant sunshine we board a taxi, ours even had a ramp for the wheel chair, very impressive.
30 minutes later we arrive outside the Bon Sol Hotel & Spa and memories come flooding back. Leaving the taxi with Maddie in her wheel chair I begin to appreciate how disabled friendly this hotel is. From the pavement a ramp to the auto opening door, lift to the reception area, a wonderful welcome back from the reception staff who offer to arrange an electric wheel chair if we need one: how thoughtful is that. Onto the terrace for a welcome drink whilst the booking in procedure is dealt with and the luggage is taken to our rooms. It’s now time to relax, I’m on holiday at last.
The Bon Sol Hotel and Spa as it is now, began life back in the 1950s originally as a guest house but over the years has transformed into what it is today, one of the most desirable hotels on the island but still owned and managed by the Xamena family. Originally, over 200 steps led from the hotel down to the beach but permission was obtained to blast through the rock allowing corridors and lifts to be installed affording guests easy access to the shore. This is an hotel with so many wonderful features it will take the visitor several days to explore them and then, on speaking with other guests, you realise you have missed some!!
Take the lift down 2 levels, walk along a marble corridor pass the small chapel, a marble altar supported on 4 matching pillars, the white cloth covered top adorned with Crucifix, Bible and twin candles over looked by a statue of the Madonna standing in prayer, two seats for those re-taking vows or having rings blessed. Move down to level 3 for the gym, 4 is home to the Nirvana Spa, be pampered and rejuvenated with treatments such as, Thalassotherapy, Balneotherapy, Algotherm, enjoy a Viochy Shower or maybe the Mediterranean Sea Jet therapy cabin. Take part in Yoga classes for complete relaxation. Level 5 is table tennis, 6 houses the squash court. Exit at level 7, go along the short marble corridor, through the door, step out into a sub-tropical paradise of palms, rubber plants, flowering shrubs, a swimming pool hewn from the rock constantly fed by a small water fall from the pool above. Relax on comfortable sun loungers with large umbrellas, take in the towering pines that stand stark against the azure blue sky, obtain a cooling drink from the well-stocked bar. For those preferring sea water, the hotel’s small private beach is but a few steps away where the golden sand and crystal clear waters await.
Our adjoining rooms are on the 3rd floor giving wonderful views across Palma Bay. There’s plenty of room for the wheel chair going through doors and the bathroom is easy access. That night dinner is taken in the main restaurant, about 4 steps are negotiated into the dining room ,where a violinist is serenading guests, be welcomed by the Maître D, often a member of the Xamena family and be shown to your table. Choose from two menus, a la carte or the ‘Gourmet’, select wine from an extensive list. With excellent food, waiter service and being amongst good company, it doesn’t get much better than this.
For that special occasion dine at the beach restaurant, select a table overlooking the sand, the sound of waves gently lapping on the shore as a guitarist serenades diners, the warm air scented by the pines: prefect for creating memories that last forever. Again, there is access to this restaurant without using the steps.
The next day breakfast is enjoyed in a separate restaurant, light, airy and overlooking one of the three swimming pools. The selection is vast: eggs, however you like them with a chef will cook them to your order, including omelettes, where select your own filling. Fresh fruit, cheese, cold meat, sausage, bacon, mushrooms – the list is endless. No steps are required to reach or enter this restaurant.
Breakfast over, it’s time to visit the main pool and again this can be reached via lifts without Maddie having to leave her wheel chair, plus there are wide steps leading into the pool as with all the pools. The sun is hot but all is well under a large umbrella on a comfy lounger and it’s 12 noon time for a drink.
And so, the week passed very quickly. At no time did we find any difficulty because of the wheelchair. I would say that anyone who is disabled and not fully wheelchair bound would enjoy the Bon Sol, with the top quality excellent service, good food and relaxation at a wonderful location with likeminded people.
Find out more about the Bon Sol Hotel