This review is not about Silver Travel Advisor but about my 3 night retirement party in Nov 2015.
But before comments on Benidorm I must say my knowledge of STA is only 10 days old, and I was made aware of their existence by an event they and Saga were organising for last Thursday (which was disappointingly cancelled by Saga at short notice, but the contact I have received from Alan Fairfax and Debbie Marshall over last week has been first class).
Those who know me would understand why I wanted to celebrate my retirement after 46 years in finance somewhere different. Not in the pub next to office ’cause that’s what many of my ex colleagues had done. I wanted only those who genuinely wanted to be there to have to make a small effort, but at same time I had to think of somewhere which could accommodate an unknown number who might attend all with different budgets.
It was going to be in November, so my immediate thought was long week end in complex in Murcia, where I have a 2 bed apartment where the temperature is very pleasant at that time of year. I could possibly ask a few mates to rent their apartments to accommodate others.
Then what do we do on 3 days in my complex and evening entertainment and choice of food for possibly 20 people.
The value of pound had just strengthened against euro so Spain was a definite but Not in my region of Murcia.
Flights from Uk to airport in Spain.
Other than Madrid, Alicante was a good choice, then venue became an easy decision It had to be Benidorm, (I had only visited it 11 years earlier for 2 hours.) but my memory was it has multiple choices for all eating drinking entertainment for 24 hours and accommodation would not be a problem either.
In the end 5 of us travelled on Thursday (arriving at 23.00) and 6 followed on the following day. minibus for each party from airport to various apartments or hotels in new town had been booked before we left UK.
None of us had experienced Benidorm before so first night was a quiet affair looking for venues for next 48 hours.
This was a quiet affair finishing at 03.00 am. After a very pleasant evening with a beers, light bite food and different musical entertainment in different bars all within walking distance from accommodation.
The days usually started at Noon approx. So plenty of time to do our own thing in mornings. Some talked about golf, Terra Mitica, etc but I decide an early siesta was required but I did make it to the all inclusive breakfast before I had my lazy morning.
The afternoons were spent relaxing in sunshine people watching and chatting to others who were there for hen, stag, parties or just on holiday.
Once sun went down we headed back to our accommodation for couple of hours sleep and to freshen up before meeting up around 21.00 in new town.
The evenings were of a similar format but they finished later due to us finding pub/discos open all night.
The Saturday night was a special evening when I wanted to have a sit down relaxed tapas supper all together.
I decided we must go to old town. So 3 taxis took us there and we fond the more popular tapas restaurants to be very busy with queues waiting for next table.
We found a restaurant which only had a few locals inside but was still plenty big enough for us all to sit at one table.
One of our party spoke fluent Spanish so being a local bar was not a problem.
Tapas was a new experience to many of our party and was a reminder to others who had not experienced it for many years.
We all chose a couple of tasters and I forced a few to try something different and outside their comfort zones.
Not expensive for what we ate and drank and the waiters and chefs all added to the occasion. A great evening with some really true friends which will live with me for ever.
I just believe it is really good to get some sun and relax outside in November or December before the long british cold and dank winter days.
And Benidorm for me was the ideal place. Yes I concur it has not always been like that and there are areas to be avoided. Only one regret of the weekend was I forgot to hire a mobility scooter.
I was only today thinking I will be in Murcia in mid November with a friend who could not make the event last year, so maybe I will arrange a 1 year anniversary of my retirement week end, and hire the scooter.