It should have been our fourth time at Sensatori Ibiza this June, but, like most families with summer holidays this year, we’ve had it cancelled and refunded. As disappointing as it may be, we’ve been pro-active and rebooked it for next year! Hurray! Just the 342 days to go! Still, whilst day-dreaming of all-you-can-eat ice creams, cocktails and jumping in and out of swimming pools 700 times a day, I thought I’d use this quiet time to finally (sorry Amy) write a brief piece on our Sensatori Ibiza experiences and why you should consider this as an amazing summer get away for you and your families.
It’s fair to say this isn’t the cheapest holiday out there. Flights and accommodation this year would have cost £5,700. This was for four of us on an all-inclusive basis for 10 nights. We did book
a fancy room with a private pool and my boys are six and four.
GETTING TO THE HOTEL
* Pro tip* look into booking the flights and hotel separately.
We book our flights with TUI and book accommodation directly through the hotel website. Not only has this saved us a few hundred pounds most years compared to a package deal, but you get the added bonus of not paying for the accommodation balance until check in. The hotel only requires one night’s full payment as a deposit!
We pre-book our car parking, usually with holidayextras.com, I use this for work all the time and it’s generally the cheapest way to park your car! Get behind your sofa and pick up any loose change and buy Fast Track security passes, either at the airport or as part of your parking package. It’s totally worth the cost to get through security as fast as possible, especially with little ones, leaving
more time for snacks and wees!
We normally take two x 25kg suitcases and find this is more than enough for all four of us for ten nights. I normally take a backpack with ipads, headphones, snacks and wetwipes. Everyone needs wetwipes!
The flight is less than two hours, which is pretty bearable for most children and babies.
PLEASE do not feel bad about your child using an iPad or munching through some chocolate buttons on the plane.
This is their holiday too and if it gives mum and dad a small break on the plane to have a coffee and a Twix, then everyone is happy!
Ibiza airport is pretty big and it’s recently had loads of renovations. It’s very family-friendly with family-only queues to get you through passport control quickly. It’s never taken more than 20 minutes to get in a taxi from getting off the plane! Upon landing, taxis are plentiful right outside the airport and cost about 30 Euros and take 20 minutes to get to the hotel. It’s about an hour on the coach if you’re part of a package.
So, is the hotel good for children? Yes, it is 100% fantastic! My boys love it; they have never been bored. There are several room types to choose from, starting with a basic double room with two extra single beds, moving on to a sliding door family room with an adjoining partitioned area with two single beds (good for moving around the room once they’ve gone to bed) as well as higher-end rooms with facilities such as access to a section of private pool, split level roof terraces and private hot tubs.
We have tried both the standard double and the partitioned room and were about to try the private pool room this year. We highly recommend the partitioned room if they are available and within
budget, especially with younger children who still need full darkness and quiet to sleep well. Plus the children enjoy having their own little space with a TV and sliding door. Mum and dad also
enjoy having their own space ;-) However, the standard double rooms with extra beds are more than adequate.
All the rooms are spotlessly clean with comfortable beds and an excellent bathroom. Each day large bottles of water are left in your fridge. There is no minibar (room service is available) but the
fridge is ample for storing essentials like milk for babies. There’s also a hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. There’s plenty of European TV channels including the essential “CBeebies”! No escaping Mr. Tumble, I’m afraid.
The accommodation blocks are spread around the resort and all are spread over three levels; ground floor, first and second.
*Pro-tip* – request a ground floor room as there are no lifts and the stairs to
the higher-level bedrooms are pretty steep, especially if you’re carrying children and buggies, as the scar on my shin can attest to from five years ago. If you do want a higher-level room then families leave their buggies at the bottom of the stairs and are deemed to be safe. We’ve done this with no problems.
pictures courtesy of Sensatori Ibiza
The entire resort is situated on a large sloping hill down towards the ocean. Some pathways are rather steep and there is a big expectation that you’ll do a lot of hill walking. But more calories
burnt mean more ice cream, right? It's never been a problem for us and the boys have never moaned. A balance board for your pushchair is a great idea if you have more than one child.
The reception area and the main family pool are situated half way up/down the hill so if you want to minimise your walking, request a room closer to these areas. The main buffet restaurant is slightly
lower down the hill towards the beach, and the Retreat – a separate area exclusive to the hotel, but outside of the complex itself – is a five minute walk up another steep hill, although there is a minivan service that will take you there upon request, if the walking is really getting too much! There are a number of different pools available to you, the large main family pool, the Retreat pools and the adults-only pool (worth a visit if you have 30 mins to yourself at any point!). For families, the Retreat really is the jewel in the crown of this resort. The Retreat boasts a large freeform splash pool with slides, water shooters, floor fountains as well as two standard rectangular pools for serious swimming or used for one of the many aqua sports activities presented by the onsite sports team.
The Retreat also has its own lunch buffet and bar, evening fine dining, the all important help-yourself ice cream freezers, soft drinks and coffee machines, and hire-for-a-day Bali beds @ 20 euros.
Many sports activities also take place at the Retreat; there are tennis courts, football pitches, indoor gym, spa, as well as toddler playground and an older child playground with zip-wire!
Pro-tip – the Retreat is popular and does get very busy so we recommend getting there for when it opens at 9:15am and bagging a couple of sunloungers and a parasol to be your base for the day.
At the bottom of the resort hill is the local public beach, it’s a lovely little cove frequented mostly by locals and holidaymakers from the nearby small number of hotels. The beach has its own
independently owned restaurants and bars as well as a small shop open in the daytime. There is a toilet block with showers which is open only in the daytime. As the beach is not owned by the hotel
(due to Spanish law), if you want to hire sunbeds and parasols then there is a daily fee payable to an attendant – approx. 30 euros for 2 sunbeds and a parasol. Because of this hefty price-tag, we’ve only done this once or twice. However, most evenings after dinner, we take a walk down and see the gorgeous sunset over the sea – an almost perfect westerly view – the boys splash around in the shallow water and we enjoy a glass of something fizzy. You can almost feel
like you’re at the famous Ibiza sunset bars, especially as the funky sounds from the Cotton Club restaurant high up on the nearby clifftop are audible.
So let’s talk about food and drink! The main buffet restaurant is huge with a great selection to choose from, with a separate children’s buffet area complete with a more basic menu – cheese, ham, chips, beige things in batter, yoghurts and ice creams. They even have plastic plates, cups and cutlery for the kiddies. All buffet counters are open to all guests at all times though. The staff are superb with children and due to there being a separate adults-only seating area, you should never feel concerned if your little one is kicking off about not being allowed another ice cream!
When our eldest was a baby, we often asked the staff for some full fat milk to take back to our room, and the staff will happily warm up bottles if asked. There are several a la carte restaurants available to book via terminals located in reception, and although we have never felt the need to visit these, I’m aware that they get busy and can only be booked 48 hours in advance. For sundowners, head to the terrace bar situated above the main buffet restaurant where a DJ plays typical Balearic beats whilst you sip a cool glass of something fizzy and take in the gorgeous sea view. Dos copa de cava, por favor.
There’s many opportunities to grab a drink throughout the day; the main family pool has it’s own pool bar open during the day. Another bar is situated at the adults-only pool, there’s a separate late-night piano bar, and another one situated at beach level but within the resort. As the whole resort is all-inclusive, there’s never any awkward moments when ordering anything; everything is available at all times.
Following a weekly cycle there are a number of evening entertainment options available to families, some targeted at younger children opening earlier in the evening – and some suitable for older children from approx. 9.30pm – 11.00pm. These shows include singing, dancing, acrobatics, magic, etc. Our typical evening would involve a quick drink at the terrace overlooking the beach, followed by a leisurely dinner in the buffet restaurant. Once full up, we head down for a sunset walk and paddle on the beach, heading back up to the resort for the night-time show.
A small shop in the resort caters for all your essential needs; sun- cream, snacks, inflatables, nappies, wipes etc. Outside of the resort, a store close to the Retreat sells toys, clothes, nik-naks, souvenirs, and that massive inflatable flamingo you’ve always wanted. If you’re in need of more of a supermarket, there is a Spar shop approx. 10 mins walk past the Retreat. The resort boasts an onsite nursery which is pre-bookable in advance, a baby-sitting service if you can’t resist the lure of Café Mambo, and an onsite doctor.
It’s a really special place and is getting more popular every year. We can’t wait to go back next year and hope to see some of you there too!
final pic courtesy of Sensatori Ibiza
WRITTEN BY TIM CULLEN
Tim is a creative designer for the live events industry. He has two boys; Jack, 6 and Sam, 4 and a long-suffering wife, Amy, who helped with the big words.