The last couple of weeks I have been posting all about the amazing holiday we had at the Viva Zafiro Alcudia Hotel and Spa in Majorca with Sovereign. You can see the posts here and here, but it truly was such a great hotel and experience that I wanted to do a specific review. I know that when I am booking a family holiday I really look to the experiences of other similar families to ourselves, so I hope this will help anyone thinking of booking a holiday there.
Hotel main pool.
The Sovereign Experience/Flight
When you book with Sovereign you get a number of different experiences that mean luxury comes as standard. They have a few different collections, all offering high end hotels and first class luxury, but we were obviously staying in a hotel that was in their family collection- a select portfolio of properties that have been chosen for their family friendliness. First up we got a call and an email from our dedicated concierge a few days before we travelled, just saying they were here to help if we needed them at any time throughout their stay. They also emailed us again the day before we were about to leave letting us know our check out time and what time our transfer was due to pick us up. We thought this was a great touch.
With Sovereign you get those little extras that make your holiday more memorable. You get access to private lounge facilities at certain airports. Unfortunately we were flying from Stansted and there isn’t lounge access there, but I have used Sovereign before at Gatwick and it is lovely being able to enjoy complimentary drinks and food before you fly.
The big thing that we enjoyed was the private transfer service. So many times over the years we have been on a non air-conditioned bus waiting for so many different people to get off at different hotel stops before getting to our own. With children to consider now, we found that the private transfer service was an utter luxury. They picked us up in a lovely air conditioned taxi (complete with child seats!) and whisked us away to the hotel.
As this was our first time away with three children I was nervous about the flight, even as a seasoned traveller. We picked Majorca mainly for the flight time- it took us 1 hour 50 minutes from the UK which is just amazing really (we flew with Easyjet) and I will definitely think about going back there again for that very reason.
The Hotel- First Impressions
As we pulled up the long private driveway to the Viva Zafiro Alcudia Hotel & Spa, waiting while the big iron gates opened to let us through, both my husband and I took in the quite frankly huge modern complex and thought wow. The hotel definitely has the wow factor as you enter, it makes all the other hotels and buildings nearby look positively shabby and run down- and the thing is they aren’t, it’s just that the hotel is huge and over powering with it’s modern exterior.
We entered the reception area and again we were really impressed. From the porter opening the door and helping us out the taxi with our bags, to the chilled glass of champagne and fruit juice for the girls given to us within seconds of arriving, we only hoped the rest of the hotel would be up to the standard of check in.
It’s hard to explain about the hotel but it is made up of large blocks. From the website it looks huge but once you are there you realise it isn’t actually that big at all really. All the blocks over look the pools. There are also restaurants that are almost built up on top of each other, again hard to explain. There are a lot of stairs but there are also ramps so most places are accessible for buggies and wheelchairs, although sometimes you have to take the long way round.
Our Room- Zafiro Swim Up Suite
A friendly porter took our bags and escorted us to our room- a Zafiro Swim Up Suite on the ground floor in Block 3 of the complex. Again we were blown away when we first entered the room. The hotel has many different room types, ranging from junior suites with balcony up to the owners suites with jacuzzi, but all rooms have something in common- they are fantastically well equipped and modern. The hotel only opened a year ago so as a result all the rooms are modern, clean and with fantastic facilities. One huge important factor to us on holiday is that we either have a separate bedroom or area for the girls to sleep so when we put them to bed we can still relax and have an evening together. Our room had a huge king size bed and you could pull across the sliding doors so you could separate it from the living area (where the girls were sleeping on pull out beds). There was also a kitchenette (with nespresso machine which Mr E was most pleased about) and a modern bathroom with double sinks, a huge sunken bath and a large separate shower. We were super impressed that the shower actually was a powerful rainfall shower and that it was constantly hot and warm.
The main selling point of our room however was the terrace. The terrace area outside was huge, with a big round day bed and you walked out a gate and were straight into one of the swimming pools. The hotel has six long rectangular swim up pools that surround the edge of the property and this was a fantastic feature as it meant that the girls could be in and out our pool while we chilled on the terrace with our baby boy. If you can afford to pay a little extra for one of these rooms I definitely recommend it as it made our holiday for us.
The hotel facilities were truly what made it for us. The pools were fantastic, as I mentioned this is a newly opened hotel and it really showed. The design is slightly crazy, the property is huge (but never felt too busy) and everything is entered around the pools. There are five restaurants and a coffee bar, (more about food later) ten pools (I think!), a mini golf course, a tennis court and a large kids playground. There is also a kids club for children ages 4 upwards which we didn’t use unfortunately as we didn’t want to make our 3 year old LL sad that her sister was going without her.
The first thing I have to mention are the pools as these were definitely a highlight of the holiday. There was a large childrens pirate ship pool with slides galore (perfect for little tots as the water is only up to their knees), a main pool with a large bouncing ball trampoline (best thing EVER!), an adults only pool with a separate adult sunbathing area, the six swim up pools and an indoor pool as well. There is also a pool bar which does ice creams, yummy cocktails and milkshakes. The pools weren’t heated but certainly didn’t feel too cold.
There was an abundance of sun beds and we loved the big bed ones that were sunken into the pool. There was a little bit of the age old ‘reserving your sunbeds at a ridiculous time’ shenanigans going on which was slightly annoying, but a note came through our door at one point during the stay saying this shouldn’t happen and it did deter people a little after that.
The children’s playground was a fantastic feature. It had a bouncy castle, trampoline, table tennis table, plus a large climbing frame with swings, slides etc too. We loved going here after dinner. We heard a few families saying about how good it was that it was next door to the main buffet restaurant as it meant that the adults could enjoy their meal while their children played- Mads and LL were a bit too small to be left on their own but I can see why that was a bit of a bonus.
Loving the trampoline!
Other facilities included a spa (we didn’t try this out!), a stage with entertainment and a large bar area. The entertainment every night was very kid friendly, they put out little chairs at the front for the children to sit on, and it was cheesy but fun- things like tribute acts etc. There were also activities going on each evening like face painting, glitter tattoos or card games- the girls loved it. It can be quite noisy, but almost everything finishes at ten, so it isn’t like there is entertainment and noise until the early hours, again perfect when you have young children.
Food and Drink
The hotel has five restaurants- the main buffet restaurant (where you eat breakfast), an Italian restaurant, a Mediterranean restaurant, a Japanese and sushi restaurant and the pool bar which becomes a meat and tapas restaurant at night. There is also a coffee shop in the main reception area and a large bar area, as well as the pool bar and a swim up pool bar too.
The hotel offers different board options- we were on an all inclusive basis and I can DEFINITELY recommend it. Rather than being the usual stigma of all inclusive in a holiday resort, the hotel has one buffet restaurant and four waiter service restaurants, each with a very different theme.
Breakfast was served in the main buffet restaurant and was one of the best hotel breakfasts I have had. There was so much choice- a large cooked selection, made to order omelettes, different pastries, different yoghurts, a smoothie bar, about 5 options of different honey, fruit infused water and lots of different cereals. Myself and the girls were partial to the pancakes and the waffles, which were so good and a naughty holiday treat.
If you were on an all inclusive basis, you could eat lunch in the ‘Veranda’ pool bar which served snacks (we didn’t eat here at lunch time), and the main buffet restaurant. We really enjoyed the buffet at lunch time- there was a huge selection of different food and I liked the excuse of having a few different puddings!
Dinner time again you could choose to eat at the buffet restaurant, which served a similar thing to lunch, or in one of the themed restaurants. We liked to eat the buffet at lunch and then eat in the themed restaurants at dinner. There was an Italian restaurant which served pizza, pasta etc, a Japanese and Sushi bar and a Mediterranean restaurant, as well as the pool bar turning into a meat and tapas bar too. All restaurants served quite honestly delicious food, but I loved the tapas and Italian restaurant and Mr E loved the Japanese and the Italian. Neither of us were as keen on the Mediterranean one, but that wasn’t because the food wasn’t nice, more just that there wasn’t as much on the menu that we liked. The restaurants were all styled differently even though they were next to each other and we really liked that aspect.
Main pool bar at night which turns into a meat and tapas restaurant.
Mediterranean restaurant. Food at the Japanese restaurant. Food at the Italian restaurant.
For the children, there was always a ‘kids menu’, so they could eat from the main menus and have smaller portions of what you had, or there was a dedicated menu at the back for them- e.g even in the sushi restaurant there was a selection of mini burgers, pasta etc for them. They really did cater for children.
Drinks wise, there was an extensive menu of drinks and even on all inclusive there were premium level drinks. There were some delicious cocktails, including milkshakes and non alcoholic cocktails for the children too.
You book the waiter service restaurants at the coffee shop each morning which is a little unclear when you first arrive. It is definitely worth booking in advance as they do get booked up for certain times. The coffee shop doesn’t open till 10am and there is often a queue, but you can grab a coffee while you are there too. Everything is included if you are on an all inclusive basis, bar the mini bar in your hotel room which I thought was a little strange. Overall we were incredibly impressed with the food, we didn’t have a bad meal the whole time we were there.
The staff at the Viva Zafiro are incredibly friendly and efficient. People would always say hello as they passed you and I noted on a few different occasions that the groundsmen would stop mowing/leaf blowing/digging with noisy machines if I passed with the baby in case they woke him up which I thought was a nice touch. The waiters and waitresses in all the restaurants deserve the biggest shout outs though- as with any holiday we got to know certain ones over the week and they were always so friendly and chatty, especially with the girls. They would talk to them, give them high fives and hold their hands as they walked us to our table, and it really made the girls feel special.
Location and Grounds
First up I wanted to touch upon the grounds. We have stayed in many hotels over the years, but we truly were impressed by the Viva Zafiro’s grounds. The place was absolutely immaculate and spotless, with so much attention to detail especially considering the newness of the hotel. There were cacti, succulents and flowers everywhere, and there were always gardeners around tending to the grounds. It was such a beautiful place.
In terms of location, the hotel was in an great location in Port D’Alcudia. It is about a five minute walk from a quiet beach, with shallow water and white sand that was perfect for paddling. There are loads of shops and restaurants nearby. It is a also a few minutes walk from the port where you can see all the swanky boats. I must admit that we didn’t explore Alcudia itself, it is a bit of a typical cheesy resort, with lots of ‘British style’ restaurants and pubs and tacky souvenir shops. However don’t let that put you off (or you might love the kind of thing!) as firstly the hotel is far enough away not to be in the centre of all that, and secondly there are some lovely parts too.
We took a walk to Alcudia Old Town which is about twenty minutes walk from the hotel (or a five minute taxi ride) and it was stunning (you can see more in this post), a beautiful old town made up of picturesque streets with lots of little quaint bars and restaurants. The whole stretch of beach is stunning, but if you head to Playa de Muero you will find that the water is crystal clear and it is only about five minutes in a taxi.
The hotel is forty minutes from Palma airport and really easy to get to. There really is something for everyone in terms of location.
We had the most fantastic holiday at the Viva Zafiro Alcudia Hotel & Spa. We were so incredibly impressed with the holiday from start to finish, from the initial extras from Sovereign, to the hotel itself. It was so family friendly, with so much to do for children and I think that is what made it for us. We hardly left the resort itself which is a testament to how much there was to do, and if we did it was only to go to the beautiful sandy beach near by.
I think going on holiday with children can be really daunting. You want to make sure everything is perfect, that everything caters to your needs, and that all the boxes have been ticked. The Viva Zafiro certainly did that in our case. It was one of those holidays where from the moment we landed in Majorca, it felt like the stress had been taken away for us. It was lovely not having to cook, or think about where to eat. I’ve never been a huge fan of all inclusive as often you do get bored eating in the same place each time, but actually I don’t think you could get bored at the Viva Zafiro as there is just a huge option for food- and it was all delicious.
I have been racking my brains trying to think of even something slightly negative to say about the hotel, as otherwise this doesn’t really sound like a balanced review at all. But the truth is, there isn’t a huge amount that is wrong with the hotel. If I really had to think of something negative, then maybe the size of the property may put some people off, it literally is huge so perhaps doesn’t have that intimate feeling that some people might like. I must admit that I do normally like an intimate hotel, but that said, I didn’t find it off-putting at all, and there was always space in the restaurants or around the pool. But that is worth bearing in mind if you do like a more intimate, smaller establishment.
Since staying at the hotel, one of my friends has since mentioned to me that her friends went the year it first opened, went this year, and are already booked to go again next year, with my friend and her family joining them. I can certainly see why you would book again and again. Once you’ve been to such a special place, it is quite hard to imagine finding anywhere quite so family friendly yet still a little bit luxurious again. We also loved Majorca, with such a quick flight time, such beautiful sandy beaches that rivalled some I have been to in the Caribbean, it was the perfect option for three young children, and I just know we will go back and explore more of the island one day.
If you are looking for a hotel that will give you the ultimate fun for a family holiday, I can promise you you won’t go far wrong with the Viva Zafiro. It really did tick all the boxes and we loved every single moment of our time there.
Below is the video I made if you want to see more of the hotel…
Sovereign (01293 765 003, www.sovereign.com), the luxury holiday specialist has a week at the five star Viva Zafiro Alcudia & Spa Hotel, part of its family collection of hotels, from £3899 for a family of four. The price includes seven nights all-inclusive accommodation in a Junior Suite, return scheduled flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet departing 17 October 2016, private transfers, lounge access at Gatwick Airport, free spa entrance for each of the adults and a saving of £223 for a family of four. Alternatively a bed and breakfast option is also available for the same dates from £2695 for a family of four.
NB: We were invited to work with Sovereign and stay at the Viva Zafiro Alcudia Hotel & Spa. All words, content, photos and opinions are entirely my own.