We have recently arrived home from a lovely family holiday in sunny Salou, Spain. We stayed in the Dorada Palace hotel in Salou and I thought I would do a blog post on my thoughts on the hotel. I haven’t been asked to write this review and we paid for the holiday ourselves but I always like to read other people opinions on places before we book anywhere and I find it helpful.
We booked for a weeks stay the first week of August so the summer holidays were in the full swing with England, Ireland, and Scotland all on their school summer holidays. We booked a one bedroom apartment. For us having the extra space is important. Being a family of 4 with a big age gap between Lauren and Caiden we wanted to book something with a bit more space and the separate bedroom and living area.
We flew from Stansted Airport to Reus which is just South of Barcelona. We chose to fly into Reus for a shorter transfer time to our hotel. We booked a private taxi for our transfer and luckily it only took about 20 mins from the airport to the Dorada Palace – so it’s very easy and convenient to get to.
The hotel was situated in a great position for walking to the local beach and shops/supermarkets and it was only a 20-minute walk to the three Portadventura parks.
On arrival first, impressions were good. The hotel looked really modern and in good decor, lots of comfy sofas in the reception area, with marble flooring. We had an early flight so we arrived at the hotel around 11.30am but our apartment wasn’t ready until almost 1pm. We were shown somewhere where our luggage could be stored and locked away to save us having to keep it with us until the room was ready.
Once we were able to check in we had to pay the hotel tax which worked out at only €13 for the week. I don’t think children under 12 are included in the fee. We were given all the information we needed about the restaurant and pool times and we were given our keycard for our room. We were only given one between us which was fine.
We were on the first floor in room 116. The apartments are spacious and well equipped. Our one bedroomed apartment could sleep up to 5 people.
Inside the little entrance hall, we had a sofa which could have been made into a bed and the bathroom door to the right, straight ahead was the living/dining and kitchen area and off there was the separate bedroom. The kitchen had a sink, microwave, electric hob and a fridge. The cupboards had the basics (glasses, cups, plates, bowels, cutlery and a few pots and pans) We didn’t use any of it really apart from the glass and cups for my all important cuppa in the morning!!! They don’t provide a kettle which did surprise me, but it didn’t matter to us because I had bought a travel kettle with us just in case. We had ample amount of towels that could be changed daily along with a daily room clean. They would top us up with things like toilet rolls and the towels. The beds would also be made and a general clean around and the floor swept and mopped.
The bathroom had a shaving plug and a hairdryer which was really handy. Saves taking up extra space in your suitcase.
You’ve got to love the questions from the child asking ‘why we’ve got an extra toilet’ lots of giggles when I told him it wasn’t a toilet, it was for washing your bum haha!
We found giving up the main bedroom for Lauren and Caiden suited us better. We had the sofa bed which made up into a double bed in the lounge. We just found it better being able to put Caiden to bed when he was ready and it gave us the use of the living area and TV at night.
We had a really decent sized balcony with patio doors leading from the living room and the bedroom. We had a table and two chairs (I would have liked to have seen maybe a few extra chairs considering we had an apartment that could sleep up to 5 people) and a large drying rack – very handy to dry wet swim clothes and towels overnight because you weren’t allowed to hang towels over the balcony.
The hotel has 3 swimming pools, one of which is for over 18’s only. The two main pools open at 9am and close at 20.00 every day. There are plenty of sunbeds and quite a few umbrellas and small tables but because our holiday was in August and presumably one of their really busy seasons they got taken very quickly first thing and the chances of getting a sunbed during the day was pretty slim. We were pretty surprised to see a queue form in reception by the doors leading to the pool a good hour before they opened for people to reserve them for the day.
The main pool was a good size but at times it could get quite busy, especially in the shallow end and there were no inflatables allowed in the pool. A few smaller children had the small rubber rings on them but the bigger lilos and rings weren’t allowed. The second smaller pool was a lot quieter and we found it easier to get sunbeds around that one and they did allow floats in that pool.
One morning during the week the animation team hosted a pool aqua dance and on another, they had an inflatable slide going into the pool with a bigger inflatable down the deeper end for a few hours.
The hotel has a laundrette on the lower ground floor. I have to say this was so helpful, I actually used it twice in the week we were there. The laundrette was equipped with four washing machines, a tumble dryer and an ironing board and iron. There was also a luggage room next door which was locked at all times should you need to leave your luggage on arrival or departure days.
There were plenty of bars including a poolside bar for additional snacks outside the main restaurant hours.
Restaurant & Food:
The main restaurant opening times are:
Breakfast – 8.00 – 10.30
Lunch – 13.00 – 15.00
Dinner – 19.00 – 22.00
I can honestly say the food was exceptional all week. There was so much choice every meal time. Even with a 5-year-old, who at that age can prove to be fussy had no issues with finding something he liked every day.
At breakfast you could choose from fresh fruit, cereals, porridge, yogurts, pancakes, cold meats, croissants, doughnuts, bacon, eggs (scrambled or fried), beans, sausages, black pudding, potato cakes, tomatoes, omelettes made up at your request with a choice of fillings … they also supplied water, fruit juices and hot drinks with breakfast.
Lunch was unbelievable. it was like it was dinner. On the first day, we thought they just served the main meal at lunch and the evening meal would be smaller and more snack based. For lunch, you could choose salads, fresh fruit, cheeses, cold meats, bread rolls, and an absolute array of hot food. All types of meats (beef, chicken, pork) fish, vegetables, potatoes, pasta, pizza ….
Dinner – well we were wrong about it being a more snacky meal of the day – it was the exact same as lunch except it was all different, different meats, different potatoes, vegetables, salads etc.
We ate so much that week, it was just SO good and so much choice and being a buffet style restaurant we were able to have a selection of foods and try new things. It was honestly five class – the staff were very attentive and worked so hard. Fresh food was constantly being bought out and topped up, even if the dining session was due to finish they still bought out fresh supplies which surprised me. One night we arrived at dinner quite late and very close to when the restaurant was closing and I assumed we would have to have what food was left. To my surprised though we had as much choice as we would have, had we arrived at the beginning of the evening
I didn’t take too many photos of the food because it was always quite busy and I just ended up getting in the way.
We really didn’t eat in between meals due to being so full from the last meal. Some nights I was still full going down to dinner from lunchtime Haha. Now that’s a sign of good food.
Dorada Palace has an adults-only spa, pool, and gym. Accessed via a key you get from reception this little area is on the rooftop on the 6th floor (don’t worry they have lifts!)
Obviously, we didn’t spend any time here because we have Lauren & Caiden but we did pop up one afternoon to take a look and to take some photos in case anyone wanted to take a look.
Dorada Palace is a great hotel for families. They have their own Animation team entertaining children throughout the day and night. There was a range of activities taking place on the poolside stage during the morning and on certain days they had pool activities such a water volleyball, and the inflatable slide I mentioned above. The children’s entertainment was on every evening from 21.00 – 21.30.
The hotel has a children’s pool, a mini playground, children’s buffet cart in the restaurant as well as highchairs, a games room featuring air hockey, arcade games, and some football tables.
The hotel also has a children’s mini club too for children aged 4 – 9. They can participate in a range of activities if you wanted a few hours to yourself to take advantage of the adults only spa area. I can’t comment on the club however because it’s something we didn’t make use of.
We had such a lovely week and we were super lucky with the weather. Every day we experienced lots of sun and temperatures reaching 37 degrees. Thankfully the rooms have air conditioning so it wasn’t too hot for sleeping at night.
Breakfast was served from – 8am – 10.30, Lunch – 13.00 – 15.00 and dinner 19,00 – 22.00. We were given a restaurant card for us to present to the restaurant staff as we entered the restaurant for each meal time. We were then given a key card for our room (only the one) and directed to where we were situated.