4 July 2008
Talayot Apts, Calla en Forcat, Minorca, Spain
A$28/£13 per night
40° 0'18.50"N 3°48'24.85"E

2 Bedrooms


Having found the Thomson last minute deals to be quite good, we decided to stick with them and booked into the Talayot Apartments, which are about 15 minutes walk from the Vista Blanes we had stayed at the previous week and about 5 minutes walk to the Calla En Forcat shopping/restaurant/bar area. Although the apartments cost twice as much as we had paid a week earlier, we figured it was because of 2 bedrooms instead of 1 and we had entered July or peak season in Europe. The truth is that Talayot is far superior to Vista Blanes in every way.

Talayot Apartments is a huge sprawling complex with one very large main and two smaller sites, one at the front and one at the back both over roads. There are 5 swimming pools in total and several scattered children's play areas but, as we have seen is the norm in Europe, very little shade, and none at all over the tiny tots pools. Europeans might not understand - almost all Australians are verging on manic about keeping out of the sun, and a children's pool or play area without shade is unthinkable. Primary school kids aren't even allowed outside at playtime if they forgot to bring their legionnaires hat. Doesn't happen often, most mothers won't let them out of the door without them. I get odd looks walking around with my umbrella up. People keep asking me if I know something they don't - the only answer I have for that one is that statistically one out of every two Australians get some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Enough said.

We were well and truly back in the heart of Thomson the Dog country - his caricature was painted on every building. I have a theory - Thomson's are brainwashing the next generation of holiday buyers; the little ones will remember nothing about this holiday except THAT song which we have come to hate. When they are grown up with children of their own and are looking at holiday companies, they will nostalgically remember singing Thomson the Dog at the top of their voices, and if they remember it, it goes without saying that it must have been a good holiday meaning that there will be no competition for other holiday companies. Cunning, eh? In the meantime, we were continually tortured by it and by his morning and evening appearances which send the usually hyperactive toddlers into totally wild, screaming little beasties. As you can imagine at such a complex, there was a very full list of activities for young children during the day and evening and entertainment for adults later in the night.

We had already realised that the same acts tour the entertainment outlets and resorts on the island on a rotating circuit - here we got our third go at the (excellent) Freddy Mercury tribute show, and our second bite at the woeful Pussycat Dolls/Britney Spears show. Peter spoke to the South African boys who did The Temptations/Motown show - they were here for the season then hoping their agent could get them onto a cruse for the winter. They were certainly good enough and entertaining enough to do it - good luck to them.

Talayot Apartments are a class above Vista Blanes in every way. Even if it weren't for the extra bedroom and the fact that we were in peak season, it would have been worth paying double price we paid at Vista Blanes.

We were in the main site, and the comfortably furnished and well laid out units would give at least an extra star (if apartments had a star rating). The unit we were in was newly refurbished, with the bedrooms having more wardrobe and storage space than you'd find in a bedroom in an average home. This mass storage space continued in the kitchen, which was fully equipped including a full size fridge with a large freezer and a 4 ring ceramic hob and under bench oven. I'd guessed that we had been the first guests in, and this was reinforced when we couldn't get the hob to work - maintenance came out and discovered it hadn't been plugged in. The refurbishing was done well with light woods and floor tiles giving an airy spacious feel to the apartment, and the brand new bathroom had plenty of rack and shelf space. The TV had several satellite channels including BBC world - YEAH I hadn't seen a proper news channel for weeks.

Both bedrooms and the living area had ceiling fans, and even in the full heat of the day we didn't feel the need for air conditioning. Being Minorca not Melbourne, the breeze was refreshingly cool. There was no "When the North wind doth blow, we shalt have....the skin stripped off our arms if we're stupid enough to stick them out in the hot wind'. No matter how hot it got during the day - admittedly not as hot as Melbourne in high summer, getting to low to mid 30's rather than low to mid 40's - there was no chance of lying in a pool of sweat at 2am wishing that the temperature would drop below 30ºc so you might be able to get a couple of hours sleep.

Our unit was within view of one of the pools - or we would have been if it weren't for our very large, very private courtyard, complete with 4½ foot high from the inside/5½ foot high from the outside stone walls. The courtyard had a good sized pergola for shade and a table and 6 chairs for outdoor eating. We very quickly requisitioned two comfy sun beds and an umbrella then two surprisingly comfortable wicker chairs from the restaurant for our stay. There was a token operated washing machine, which at 5 Euro a load was pretty expensive but better than washing by hand, and the fold down clothes line in the courtyard meant that we didn't need to feed coins into the dryer. The large and well stocked supermarket across the road was part of the Complex, and the restaurant seemed to be priced pretty much the same as the restaurants outside.

I'm not sure that all of the apartments have been refurbished and are as nice as the one we stayed in, but I'd say they would all be in good condition. Maybe not with the big private courtyard though. Also not sure if all units had satellite TV, our block of 10 had satellite dishes, but we didn't see them on any other roofs. The spotlessly clean units were cleaned and sheets/towels changed every two days.

Despite the omni-present Thomson the Dog brainwashing little ones with his annoying song (Peter went to the toilet in the bar and heard the bloke in the next stall singing it - yes, it's that kind of song), I would have absolutely no hesitation in coming back here again, or recommending it to anyone with or without children. Just don't be alarmed at the sudden screaming when the mangy mut makes his appearances.