It’s so hot in June in the beautiful island of Palma Nova that they have to serve the red wine chilled.
I was a little shocked when the cold liquid hit my tongue - and then the waiter gestured me to put my glass down.
It’s too hot to serve the wine at room temperature, he explained. So they chill it.
“A few moments in the sun and it will be perfect,” he said. And it was.
Rioja in the sun overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean. You can drink it with freshly caught fish by the bay every night. And we did.
There’s a certain charm that goes along with eating fish that has been freshly caught by fishermen working less than a mile from where you are eating it. This is no Donegal catch.
And forget the diet, in Majorca they don’t do small portions.
I love a bit of swordfish. The first night I ordered it and it was around half the size of the plate. The second night it had grown again.
Tuna, salmon, prawns, and lobster are available on the menu of almost every restaurant you come across on the seaside. Pity the only side order is salad or chips.
Of course there’s the obligatory English pub where you can get the traditional ‘Roast Dinner’ but with a 34 degree heat I decided to give the roast a miss, for this holiday at least.
The two best places we ate at were Godfathers on the Beach and the F&C Barbeque Restaurant. F&C was by far the best place. But be prepared for a feast of meat, particularly if you order the mixed grill.
We spent ten days at the beautiful Aparthotel C’as Saboners on the outskirts of Palma Nova. Just far enough away from Magaluf if you want to avoid it and close enough to the charming Palma Nova seafront if you want to enjoy a nice quiet family holiday.
One night we did take a wrong turn into Magaluf and while I’m sure that for the younger generation it’s a lively place I wouldn’t recommend visiting with young children. Stick to Palma Nova where it’s much quieter and civilised.
Five minutes walk from the Aparthotel is Aldi. Most families used the Aldi to stock up for cold meats, cheeses, snacks, tea, coffee and alcohol. It’s probably the best way to go if you’re on a budget holiday.
The Aparthotel C’as Saboners is a five minute stroll from Palma Nova seafront via a section of steps.
The unique thing about the Aparthotel C’as Saboners is that it’s probably one of the smallest complexes on the street. But you’re guaranteed a view as all of the rooms face directly on to the pool.
For a little extra money (ten euros, 50 cents per day) you can secure a garden room on the ground floor.
If you have young children this is money well spent.
Not only do you not have to worry about the balcony but you have your own private sun loungers that no one else is allowed to use - and free Wifi
Inside, the one bedroom apartment comfortably sleeps four people (2 adults, 2 children).
There’s a pretty adequate kitchen suitable for making lunches and breakfast but I wouldn’t expect to be doing any cooking there.
The bathrooms could do with a bit of updating but aren’t the worst I’ve seen.
The pool is probably one of the best parts of the hotel. It’s not heated but more than comfortable to go for a swim in.
The lilo sunbeds are really popular and because the pool is divided by a bridge there tends to be a place you can go for a quiet swim and other places where the entertainment will lay on some pool volleyball.
The aparthotel has its own shop selling the essentials or you can use the cheaper supermarket round the corner. The inside bar is full air conditioned with Sky sports available.
Meals and snacks at the bar are basic but good enough if you like burgers, pizzas and toasties. The Alejandro burger was very tasty.
The breakfasts are excellent too, especially if you like a traditional Ulster fry up (known in Majorca as the English breakfast).
C’as Saboners is the perfect place to base yourself for a perfect holiday.
Alejandro is simply the best
Whatever they’re paying Alejandro the entertainer - they need to double it, one Tripadvisor reviewer wrote.
And he was right.
You mightn’t think you’re an enthusiast when it comes to karaoke and quizzes but by the end of the week he is wrestling that mike out of your hands.
It’s the entertainment at C’as Saboners that really makes the place stand out.
If you have kids aged between four and twelve then the kids club run by Viki is perfect for stressed out parents who want a few hours to themselves.
She’s patient, engaging and organises activities kids of all ages can get involved in.
The hotel could do with updating its play area which is a little on the basic side but it’s not bad none the less.
There’s a tent offering massages for very reasonable prices and the kids can get their hair braided for ten euro.
Alejandro De Maria Peiro is most likely the best entertainer in Palma Nova.
He had a fantastic ability to engage with young and old (I count myself in the ‘old’ category these days.)
Once he’s learned your name he remembers it for the rest of the holiday.
Most nights we planned to sit in the garden with a bottle of wine but inevitably got involved in whatever activity Alejandro had planned.
There’s a great atmosphere on the entertainment terrace whether it’s a youtube quiz in which I had the honour in getting the lowest ever recorded score, or karaoke.
There was also a fantastic children’s magic show which had children and adults captivated - although the dads really do have to make a fool of themselves.
During the day you can play ball games in the pool, billiards, darts or if you’re feeling really adventurous you can try out the giant waterball in the pool.
It’s simply a fantastic place for families and groups.
A fun place to be where there’s always something to do.
For more log on to http://www.cassaboners.com
Waterworld is not quite to everyone’s taste
Some people will love the Western Water Park - others will just want to get back to the relative calm of the hotel pool.
And it’s not cheap - over 70 euros for two parents and a child - so choose wisely before committing yourself for the day.
There will be extra expenses incurred during the day for food, drinks, locker hire and the rest. One cost definitely to be avoided is the hire of your own raft. They are provided for all the rides and it is more than a little confusing to have these available to rent for around ten euro when they are completely unnecessary.
The rides themselves range from the sedate to the downright terrifying.
At the gentler end of the scale is the lazy river which is perfect for families with young children and those of a more nervous disposition.
The Western Park boasts the highest slide in Majorca which, quite frankly, looks like a form of medieval torture.
The most popular ride is a long and relatively gentle descent through the park, but has a couple of pretty major drawbacks. Being the most popular ride, it means enduring the longest queues and it is uncomfortable in the extreme standing on red hot wooden stairs in bare feet. It also requires a minimum of three people which sometimes is difficult to organise.
There are a couple of areas especially for toddlers who for obvious reasons are not up to the rigours of the rest of the park. But parents beware - the chances of having an extremely large bucket of freezing cold water dumped all over you are high.
The Western cowboy theme of the place is quite bizarre, but largely irrelevant.
It’s teenage heaven, but families might want to live life in the slower lane.