Fylde Coast Musings vs Cyprus Life – in pictures

Originally from a small mill town in Heywood, Lancashire (United Kingdom) we moved overseas at the beginning of March 2004 and spent the next glorious 12 years in Limassol, Cyprus. Sadly, in 2016 we had to return permanently to UK due to family ill health. We now live on the Fylde coast where the river Wyre meets the Irish sea just across from Fleetwood. More places to discover and capture on camera!

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Servigroup Nereo Hotel Review, #Benidorm: Highly Recommended!

This was to be our first time here for 2 weeks in March 2018.

We were travelling as a party of 3 people bringing my Mum for her first visit to Benidorm so I sought recommendations from a couple of facebook groups I’m a member of. Bearing in mind that we ourselves hadn’t been to Benidorm ourselves for almost 20 years.
I had 2 hotels in my head, the Servigroup Nereo Hotel being one of them and this was the one which most people advised for the following reasons:

Location: at the quieter Rincon de Loix end of Levante Beach and on a flat level
Food: bags of choice so something for everyone
Cleanliness: it was spotless
Friendly Staff: again, correct on all levels

So, we booked the holiday through Jet2Holidays for 2 weeks on Half Board basis with our 2 rooms being allocated on the 4th floor and overlooking the pool as I requested directly by email through Karen, the Servigroup Nereo Hotel customer representative.

The rooms were light and airy with large sunny balconies containing 2 chairs, a small round table and a clothes drier.
We even got a glimpse of the sea between the apartment buildings. Higher floors get better views and there are 10 floors to his hotel.


One day we found the water wasn’t getting hot after some routine maintenance. We notified Karen and the Reception desk and left them to get on with it whilst we went out for our late afternoon walk. When we got back, it was all fixed and luckily sorted before anyone else had realised there was a problem.

We were very impressed with the rooms in general. Both rooms had 2 twin beds and are the European twins of 105cm width rather than the standard UK twin of 90cm so you get a bit more wriggle room for your money!

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Both rooms had a walk-in shower and a small stool provided under the vanity sink unit for anyone who needs to sit whilst showering.

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Clean towels every day even though we had put them on the balcony to dry after our morning shower.

Toiletries: Shampoo, Shower Gel, small bars of soap and a Body Milk was kept topped up on a regular basis.
There’s also a hairdryer in the bathroom. Now don’t get me wrong because having a hairdryer in situ means I don’t have to take mine with me – but why, oh why do hotels have to install those that you constantly have to keep your finger on the power switch? It constantly stops and starts as you have to rotate your hand whilst drying each side of your hair! It drives me crazy….

Note, there are no Tea Making facilities offered at the Servigroup Nereo Hotel, which I believe is the same for all hotels in the Group and also for most hotels in Benidorm. But we were advised on asking prior to our arrival that they don’t mind you bringing your own travel kettle, which we did.

There’s also a free digital safety deposit box and a small fridge provided in the rooms.

Free WiFi throughout the hotel was accessed without any difficulty in all the public rooms, our hotel rooms and out by the swimming pool. You can connect up to 3 devices at one time per room. Ask at Reception for your own unique way to login to your account.

The restaurant provided everything you could wish for.
Breakfast: eggs anyway you want (scrambled, fried and flipped (or sunny side up if you wanted, just ask), boiled and poached (again, just ask). Also freshly cooked pancakes – those small ones, although I much prefer the French style crepes.
Porridge, fresh fruit, cold meats, cheese – even fresh orange juice and cava for those who wanted to feel a bit special.
We saw one couple feeling a bit special every single day 😉
All various hot breakfast items including the traditional streaky bacon or English back bacon cooked by the chef at the hot plate.

We only had lunch on our final day and found out they served different cheeses than was offered in the evening at dinner. Brie and a blue cheese at lunch rather than the sliced stuff at breakfast and dinner.

Evening Dinner always included a soup (sometimes a choice of two) lots of main courses to choose from, vegetarian options, fish dishes as well as the chef at the hot plate.

There were also a number of themed evenings in the restaurant: Asian, Indian (a bit of a disappointment for me as I love Indian food but the options weren’t for me), British – yep roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on a Sunday, a Tapas buffet as well as a “dessert night” much to my husbands’ disappointment. He doesn’t really do desserts – but more on that later…

The location as mentioned earlier couldn’t have been better for us as my worry was it may have been too busy in Benidorm for my Mum (she’s 77) and doesn’t really like to be in very crowded places.

The end of the Rincon de Loix was just perfect – just across the road from the indoor market so handy for changing money inside there (take your passport the first time then keep the card you’re given which lasts the duration of your stay and your passport validity for future visits). Less than a 7 minute walk to the beach with fewer roads to cross if you stay on the left side of the road.


The bus stop was just a few steps in either direction from the hotel entrance although we found when we wanted to catch the Number 10 route to Albir and Altea, it was better for us to walk up the Av Mediterraneo to the 2nd stop along in order to get a seat before it filled up from other hotels.

We only hit one small niggle and that was on our last day….

At check-in (sometime after 21:30hrs) we were told by the lady there, we would finish with lunch on our last day as we had missed the evening meal on our arrival. There was a “cold plate” set out for us in the restaurant which consisted of a couple of slices of cold ham, sliced cheese, a bread roll and a bit of salad plus a bottle of water.

When we checked out at midday and mentioned us taking our lunch, both reception staff said we weren’t entitled to it and if we had wanted to have lunch, we should have requested the cold plate wasn’t left for our arrival.

As this was our first time at the hotel we weren’t aware of any of this and also we had booked through a UK tour operator rather than directly with the Servigroup of hotels.

However, the lady receptionist conceded and agreed we could have our lunch just this once, free of charge.

So, this is perhaps something to consider if you’re on a later flight arrival like we were… We landed at 20:00hrs but it took at least an hour to reach our destination after getting on the coach.

All in all – we loved it!

We looked around 3 or 4 different Servigroup Hotels during our time wandering around Benidorm and we each felt the size, layout and location was the best at the Nereo Hotel.

The ground floor bar area in our hotel offered seating to one side by the TV and also by the small stage area, seating up to 200 people. There’s also a separate entertainment room on the lower level, most likely used when the hotel is fully occupied or during high season.
Other hotels in the group we looked at, such as the Servigroup Calypso Hotel seated up to 400 people and that would have been just too many people in the height of the season for us.

We travelled on 10 March for 2 weeks and so we caught the St Patrick’s Day celebrations as well as the noisy Fallas Festival (every year between 17 to 19 March) which involves firecrackers on most days, marching bands, pageants and culminating in the “crema” or setting fire to some very large ninots (large figures) at around midnight on the final day of celebration.

Sadly, the weather was much cooler than we had anticipated and in comparison to the same period last year, so there wasn’t too much time spent by the pool on a sun lounger. But the hotel balconies helped to shelter us from the cold winds we experienced and we still came back looking a lot healthier than we did when we arrived!

Winter holidays are always difficult to plan for – so pack your suitcase for every kind of weather and you will be fine.

Room Tip: For sunshine – ask for a room overlooking the pool.

Want more information about something I may not have covered here?
Check out the Servigroup Nereo Hotel Q&As on TripAdvisor.

All photos are owned by Thulborn-Chapman Photography.

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Time to Get Real and Back to Reality!

Sadly, I’ve neglected my blog for 12 months but recently a number of events have taken place since December here at Knott End on Sea and the murky pools of life have been churning, almost as often as the River Wyre daily tidal flow…
It’s certainly kept us busy on Facebook!

Council calamities, ferry frustration, bumbling buses and purdah problems have raised their heads – none of which make for very pretty reading…

In between, we’ve managed the odd getaway from the Fylde Coast including a visit to Oban in the west of Scotland (a first for us) and more recently, to the sunnier climes of Benidorm on the Costa Blanca in mainland Spain.

So, it’s time to get the fingers back to work on my keyboard and fill this blog once more with our exploits.

I have a number of photos and lots of interesting tit-bits to titillate your fancy 🙂
Give me a week or so and I will have more posts coming through!

And for those of you who still have no idea where in the world Knott End on Sea exists – here’s a picture to help spell it out:

Knott End on Sea

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Seashells Resort at Suncrest Hotel, Malta: Review

My personal review (also posted on TripAdvisor) of our hotel stay at Seashells Resort at Suncrest Hotel in Qawra, Malta.

Our vacation took place between 9 March to 16 March. We were allocated 2 x Standard Rooms (3 people in 2 rooms) at the back of the hotel on Bed and Breakfast basis.

We were originally booked to stay at the Dolmen Resort Hotel travelling with Jet2Holidays on 9 March but due to the ongoing building work, we received a call just 4 days before our flight departed UK to inform us we were being moved to the Seashells Resort instead.
There was no other choice given to us – except another hotel in Sliema which was not a feasible option for us as friends of ours had flown out especially to meet up with us from Cyprus and were staying in Qawra too.


Not being familiar with the Seashells Resort at Suncrest hotel, we were a little put out but having read the reviews and then finding our rooms had “city views” I was happy in the knowledge that the balconies on these rooms had full sun in the afternoon / early evening so that was a bonus for us.

We were on the 6th floor so there was little road noise – there was some building construction taking place diagonally over the road (clearing and digging down of the land) but this did not disturb us and finished at a reasonable time of day.

The room had everything we needed and really, our only complaint about the room facilities would be the choice of TV programmes as we’ve stayed at other Maltese hotels nearby which gave us a better satellite system with more English speaking channels. Also, although it was a very nice flat screen TV we couldn’t plug our laptop or HDMI cable into it so that was very disappointing due to the lack of programmes we could watch.

The weather was kind to us so we did get to sit and read on our balconies in the late afternoon but although the temperatures reached 18 degrees Celsius, I cannot understand why some people would need to use the A/C units in those temperatures. (These were comments made at the same time as our stay at the Seashells Resort)

Neither were we bitten or pestered by bugs / mosquitos as someone else mentioned and they usually make a direct bee line for me! Insects love to bite me!

We were on Breakfast board only and found the choice to be plentiful. Three of us travelled together in 2 rooms and we each had different breakfast needs with no difficulties in finding tables to sit at, cutlery, glasses or having to queue for hot drinks.
One problem with the hot breakfast apparently (my husband had a hot breakfast every day) was that the food wasn’t quite hot enough. However, there is a microwave midway between the breakfast buffet layout and he used that each day, along with numerous other hotel residents.

We were pleased the room safe is provided free of charge and that there was a small fridge in the room to keep water and milk (for our cups of tea) cool. We also liked that the bathroom was a large walk in shower rather than over a bath. Toiletries and towels were replenished every day as you used them. The rooms were kept spotlessly clean.

Our main criticism would be the hotel “entertainment” – each time we looked there was one guy singing and playing keyboards in what looked like a coffee shop (cum bar) stuck far away in a dark corner of the hotel reception.

Luckily, we ate out of the hotel each evening and found plenty of places for good food including drinks at a lot less than it would have cost us to upgrade to Half Board for the three of us. There are bars nearby if you walk up the side street in the direction of the bus station, about 10 – 15 minutes walk will take you to a large choice some with entertainment thrown in and drink prices vary from place to place.

We’ve been going to Qawra / Bugibba now for many years and are very familiar with the area so know what is usually on offer. We did find this time that there didn’t seem to be so many choices of stuff going on of an evening – even the hotels we have relied on in the past to provide it, didn’t appear to be doing so. However, we came across some different places this time and we had a great week.

We will return to Malta again in the future and would have no hesitation in staying at the Seashells Resort at Suncrest.

However, it may be that we’ve outlived our time in this area of Malta and that perhaps we will try somewhere else next time. We found that although the food we ate at various restaurants was good, there wasn’t much choice – many of the establishments were offering the same kind of menu variations unless you went for a specific type of food ie: Asian, Indian, Italian etc.

One other thing I should mention is that within the first hour of our arrival we visited the Cheeky Monkey Pub (which belongs to the hotel) across the road. My mother (aged 76yrs) walked into it just ahead of me and my husband and the next thing I knew she had fallen full length, landing on her back on the tiled floor and had banged her head against one of the bar stools. There is a step less than 2 paces of going through the door and is not really defined as it’s the same tiles as the main pub floor. The very large monkey which sits on the bar top caught my mothers’ eye as she came through the door and she missed the step completely. It shook her up very much and the colour completely drained out of her face – she was white.

Although the bar manager did come to see how she was and brought her a glass of water, we feel they weren’t that concerned – possibly because my mother does not look 76 years old! They didn’t even take her name or record the fall in an accident book but did say people had fallen before…..

We did mention it to our tour representative who said he would follow it up and take a look himself. However, I do feel the hotel should also be aware of this and perhaps take more precautions at the entrance doorway to the Cheeky Monkey Pub.

Room Tip: High Floor with City View for afternoon sun and no road noise.