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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Little Man Travels: Benidorm, Spain

Our budding traveller and jet setter “Little Man Travels” is back from his most recent trip to mainland Spain….


This year, “Little Man Travels” sampled the delights of Benidorm along the coast of the Costa Blanca in one of the Alicante coastal districts.

During the space of 2 weeks, he managed to cover over 250,000 steps with us – an approximate distance of around 150km. Not bad for little legs, eh?

So, just where did Little Man get to, I hear you ask?

His journey started off along the Fylde Coast in the north west of the UK, not too far from the hubub of Blackpool and Fleetwood. An hour or so by taxi to Manchester Airport and a smooth transit through the check-in assisted by the Jet2Holidays meeters and greeters.

The usual hassle of the airport Security Check is still a chore that none of us are too happy with these days but it’s something we’ve learned to live with and so we simply grit our teeth and get on with it. Needless to say, it bothered Little Man not one jot – he just sat there and said nothing but winked his one eye all the way along the line just as nice as you please!

The flight all went well and one of the reasons for choosing Benidorm this year was because of the relatively short flight. The coach transfer felt like it took almost as long as the flight, especially because the arrival, customs check and luggage collection all went through so easily, it was like a dream. But going round and round one way streets and seeing the same thing umpteen times got a bit frustrating in the hour or so we spent on the coach before reaching our destination of the Servigroup Nereo Hotel at the Rincon de Loix end of the new town of Benidorm.

I will write up my review of the hotel in a further blog post but will comment here that all 4 of us (including “Little Man Travels“) were more than happy with it. The 2 very clean rooms we were allocated were well appointed over the pool with sunny balconies, fabulous food with a huge amount of choice and friendly staff. We couldn’t have asked for anything better….

And so our holiday started…. so much to do around Benidorm itself, so many coffee shops, bars and restaurants to wander by throughout the days and nights and so many places to see nearby. Not to mention the numerous showbars where we hobnobbed with stars such as: Tom Jones, The Bee Gees and The Beatles to name but a few 🙂

Sadly, we couldn’t do everything we wanted as there were no boat trips due to it being too early in the season. But we did arrive in time for St Patrick’s Day, which was a sight to behold and we did tip up a glass each of the “black stuff” later in the afternoon to join in the celebrations.
These guys were certainly joining in with the party spirit – well before 11:00hrs on the morning of 17 March 2018.
Do you recognise any of them?


We also caught the Fallas Festival which takes place on the same date each year 17th to 19th March when huge Ninots (very large puppet type dolls but with no strings) are constructed and culminate with being cremated at around midnight on the final evening. During this period there are many parading bands, pageants and floats and the amazingly loud “mascleta” which we managed to capture along the Av. del Mediterraneo in the afternoon of the 19th March.

Here below, we were being herded by the local Policia behind a cordon in case any of the launched firecrackers got caught by the wind and carried in our direction. Not many of the crowd wanted to be pushed so far back but it was all down to safety issues and there was no arguing with the female police officers!


And so to “Little Man Travels: Benidorm 2018
Not in any particular order of places visited – because I don’t exactly recall all the days and dates…

Cala de Finistrat – it was a very breezy day so all we managed to really do was a quick stroll around the outdoor market, mostly stuff which we’d already seen on display at the Pueblo Market in Benidorm a couple of days before. So we chose to head up and away from the cold wind by the beach and take shelter in a sunny window seat at Burger King  the “Home of the Whopper“.
Little Man Travels” simply couldn’t resist a photo-shoot with that sign:

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (1) BurgerKing the Home of the Whopper, Benidorm (Cala de Finistrat)

And the view from our seat by the window being warmed by the sun coming through the glass was of good old Leroy Merlin – a familiar sign from Cyprus in the capital of Nicosia 🙂

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (1a) Burger King near Leroy Merlin, Cala de Finistrat

Another breezy day saw us wander along the promenade of the Avenida Madrid up the whole length of Levante Beach right to the far end of Avinguda Alcoi  and as far as the Plaza Santa Ana by the Balcon del Mediterraneo.

Little Man Travels” had to have a very rapid photo before he plummeted to his death from the balustrade railings!

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (2) Balcon del Mediteranneo, Benidorm

Unscathed by the trauma of the previous day and his high wire stunts, “Little Man Travels” headed for the mountains by coach into the pretty village of Guadalest and some glorious landscapes:

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (3) Guadalest by coach

Time for a bit or rest and relaxation, “Little Man Travels” took a wander along the Levante Beach area of Benidorm for a short photo stop by the little park area with its’ folklore tale of a shepherd and his goats. It’s situated right next to the Tiki Beach Bar (definitely not a place for a quiet drink) and a has a view of Peacock Island as seen recently as the wedding venue in the first episode of the Benidorm ITV Series 10:


Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (4) Av Madrid, Benidorm by Tiki Beach Bar

After that, it was back to the Nereo Hotel on Av. Ametla del Mar at Rincon de Loix and retiring to a quiet place on a sunlounger with a Kindle novel:

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (4a) Servigroup Nereo Hotel, Benidorm

Another day of long walks…. all the way past the headland at the Balcon del Mediterraneo, along the beach at Poniente Playa with a stop for a cup of tea in one of the little cafes by the beach road and as far as the Edificio Intempo, the tallest building in Benidorm at 192m tall. It’s an office building apparently, which consists of two separate golden looking fronted towers joined together by a strange architectural display. It looks a bit like a letter “M” and “Little Man Travels” couldn’t resist this one, but he had to be held aloft due to him having a bit of a short leg syndrome:

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (5) Edificio In Tempo, Poniente, Benidorm

Undaunted by his shortness of stature (“Little Man Travels” is the equivalent of Declan Donnelly in the celebrity world of travel), the very next day he decided it was to be a day on public transport. The number 10 bus was the order of the day and off we went to Albir:

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (6) Platja del Albir

We hot footed it all the way along the promenade and then climbed up to the top of the very picturesque town of Altea. It’s the perfect little place and every turn brings another photo opportunity. “Little Man Travels” was pretty shattered at this stage so he stayed asleep and let my camera do all the work without him…. but, we gave the bus a miss and came back by train. He missed out on that particular photo-shoot!


A quiet next day after all that walking, because we had a lot more walking after we got off the train the previous day, right at the top of the Old Town area of Benidorm. It meant yet another big schlepp back to the hotel 😦

So, a quiet day it was which meant staying local to Benidorm but we did pay a surprise visit to Tracey and Mark the owners of “The Dog House” pub on Calle Ibiza to take a peep at the proud parents (Becki and Monty) of 8 puppies who arrived a couple of nights previous:

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (6a) The Dog House, Calle Ibiza, Benidorm

As we were getting towards the close of our holiday, “Little Man Travels” was getting a bit weary but he managed to find time for yet another stroll along that very long beach front but this took he time out for a pint of lager at Tiki Town Beach Bar whilst listening to Rob Richards who played a mean choice of tunes on his guitar out in the open air behind us:

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (7) Tiki Town Bar, Levante Beach, Benidorm

And he topped the day off with getting himself down in the sand!

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (8) to the beach

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (9) Levante Beach, Benidorm

Our Final day and what else to do but fill in the last few hours by wandering not too far from the hotel, whilst whiling away the time for our pickup coach to arrive…. That meant there was just time for one last stop in the bar where my Mum found a liking for hot chocolate topped with squirty cream at the Four Kings on Av. del Mediterraneo beside the Riudor Hotel:

Little Man Travels by Thulborn-Chapman Photography (10) Four Kings Bar and Restaurant, Av del Mediterraneo, Benidorm

Happy Travels friends and followers…. Until the next time it’s “hasta la vista” baby 🙂






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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.