Menorca 2014 – Son Bou

Day 1

We had a nice flight time from Gatwick 12.50 – meaning we didn’t have to get up early nor did we arrive in Minorca too late in the day to not have a chance to explore. Although we got to the airport 2 hours before the flight (as they recommend) this still left barely anytime to enjoy the duty free shopping! I  panic purchased a pair of Kurt Geiger sandals £40, a Ted Baker beach bag £20, a NY flat peak cap £20 and boots holiday essentials, managing to spend £100 before even leaving the country! Tax free though of course!
The flight to Minorca was a mere 1 hour 55 minutes, so quick we didn’t even manage to get through a film I previously rented on iTunes! We left behind the Glastonbury thunderstorms and stepped off the plane in Minorca to be greeted by cloudless blue skies and 27 degree heat!
4pm local time, we dumped our bags in the room and headed out to explore. Hotel Valentin, where we stayed on a recommendation from my great friend Emily, is set back from the beach above the town of San Jamie, Son Bou.
A short 15 minute walk through the residential streets lined with luxury villas to the beach but if you don’t fancy the walk (or if you are still recovering from cellulitis as I was) there is a bus service every half hour to and from the beach running until 7pm. We were just in time to catch one, just a 5 minute ride and hopped off to enjoy some evening sun. We had a cocktail or 2 at one of the local beach bar chains Ses Gulles, walked around the small town getting our bearings and noting the restaurants and bars we wanted to visit on our stay.
We then caught the last bus back to the hotel ready for the buffet dinner we were entitled to on our half board stay, followed by enjoying a Disney themed evening entertainment performance. Well I enjoyed it, not sure about Luke!
Day 2
As we consumed a couple of bottles of wine the night before and because it’s Sunday, we had a bit of a lie in and missed breakfast! The weather was a little over cast so we thought we would venture to the busier town of Mahon to visit the shops, as we ordered our taxi from reception a friendly member of staff advised us that visiting Mahon on a Sunday wasn’t a great idea as nothing opens on a Sunday, and there’s me thinking it was like Westfields!! Thanks for the good advice!
We jumped on another bus to the beach by which time the weather had cleared and the blue skies had returned! We spent the day sunbathing with intermissions of activities such as bowls and pat pat (the wooden bat and ball game someone is always playing at the holiday beaches!). We hired the sun beds at the beach which was definitely worth while for between 8-10 Euros each for the day.
We then stopped for a cocktail in the Hawaino bar, tucked away opposite the supermarket and behind the Chinese restaurant. A great little hidden bar, not one of the tacky English ones, but a tropical themed relaxation spot, complete with hammocks, swinging bamboo chairs and a variety of cocktails served in a concoction of gauntlets looking like something that would arrive at your table at Mahiki!
We caught a bus back to the hotel, quickly got ready and headed back into the town for dinner. We had noted ‘Buddha Lounge’ as a worthy dining spot and I have to say it definitely won the prize for best tapas! Patatas Bravas (standard!) chicken roll in creamy mango sauce and mini meatballs topped with fruity honey – very inventive.
Day 3
Today we actually ventured to Mahon, a 30 minute drive costing about 30 Euros (however later on we were informed that there is in fact a bus from Son Bou to Mahon for apparently 1.50 Euros!) we got dropped at the Port as much of the town is pedestrianised. We climbed the steps into the main town to discover tiny narrow streets lined with old terraced style buildings, many with shops or restaurants inhabiting the ground floor.
We stopped at one if the many cafe/bars and had some lunch, the menu required some participation from the customers as it was a check list of what you would like to order – great idea!
We then strolled around the narrow streets, some of the smaller shops were closed though, assuming they were siesta-ing. We relaxed in another sunny bar before strolling through the market admiring the port below from the top of Mahon.
My mission today was to replace my Clinique lipstick that had run out and having seen a host of recognisable shops such as Mango and The Body Shop sure enough there was a beauty and perfume shop selling many brands including Clinique! Mission complete!
We took a cab back to Buddah Lounge and sat in the lovely dark wicker chairs with cream cushions and tried a couple of drinks from their fabulous cocktail menu – I’m a strawberry daiquiri kind of girl and they get extra points for even having branded straws! Bravo!
For dinner we headed back to the hotel, we eat dinner rather late (about 9pm) and I don’t think it went down too well with the hotel, especially when we ordered a bottle of wine, they new we had settled in for the night. In fact both nights we ate in the hotel we were the last people in there, the staff even had time to arrange the tables ready for breakfast!
Day 4
Today we decided to start seeing what activities Son Bou offered a couple of adventurers like us! To our surprise for such a bijou town there were actual many activities on offer. The best place to book is the Menorca Apartments store on the road to the left of the pharmacy and Kit Kat bar. They had snorkelling tours, trips to the local zoo (although very small and the advertisement pictured a cow and a bird! Not very exotic but great for children!), jeep safaris, bike and scooter hire and horse riding. Having only discovered the array of activities half way through the holiday we chose 2 excursions for the remaining days – electric bike hire at 10 Euros each for half a day (12-6 plenty of enough time!) and horse riding (27.50 Euros each for an hour, they also offered 2 and 3 hour treks to the beach) – remember to book a day in advance!
Feeling in a sporty mode we headed to Hawaiano to compete in the many games at the arcade. First was foozball, not really knowing how to play properly I just span my little men as fast as they would go which seemed to pay off as I won 4-3! Be careful not to spin them the wrong way as this mistake cost me 2 own goals! We then tried our hand at air hockey where Luke won 7-5 not bad! Now the deciding game of pool which Luke also won but I must admit it was a close game!
In the afternoon we decided to check out the hotel pool area. Finding a sun lounger wasn’t actually too difficult, 2 chairs facing the sun by the poolside and within close reach of the bar were available – a little too perfect we thought as we arranged ourselves ready to sunbathe. Soon after we had settled and were enjoying the heat, along come the entertainment staff who proceeded to place a water polo net directly in front of us – we may as well have been holding the goal ourselves! Ahh – that’s why these seemingly perfect seats were available! I put down my book to focus on the match (and protecting my face from the ball if needs be). Twice within the first couple of minutes the ball was flung powerfully at the net and missed thus now coming straight for us – needless to say we moved to the bar for the remainder of the game! For the less sporty there is also a water aerobics session in the afternoon for all ages!
As we spent most of the day at the hotel we ventured out to town for dinner. We chose Atlantis, situated in the centre by the roundabout. Whilst enjoying our spicy meatballs as the darkness crept in – so did the bugs! First a flurry of Mosquitos began hovering. Thankfully I had purchased some Al fresco bug repellent spray along with bug repellent moisturiser (which actually smells very nice!) they weren’t that interested in us but the poor family next to us were being attacked left right and centre! We were then joined by a couple of fast moving cockroaches darting so fast in between tables that when I lost sight if them I half expected to look down and one appear at my feet! This thought made us hastily ask for and settle the bill!
Day 5
The penultimate day, sad faces! We had a quick breakfast and headed to collect our electric bikes at the Menorca apartments shop. With a quick demonstration of how to use them we were off to explore. It took a little while to get used to the electric assistance as it kicked in after a couple of pedals, rather suddenly so if you were going round a tight bend you were suddenly rocketed forward at a fast pace which made it difficult to navigate anywhere other than straight ahead! It was definitely the right move to hire the electric bikes as we soon discovered Son Bou is quite hilly! We slowly cycled through the quiet residential streets, there are very few cars around so riding on the road was actually ok – having ridden a Boris bike through the centre of London this was a breeze! We stopped every now and then to admire the beautiful villas of San Jamie that occupies the space between our hotel and Son Bou town.

We even spotted the flub stones car and decided it was too much of a photo opportunity to miss! The new Fred and Wilma!

If you didn’t want to hire bikes, another great way to see Son Bou is to hop on the Thomas train which runs from most of the hotels – ask at your hotel for more details.
As it was our last evening in Menorca we decided to treat ourselves to a luxury meal at restaurant Es Forn – a hidden gem literally in the middle of nowhere. In fact if my good friend Emily hadn’t have recommended it we wouldn’t even know it existed! About a 15 minute walk from our hotel (although we still took a cab) Es Forn is a very cute white restaurant hidden behind the wilderness and entered up some steps and along a gravel path (heels were not a good choice). The setting is very picturesque and the atmosphere relaxing. No sea views but instead the peaceful untouched countryside accompanied by some light Elvis Presley numbers. The menu was fantastic from traditional tapas and Italian pasta dishes to the more gaucho style breaded Camembert and marmalade, pork escalope with Mahon cheese, roast chicken and vegetables on thin shredded potato and a selection of steak cuts with sauce. Definitely the best menu and worth while a visit on a special occasion. Although I would recommend going at 7.30 – 9.00 as come dusk around 9.30 the Mosquitos arrive, in such numbers that killing 5 with my bear hands made no difference to their determination – even my Al Fresco was struggling to keep them at bay. With the spray running low we finished our wine quickly and ordered a taxi back to the hotel just in time to catch a Drifters tribute act!
Day 6
The last day! We woke early to attend our final activity – horse riding. Having not been on a horse since about 5 years old (even then I think it was probably either a Shetland pony or a donkey!) I clumsily clambered aboard Toulouse – my designated 7 year old ex trotting horse, I was briefed on how to use the reigns and we set off on our hour commute – closely followed by Luke and his 14 year old horse Jor.

Toulouse at the front, Jor behind

A lovely spanish girl called Gemma lead the way along the narrow country footpaths speaking in surprisingly perfect English all the way telling us about her horses (she had 30!) and the different routes they offer. If you went on a 2 or 3 hour excursion you reach the beach and can ride along the sands! The stables are located opposite the hotel Jardin De Menorca, a large red hotel set in the hills of West Son Bou.
After embarassingly taking about 5 minutes to figure out how to get off the horse and eventually being lifted down by Luke (who seemed have professionally hopped off his horse unassisted in about 5 seconds!) we walked back to the hotel and enjoyed our final hour topping up the tan by the pool (which disappointingly neither of us actually ventured into!) before our cab arrived to take us to the airport. A great relaxing holiday!
Best cocktails: Hawaiano
Best Tapas: Buddah Lounge
Best activities: Menorca Apartments
Best food: Es Forn
Best Hotel: Son Valentin
Best music and atmosphere: Hawaiano
Most classy: Buddah Lounge
Most English: Kit Kat bar
Best English Breakfast: Mrs Brown’s Irish Bar
Best Pizza: Alessandros
So if you are wondering where to go for your next relaxing holiday – look no further and book your stay in Menorca, Son Bou!
Book now at Hotel Valentin Son Bou click this link

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