This summer thousands of Brits will head off to Spanish holiday hotspot Benidorm. For decades the coastal town has tempted those looking for a cheap trip abroad.
After all, what’s not to love about 88p pints, £2.50 fry ups, a gorgeous beach and some of the best deals around? It does mean, however, that Benidorm has gained a reputation as a home away from home for sunburnt Brits.
The image wasn’t helped by hilarious TV comedy Benidorm which followed some unlucky, unpleasant and utterly bonkers Brits on their yearly holiday. Despite the many things that went on in the show – from mobility scooters breaking to super dark tans and even one paragliding accident, the destination was still full of sun, sand and sea.
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It turns out that the hotel featured in the show – The Solana – wasn’t a film set. The crew set up in an actual Benidorm hotel and you can still stay there now!
Fans of the TV show will be able to book a room at Sol Pelicanos Ocas for the full Benidorm experience. You can sunbathe by the pool where Madge drove her scooter or drink at the swim-up pool bar where Mateo flirted with all the women (and some men).
The hotel’s poolside eating area is also recognisable as the site of the arm-wrestling competition and the curved pools – there are five in total – are perfect for a dip or to test how long you can hold your breath…
Now, thankfully, unlike the disastrous Solana which had rude staff, grotty rooms, only one TV to share and endless karaoke the Sol Pelicanos is far more high end! The pools include a tropical-style lagoon, three whirlpools, three geysers and a swim-up bar.
There’s also an outdoor pool, children’s pool and an activity pool for water polo, volleyball and aqua aerobics. Other activities include a daytime program of pool games, two playgrounds, watersports, pilates, pool biking and spinning – perfect for holidaymakers who like to stay fit.
There are gardens to stroll through and free Wi-Fi zones. Plus, a kids’ club and evening entertainment programme which puts on musicals like Mamma Mia and The Lion King.
That’s a big step up from karaoke or a singer each night! The hotel has two buffets of all-inclusive food from international dishes to local cuisine – and two snack bars during summer.
Staff at the hotel’s 24-hour reception can provide information about what to see and do in Benidorm and the Costa Blanca. There is also a gift shop and a car rental service.
Plus, the rooms are vastly better than shown on the TV show. Each has its own television as well as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, a bath and shower.
You can get twin, double and family rooms and those with balconies have fabulous views over Benidorm. There’s also a hairdryer and mini-fridge.
Location wise, the Sol Pelicanos is right in the heart of New Benidorm surrounded by shops, bars and restaurant. You’re also just 300m away from the famous Levante Beach which is great for sunbathing and snorkelling.
You can even walk from the hotel to a number of nightclubs, bars and infamous entertainment venues. The hotel may have a different clientele from the famous TV show but the palm trees, brollies and sun loungers are all still just as recognisable.
However, you won’t get it quite as cheap as they did in the show – considering half the time they were there for free. But, rooms start from £79 a night in the off-season on booking.com.
Reviews of the Sol Pelicanos Ocas also differ from the many complaints put in on the bonkers TV show. One reviewer on booking.com said: "Lovely hotel, gorgeous pool. The snack bar was great a nice selection of food and it was good to be able to help yourself."
On TripAdvisor, another added: "The pool area was amazing, the kids had a great time, it's actually bigger than what you see in the show. I would go all inclusive if you can as there is a separate snack bar which is handy and no queue.
"The Garveys were right, you honestly don't need to go anywhere if you're all inclusive. The sunbeds are a bit of a war to get but come later I the day around two-ish the beds are easily got then.
"The beach and shops are within walking distance which was lovely. Neptune's bar is accross the road but unlike the show, no under 16s. We found Mateos bar up by the Crown very easy to find which is owned and ran by the man who writes the show, we were very welcomed in there until 9pm.
"Lots to see in there, plenty of memorabilia from the show, and they played the best bits on the screens. Staff very nice in there."
Not everyone was as thrilled by the accommodation – so make sure you check reviews before you book. One person wrote: "The food was poor, dry, lack of any flavour and poor selection. This is the worst hotel out of any country I've ever visited. We only booked as we are huge fans of the TV show and the pool was the only good part however its not worth staying here for that because its truly awful."
But, if you’re a big fan of the show it may just be worth it! Just beware of getting involved in any dubious, family schemes by old ladies in mobility scooters or handsome Spanish men!
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