Majorca Magic: How we managed our first family sun holiday overseas
A first-ever family sun holiday pays off handsomely in Sa Como.
Set the mood
This holiday was a new adventure right from the start. It was the first time myself and my wife Marita had taken our two children not only overseas on a plane, but also on a sun holiday. We wanted to get it right!
We were looking for a decent location, family-friendly hotel, and the time of year that we travelled was important, but our main priority was that Gemma (6) and Conor (3) would enjoy the experience and have plenty to do in the resort. Not an easy task.
The result? After much research and reading of reviews, we booked 11 nights full-board (we wanted the food sorted) at the TUI Family Life Coma Gran resort in Majorca. Here's how we got on...
The Family Life Coma Gran is a very modern, bright resort with several pools and its own splash park (above), with spray areas and waterslides. It's a five-minute walk to the beach, and there's lots going on for kids, from morning until the early part of the evening.
Kudos to the children's entertainment team (and Paige Tindall in particular) for their enthusiasm - giving Conor and Gemma a chance to make new friends and Mam and Dad a break themselves! Unfortunately, our kids lost a few days to a vomiting bug - though TUI staff were very helpful in calling a local doctor and organising a special room visit of the Captain T mascot bear which really helped build them up.
Resorts like this get more popular as the summer goes on. If at all possible, take advantage of the fact that Irish kids start their school holidays earlier than those in the UK. We travelled in late May... there was a very noticeable difference in numbers by the time we were leaving.
From an abundance of choice, we chose Katmandu Park (katmandupark.com), Spain's No.2 amusement park, with its Splash Park, rides and upside-down house filled with endless fun, and Marine Land (marinelandmajorca.es, above).
This is a large water park giving children the chance to see marine animals up close and personal, and performances featuring sea lions, dolphins and parrots. The children very much enjoyed it - though note that both are a 90-minute coach transfer from Sa Coma on the east coast.
Sa Coma is a pretty small, purpose-built resort on the east coast of Majorca - which has its own appeal. If you want a change of scenery, try Cala Millor (left). It's within easy reach by open-top bus or road-train and our children loved it. Cala Millor boasts a huge amount of restaurants and shops along the strip next to the sea front... it's got a Blue Flag beach too.
The Family Life Como Gran has a large dining hall which gets quite congested during peak times. A chef-service area was constantly on the go, but we weren't as impressed with the self-service buffet. Separately, several guests requested hand sanitisers, but they didn't appear on our visit.
Get me there
We stayed at the 4-star TUI Family Life Coma Gran in Majorca with TUI (1850 45 35 45; tuiholidays.ie). A 5.30am start from Dublin Airport was a challenge with small children, but once on board, the 2.5-hour flight to Palma was very comfortable.
Summer 2018 packages run from May 1 to October 2 from Cork, Dublin and Shannon. Prices start from €1,609 for a family of three, and €2,149 for a family of four (including a free child place), rising in peak season.