127 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
OK - but not 4*
"The main bad point about this hotel is that it should NOT be classed as a 4* - which was what we expected. If you assume it is a 3*, then it is ok - and would have got a 4 from me if it had been. Fresh fruit & veg at every meal. Freshly cooked meat / fish on the griddle. Quite a lot of choice. As with most All Inclusive places, the food becomes repetitive after a few days. Staff are friendly and helpful. Their system of only giving out small glasses for drought lager is a pain. This is a H Top system, as we have stayed at another of their hotels. Sauna and Jacuzzi you can book every day - for free. Calella is DEAD is February!! We met some VERY nice people and had a good time because of that :)"
- Travel date: 12th March 2016
Would NEVER go back even if paid to
"Clean rooms is the only positive thing about this hotel. Walls are paper thin you can hear conversations from next door. Food is below average. You have to pay extra for the games machines and put deposits down for any extras plus the WiFi is not free and it is very slow. The staff are all miserable and communicate by grunting at you. The entertainment was too poor for words. The maids clean the rooms but knock down all your possessions or sweep them to other parts of the room. There was a problem during our stay as the package holiday we'd booked, the hotel hadn't been paid even though we'd paid the company for everything upfront back home. We were told to pay up or leave immediately even though we'd been there just under a week and were refused to even have dinner. We had no choice but to pay (again!) or be sleeping (and starving) on the streets! It's lucky we were ABLE to pay twice. "
- Travel date: 7th March 2014
"Well after reading the other reviews, I can only say that you must have stayed at another hotel and not Calella Palace, as we found the hotel to be fantastic. This was our second trip there and the staff remembered us and so did the locals who we met the year before. The food was great, as usual, the staff were pleasant and helpful, apart from the barman, who is always grumpy, but then he does have to up up with wingy, wining Brits, who expect something for nothing. If you want a perfect holiday, then stay at home and do it yourself. This is and economy break, not the Ritz. The rooms are clean, in fact everywhere is always clean. We are looking forward to next years holiday there. If you have trouble communicating, learn Spanish and stop moaning. "
- Travel date: 12th January 2014
"Last September me and my fiancÃ© decided to choose a destination at random, we chose Calella palace. Not knowing what to expect we packed our bags and left. When we got there we were welcomed in by the staff, absolutely brilliant and fast service with a smile. The lobby was nice and clean and full of positive energy. When we got to our room it was brilliant. A massive bed, clean, tidy and the overall quality was second to none. I would say this is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. I believe it so much that me and my fiancÃ© have now booked to go back there again this year but for longer as we were gutted to be leaving. If you want real family fun, great location near the shops and beach and just an overall good holiday you can't go wrong with this hotel :)"
- Travel date: 13th June 2013
If you want to choose your own destination then avoid Ola Holidays and Htop
"Back in October 2011 we decided to spend Xmas in Santa Suzanne on the Costa Brava where we have holidayed twice before. After much careful research we chose the HTop Royal Sun hotel for its position on the sea front and for its good reputation. Ola Holidays offered a package deal for 10 nights all-inclusive at a keen price for on line booking with immediate payment to cover flights, transfers, airport parking and hotel. You must finalise quickly, we were told, as the hotel is almost fully booked and in great demand. On Friday December 16th, three days before our departure on Monday the 19th, a phone call from Ola holidays announced apologetically that our chosen hotel would not be available as it is to be closed due to âunder bookingâ. We will, they said, be re-directed to an alternative hotel of âequivalent standardâ in nearby Calella. The attitude was one of âtake it or leave itâ and following the issue of a revamped set of travel documents our requests for further information were ignored. We spent a weekend wondering what was going on, not least because we had been told in October that the place was almost full. Also we were not encouraged by the mixed reports about the Calella Palace on Trip Advisor. After considering our only option which was to cancel and argue for a refund (and what about the air fare and parking fees?) we decided to give it a go and set off for Manchester airport early on Monday morning. The flight and transfer went ok and we checked-in at lunch time when the receptionist told us that the restaurant is open and we can eat now. But she then went on to make clear that we must agree to forfeit lunch on our day of departure in lieu. Not a good start thought I. It also turned out to be a completely unnecessary irritation as we were scheduled to leave in the early morning anyway. The Calella Palace hotel is a modern, clean and efficiently run place. Purpose built, it has a rather utilitarian feel and everyone complains about the paper thin walls, floors and ceilings with little or no resistance to sound. Why, we wondered, didnât the designers budget a little less for the granite staircases and instead install some effective sound insulation? And why do people in the adjacent rooms continually clip-clop across the tiled floors in high heeled shoes and drag the furniture around? The food was plain and simple though usually lukewarm, however a microwave was provided to reheat the soup! The self-service buffets offer as much or as little as you like but complaints were plentiful at every sitting. However, as we werenât expecting haute- cuisine for the all-inclusive price we had paid, we thought the provisions fairly adequate though, after a few days the lack of variation became apparent and we began to tire of pork cutlets, paella etc. The staff are smartly turned out and well trained but there is little interaction from them over and above the call of duty, probably due in part to the language barrier but also it seems that the emphasis of their training has been on efficiency and had little to do with the more important duty of making guests happy. In fact some seemed to go out of their way to irritate us with the petty rules of the establishment. Would it really matter for instance if someone took their remaining glass of wine from the restaurant into the lounge area or used the coffee machine without showing proof of identity? We soon came to realise that the hotel was running a two-tier âall inclusiveâ system whereby entitlements to food and drink differ at various times of day depending on your status and so eager were the staff to prevent any transgression of the rigid rules that we were often aware of their beady eyes and frequently asked to produce our photo-fit ID cards. This alone created a feeling more reminiscent of a penal institution than of a friendly hotel. On Thursday, curious to know the truth, we decided to visit the hotel that we had originally booked in Santa Suzanne. After a pleasant walk of about 10km we found not only the Royal Sun closed but the whole place had become a ghost town. It was a grim sight indeed to see thirty or forty huge hotels and the surrounding infrastructure completely abandoned, albeit only for the winter season. There was not so much as a coffee bar open for business which begged the question â âwhy had the travel agents been eagerly selling holidays here for the past few months?â Surely they must have known that the resort might be closed and, at the very least, issued a prior warning to their clients in whose best interests they are supposedly acting? Or, on the other hand, did they know with certainty of the impending closure and choose to take part in a cynical scheme to get as much business as possible with the intention of re-locating everyone at the eleventh hour? This certainly smells either of gross incompetence or of blatant conspiracy. Our suspicions were confirmed on meeting some fellow guests and learning that few had actually booked the Calella Palace but had been transferred at short notice from other venues in the HTop group. Many, like us, had originally chosen The Royal Sun, Santa Suzanne. For the first two days the Calella Palace was very quiet and we were told that only three of the seven floors were occupied. It seemed we were facing the grim prospect of spending Xmas in a half empty hotel running with a skeleton staff, little or no entertainment and a less than jovial atmosphere. During the next couple of days coach after coach arrived and by the 23rd of December the hotel was obviously full to capacity. We then learned that the hitherto closed sister hotel, the nearby Olympic, was now to be opened to cope with the influx. Soon this huge building also appeared to be fully occupied. At each meal sitting we found ourselves scrambling for a table and standing in queues for food and drinks. Staff numbers were not increased and at times they were obviously overwhelmed. We had read somewhere that one of the perks of our all-inclusive status was the right to use facilities at any HTop hotel and so enjoy a meal or a drink there. When we asked about this at reception there was a shaking of heads as we were told that only two of the groupâs fourteen hotels in the region are open. Nevertheless we walked next day to the nearby HTop Amika, showed our ID card at the bar and surprise, surprise- it is not valid there! In summary I will first pass comment on a positive note.- â¢ The travel arrangements went without hitch â¢ The hotel is clean, modern and efficiently run â¢ The rooms were well serviced even on Xmas day â¢ The staff were hardworking and conscientious â¢ The Jacuzzi and sauna were available for hourly booking And now for the less pleasing aspects - â¢ The architects of the building have obviously ignored all consideration of inter-room sound insulation which is non-existent. â¢ Drinks are limited in variety and dispensation is very tightly controlled. Long queues form as two po-faced barmen dole out watery beer and cheap wine with little more than a grunt. A valid ID card bearing your mug-shot must be produced for each partially filled glass. The aggravation of this system is compounded by the apparent need to sift out those with a lesser entitlement, something of which, it seems, all are suspected. â¢ We may have been spoiled on previous Xmas holidays but we did expect, at the very least, some Xmas cheer and a couple of cabaret acts but the promised nightly entertainment was nothing more than a deafening disco aimed at the (thankfully few) youngsters present. The majority of guests were dismayed and wondered out loud how many local entertainers would be willing to step in, even at a knock down price. Then, by the sixth evening of our stay, it seemed the management had got the message and for the next three evenings a couple of singers and a dance act appeared. The general opinion however was that this was too little too late to improve the generally disappointing atmosphere. â¢ By using a questionable system of booking and involuntary transferrals HTop have apparently managed to fill three of their fourteen hotels in this locality. In the short term this may look like good business practice. However, what the managers fail to appreciate is the fundamental difference between running a hotel and a storage warehouse. The commodity that they push around for their own convenience are people, not goods and if they choose to ignore the fact that hotel guests hold the ultimate franchise then their training must be severely lacking. â¢ Ola Holidays, and other agents of HTop have been complicit in the conspiracy that has taken place and are therefore guilty by association. It follows quite naturally that these companies will be excluded from the future holiday plans of many of our fellow reluctant guests of the Calella Palace. People will certainly vote with their feet next time round. We await a response from these companies by way of explanation, apology or even token compensation and finally we await with interest news of their success or otherwise during 2012. Allan and Cathy Kennedy -- December 2011 "
- Travel date: 22nd December 2012
very good value
"having read past reviews we expected long delays waiting for photo's to be taken, there were only 3 of us so it took just moments, the bar staff were friendly but a smile from customers go along way. Plenty of food choice, rooms clean, pool not heated, beach OK clean and able to find somewhere to eat & drink. Not 4 star yet more than happy for the price"
- Travel date: 5th October 2012
"We stayed here for 3 nights last nov 28-dec 1. When our driver dropped us off, we can't believe we're in the correct hotel because its in the middle of a residential area which is bit rundown (look at the graffiti and beggars). Winter in Calella is very subdued and if you don't know Spanish, it would be very hard for you to communicate as some locals can't speak English. Going back to the hotel, the service (with the exception of the Head Waiter in the restaurant) is very poor. Some of the staff were really rude and just brush us off when we asked for something. The receptionist in particular didnt make us feel welcome. We felt like we were unwelcomed in the place and she wasnt particularly helpful when we asked for directions as her communication skills weren't really that good. The room is clean but impersonal. If you were looking for a home away from home, don't expect to find it here. It feels like a student hostel not a 4 star hotel. Bit of advice, bring your own towel here if you don't want to end up with chaffed skin. The food was basic. The entertainment abysmal. The travel to and from Barcelona is more than 1 hour on train and will cost you 28 euros and in rush hour, you'll end up standing. In summary, if you pay cheap, you get cheap service. We wouldnt go back and we advice you to go elsewhere."
- Travel date: 2nd December 2011
"We have just returned from here and have had a great holiday - We went all inclusive the food was really good, lots of choice avaliable. you could eat almost all day if you wanted to there is so much time that food is avaliable. Drinks both alcoholic and non ( pineapple juice is fab ) avaliable all day. The only down side was the fairly limited entertainment and the slightly grumpy waiters ( who if you just took with a pinch of salt are ok). walls a bit thin - but no problem really- would go back !! "
- Travel date: 4th September 2011
Big hotel Poor food
"Went to calella palace june 2011 worst holiday of my life, German student's must have been 300 of them , They were pouring water over balconys at people throwing ice cubes at children in swimming pool, smoking bongs then empty the remains over balconys they were very rude. Pushing everyone that got in there way . Complained to manager most night , You were only allowed 1 drink per person and there were 3 in my family i could'nt go up with 3 card's and get 3 drink's i was only allowed too get 2 which you waited 20 mins for , Staff behind bar were very unpleasent there was a few that would smile at you. Booked all inclusive what a waste of time. This is the first hotel we have been to that use optics. This hotel is not for british people its more like a 18 to 30 but with no music.Entertainment is very poor the olympic is the same full of german student's"
- Travel date: 17th July 2011
Good Hotel, dreadful guests!
"I usually read these reviews with a pinch of salt and prefer to make my mind up by having a holiday, usually its that they are good. However, please be very careful at the Calella Palace or going on any "HTOP allocated on arrival". We have just returned from an awful holiday at this 4* hotel. The hotel is ok, although not sure why its a 4*, seems to be 3* to me, the food is good, staff Ok, but some of the guests are dreadful. Some of these reviews talk about German 'Students'. They are not students linked to higher education, but are school leavers who get rewarded by the German Government with a free holiday for staying at school! They ought to use the money to bail out the Greeks and the Euro zone. We were at this hotel at the end of June 2011 and there were at least 100 rude, inconsiderate, noisy, drunk teenagers running around the hotel at all hours being completely unbothered by any supervision. The ones with them that were meant to give some discipline were joining in, or didn't have the backbone to stop their noise or drunkedness. All the German 'children' specialised in queue jumping at the bar. If I had known about them staying at his 4* hotel i would definitely not have gone anywhere near this hotel, so be warned. I never have written a bad review, but these 'guests' and this hotel are something to be avoided by anyone wanting a decent holiday. Please be warned and don't take it lightly."
- Travel date: 30th June 2011
you cant please every one
"i stayed with my husband in this hotel in early june, the weather wasnt terrific but the hotel was fine, yes there were a lot of german students there and yes they were all drinking and some were noisy but they were on holiday too, they did not bother us, the restraunt was too busy at times but we just went a bit later and it was ok, the food was very good and is constantly changed throughout the meal times, loads to choose from, we normaly eat out quite a lot even on ai but we didnt need to, would love to know what the people moaning about the food eat at home, and why the need to take fruit from the restraunt after your meal when you could go back an hour later and help you self ,there was also bread available with every meal so if you wanted a sandwich you could make one as there was plenty of cooked meats, cheese and other stuff. we found the staff helpfull and friendly and the rooms were well maintained . "
- Travel date: 21st June 2011
"Just returned from 2 weeks holiday at this hotel. I went with my husband and 2 small children. The room was cleaned every day to a high standard and the staff were great, fieindly and helpful especially the restaurant staff considering the volumes of work they do. Entertainment girl for kids club was great. Only problem would be the high volume of students, was quiet during the day when they went out, on their return hotel very noisey into the early hours. Unfortnately they could be very rude and pushy at evening meal time. But the hotel as a whloe was nice. "
- Travel date: 22nd April 2011
Top traveller tips for H-TOP Calella Palace Family & SPA
"Do not go in February. Calella is as good as closed"
"Explore the local area at night and day, to see the difference. Try eating at a resturant in town. "
"Have a good walk round there is lots to do"
"My tip to people is never go to costa brava "
"Don't go to the Calella Palace"
"the beaches are great and plenty of shops"
"book to go on medievil night, was great"
"One of spains little hidden treasures."
"dont listen to negative views and make your own during your visit."
"go there to eat and visit barcelona"
"query the all inclusive service before booking"
"NO just to be carefull"
"Barcelona fabulous - Train to Barcelona great, sites beautiful,take tour bus when there."
"nice resort but dated"
"the white horse english pub! "
"lovely friendly place, lots to do day or night "
"enjoyed marineworld it has a waterpark in it as well."
"good shops 4 shoes bags and clothes nice old town quirky alley ways with shops .easy 2 get lost. "
"Pappa's Bar,Gringo Joes,Gran Caffe"
"Gringo Joes for a British fry-up and Sunday lunch."
H-TOP Calella Palace Family & SPA is also called
- H TOP Calella Palace
- Osiris Hotel
- calella palace