Irish Daily Mirror
GOING SWIMMINGLY: Matthew and Shea loved playing and making new friends in the pool area
CYP-LY THE BEST
Declan Winters takes his family to Spain’s No1 luxury campsite
would consider myself a veteran of campsites throughout Europe. Seven years on the trot – France, Italy, Holland and Portugal, They all had resorts with their own individuality and each delivered holidays with special memories for my family.
Added to this list was Cypsela Resort, set on the Costa Brava in Spain’s Catalonia region, and it came highly recommended by a work colleague who recalled his “best ever summers in paradise”. Just an hour’s drive from Girona Airport had us at the gates of the resort and as we drove up the avenue we were greeted with a perfect family holiday scene. Kids rode on bikes, swimmers made their way to and from the pools and people wandered at their leisure in the hot midday sun. Opened in 1967, Cypsela is deluxe rated and is one of three campsites in Catalonia within the luxury category. It is considered to be one of Spain’s finest resorts and caters mostly for the camping fraternity. After a quick and stress-free check-in we were taken to our accommodation by a friendly member of staff. We choose
one of the Bungalows Mediterrani, which are modern with an attractive design and situated in prime location close to the swimming pools. Because of their position the bungalows are a good option for families looking for comfort in pleasant surroundings with plenty of shade. The maximum capacity for the bungalow is four and it consists of a spacious living area, two double bedrooms and a fullyequipped kitchen with a fridge and a microwave. The bathroom has a
shower, wash-basin, hairdryer and comes fitted with air conditioning. It also includes all kitchen utensils, dishes, towels and bed linen that is changed during your stay. A ramp at the front of the bungalow led to a spacious decking area with table and chairs. Sun loungers, sun chairs and a barbecue completed the garden furniture at the front. With rooms ready and bags unpacked it was now time for us to explore. The swimming area, as always, is the first port of call and it didn’t disappoint.
We were met with a perfect holiday scene on our arrival
LIFE’S A BEACH: Playa de Pals near the resort
THE STAR ATTRACTION: Cypsy Club leaders kept us entertained
The complex was a real showpiece. The first huge pool is for all the family with two spring diving boards and a second smaller pool for children. This area would be essential to our stay as our boys Matthew, 12, and 10-year-old Shea spent most of their days here playing and making new friends. As expected, the campsite caters brilliantly for children of all ages, with the Cypsy Club the focal point for parents with younger children. The club leaders do a fantastic job and were visible every day,
RIGHT AT HOME: Bungalow Mediterrani
organising games and activities including T-shirt painting, sports tournaments, arts and costume-making. They spoke English, Dutch, German, Spanish and Catalan, giving kids from different nationalities a chance to interact. They also organised games for the more competitive parents so a mention must go to a certain dad who, ahem, won the daddies table-tennis tournament, seeing off stiff opposition from a sunburnt cocky North Londoner in the final. If, like our boys, your older kids don’t fancy tagging along with the Cypsy Club, there is a fantastic games room
Irish Daily Mirror
@mirrortravel n TEMPLE Wat Chalong
travel n SECLUDED Paresa Resort
n AMAZING The Hongs
FIRST RESORT: Aerial view of Cypsela complex
MAKE A WISH AND SEE IT FLY THAI IN THE SKY
POOLED IT OFF: Complex has huge area to relax by water
for a week of fun for all in paradise on site. It’s stocked with pool tables and the latest arcade games which gave them a much-needed break from the sun and kept them occupied for hours, again meeting other kids and forming friendships that lasted the week. Another option for the children is the spacious social room – an ideal place to relax and listen to music, watch television and play games. With the kids well catered for – what is there for mums and dads to do? How about relaxing by the pool or sipping cocktails or a cool beer on the sun terrace. Or for the more energetic, various sports activities are available including tennis, football on the pitch, mini-golf, basketball, volleyball and table-tennis. There’s also a fully-equipped gym, a beauty salon, inflatable trampolines and even a skateboard rink. The large campsite supermarket
supplied a wide range of products that catered for your everyday needs without having to leave the site, including an off-licence with keenlypriced local wines, beers and spirits. My morning visits to the bakery to fetch fresh bread and croissants was a simple but strangely pleasurable task, and one that can only be experienced on the continent. Restaurants and bars are facilities that are common with campsites throughout Europe and Cypsela again delivers. The resort offers several eating establishments especially designed so every guest will find a restaurant that suits their culinary tastes. They are highly valued because of the varied menus, with dishes from the Mediterranean and international cuisine, including an excellent children’s menu. We dined three nights in the Restaurant Cypsela and were treated
get there A one-week stay in a Bungalow Mediterrani costs €540 in the low season and can be booked up until April 30. Maximum four people per bungalow. Extra services available: beach towels, cleaning service and beds made on your arrival. This service is available on request via email@example.com. For more
information on the resort visit www.cypsela.com Airports: Girona 33 miles, Barcelona 87 miles
to five-star service. I can’t recommend highly enough the local seafood special – a five-course treat that still has my mouth watering as I write. Les Moreres Restaurant, The Snack Bar, a take-away and the Els Verns Bar complete the options on site. In the evening the resort organises excellent entertainment and activities throughout the season including live music, games, cabaret, quizzes, bingo and karaoke and staff include, or should I say embarrass, as many people as they can in their shows. I discovered I could balance a chocolate digestive biscuit on my forehead, with hands tied behind my back, and guide it into my mouth in just two minutes – much to the delight of the crowd and to the shame of my family. If you fancy a day away from the resort, a free five-minute shuttle bus is available, ferrying people to and from the local beach at Playa de Pals. It has bars, restaurants and shops to compliment the fantastic sandy beach. Would I regard Cypsela Resort as the best European campsite I have ever visited? Definitely. This holiday will remain in the memory of my family for a long time to come and you know something’s gone right when on the flight home the kids ask, “Are we going there next year daddy?”, just like my workmate asked his daddy back in 1984.
FROM PAGE 45 their own pool and others, like mine, are joined with the villa next door – perfect if you’re away with a group of friends or family. The top-end villas – at the top of the hill of course – have everything, their own pool, bedrooms for as many people as you could want, massage rooms, Jacuzzis, dining rooms, in fact you’d never really need to leave it. But it’s worth trying the restaurant at the hotel for its amazing views and the fabulous food. People come from miles around to eat here. The hotel also has a spa with all kinds of beauty treatments, including, of course, massage. I had no idea your bones could crack quite so much but I felt a million times better, and about a foot taller, afterwards. It’s hard to actually leave the Paresa but you should make the effort to see the coastal viewpoints and the giant white Buddha sitting on a hilltop. And an absolute must-do is the Wat Chalong, a huge, ancient temple in red, white and gold still used by monks today. If more Thai tradition is what you’re after then look up at night and you’ll often see a sign of it as a wish lantern floats past. They are let off into the night sky to burn away and as you release it you make a wish and watch it fly up into the darkness. My wish came true the next day when I had the highlight of my trip – a spectacular ‘Hong by Starlight’ excursion with John Gray’s sea canoes. Hong are the central parts of islands which have collapsed to create holes through to the ocean – making them look like a doughnut from above – and you can access them only by going through sea caves. Easier said than done as the ceilings of many of them are only a couple of feet above the water. And that’s where the sea canoes come in. A boat takes you out to the collection of small islands where you get in to canoes with one or two other holidaymakers and a guide
to paddle to the caves, where you lean back as rock formations loom inches over your head. These extraordinary Hong are like huge echo chambers with almost vertical sides and trees and bushes growing straight up from every patch of earth in search of some sun. You have to lie almost flat in a not very big canoe, so if you’re not good friends beforehand, you probably will be afterwards but what a great experience the trip was. Back on dry land, there was just time for one more night watching the sun go down from my cliffside infinity pool. Really, who needs a backpack?
Travelbag has a 12nt trip to Phuket with 8nts at Centara Grand Beach Resort on B&B and 4nts at Paresa Resort from €1,860pp based on 2 sharing inc flights with Vietnam Airways from Gatwick in June (saving up to €725 per couple). www. travelbag.co.uk, 0871 703 4240. Tourism: www.tourismthailand. co.uk.
time zone +7 hrs currency Baht €1 = 40.6 best time to go..
Year round tropical treat