I said to Mr P that I'd only go to Benidorm if he found a five-star hotel. Because of this, I didn't think I'd ever visit. But I was wrong. I had to eat my words. Especially as the five-star hotel in Benidorm was actually rather magnificent.
There are two sides to Benidorm. Yes, there's the brash in-your-face neon 'new side', but there's also a rather lovely Old Town which is where our hotel was located. We stayed at the Villa Venecia Hotel in the heart of Benidorm Old Town. Built into a cliff, it has magnificent views across the water and sits majestically above the terrace and marina.
It's definitely five-star service. A complimentary drink is always served whilst you complete in the necessary check-in paperwork. And, no one likes to refuse a glass of Cava?
Every bedroom at the Villa Venecia has an uninterrupted sea view. Rooms are nicely decorated, albeit on the small side. If you do plump for a house room, they're more than big enough for two but don't expect the vast space that you may find in the likes of America or the Middle East. But it soon gets forgotten once you start tasting the chocolate dipped strawberries with popping candy that are left in the room as a very welcome treat.
Rooms have all the amenities you'd expect. Nespresso machine, bathrobes, in-room safe, additional seating, flatscreen TV and free WiFi. If you choose to upgrade (suite rooms are available), some rooms have very small balconies. There are only 22 bedrooms and I don't think you'll be spoilt for choice, especially when you can watch the glorious sunrise each morning from the comfort of your own bed.
Breakfast is a real highlight here. I would definitely recommend that you include this with your booking. It's a five-star hotel offering five-star service and a five-star breakfast. There's no buffet, so no double-dipping disappointment. It's a-la carte all the way. If the weather is kind, we'd recommend sitting outside on the terrace. There are only around 4 or 5 tables, so you may have to wait a short while but it's no hardship (you're on holiday after all).
From the very freshly squeezed orange juice (worth staying for the orange juice alone) to the glorious freshly-baked pastries, cold charcuterie and cheese selections it's a mouth-watering start to the day. The a-la carte breakfast menu has a great choice, from a freshly cooked traditional full 'English' to something lighter like pancakes (see picture below).
The hotel is perfectly located in the heart of the Old Town and set into the cliffs above Levante Beach. The Old Town really comes alive in the evening, especially with locals. Here you'll find small cobbled streets with a couple appropriately named 'Tapas Alley', serving exquisite looking and tasting small tapas dishes. It gets busy at weekends so if you spot a restaurant you like the look of then I'd book, or expect to wait. But, it'll be worth it. After all the best place to eat tapas is in Spain (we don't eat it anywhere else as 'British Tapas' is such as disappointment in our opinion).
The Old Town is a jumble of small local shops, clothes shops and souvenirs. In fact, for the first 24 hours of being in Benidorm, I didn't think I was in what I considered to be Benidorm. OK, there is the odd drag bar. After a good 20 minute walk along the beach towards the bright neon lights, you will soon find the more hedonistic nightlife and the bar with the bucking broncho (made famous by the Benidorm TV series). We happily stayed in the Old Town during our four-day stay with the exception of taking a boat trip up the coast to Calpe. The Villa Venecia Hotel stands high above the marina, so it's only a short jaunt down the cliff steps to catch a boat. It's a perfect location.
Top Tip: As the hotel is in the heart of the Old Town the streets are narrow. If you book a coach transfer from Alicante airport (like Hoppa) then it won't be able to take you door-to-door (despite what it says on the website). The coach will drop you off by Levante Beach and then it's a 5 minute uphill walk through the crowds with your suitcase. Cars and small minibuses have no problem navigating the narrow alleys - just something to bear in mind.
Our flights from Manchester to Alicante were with Jet 2 (around 2 hours 50 minutes). Transfer time from the airport to the hotel is around 45 minutes by car. We booked the hotel direct https://en.hotelvillavenecia.com/