Last weekend I was invited to Manchester by Jet2holidays to their ‘Jet2Sunchester’ event. This wondrous place is accessed through an ocean full of fish (and photo booth props) and can only be visited with a special Jet2holidays Boarding Pass.
Once you enter you are in a parallel universe – a place where it’s always sunny (vs Manchester with its incessant rain) and you can access some of the hottest holiday islands of 2016 by just a small walk between them (a bit like the Magic Faraway Tree, with the different lands at the top). At each island the parallel universe steps up a notch, transporting you back to the last time you visited that island and reminded of how fab it is! Crazy I know, but bear with me…
Mallorca (Majorca), Malta and Tenerife were the islands of choice when I went to Sunchester but I hear there can be others too such as Ibiza, Menorca, Lanzarote… basically if Jet2holidays have a package holiday there then it’s an option!
I started my holiday in the international waters of Sunchester on a deck chair surrounded by palm trees – how very relaxing! However I was soon distracted and in the distance, across the water, on the Isle of Malta I could see something pink, I began to focus and suddenly our eyes met, whilst seated I was the perfect height to gaze into his dreamy orange eyes, his skin was flawless and his neck was so… well, bendy! I hurriedly made my way across to Malta and dove onto him as if my life depended on it.
Meet Fred (not his christened name so it could be anything but I’ve called him Fred), my love. I felt intoxicated just being near him.. but then I realised it wasn’t this glorious flamingo making me feel that way, but the parallel universe and suddenly I was being transported back to my last trip to Malta.
It’s June 1988 and it’s our last day of holiday there – I’m writing a postcard to my grandparents (why did people do that? Write a postcard that wouldn’t be there for another 2 weeks at least after you arrived back home!? Long live email!)
Hi Nanna and Grandad! We’ve loved the hotel here in Malta, the room is lovely – the dressing table in our room is fab, as it’s pink and has lots of storage for my make up… (oh wait, scratch that!) …for my colouring books and stationery. It has lovely views too, it’s set into the cliff and I predict it will be there in nearly 30 years time (maybe owned by Radisson!?) as its super gorgeous!
Dad took me Pony trekking today for our last day, I wore my velour romper as its more practical than a dress and a massive straw hat to save me getting wrinkles on my face! You have to future think at 6 you know! We’ve visited the capital Valetta and walked around the old city walls and straight streets. Mum says that it was the first town to have a grid style street system, for me it made it so much easier to figure out where to go to find all the ice cream places! We also visited Popeyes village too – apparently the film Popeye was filmed here but it’s just like an old abandoned village. It was a bit eerie but still really interesting.
I really have loved Malta, I think it would be a great place for a satellite TV music channel to host a music festival every year too (oh wait we only have 4 TV channels at the moment – Oops) I’d love to come back to Golden sands one day!
Hope the cats are well.
See you tomorrow Lucy xx
After posting the postcard in the hotel lobby postbox I remember picking up my Minnie Mouse rucksack and then I was back in the present day at Sunchester! The Malta Tourism Authority were in front of me telling me more about Malta – maybe that’s where my premonitions in my postcard came from (no entering the lottery for me then!?) Rach was with me at this point and it was like nothing had happened, however she said she’d been to Malta and remembered visiting Popeyes Village also! What a coincidence!?
We both listened intently to how Malta had changed very much since I was last there in the 80’s, Brad and Angelina honeymooned on its neighbouring Island Gozo, Valetta will be the European Capital of Culture for 2018 and the Isle of MTV celebrates its 10th anniversary on the island this year. There’s so many things happening on the island – Stormzy was there that same weekend performing at Annie Mac music festival – wish I’d known about that sooner!
We carried on chatting, but then saw cocktails across the waters so quickly went to explore over there. Bee, Lauren and Sophie were there already, so we got in on the cocktail action, look at these smoking cocktails!
I started to have that same feeling as if got with Fred the Flamingo and I knew the parallel Sunchester universe was at work again. Suddenly it’s 1997, I am in Mallorca rocking my Miss Selfridge Bikini just casually frolicking in the clear sea! Ive got a pretty good tan already as its my last day and night before we fly home, so I lay back on my towel, put on my Walkman and blast out Puff Daddy I’ll be Missing You, Will Smith Men in Black and some Shola Ama (can you see when I started to get into hip hop/R&b music?) whilst dreaming of Leo in Romeo and Juliet and deciding what slip dress and tee combo I was going to go for that night.
After deciding on my pastel floral one with pastel pink shiny tee to show off my tan, I began to hear Tinie Tempah over the rapping of Notorious B.I.G Mo Money Mo Problems and I realised I was being pulled back to the present. I was with the team from BH Mallorca where Tinie is playing live twice this year on the ‘Stage’ part of the complex. They were also telling us about their day parties in the Island Beach Club section and their over 18’s water park ‘Twisted’ that has high adrenaline flumes that are on site – oh to be a teenager again I thought! (Although I am severely tempted to go see Tinie so if anyone fancies it shout up!)
They have pool beds for the day parties which look soooo good, and their ‘Stage’ is host to loads of live performances and DJ sets. Plus they are partnered with BCM and Pacha for some of their parties too which sounds fab! Paired with the teenage flashback I was feeling quite old so decided it was time to move on.
We went across the road to Sol Katmandu which is BH Hotel’s neighbour in the real world too. They are a family hotel which has its own mini theme park attached to it and crazy adventure golf! I got a quick snapshot flashback of when I last played crazy golf in Mallorca – It was 1994 and I was in a sunflower denim co-ord which I kinda wish I still owned (but in my size now!)
However it wasn’t half as good as what the Sol Katmandu looks to be. You can visit the theme park and crazy golf even if you don’t stay at the hotel, either way it looks fab for families as has a bunch of things to keep the kids amused, and the big kids too! We got to meet this guy too who is the mascot for the hotel and park.
As he freaked a couple of bloggers out we decided to move onto our final destination for the day which was Tenerife. I have never been to Tenerife. So no more holiday flashbacks I’m afraid! I really want to go, especially now I’ve heard more about the 5 star Hotel Botanico and the Oriental Spa Garden. It’s subtropical gardens look amazing with one hosting the Oriental Spa which was voted the best spa hotel in Europe by Condé Nast. I could see why, it offers treatments inspired by the Middle East and has all the facilities you’d expect a world class spa to have including a Turkish bath and ice rooms. In Sunchester there were manicures and back massages happening, Bee absolutely loved her’s and said it was the best 15 minutes spent. Imagine if she’d got to go to the real place?
The hotel pool is always a big factor for me choosing a hotel and this one has Balinese days beds by it and looks really natural thanks to the the palm trees and waterfalls surrounding it. Rumour has it you might even find a jacuzzis hidden underneath on of the many coves. It sounds like bliss. The thing that really got me was the 4 A La Carte restaurants with Asian, Spanish and Italian themes plus an open air restaurant. Sold.
Another claim to fame is that it’s the spa shown on Take Me Out! (Sorry to those that thought The Isle of Fernando’s was real) rumour has it, on some holiday sites is that it’s the resort they stay at too, so if you’re single and fancy going there then get applying!
The hotel has a close partnership with Siam Park which is a nearby water park and one of the biggest in Europe, plus it was voted number 1 in the world in the 2014 Travellers choice Trip Advisor awards with a vertical drop slide that goes through an aquarium at the bottom! Luckily for me who has 0.1% daredevil in me, the lazy river also goes through the aquarium which is much more my style.
There’s also Loro Parque nearby too which is a wildlife park/aquarium/zoo which has the worlds largest Penguinarium!!! I can’t express how much I need to visit there, my love of flamingos is only superseded by one other bird and that’s penguins!
So thanks to Sunchester I now need a another holiday. I was given some holiday essentials from Jet2Holidats to take back with me ready for my next package holiday, including suncream, SPF lip balm, a portable phone charger and a Jet 2 biscuit (which you can see in some of the photos!) I even came away with a Jet2holidays brochure to try and persuade Mr E and with only £60 deposit each to get it booked, so there is really no excuse! Tenerife here I come?!