We drove all along the Spanish coast, across the border and into France in January, with the idea of staying the night 'somewhere on the coast' before our trip to the ski slopes. Most hotels and resorts were all closed up for winter. But when we arrived in Canet and saw people bustling about and some shops open we went to the tourist information to find out what was available in terms of accommodation.
This 57 room hotel in the heart of Le Canet-en-Roussillon was the first we looked at, and almost next door to the tourist information office. As it was already 5pm, we booked a room on the 2nd floor, overlooking the roaring and thrashing ocean. It was very basic and although the thermostat control for the heating was in the room and we turned it up to its highest setting. The room didnt ever get warm, and reception had gone by 9pm so there was nothing for it but to wrap up warm, get a bottle of wine and some olives from the local supermarket and watch the magnificent Mediterranean thrusting its way up the shore... from the outside terrace! lovely.
Our bathroom (with separate toilet room) was sooo cold I couldnt bare to get undressed and shower! Horrer! The water was hot, and we had plenty of towels (but no where to dry them). Breakfast wasn't mentioned, so we assumed the dining room was closed. There was an empty fridge in the room, which would be very useful in the hot months, but all the furnishings were rather dated & shabby and we were glad we were leaving the next day.
Parking was in the free public car park behind the hotel, which I believe is incredibly busy in the summer season and you are not allowed to park there at certain times and days (perhaps market day) for more than 2 hours.
We did see an ad in the lift for its Centre Balnéo Marinéo with swimming pool , sauna , solarium , Jacuzzi , as well as wellness treatments on offer, but we assumed that would all be shut, so didnt bother to ask.
The location is everything for this place, just a great spot overlooking the ocean and near to the main street with restaurants and cafe bars. There is also a casino next door. Maybe when its warm and you are out on the beach all day the basic standards of this hotel don't matter. But I would look for a slight better hotel if going to Canet again.
Although you can book direct with Camping Mar Estang, we found them through http://www.vacansoleil.co.uk/, who we have previously used for holidays in Holland.
Vacansoleil have their own caravans on the site for rent at much more reasonable prices than many of their competitors. The beauty of going with Vacansoleil was that we were able to choose our arrival and departure dates, as well as the length of holiday. At certain times of year, they offer 14 days for the price of 10 or 3 weeks for the price of 2.
We decided to fly from northern England, so Vacansoleil also gave us approx £50 discount for not taking the ferry from Dover to Calais.
The static caravan was brand new, very clean, and much of the furniture / blankets etc were still in their original wrappers. Accommodation consisted of double room, twin room plus bunk, shower room, toilet, living area / kitchen and decked patio area outside.
At the start of the holiday, a 100 Euro deposit must be left with the Vacansoleil reps, shich will be refunded if the caravan is left clean on departure and their are no breakages. Cif cleaning wipes proved very useful!
Great pool complex - so much so that our children preferred it to the nearby beach.
Used the restaurant and take-away a number of times and throughly enjoyed their Moules Mariniere and Pizzas, which were good value. Although a little more expensive than Vin de Table, highly recommend their Nicolas Bajoles Cotes de Rousillion at 15 Euros a bottle. Staff very friendly and welcoming - they seem to enjoy foreigners coming to dine there, as the restaurant seems to be patronised largely by the French, despite large numbers of Dutch and German tourists staying on site.
The site has it's own private beach club next to the Mediterranean sea, which is very nice, although it was not open, as we came early season.
Right at the end of the Canet-Plage, the site is next to a pretty nature reserve. Sadly at the moment (June 2004) a hotel an apartments are being build between the site an the beach. On completion, it will enhance the area, but it is something to be aware of for 2004.
Nevertheless, this didn't spoil my holiday & I will definitely go back again.
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