We spent three nights in Javea (Xàbia), Spain this summer. The town, which is home to lots of European expat retirees, has a sandy Mediterranean beach and plenty of restaurants, and it’s flanked on the north and the south sides by high rocky cliffs.
We found a budget-friendly hotel within a short drive of Arenal Beach through Hotels.com for our stay in Javea. The hotel looked really good online, but the reality was a little different than the image. If you’re considering a visit to Javea, read this post before booking your hotel.
Here’s my list of 5 things I loved and hated at the Aparthotel Pinasol in Javea, Spain.
1. Love It: The Three Pools
The hotel’s three pools may have been the Aparthotel Pinasol most redeeming feature. One pool was deep and seemed to draw the single 20-some crowds. The second pool was shallower and was where families with older kids tended to migrate.
Our favorite pool was the wading pool (shown in the picture up there). It started out just an inch or two deep, and gradually increased to about 3 feet deep. Small Shaw, who loves the water, had a fantastic time wading though the most shallow part of the pool and then belly-flopping into the foot-deep water.
We had a great time in the pool area, but it wasn’t perfect. Keep reading to find out what the Aparthotel Pinasol pool’s biggest drawback was.
2. Hate It: The Wifi
The Aparthotel Pinasol’s WiFi was a hot mess. An absolutely frustrating, hot, hot mess.
The hotel advertises “free” WiFi, but requires you to have a username and password to log in. No one tells you this when you check in. Since all of the apartments are at the opposite end of the pool area, it’s a good five-minute walk from the check-in desk to your room.
Let me pause here for a minute to explain that I work for myself. Remotely. My livelihood requires me to get online every day. On this particular trip, I was midway through a very large, entirely-web-based, client content management project. Access to WiFi was a prereq for any hotel I booked, and the Aparthotel Pinasol advertised free WiFi.
The Free WiFi is Slow as Molasses
We got to our room, tried to get online, and realized something was wrong. We tried calling the front desk, but between our limited Spanish and the clerk’s limited English, it was impossible to figure out what the long, convoluted WiFi password was. I had to walk to the reception area to have the clerk write it down for me.
Our WiFi access was supposed to be good until the day we checked out of the hotel, but twice during our three-night stay, it expired early. It was also slow. As. Molasses.
Slow, as in my gmail account wouldn’t open in HTML-only mode. Slow, as in it took more than an hour to find the address of our next hotel. Slow, as in it really crossed a line for me into “they shouldn’t even advertise that they offer free WiFi if the WiFi is so slow you can’t use for anything practical”.
The Premium WiFi is a Ripoff
It was so slow, in fact, that I decided to pay €5 for a day of the hotel’s “Premium” WiFi — a price that rubbed me entirely the wrong way, given that the “free” WiFi didn’t work worth a damn. I made what ended up being my two of five or six roundtrips to the front desk to pay for — and then ask for a refund for — my “Premium” WiFi access.
Why? Because it didn’t work. At all.
If the hotel can’t offer working WiFi, then it needs to stop marketing WiFi as an amenity. Period. At least they gave me a refund on my “Premium” WiFi, but it didn’t change the fact that I felt like the hotel had falsely advertised an amenity that it didn’t truly offer. The bottom line here is that if you need internet access while you’re traveling to Javea, don’t book an apartment at the Aparthotel Pinasol.
3. Love It: The Playground
In the same big common space where the swimming pools are at the Aparthotel Pinasol, you’ll also find a cute little playground area. Nick and I appreciated the playground because Small Shaw loved it. She climbed, she swang, she teeter-tottered, and she tired herself out for bedtime.
The playground was admittedly a little worn-out, but it was still a nice resource for families like ours who are traveling with small kids.
4. Hate It: The Burrs
For as enjoyable as our time in the water was, our time around the Aparthotel Pinasol’s pools was a little less fun. Why? Because the grass was covered in burrs. Everytime Small Shaw sat down on the grass she’d stand up again with burrs stuck to her swim suit and diaper.
Walking on the grass without shoes on proved to be a bad idea, so we made Small Shaw keep her water shoes on, and we walked on the grass wearing our flip-flips. Likewise, the burrs meant it was a bad idea to lay towels or other clothes directly on the grass, so if you weren’t able to snag a beach chair, you didn’t have a good place to set your things down.
5. Love It: The Continental Breakfast Buffet
Our single favorite thing about our stay at the Aparthotel Pinasol was the breakfast buffet. The buffet offered the biggest selection of breakfast options of any hotel we stayed in during our 9-day trip to Spain.
The buffet had coffee, hot cocoa, water, tea, milk, and several juices. There were typical European cold cuts and cheeses, as well as fresh fruit and a variety of breads, rolls, and pastries.
There was granola and yogurt. There was a little salad area, and there was even a hot foods part of the buffet that served scrambled eggs and hot breakfast meats (we even had bacon one morning!). Are you hungry yet?
We’re lucky to travel as much as we have during our years as expats in Germany. One of the things that we’ve learned is that where hotels go, you get what you pay for.Tweet This
At this stage in our lives, we’d rather save a little money and go without extra amenities than splurge on fancy hotels. The Aparthotel Pinasol was an alright hotel at an alright price. We enjoyed the hotel’s pools, and we appreciated the big breakfast buffet, but the bad WiFi and those painful little burrs both made our stay less fun that it could have been.
Have you found that you get what you pay for when you travel? Leave a comment!