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30/08/2018 | Bowls
Published in Bowls International July 2018
Jonathan Plumridge of Personal Touch Holidays describes the evolution of bowling in Spain and compares the bowls holiday potential of the three ‘costas’ on which bowls is played
In the 1950s charter flights began to operate to the warmer coastal areas of Spain for the first time, eventually leading to an annual migration of literally thousands of Brits to what became colloquially known as ‘the costas’. Eventually, following the ease of movement brought about by Britain joining the EEC, people started to retire to Spain to live out their ‘golden years’. Often they had holidayed to a coastal area repeatedly, fallen in love with it, and decided to settle. And in their wake came aspects of ‘back home’ infrastructure that many of them were missing, including bowls clubs.
The areas in which most people settled were the warmest coastal areas offering the mildest winter climates, in the southern and eastern regions of Andalusia, Murcia, and Valencia. With most rain-bearing winds blowing into Spain from the west and north west, and with significant mountain barriers blocking their way, most southern and south-eastern regions of Spain sit in relative rain shadows.
Bowling in these three areas is now well established, and clubs there are now frequently visited by touring sides from the UK.
The largest population of ex-patriot Brits is to be found in Valencia’s Costa Blanca region, and consequently the highest concentration of bowls clubs also lies there. One cluster of clubs lies to the north of Alicante. Another, an hour’s drive away to the south. Most of the touristic interest in this region however lies to the north, where one finds the historic regional capital of Valencia, the idyllically located mountain citadel of Guadalest, and a number of attractive fishing ports, such as Denia. Mountain ranges also render this area extremely visually appealing. The flatter, less well-watered (though pleasingly sunny) southern part of the Costa Blanca has historically been much more sparsely populated. The tourist accommodation in the region is also largely concentrated in the north, with the vast bulk of hotel beds to be found in hedonistic Benidorm, home to the world’s second most dense forest of skyscrapers after New York.
Our own bowls holiday base in the Valencia region is the Hotel Diamante Beach in the unspoilt seaside resort of Calpe. This is the elegant 4* flagship of Calpe’s leading hotel chain and stands close to the resort’s delightful Levante Beach promenade. The well-maintained palm-studded pool area features ample sun lounging and seating arrangements and a nearby bar. Below the hotel a fully featured and attractive spa area offers a variety of treatments. Single rooms are available at no supplement and our extremely close relationship with the hotel enables us to offer 9 nights there for the price of only 7 (the two free nights being offered on a bed and breakfast basis).
The second largest concentration of Brits living in Spain, and the second largest concentration of bowls clubs, is to be found on the Costa del Sol, where we offer 4* hotel options in both Torremolinos and Benalmádena. Although the coast in this area is highly developed, it features immaculately tended beaches and promenades, an attractive high-hill backdrop, and a wealth of excursion opportunities. These include historic ‘moorish’ cities, such as Malaga, Ronda and Granada, pretty ‘white villages’, such as Mijas and Benalmadena Pueblo, and impressive natural wonders, such as the Rock of Gibraltar and the El Chorro Lakes.
All three of our 4* hotels in this area offer something different. The newly renovated Best Siroco sits slightly uphill from the Benalmadena beachfront in the centre of the resort and offers award-winning tropical gardens, wonderful sea views, and a generous number of single rooms at no supplement. We have also guaranteed that all our rooms enjoy views of either the sea, the gardens, or both, and we have additionally included wine and water with our dinner arrangements.
On the boundary of Torremolinos and Benalmádena, for those looking for an extra special hotel base in a truly beautiful seafront location with almost direct access onto a manicured beachfront, we offer the 4* superior Sol House Hotel. All the rooms at the Sol House are junior suites and the pool area overlooking the sea is a total delight. Outdoor poolside breakfasting and dining are also available depending on weather conditions and table availability.
Finally, on the beachfront in eastern Torremolinos, the 4* Sol Principe hotel offers spacious public areas, direct access to the seafront promenade, an impressive freeform lagoon pool with surrounding palm trees, a smaller seafront pool set in an area of lawn, a spacious dining room with an outdoor seaview terrace, and an entertainments bar. Special Personal Touch Holidays offers at this hotel include a limited number of single rooms at no supplement, included wine with dinner, and complimentary side sea view room upgrades on two spring departure dates.
All three of these Costa del Sol hotels offer evening entertainment several times a week.
Which brings us to the last cluster of bowls clubs on the Spanish costas, those located close to Mojacar, on the Costa de Almería, in the southern Murcia region. This once forgotten corner of Spain lived in absolute poverty for centuries, inspiring a famous Spanish novel (‘Campos de Nijar’) describing the hardships associated with living there. However, modern technology and energy and water supplies have rendered comfortable living in the area entirely viable and turned the misery of subsistence farming in unrelenting hot sunshine into a 21st century tourism plus.
Our base in the area is the 4* Best Oasis Tropical, situated in the resort area of Mojacar, a fairly short bus or taxi ride from the beautiful hilltop ‘white village’ itself. The stand-out features of this hotel are an outdoor pool that can be covered in windy or inclement weather and a popular restaurant. Wine is included with dinner and we have a large number of single rooms available at no supplement. Although the excursion offer in the surrounding area is relatively modest the bowls clubs are incredibly hospitable and for weather reliability, price, and singles at no supplement, Mojacar can’t be beaten.
So. Three distinct ‘costas’, each with a distinct tourism offer. Five distinct hotels, each with its own defining characteristics. Which to choose? Until 16 July 2018 prices for spring and autumn 2019 for a week’s touring on half board inclusive of flights, transfers and 4 bowls matches fall within the following ranges: Costa Blanca, Hotel Diamante Beach £695 to £759; Costa del Sol, Hotel Sol Principe & Hotel Best Siroco £645 to £725, Hotel Sol House £699 to £849; Costa de Almería, Hotel Best Oasis Tropical £569 to £629. If selecting on price alone, our Mojacar hotel wins hands down. If you’re travelling with lots of people requiring single rooms our Mojacar hotel, our Calpe hotel, and the Hotel Best Siroco in Benalmádena are all equally good options. And for longer duration stays our Calpe hotel offers two extra nights free of charge, and all three of our Costa del Sol hotels offer lots to do in their immediate surroundings together with a wide range of excursions.
Should you wish to see full details of all our bowls holidays in Spain and/or elsewhere, please contact Personal Touch Holidays on 01403 786200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, full details of all our holidays plus images and interactive maps can be found on our website.
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