Sunday 13 October 2019

Hotel Riviera, Santa Susanna | my experience

If you know me or follow my blog, you'll probably know I don't really do relaxing all-inclusive holidays. Nothing against them, obviously, I'm just more of a city break girl. And I book everything myself. But when my friend suggested we go on a trip together and spend some time just doing nothing I thought yeah, why not - then I went on Holiday Pirates and booked a week at the Hotel Riviera, Santa Susanna. Here's everything about my experience...

Booking the trip

Like I said, we booked through Holiday Pirates who are part of Love Holidays. The holiday cost £720 for the two of us - flights, transfers, 1 20kg suitcase, and one week in a premium room on an all-inclusive basis. That's £360 per person, and we paid a £50 deposit each on the day. We paid the remaining cost of the holiday over the next 4 months - it was SO easy! I would highly recommend booking with Holiday Pirates as they find some great deals without you having to do any legwork.

Hotel Riviera - first impressions

During our transfer which was, to be fair, not the best (it just took so long and the driver was pretty rude) I decided to re-read the Trip Advisor reviews for the hotel. Obviously there was nothing we could have done at this point, but I had time to kill and I think I wanted to find out something about food times or whatever. Anyway, some of the reviews from the previous few weeks were awful. I'm not going to re-write them here but you can click the link and read them if you feel so inclined, just know that they're wrong and I honestly think these people stayed in a different hotel to me.

One side of Hotel Riviera
We arrived and checked in, which was easy, and had to pay the tourist tax upon arrival which I'd kind of forgotten was a thing - just worth remembering, or checking if it's included in your booking etc. You also have to pay a €10 deposit for your all-inclusive wrist band; if you hand it back by midday on your last day you get the money back, and if you continue to use it past midday you don't, but you also continue getting free food & drink so it's up to you!

Our room was on the 6th floor, and there's a glass lift overlooking the pool that goes up there. There are normal lifts too, but they don't service every floor. There are toilets on the ground floor as well as the gym and spa - both are really basic - and pool tables, air hockey, plenty of seating both indoor and out, and the bar area.

Everything looked really clean, and while the reception staff weren't the most joyful people I've ever met, they certainly weren't rude either.

Hotel Riviera - the rooms

We were in a premium room, as I mentioned, on the 6th floor. You walked in and there was a bathroom on the left - really clean, decorated in white and grey with those fancy tiles, a huge sink unit, toilet and massive shower. Like, one of the biggest showers I've ever seen. The bathroom door definitely wasn't see-through either, which I'd read about on Trip Advisor. Honestly...

Cute artwork in the room
More of the room!
There was a desk area with a mini fridge underneath (empty and free to use) and TV above, a big wardrobe with plenty of hanging and shelf space, two single beds with COMFY mattresses and a little bedside table area on each side. We also had a balcony with a table and two chairs which overlooked the side of another hotel - not the best view but it didn't matter to us!

The room wasn't massive but it definitely wasn't small; it had everything we needed and more, was cleaned daily and didn't smell funny. I was made up!

Hotel Riviera - food and drink

We were all inclusive which meant breakfast between 8 and 10, lunch between 1 and 3, and dinner between 7 and 10. It also meant drinks between 11 and 11 - as many as you wanted and contrary to one Trip Advisor review you could order multiple drinks at once, like you can in every other hotel I've ever been to...

The food was basic but fine. At breakfast there was bread, pastries, pancakes, cold meats, cheese - everything you'd expect, and that typical hotel orange juice too. One morning there was chicken nuggets which was unexpected but fantastic. Lunch and dinner were similar to each other: always a salad bar (with chocolate buttons????), chips, plenty of meat/pasta/veg/fish/bread and also a selection of puddings.

Vodka-Fanta Lemon by the pool
Drinks at the bar - beer, sangria, various cocktails (quite weak) or local spirits and mixer. They did all the normal fizzy drinks, as well as slush and milkshakes, with water available too. There's also all sorts of coffee on offer!

My overall thoughts

Honestly, I had the best time at Hotel Riviera, Santa Susanna. It's a quite, family-friendly hotel within easy reach of an English pub, various bars, shisha, supermarkets, a pharmacy, market stalls and the beach. The staff are lovely - special shoutouts to Miguel from the restaurant, who knew our drinks order by the second day, and Isabelle and Manolo who ran the bar of an evening. For £360 per person for a week's holiday, and that's everything, I think we really got lucky! If you're looking for a budget Costa Brava break, I'd recommend Hotel Riviera every time.

Sunrise on our balcony
So that's what I ended up with when I booked my first ever all inclusive holiday. I was pleasantly surprised and I'd definitely go back! Cheers to Holiday Pirates for finding banging bargains all the time and that x

To see my favourite holiday outfits, CLICK HERE


  1. When it comes to booking holidays, I'm definitely more of a city break girl too and I've never been on an all-inclusive holiday. I'm glad to hear you had such a positive experience - the hotel sounds pretty cool!

    Dominika |

  2. I have yet to stay at an all inclusive (aside from cruising). I need to change that soon! It was great that you went out of your comfort zone and enjoyed yourself.

  3. I think this sounds amazing to be honest. I'm totally gonna head over and read the reviews though - they're always worth a laugh xx

  4. I've never been all inclusive !I'm going to check out the deals x

    Joyce |

  5. I'm desperate to go on holiday, and I'll definitely be keeping Hotel Riviera in mind! Although it might be a few years, as no one want to babysit the chickens for us (can't blame them to be honest haha!). £360 per person all inclusive is amazing too, much more affordable than some of the deals I've seen (as much as £750 per person, for much less than you got at Hotel Riviera!) Glad you enjoyed yourselves :D
    Bella x

  6. This sounds like an amazing all inclusive holiday, and the price is exceptional! I'd be interested to read the other reviews people have left since it sounds like they've been felt harsh before. I'd literally have been like a fish at the bar if I knew everything was all inclusive x

    Kayleigh Zara ❄️✨

  7. Sounds like a great hotel. Sometimes you need somewhere with a little taste of home that isn't TOO fancy pants. Can't go wrong with all inclusive either. I love that artwork featured in the room too, very cool! x


  8. Sounds like such a lovely hotel to stay for a chilled break away! Always love reading about your travel reviews :)

    Kate |

  9. I've never done an all inclusive holiday before. I'm like you, I just don't do the relaxing type of breaks but this sounds great! I would love to do something like this next summer.

  10. I'm usually a city break kind of person, and I've never been on an all inclusive holiday, but this sounds amazing! £360 for a week, including all the food and drink, is SUCH a bargain. The hotel looks nice, clean and comfortable which is all that really matters! I'm so glad you had a much better time than the reviews insinuated - although I find people on TripAdvisor are often hugely overdramatic!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  11. I absolutely LOVE an all inclusive breakfast. Sounds like the perfect place to getaway if you just need a break from the world!

  12. What a lovely break!! I love your vibe for your breaks!! Hit me up with that breakfast - yummy!

  13. This sounds fab, all inclusive holidays are so good.

  14. That's not a bad deal. Ive never booked through holiday pirates before

  15. Wow what an absolute bargain this just sounds so spot on!! I don't get TripAdvisor people sometimes. My personal highlight: chicken nuggets at breakfast 😍 incredible

  16. This sounds like such a great deal!
    I have a love/hate relationship with all-inclusive holidays, but I love the fact you don't have to spend your spending money on food and drink x