UK residents arrive in Ibiza as travel restrictions are lifted
And behind the masks of their parents, we felt smiles of relief. Some had only booked days in advance to be on the first TUI flight after lockdown from Manchester to White Isle when restrictions were lifted since the first lockdown in July last year. But what changes could they expect on their first vacation package in the new normal? For starters, face coverings are a must.
After being checked in by masked staff behind plexiglass screens, we headed at the restaurant for lunch.
You are expected to wear them whenever you are inside the hotel, but in covered restaurants, once seated, we may remove them.
Temperatures taken and hands sanitized, we were then led to a table. Following the markers on the ground, I navigated the buffet, indicating to the staff what I liked, then I was passed the plate between the screens. Breakfast was a bit more self-serve affair, with signs reassuring us that the tongs were regularly sanitized.
The family-friendly hotel emerged from an extensive renovation in 2019 with a focus on activities for children. Covid adjustments have been made so that the number of children kids’ clubs can accommodate has been reduced from 30 to 10 for a one-hour session, and staggered drop-offs to allow time for cleaning.
The evening’s entertainment was a lively song-and-dance show, but persuading the children to maintain the five-foot safe distance from the stage was a challenge. Dan, one of the staff at the resort, explained: ‘We’re trying to make social distancing a game for the kids.
The family-friendly hotel emerged from a full renovation in 2019
Inevitably, some hypnotized toddlers skipped the line, only to be gently encouraged to return.
The five-foot distancing is also applied to poolside lounge chairs, and they are wiped down thoroughly after each use. As the hotel was by no means at full capacity, finding a vacant sunbed was no problem.
Water babies will take full advantage of the free access to the water park next to the hotel (maximum of 150 people, against 205).
But if you want to feel the sand between your toes or cool off in the sea, the sheltered beach of Port des Torrent is only a short walk away, which is precisely what I did on Sunday morning, joining the locals to relax with their families. .
It was hard to believe that only 48 hours earlier I had been in Gatwick waiting to take off for Ibiza on a plane specially chartered by TUI for my first post-lockdown flight and to review two of the best hotels on the island.
Masked, I had entered an eerily silent and almost empty airport, so the passage to departures was swift, especially since I had made sure to complete the online health declaration form – you will have to show it to arrival as a condition of entry.
Captain T the dog and his buddy welcome kids with a socially distanced wave
We also encourage you to check in online 24 hours before your flight. Another health declaration must be completed for the return flight.
So far so good – until I joined a long queue to get through security, thanks to fewer lanes open to ensure a safe distance was maintained.
Boarding, on the other hand, was civilized, row by row, and once you get to your seat, you’ll find a solitary security card in the seat pocket – the in-flight magazine will be missing, and there’s no there are no duty-free sales on board. A limited food and drink cart means there are no hot items — instead, a selection of pre-packaged items are offered.
During the flight, you are advised to stay in your seat as much as possible and queuing for the toilet is discouraged.
Cabin attendant Alison, who has accumulated over 30 years of flying, could not contain her joy: “I am so happy to be back in the sky”, adding that she found the greatest The challenge now was to interact with the passengers, “because they don’t see that you smile when you wear a mask”.
Landing barely two hours later, and health questionnaire and passport duly checked, I quickly retrieve my luggage already loaded on the carousel. It was time to change my mask (it is advisable to change every four hours) before boarding the coach for the first hotel on my itinerary, the 245-room Ibiza Twiins Hotel.
Water babies can take full advantage of the free access to the water park next to the hotel
Opened the day before after an elegant renovation, we were among the first to take advantage of new facilities, including a huge, uncluttered pool facing the ocean, fanned by palm trees. An al fresco lunch of street food was brought to the table at the innovative Foodie Truck restaurant.
We sampled Iberian ham, sea bass ceviche, cheeses, sushi and white bait while enjoying the view of Playa d’en Bossa.
The longest beach on the Balearic island would normally be packed with sun-seekers at the height of summer, cooling off to the sound of the beats echoing around Europe’s clubbing capital.
Instead, the evening’s entertainment for the hotel’s 90 guests was an open-air screening of an island history film that picked up on the hippie heritage of the 60s and 70s and was projected onto a screen installed behind the swimming pool.
We deepened the history the next morning as we explored the World Heritage Site of Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s old town, with local guide Pepe Costa. Behind a plexiglass visor, he told us that the last tour he had done was almost five months ago. Being part of the 90% of inhabitants who work in tourism, he was more concerned that visitors return.
The pandemic may have unplugged Ibiza’s usual soundtrack, but the sound of waves lapping on the seaside and the chirping of birds was infinitely sweeter music to my ears.
Located in Port des Torrents, the hotel favors activities for children
TUI BLUE For Families is offering seven nights’ all-inclusive accommodation at 4T TUI BLUE Aura in Port des Torrents, from £2,802 based on two adults and two children sharing, including a free child’s seat, with flights from Manchester on July 17 and transfers included. tui.co.uk
TUI Platinum is offering seven nights’ B&B at 4T Ibiza Twiins in Playa d’en Bossa, from £581 pp based on two adults sharing, including flights from Birmingham on October 7 and transfers. Half-board and all-inclusive options available. tui.co.uk
illesbalears.travel/en/ibiza. For updates on travel restrictions