Unico Care - Costa Blanca - Chapter 1: Joy in Villajoyosa

 

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As a keen traveller, I like to keep my eye on various travel websites, of which Silver Travel Advisor is first and foremost! When I saw an opportunity to go to Spain and sample the care and accommodation offered to folks with disabilities, I pondered awhile. Unico Care specialises in holidays and respite care for people over 55 with care needs. I am definitely the other side of 50 but not yet 55, and I have an incurable, progressive syndrome (plus another incurable syndrome secondary to the first) which means I need care.  I explained that I was not 55, but I would be more than happy to offer up my time to be a Guest Blogger if it was thought that I may be an appropriate candidate in spite of this. My thrill at being accepted for this assignment was also tempered with some anxiety: I hoped I would be able to produce a good blog! You, dear reader, be the judge.

Arrival
Central courtyard and outdoor pool - Villajoyosa ResortOn arrival at Alicante airport we had a private transfer to our first resort on the Costa Blanca in Villajoyosa, which is only a 30 minute drive away. As it was 11.15pm, we were shown straight to our suite where a cold dinner had been left for us in case we were hungry. We were also kindly given a Welcome Pack including some information about the resort, a couple of branded tee-shirts, stress balls (I’m pleased to say that these were not needed!), pens, travel mugs, perfume, aftershave, sun tan lotion and a huge basket of delicious, fresh Valencian oranges.

Our first impressions were very favourable as the modern, recently-built resort is large and airy and centres around a spacious courtyard with plenty of outdoor seating, all of which is suited to people with mobility issues as there are arms on the chairs to assist with transferring or getting up and sitting down. There was a petanque court plus some flower beds with Birds of Paradise flowers and cacti, amongst other flora. All areas throughout the resort are wheelchair accessible and our suite was accessed via a covered walkway.

TV area in our Villajoyosa suiteOur Accommodation  
Circulation space is critical for folk who use wheelchairs and our suite was certainly spacious. All the rooms were off a wide hallway, and there was ample wardrobe space for fashionistas’ clothes. There was also a large cupboard to store suitcases / wheelchairs out of sight which I thought was great.

There was a fully equipped kitchen with small hob, microwave, filter coffee machine, fridge / freezer, sink and cutlery and crockery so, if one wishes, it is perfectly possible to be fully independent in catering for oneself.

Villajoyosa suite kitchenThe bedroom was, again, blessed with more wardrobes than even I could fill on this trip. The double bed was composed of two twin mattresses. My husband found the bed very comfortable. There was a telephone by the bed as well as two emergency call buttons either side of the bed.

Bathroom in Villajoyosa suiteThe bathroom was fully accessible with a folding grab rail to the right of the loo; a wheelchair accessible sink; and a level access shower with grab rail at waist height as well as full height to the side. There was an emergency pull cord alarm in the centre of the main wall.

There was a television and sitting / dining area at the end of the long hallway with a table for two and two easy chairs. All the chairs had arms to assist with transfers. This area opened out via a ramp on to a covered patio with an outdoor table and chairs plus a garden area. This garden area was adjacent to a footpath used by ramblers and others.

Other accommodation
Suite patio and gardenThere are about 183 places in this resort, with a choice of single rooms, double rooms or double suites as we had. All have a balcony or patio and are fully air conditioned, although we did not find the need to use our air-conditioning as the weather was simply perfect for our stay, being about 24 – 26 degrees during the daytime and about 20 – 21 degrees at night.

Although many of the suites are accessed via covered walkways, some of the rooms are off of corridors which are exactly the same as one would find in an ordinary hotel.

One of the lounges - Villajoyosa ResortLounges / Dining / Other facilities
Breakfast was served in our suite every day (how blissfully civilised!) but there are a couple of dining areas and we were allocated a table in one where our lunch was served at 1.30pm each day and dinner was served at 8.30pm each evening. The chairs are all easy to transfer in and out of as they are carver ones and the tables are of sufficient height to allow for people to sit in their wheelchairs with ease as well. People who need assistance with food and nutrition ate in the other dining area where nursing auxiliaries were on hand to help. Refreshments were served around tea time (5pm) in the lounges and drinks were also served at morning coffee time. I did observe trays of food being taken to people in their rooms who were not feeling well enough to go to the dining areas.

A quiet seating ares - Villajoyosa ResortThere are many different indoor seating areas dotted around the resort, some very restful oases with plentiful greenery surrounding them and fresh flowers on the coffee tables where one can sit and read the freely available English language newspaper in peace, others near TVs that you are free to turn on should you wish to watch TV in a social setting rather than in your own suite. Also located in the lounges are card tables and I saw many a group playing cards, dominoes and a fabulous game that we are addicted to: Rummikub. Don’t worry about packing any games in your suitcase as there is a supply here to amuse you. Likewise, there are bookshelves with a supply of books in both Spanish and a good selection in English as well that one is free to borrow. There is, however, a small selection of DVDs that one can borrow if one does not find anything of interest on the TV (English language channels are available). The decor throughout the resort is pale creams and white and is extremely restful and reminiscent of a good quality hotel.

Dining room - Villajoyosa resortFor those who may have some level of cognitive impairment, it may be possible to enjoy a holiday here if accompanied by their carer but I would recommend discussing the specific care needs prior to booking to ensure these can be met. 

Sun
Another part of the central courtyard - Villajoyosa ResortIn addition to the central courtyard, and the grassy surrounds of the outdoor pool, there are many sundecks and terraces and most of these have lovely views over the sandy cove of Finestrat or Villajoyosa. The resort has a south facing orientation so it is perfectly possible to enjoy the sunshine all day and up to 9pm in the summer without even stepping foot out of the front door, although obviously one is free to come and go as one wishes. 

Snacks
There is a snack bar / café in one of the lounges from which one can purchase ice creams, drinks, including alcoholic ones, etc. but the lady who runs this happened to be on holiday herself during our stay so it was closed.

View of Playa Finestrat from sun terrace - Villajoyosa ResortHair salon
There is a hairdressing salon in the resort and I asked the hairdresser if she did nails or other beauty treatments but she does not. However, there are other salons catering for these needs a short distance away in Villajoyosa.

Spiritual Needs
There is a chapel area on site and Catholic Mass is held there in Spanish by a visiting priest. If you have any other spiritual needs then I recommend discussing these prior to booking but please bear in mind that Spain is predominantly a Catholic country.

Internet Needs
I am a self-confessed Internet Queen. Whilst I am not addicted to the www, I do like to be connected and I was pleased that there is free Wi-Fi available in all the communal areas and it was a very fast, good service. We were also fortunate in that we were able to access the broadband connection in our suite but such service is not guaranteed in all the rooms.

•  Read Unico Care Costa Blanca Chapter 2: The Care Service
•  Read Unico Care Costa Blanca Chapter 3: Food-tempting tapas
•  Read Unico Care Costa Blanca Chapter 4: Excursions

•  Read Unico Care Valencia Chapter 1: Accommodation
•  Read Unico Care Valencia Chapter 2: The Care Service
•  Read Unico Care Valencia Chapter 3: Food
•  Read Unico Care Valencia Chapter 4: Excursions

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Other Members' Thoughts - 8 Comment(s)

  • PEP-FORNES
    almost 5 years ago
    At Unicocare we were very happy to host lovely Pamela and her husband, as much as we would be to host anybody who wanted to come to enjoy a supported holiday at our Senior Resorts in Valencia or Benidorm. If anybody wants to get further details about our package holidays please send an e-mail to [email protected] and it will be responded right away. Thank you very much for your interest!!
  • Lady-Pammy
    almost 5 years ago
    Have you thought about contacting Age UK? They give advice on holidays and travel plus also advice for single travellers. By contacting them you may be able to go into more detail about your particular needs and interests and then they may be able to give you more bespoke advice / information. In addition, you may wish to contact your local Social Services Department and ask them for an assessment of your needs in view of your health issues and mobility impairment. In the event that you meet their criteria they may be able to help arrange respite care in a residential care home in the UK. If not, it is possible that they also may be able to put you in touch with a local resource that may be able to help you get the holiday that you wish.

    Having said all that, please do not give up on the idea of a holiday abroad just yet! You have probably heard the expression, P*ss Poor Planning Prevents Proper Performance (excuse the naughty word)?! It's a phrase used a great deal in motorsport! :-) Well, as long as you invest plenty of time in planning your trip and allow loads of time to get to the airport for example, then the fact that it takes you a long time to get around will not be a problem. There are lots of folk to help, wheelchairs can be loaned so you don't have to wear yourself out before you leave the UK, etc. etc. You may wish to focus on a comparatively short haul trip in the plane as I know that sitting for a long time can be very painful if you have severe osteoarthritis, instead of a long haul flight where you might get stiff sitting for the duration. The other option is a cruise (I've cruised too!) perhaps. Have you considered that possibility? The Cruise Show is on at ExCeL tomorrow if you fancy getting some ideas there? (I'll be next door at the London Classic Car Show!).

    Good luck and do let us all know what holiday you finally settle on - you could review it for Silver Traveller!
  • Lady-Pammy
    almost 5 years ago
    Many thanks Liz for your positive feedback. :-) This is much appreciated. Please note that I have no monetary interest or anything like that in Unico Care, and I did not receive any monetary reward for writing this, so the views expressed here are entirely my own. Your daughter is very fortunate to live near Alicante. I hope she is happy there, enjoying the sunshine whilst we shiver here at the moment! :-)
  • Birene
    almost 5 years ago
    Your review was very interesting to me, Pamela. I am looking for a holiday for singles( I am 65) which also offers me ease and comfort since I have severe osteoarthritis. Whilst I am not in a wheelchair, getting around can be difficult and slow. Comfy chairs with arms are a must! Problem is, I 'm not keen to leave these shores for a holiday anymore and just wish there was somewhere similar in the U.K. Any ideas?
  • Liz-Gardiner
    almost 5 years ago
    Wow - what a fantastic blog Pamela! I'm not disabled but I will certainly be talking to friends who are about Unico Care in Villajoyosa. My daughter lives near Alicante so I'll make sure she knows about it too as I'm sure she'd be happy to spread the word:-)
  • discerning-traveller
    almost 5 years ago
    Thank you, Pamela. That's kind. I wish you all the very best.
  • Lady-Pammy
    almost 5 years ago
    There is more to follow but many thanks for your kind remarks, which are deeply appreciated. :-) I do hope that your friend enjoys reading about this too and, if she has any queries with which I may be able to assist, please do not hesitate to remind her that she is very welcome to ask them and I will do my best to answer.
  • discerning-traveller
    almost 5 years ago
    Well done, Pamela, on a very interesting, informative and well written blog. I have a friend, a widow, who has MS and I think it would be very healing for her.