Menorca (also Minorca) is the smallest of the Ballaeric islands and the most tranquil. The two primary tourist “attractions” would be Mahon (also Maó) and Ciutadella, the former capital. But most people come to Menorca for their beaches. And what stunning beaches they are!
There are tons of beach resorts to choose from and I chose Sant Tomas. And let me tell you, the beaches are everything they are cracked up to be and the perfect place to relax and recharge.
There are 5 hotels in the tony hamlet of Sant Tomas. The oldest is the Hotel Santo Tomas (built in the 1960s I think). Although the hotel is a bit dated and looks circa 1970s (at least for the last renovation), it fulfills the typical beach resort requirements: it’s right on the beach, the rooms are small and minimal, and nearly everything is included in the price of your stay. (See below for more.)
The negative to the Hotel Santo Tomas, I’m afraid is two-fold: they attract a LOT of tour groups so those of us not part of a tour are left with what’s left. When I checked in, they tried to give me a room with a view of “the garden” which is really the street! The second downside is that there are a LOT of children running around. I love kids, so don’t get me wrong, but when you want to chill, read, or whatever, it’s kind of difficult to do when there is screaming and crying all around you.
If I were to return to Sant Tomas, I would recommend the Sol Melia (http://es.melia.com/hoteles/espana/menorca/sol-menorca/home.htm) a resort that is for adults only. (And they have daily bocce tournaments!)
Another option that I would recommend is one of the numerous condo/house rentals in the village. They are all owned by the various resorts, I suspect, but at least they have their own kitchens and you don’t have to eat as part of buffet. (And I bet there are laundry facilities!)
Because Sant Tomas is a resort community, there really isn’t much in the way of restaurants. And this is why each hotel property is all inclusive. I’m not a fan of buffets, and I never will be, but here in Sant Tomas, you have to get over that! The buffet at the Hotel Sant Tomas is average and the kindness of the staff definitely helps. But eating in a large setting is not my idea of fun! And given that they cater to the older crowd, few of whom are vegetarian (but should try it!), there isn’t much for the vegetarians in the crowd. Thank god for the salad bar!
There are also 2 supermarkets in the village where you can also buy everything that you want. On one trip, I saw a couple buying things for a barbecue so there are either places that you can barbecue or one of the rentals had facilities. I’d take this option, even without tofu, any day over the buffet.
There are a couple of so-called restaurants in the village but they are small and don’t really offer anything overly gourmet. In fact, I would guess that the upside to these “restaurants” is simply that they are not a buffet.
There really isn’t much to do in Sant Tomas other than to relax on the beach or poolside.
For those of you who get a bit antsy, there is an amazing trail that goes along the coast line in both directions from Sant Tomas and I highly recommend it. You can go for as long, or as short, as you like and fear not: the paths is clearly marked throughout.
There is also a castle which although interesting to visit, isn’t really worth the trek. So go back to the beach and get your tan on!
And there you have it: Sant Tomas in a nutshell. It’s a beautiful place and there are lots of return guests – think the movie “Dirty Dancing” without baby in the corner – but I think that once you’ve been, that really is enough unless it’s easy for you to book a last minute trip. If you have a long distance to travel to get here, I can recommend other parts of Spain. So safe travels and enjoy!