Very good and very bad
28. September 2018 um 12:08:44
This review is about the MotoGP camping at La Estanca. I’m writing simply because it is the only time I have encountered such a mixture of the very good and very bad in a place where I’ve stayed. For the MotoGP the campsite opens an ‘overflow’ facility next to the main site. First, the very good.... The administration (seemingly staffed entirely by women) was efficient, friendly and helpful. We had to move from the original booked ‘overflow’ site because at the time of booking it was not clear that there is no electricity on that site (very bad!). The staff understood my need for electricity and immediately re-located me (very good!).
The cafe/restaurant offers meals of insanely good value - €15 for a 3-course meal including wine is amazingly good. The problem is the organisation of the catering is chaotic, operated by staff who are friendly, helpful and hard-working, but totally disorganised and unprofessional. We sat down for our meal at 8.50pm, our order was taken at 9.45pm, and the first course arrives at 10.10 pm. Staff were scurrying around like crazy but after delivering orders to one table they would dash back to the kitchen ignoring tables with crockery waiting for collection so it would require an extra trip to collect the dishes after each course. Simply amateurish and clearly these staff had little or no training working in a restaurant. Similarly the cafeteria at its busiest was equally frustrating. There was a bottleneck in the kitchen - seemed like they had not staffed according to anticipated demand and there was a backlog queue for sandwiches. Staff would prepare coffee and other drinks for customers and then wait for them to go cold on the counter whilst waiting for the food order to arrive, instead of doing the drinks when the sandwich arrived.
The evening “social” programme on the eve of the MotoGP had been organised by someone locked in 70’s and 80’s biking themes. They obviously believe it is impossible for bikers to enjoy themselves without AC/DC pumping out “Highway to Hell” through the site’s 1000 watt PA at 1.30 am? I kid you not! To accompany this general mayhem, the occasional enthusiastic idiot biker would sit like a grinning loon astride his GSXR revving the bike until the engine revs hit the limiter and the bike uttered popping sounds that accompany a high rev misfire, so beloved of inconsiderate morons. Of course there were no signs exhorting people to be considerate and not to inconvenience their fellow bikers trying to sleep because the campsite had taken the lead in disrupting everyone’s ability to have a decent night’s rest. The mayhem finally concluded at 2.00 am on the morning of the MotoGP. If I’d wanted that sort of social programme I’d have simply booked into MotoGP campsite where that sort of thing is to be expected.
My sense of disappointment at this is greater because the location of the site is exceptional. It is in a pretty spot beside a lake which would be ideally marketed as a peaceful haven away from the madness of the GP. Additionally it is less that half an hour’s gentle walk to the MotoGP site so on both counts is an excellent location. With a bit more imagination in organisation and marketing and less attachment to tired clichéd ideas about what bikers want, it could be an ideal location to stay.
Wifi in our location was poor, possibly because it was simply overloaded on a crowded campsite, The best connections were found in the restaurant/bar area.
My final “very bad” comment is about the toilet facilities. I doubt if the owner of the site has visited them recently - if they have they should be thoroughly ashamed. The gent’s facilities had 5 showers and 5 WC’s for a site that accommodated hundreds for the MotoGP - at a price of €110! Those on the overflow site would need to walk 5/10 minutes to get to the showers. When they got there they would find queues for facilities that were poor. Some toilets and showers had doors that did not lock. One toilet was leaking so badly that you had to sit on the loo in a pool of water. The shower doors were rotting from the bottom up and shower fittings hanging loosely because of broken mountings that had not been repaired. The whole facility reeked of negligent management, in spite of the cleaners’ valiant attempts to keep the place clean and hygienic. The money charged for the overflow site is in my view exploitative. No wonder that the grounds surrounding the site are littered with people “wild camping.” They probably know the worst.
So, - very good helpful and hard-working staff, efficient and sympathetic administration, a great location, good quality bargain meals, awful toilets and showers, hopeless negligent management with dated ideas about modern bikers and who do not bother to invest in staff training nor improving their facilities - and you’ll need to catch up on sleep during the day. The choice is yours!