Adventures at Aventura

October 25, 2009

There can be no sight more absurd than five tipsy mummybloggers trying to hide behind a teeny tiny cart in the dead of a Barcelona night, as they keep watch on a spooky hotel.

Unless it’s the sight of those very same mummybloggers shrieking their heads off and running as fast as their little legs will carry them, as Frankenstein’s monster lumbers out of the hotel and starts coming towards them through the shadows …

This was the scene at 1.30am yesterday – no, actually today – as Jo Beaufoix, Sticky Fingers, Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy, Littlemummy and I all tested out the most unusual offering at amusement park Port Aventura.

This is a real horror of an inn, going by the name of Hotel Burn, where you pay €240 a night to be scared very nearly to death. This involves people jumping out of wardrobes at you, hiding under your bed, writing ‘tonight you die’ on your mirror and leaving your bath full of blood.

It turns out that for ten months of the year, Port Ventura is a normal family park, offering the usual mix of squeal-inducing rollercoasters, like Dragon Khan, and more sedate rides aimed at little ones (and scaredy cats like me), like the lovely China Teacups.  Then, from September to November, it gets Halloween fever and the place starts to sprout ghosts, ghoulies and a lot of fake cobwebs.

During the day, the pumpkins, ravens and vultures are all quite kitsch. At night, when it’s very dark and the place is full of people sporting incredibly realistic face painting – we saw someone with a cigarette stubbed out on his face and a woman with a huge, oozing gash on her cheek – it all takes on a more spooky air. Strangely, it seems that despite this, in Spain Halloween is still very much a family occasion – we saw tiny children at the evening Parade of the Monsters, and the show – featuring Death with his scythe, a man being electrocuted, the girl from the Exorcist writhing on a bed, a caged man in a strait jacket and a zombie bride, was finished off by, believe it or not, Woody Woodpecker in a dracula cape.

The Halloween attractions are given a rating so you can decide whether or not your little ones are going to enjoy a shiver down the spine or simply howl the place down. Rides and shows are awarded up to three pumpkins for scariness.

With Hotel Burn, there is no confusion, though – it’s just plain frightening. Port Aventura PR chief Oriol Garcia Valls has tried it himself and says, ‘It’s 12 pumpkins. I tried it and was chased round my room by a man with a chainsaw.’

It’s not my idea of a relaxing night, and Oriol says it’s common for guests to creep downstairs at 1am to take refuge in the lobby until 3am – the time when all the scary stuff stops, so that people can get a bit of rest. You even have to sign a disclaimer before checking in, saying you don’t suffer from heart conditions. This year, it was fully booked almost as soon as the details went up on the website.

Luckily, Hotel Burn does not take children, so that’s my excuse all sorted out. Our merry band of mummybloggers stayed at the Hotel Gold River, next door to horrifying Hotel B, which is brand new but built in a Wild West pioneering style. Log cabins at the back of the hotel are Little House on the Prarie dinky, or for high-end luxury, there is Lucy’s Mansion.  There are three other hotels as well, dotted around the park, and there’s loads of information on rates, on other rides, on various promotions and on how to get there in the first place at the website, Port Aventura. I came via Ryanair to Reus airport, just ten minutes away, and went back via Barcelona airport on Easyjet, which involved an hour’s drive and an hour waiting to check in, so I know which option I prefer.

It was such a pleasure to be out and about and in the sun, so many thanks to Port Aventura for a fantastic stay. The best part of the trip was getting to know warm and wonderful Jo and gorgeous Sticky, and, of course, seeing the lovely Are We and fabulous Little again – it seemed as though we’d been friends forever as we had a fantastic evening of tapas and chat before we got a bit brave and ventured to Hotel Burn.

And Frankenstein? Did he pounce? Did all the mummybloggers live to tell the tale? I’m glad to report that they did – he simply came outside, shrugged his shoulders at us and sparked up a cigarette. Very Spanish.

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  • Laura 'dos bread' Driver October 25, 2009 at 3:04 pm


    Wait till you hear what Erica did this morning … We had breakfast an hour early because of her. Ahem.

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 25, 2009 at 4:20 pm

      Ahem – I would have missed my flight if clocks hadn’t gone back. Set alarm clock wrong and was running an hour late, when I realised threw myself downstairs with dripping wet hair, clothes hanging out of bag, only for our delightful friend the concierge to inform me that it was an hour earlier! Doh ……

  • Rosie Scribble October 25, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Sounds like you all had a good time. Can’t say I like the sound of Hotel Burn. Would probably have needed alot of stiff drinks to survive the experience.

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 25, 2009 at 4:17 pm

      I think the stiff drinks could have been part of the problem ….yes, it was fab, wish you’d been there, we should all get out more!

  • Chic Mama October 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Oh wow, what an experience……Hotel Burn is most definitely not my thing though. I’m such a scaredy cat as it is. :0)

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 27, 2009 at 3:25 am

      It was definitely an experience, Chic! Thank god it was fully booked, if they’d put us in there I would have spent the entire night in the lobby in my jim jams x

  • Tara@Sticky Fingers October 27, 2009 at 6:04 am

    All joking aside, I had the best time and felt so lucky to meet such a great bunch of woman.
    “shrieking their heads off and running as fast as their little legs will carry them” – I was going to totally deny this, but am shaking with laughter at the thought, so can’t really.

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm

      It was fab to meet you after reading your blog for so long – suddenly everything clicks into place! A pleasure to hide behind a wagon with you x

  • Jo Beaufoix October 27, 2009 at 9:00 am

    It was such a brilliant weekend DD. I am now in Sunny Scarborough with scary kids instead of scarymonsters. I think I need a mohito…or some Nesquik.

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm

      I hope you’re not having to make your own Nesquik!!! You’re a mohito girl now, got to stick with it ….hope you’re having fun with the bunnies x

  • rosiero October 27, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    OMG. I go away for ten days and you write FIVE posts. Have a lot of catching up to do. That hotel sounds, well, scary. The scary stuff stops at 3AM?! What time next morning does it all start again? I’d be a nervous wreck!

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 30, 2009 at 4:11 pm

      Ooh, Rosiero, that makes me feel quite productive! Usually I’m cross with myself for doing too little …maybe I’ll take a few days off! Hope you had a good break, will slip over later and read all about it. Hotel Burn was definitely NOT my kind of thing, I’m not sure they have many people booking two nights!

  • A Modern Mother October 28, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Sounds very interesting. Do they scare you in English or in Spanish?

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 30, 2009 at 4:11 pm

      Oh, I think they speak fluent ‘boooooooooo’!!

  • Brit In Bosnia October 28, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Sounds like you all had a great time. Got to say I’m not sure the hotel sounds like my cup of tea, but I might send my husband as he’d love it.

  • Littlemummy.Com » 48 Hours in Port Aventura October 30, 2009 at 10:42 am

    […] Hide behind wagon at The Hotel […]

  • Dulwich Divorcee October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    We did have a fab time, Brit – though we weren’t in the Hotel Burn! Your husband is obviously made of stern stuff!