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Visit Asia without leaving Europe

balconyviewFinding ourselves without children - a rarity - and with guests in the house who would enjoy some time to themselves, my husband won many gold stars by whisking us off for a bit of 5 Star loveliness. The beauty of his choice was that we need only travel 1 hour from our home in Spain to get there. On the outskirts of Benidorm, although showing none of that resort's tackier qualities, the Asia Gardens & Thai Spa was a delight from the minute we arrived.

The staff's friendly greetings and the efficient check in were the first pleasure. The room was lovely with a jungle view balcony and huge comfy bed. But we had to go and explore! Tropical gardens fill every view point and bloom along the winding paths. You don't have to be a gardener to appreciate the beautiful greenery here. Ponds are active with fish and exotic sounding frogs, their water sliding into waterfalls that create background noise to the birdlife. Amidst these flourishing plants we found pools, bars, statues, sunbeds and relaxed people. There are many pools, of different styles, inviting you to slip into their cool waters and escape the summer heat often.

Benidorm can only be glimpsed by the tips of its highrises. This felt more like Thailand or Bali.

To complete that image we booked into the Thai Spa for a hydrating massage. Now the only thing to concern ourselves with was where to have dinner. There is a rotating range of restaurants - poolside dining, gourmet or Thai.. We couldn't resist that one evening and the lobster coconut curry was sublime.

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For other meals we were content with the buffet restaurant for great breakfast and dinner feasts as part of our Half Board package. We sipped on the unlimited water and wine that was included.

Of course if you want to visit Asia then there is no substitute, but if the Spanish sunshine and a beautifully created Eastern themed hotel is more accessible for a short break, The Asia Gardens will most definately do.

Great for families with a kid's club, pool, buffet, family rooms and a laid back feel, but couples can hang out by an adult-only pool and dine in the 'other' restaurants in peace.

Barcelo Asia Gardens & Thai Spa - luxury from another continent without the long flight!

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