This is a very good hotel, the most notable feature of which is the excellent, very friendly service.
The location of this establishment is striking, being situated on the edge of the largest expanse of sand dunes in Europe, Gran Canaria being a Spanish territory. It is also as far south in the resort of Playa Del Ingles as you can get.
The Riu Palace Maspalomas is quite a large hotel, with 368 en-suite guest rooms, ranging from standard doubles to multi-bedroomed suites. My wife and I booked a standard room for 7 nights in the 2nd week of September, with the Thomson tour Operator, who rate it with 4 Ts.
Upon arrival at the hotel we were offered a complimentary glass of Champagne to enjoy on the Hotel terrace while the Reception completed check-in formalities and our luggage was taken to the room. We found a complimentary fruit basket and ¼ bottle of Cava when we went up to the room. Our room was an ample size with private balcony and sea view, safe deposit box, air conditioning, ceiling fan, hair dryer, telephone, fridge with mini-bar, two arm-chairs, a table and plenty of wardrobe space. We found the room decoration and fittings quite tasteful. The complimentary toiletries with the bathroom even included a small sewing-kit. Being south-facing all rooms with a sea-view enjoy the sun during at least part of the day.
The public areas of the Hotel are quite impressive, with numerous chandeliers hanging in the lobby area. Everything is kept very clean, despite the sand (as mentioned later). The Hotel boast 2 pools, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and a ‘Wellness’ Centre with Spa and Gym. There are 2 floodlit tennis courts and a hairdresser on site also.
Food is served buffet style and is of high quality. Breakfast includes all the fruit and continental offerings you would expect, and a full cooked option too. Evening meal provides good variety which varies somewhat each day, although there are always some dishes featured, such as Pizza, pasta, salads, chips and rice. There is a good selection of sweet desserts and an extensive cheese board, some of which are local to the Island. You can also eat in the waiter service ‘Krystal’ Fusion restaurant for no extra charge, but must make a reservation in advance.
As noted in the opening to this review the friendly service is worthy of particular note. All the reception staff are fluently multi-lingual, as this hotel attracts a very International clientele. When you pass by any member of staff they smile and say hello, often in several languages. When entering the hotel restaurant for evening meal you will pass all the management and waiting staff lined up in the entrance passage and be greeted as you enter. When you return to your table with a plate full of food from the buffet you will often find a waiter ready to put your chair back under you as you sit down. Empty plates are taken away promptly and if your wine glass is empty a waiter will probably be there quickly to refill it. In the bar the staff are always on the move, taking drinks orders in several languages and delivering beverages to your table. During the day the pool area is patrolled by bar staff to take your orders for refreshments as you lie soaking up the Canarian Sun. And all that with a smile too.
As far as Evening entertainment is concerned there is a resident house band who have quite a wide musical repertoire. Most nights there is also a special live act on. We saw a group of 4 Tenors singing operatic and popular classics, a Chinese acrobatic act who did amazing things with plant-pots, a magician-come-illusionist with a comic twist and a head for numbers, and a Salsa-Flamenco fusion band who performed the Eagles’ song ‘Hotel California’ with an accompanying Flamenco dance!
Regards value for money, the standard of food and accommodation provided is I think good value. As there is no all-inclusive option on offer at this hotel you will of course have a bill to settle for all beverages, lunches, snacks etc.. Prices of alcoholic drinks are certainly not cheap, but amounts are best described as very generous, a measure of a short being equivalent to a quadruple measure in a bar in England. Prices of wine at the hotel restaurant table are roughly the same as you would pay in a restaurant in the UK. On the subject of money, there is a no-cash policy at the hotel, so you can charge all the extras to the room and settle the account at the end of your stay. That’s an arrangement we preferred, but it may not suit everyone.
The resort of Playa Del Ingles is dominated by Hotels and Holiday apartments, but has a substantial degree of residential housing also. There is no true centre to the resort and no real history to speak of. There are however more than a dozen shopping centres of various sizes spread across the Playa Del Ingles area, 4 of which are within easy walking distance of the Hotel. The largest of these centres is the ‘Yumbo’, which offers many shopping attractions during the day and a lively entertainment scene at night. A ‘Hiperdino’ mini-supermarket is located just a few yards from the Hotel entrance, where you can buy English papers and magazines, toiletries and the essential bottled water. For some designer label shopping visit the 3 centres in the south of the area of Meloneras, near the lighthouse, visible across the sand dunes from the hotel. If you wish to venture further afield there is a local bus service which stops right outside the hotel entrance, and there is a taxi rank there also. You can go anywhere in a taxi in Playa Del Ingles for about 6 Euros. The Island is not that large, so you can visit the capital, Las Palmas, on the North of the Island easily in a day.
Now what about the negatives? There has to be negatives.
The first is the dining arrangements. There are 2 sittings for dinner, one at 6.30pm and another at 8.30pm. You are assigned your sitting time when you check-in at the hotel and must stick to this throughout your stay. Although this didn’t cause us any problem I am sure that some may wish to choose their own time of eating rather than have it decided arbitrarily by the hotel reception upon your arrival. The reason for the two dinner sittings appears to be that the buffet restaurant is just not big enough to accommodate all the guests at the same time. This can become evident at breakfast time, when it may be difficult to find an empty table that has been set ready for use, especially if the outside terrace area of the restaurant is closed on the odd occasion when it rains in the morning, as occurred once during our stay.
The second negative is the sand which makes up the extensive area of dunes that are in view from the hotel. This sand is very fine, gets blown around by the common breeze coming off the Atlantic Ocean, and gets everywhere. I was unlucky enough to get some in an eye early in our stay and it irritated me for 2 days. If you read a book by the pool you will find it gets between the pages. It finds it’s way onto your sea-facing balcony and between your toes if you walk along the coastal path. I realise of course that there is nothing the Hotel management can do about the sand or the breeze which blows it into the Hotel grounds.
Third, it can be difficult to find a free sun-bed unless you get to the pool area early.
Also, there are only 2 English TV channels available in the guest rooms, being Sky and BBC World News channels. There are non-news German and Spanish channels available, so why not at least one non-news English channel?
Finally there are no organised activities provided at the hotel, and it cannot be described as a family oriented establishment, as there are no children’s activities, just a small playground for the few little ones we encountered there.
All-told this is a very good Hotel, particularly for adult couples, offering a high standard of food and accommodation. It has a great location and customer service is excellent. I can recommend it.
Just a word of caution, there are 3 RIU hotels in and around Playa Del Ingles and Maspalomas which have the word ‘Palace’ in their name, so if you do decide to book this hotel, be sure to select the right one; the one that backs onto the sand dunes.