We've just returned from a two week holiday at the Hotel Arena, and loved it. I can't believe how mixed the reviews are. Two weeks of solid sunshine in a clean, friendly hotel, with good mixed food- what's not to love?
The room we were in was a pool-side suite, with an area for the childrens' beds (ages 13 and 10), then a lovely spacious bathroom, and then a separate double bedroom, with the tv, fridge, safe etc. Yes, there's a deposit for the safe, but there is in many hotels (to cover the cost of unreturned keys), so I don't think that's an issue!
The restaurant served a brilliant variety of food- you could be as healthy or as unhealthy as you chose to be. For breakfast, there were cereals, fresh fruits, a full cooked breakfast or a continental breakfast. For lunches and dinners, there was a selection of meats, pasta, rice or chips, as well as some local specialities and kid-friendly things like pizza, as well as a lovely varied salad bar (which you could have probably had in isolation of the other food!), desserts, delicious home made icecream and fresh fruit. One of the ladies we became friends with mentioned to the staff that she would like to see more hot vegetarian options, and they appeared the very same night- great response. If you prefer your fast foods, the pool bar serves burgers, hot dogs, chips and toasties, so they are really trying to cover every base. We were happy to eat at the restaurant every night, and there was enough variety that it didn't feel samey.
From a bar point of view, Alvaro at the pool bar is amazing- so friendly and unflappable- really helpful. You could help yourself to beer and soft drinks on tap, and he would serve any fruit juices, cocktails, spirits, hot drinks and food. Really nice guy, and always happy to encourage some shots for those who are wanting a drink. Our kids loved the non-alcoholic cocktails. Fernando in the evening bar was really friendly too, and happy to serve drinks for you to take away back to your apartment if you don't fancy the bar itself.
The evening entertainments were mixed- some really good (the flamenco night and the Kenyan acrobats), some a bit lame (eg the karaoke), but you can't please everyone 100% of the time. It was a good variety, and guests were free to mill along, see what it was like, and either stay or go and have their own party if they preferred. We didn't get involved in many of the day activities, apart from playing water polo one afternoon, which was really good fun and a great mixer.
The facilities are good- two main pools and a childrens' pool- yes they are cold when you first jump in, but that is what you want when it is 30 odd degrees! There was table tennis, a gym, and a squash court. There was a sauna too, although we didn't use it! There is also a games room (pool, foosball, airhockey), but you do have to pay a euro for each of them.
Location wise- it's about 10/15 mins walk from a beach, which is lovely for snorkelling, or gets you into the town,or the town beach. It's only a couple of minutes walk to the nearest supermarket, and there are more shops about 5 mins walk away. The main market and waterpark is a bit further- 20 mins walk or a few seconds in a taxi. To get to the STUNNING Grandes Playas beach, you can walk it in about 30 mins, which we did once, but, given the heat, after that we just got a taxi from reception for about 4 euros each way. The Grandes Playas beach is about 6 miles long of golden sands, perfect for swimming in the big waves, trying surfing, windsurfing, or kitesurfing. We also snorkelled there when the tide was out. The reception staff will help discuss the easiest way to get to any location or activity you want, and will also give you advice on how much to pay- really helpful, nothing was too much trouble for them.
On our departure day, we weren't leaving until 5.40pm, so the very helpful receptionist suggested that we book the sauna showers, which meant our family had the use of 4 showers at an allotted time. Very handy!
The staff were lovely, we had a great holiday, and I'm only sorry that not everyone else on this site did.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.