All about expectations - we thought we'd landed a great deal for a 5-star hotel. On arrival, bleary eyed from an early flight, our first impressions were indeed that this was a classy place. We were greeted with complimentary champagne & delighted, if somewhat embarrassed, as our shabby hire car was valet parked & our assorted array of luggage delivered to our room.
Our room was very large and nicely decorated but "luxurious" wouldn't really describe it. The towels, toiletries etc were more Travelodge than Raffles and despite its size, there was a bit of a shortage of cupboards and surfaces to spread things out on. Sound-deadening isn't what you'd expect either so, as well as hearing wobbly footsteps returning after the bars had closed, we became unwillingly familiar with the bowel patterns of our upstairs neighbours. We ordered a family room. These have a dividing door between the bedroom and living area, which meant that our 1-year-old could sleep in her cot in peace and quiet, but the balcony opens from the living area so you do then feel a bit stuck in a windowless bedroom. Only a very small handful of family rooms have sea views however and ours wasn't one of them so we didn't use the balcony much. Also, the pool-view rooms are all north-facing.
We had to move rooms because the plumbing leaked in the first one. The receptionists handled this OK but it would have been nice if they'd moved a bit quicker and saved us a few queues at the desk to ask what was happening.
Our experience with the food was similar to the room - all acceptable but nothing amazing. The breakfasts are really good, with a huge selection on offer, but the other meals in the main restaurant were a bit samey. The ebullient African chef doing show-cooking on the griddle cheered up every trip to the restaurant although some of his dishes would have benefited from some sauces or suchlike to liven them up. As a few other reviewers have pointed out, the restaurant seemed under-staffed and it did sometimes take a while to get plates cleared or drinks delivered. There are two other restaurants:We loved the Italian restaurant and ate there several times. We only tried the Chinese restaurant once and while the food was OK, the service was hopeless.
The complex itself is very nicely designed and although the pool area got very busy, it was still a nice place to spend time. The staff were generally very helpful and friendly and, as every other reviewer seems to agree upon, the children's entertainment was great. Our little one was enthralled and still does the moves to "Music Man" at the mention of the words "Mini disco". The kids entertainment is inside its own little indoor club so doesn't intrude on the adults' more sedate live music but other than that, be warned that this is a family-focused hotel. If you don't fancy sharing your meals with kids who're either excited, tired or both, this isn't for you. One adults-only haven is the Spa which, like the rest of the hotel, is far from five-star but still a nice place to relax in if the clouds come in.
We think you can ignore the comment on another review about the photographers - they always asked for consent and we got some fantastic snaps to take home with us.
One other comment we do agree with is the one about drunken guests taking a bit too much advantage of the all-inclusive. We encountered a few people worse-for-wear. Unfortunately, not all of them were happy drunks & we didn't enjoy seeing a table, including crockery being flung across the restaurant by a drunken Scouser on Christmas Day. The duty staff coped well but we agree there might need to be a bit more policing of this to ensure the hotel keeps it's reputation as a family-friendly one intact.
A word also on Christmas stays - the team did a great job, complete with Santa arriving on a camel. The gifts given out were impressive too.
Overall, we enjoyed our 2 weeks here and we paid a fair price for a 3-4 star hotel. We've been lucky enough to sample some five-star service over the years (usually when the work is paying!) and this wasn't it. That said, it is a really nice spot to spend a holiday if all-inclusive is your bag, We would consider returning but we would also look at other resorts too.
Incidentally, there's no need to get cabin fever in the complex as there is lots to see around the island. We particularly enjoyed El Golfo and the northern part of the island where we were able to sit in a sea-front restaurant and treat ourselves to proper Spanish fresh food.
Reception claim there are no family rooms with a sea view. We're not convinced...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.