We are a family of four including two children aged 15 and 11 who stayed here for 2 weeks from 27 July to 10 August 2013 and note our findings:-
Location: Situated on the coast, about a 10 minute drive from the southern airport, surrounded by a handful of English & Irish bars/restaurants and a few small grocery shops it is a very quiet area though with not a lot to do nearby. The nearest town is San Blas, about a 15 minute walk away and 4 euros in a taxi (handy if you want to shop in the larger Hyperdino which has a good selection and not have to walk back with the shopping/water). However, it is a small town and again only has a few gift shops but quite a few restaurants/bars where the touts really harass you (annoying when you’ve just eaten!). There is a picturesque harbour about a ten minute walk away, though nothing to do there really. Los Cristianos was 50 minutes away by bus from outside the hotel at a cost of 10 euros each way for a family of four and is quite a pleasant ride.
As it is so close to the airport, the planes do come in very low and straight across the hotel but we loved the plane spotting as you would never normally get so near even at your local airport. They stop overnight and they’re not as noisy if you’re in your room with the doors shut. It seems quite a large ex-pat area and a very ‘British’ feel to the resort. There is a doctor and pharmacy about a ten minute walk away however it’s not so good as whatever you go in with they try to make you see their doctor (29 euros just for walking through his door plus the cost of medication: quite a con they have going on there)!
Hotel: It is officially a 4* though we would struggle to rate it at this (more like a very good 3*). This isn’t something we’d say casually either, but as we’ve always been lucky enough to stay at good 4*s in various different countries/continents, it didn’t really compare favourably. It is a lovely traditional building which is very spacious and clean and has a large reception however many parts look a little dated and in need of refurbishment. All the staff (receptionists, cleaners and waiters alike) are very helpful, pleasant and accommodating. The pool area was much smaller than what we expected and a little disappointing with just a couple of small pools however there quite a number of sunbeds.
Food: We were staying half board plus and found there to be a fairly good choice (myself and eldest are both vegetarians) and enjoyed being able to have a couple of drinks included with each evening meal (self service). You are able to swap your dinner for lunch if you advise reception the day before which we arranged for our final day and were the only family dining. We didn’t use the outside snack bar as there was disappointingly nothing vegetarian so therefore can’t comment. The breakfasts were very disappointing and felt this is an area which let down the 4* rating: you had to order and then wait for omlettes, bacon & fried eggs and if you went too early you couldn’t always find the chef! This was frustrating as the only hot food out was sausage and occasionally scrambled eggs (though there was usually meat in this too) and ended up having just toast and yoghurts most days.
Entertainment: Michael was the only entertainment representative at this hotel and he did such an excellent job (especially with the lippy teenagers!) and worked so hard to provide entertainment throughout the best part of the day and evening and gave out various prizes. However, we only saw him for the first week as he was apparently off ill for the second week (the day we were flying home they’d got a young lady to stand in for him) so for the last 6 days we had zero entertainment. This is where the 4* rating falls down in a major way as we’ve never stayed at such a hotel where there’s only one rep (they usually have teams of reps both for the children and adults working various shifts to cover all days with a limited service on Sundays). The entertainment here simply ground to a halt which was a shame as we were willing to spend money in the hotel club as there wasn’t much difference in price to the surrounding bars(except for the ‘Sundowners Bar’ which was excellent value around the corner), yet it seemed so boring with no music that you may as well go and sit on your balcony and buy your own wine cheaper! The posters and schedule remained on the wall during the second week and had it have proceeded the shows would have been exactly the same as that on the first week (again unheard of for a 4*).
Rooms: Clean, spacious and air-conditioned (it wasn’t the best or worst air con system we’ve ever had: actually got quite cold during the night and was stronger in the living area. We had a one bedroom suite which included hallway, large master with twin beds, family bathroom small kitchen, dining/living room with 2 sofa beds and a large covered balcony running the length of the apartment. The rating is let down here again as the bathroom is very basic (as is the rest of the furnishings and decor) but more especially the towels which were grey, torn and extremely sandpaper like (worse we’ve had in years).
On the second day I returned to the room to find a very large cockroach roaming around (I already had my suspicions after seeing a large can of cockroach spray which had been left out in the kitchen!). The spray is very effective and kills them outright in couple of seconds and I did tell reception I’d left it dead in the kitchen but housekeeping only removed it after about 4 hours (by kicking it outside our front door for the next few days!). In all fairness they did a good spray around and we didn’t see another in our room, thankfully, for the remainder of the holiday (there’s a gap under the front doors and think that’s how a lot of them get in. Our room was on the first floor with a seaview, overlooking one of the main pools and you could also see the harbour in the distance.
We were pleased with the views and lovely big balcony and enjoyed sitting out later on in the evening with a glass of wine, however we were only able to do this for the first week due to the large groups of teenagers congregating round the pools on the second week (all British, all badly behaved: swearing profusely, drinking, jumping in the pools, throwing things around, shouting abuse, climbing, kissing & petting), which isn’t what you want your younger children witnessing. My husband thought they were probably bored as there was so little to do at the hotel (there were a couple of pool tables, pc’s in reception, for a small charge, and a couple of games machines), however I think they were more typical of their parents, who had obviously abandoned them in favour of the nearby British pubs and so were the rudest, most disrespectful teenagers I had ever had the misfortune to come across and have obviously never been taught any better and made the pupils from ‘Waterloo Road’ look quite tame! During the day they would cause havoc in the pools which must have been worrying for any families with much smaller children who could have been injured as they were generally dive-bombing one another and jumping off walls straight into the pools (there were signs saying this was forbidden yet I even witnessed parents photographing them doing this with signs in the background!).
We noticed quite a few of the guests abusing the half/full board plus system on the drinks aspect (again all British!). As it was self-serve beer, wine, sangria and sodas they would walk in and out of the restaurant opposite the club and simply fill their glasses for free and then return to watch the shows!! We’ve never been as disgusted and if you are thinking of going in the future that’ll probably be why the cost of the half/full board basis has gone up: thanks to the people who abuse the system, whilst we were paying in full at the bar in the club!
Return/Recommend? Of course it depends on what you look for in a holiday as everyone is different: we always try to look for somewhere quiet and out of the way, where British package holiday operators aren’t prominent as we prefer it to be mainly Spanish/local with a minority mixture of English and other Europeans and of a very good standard. We never book as a package and in Tripadvisor reviews I always look out for mention of cockroaches, air con that doesn’t work and too many English and obviously steer away from any mentioning these usually! If you do have one booked here then it’ll only be what you make it so try to have a good time (the air con is ok, the cockroach was hopefully a one off and just use your spray provided).
Whilst we would possibly consider a return to the resort at some point, we would have to try a different hotel as unfortunately we wouldn’t recommend it to anyone we knew (unless they were into British package holiday type hotels or looking for something within a certain budget). Even though it was fairly reasonably priced accommodation and board we definitely wouldn’t return, even during the winter season, due simply to the fact of the current British clientele (it just completely ruined it for us, especially on the second week when it went downhill and we subsequently returned certainly not feeling relaxed and refreshed). It is a shame as the hotel itself is quite nice (more so if you’re looking for a winter holiday or a shorter break somewhere, or maybe don’t want to spend that much) but more espcially as the staff here are so hardworking and enthusiastic.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.