My wife and I have just spent 2 weeks (9-23 November) at the Yaramar. It is, of course, a Thomson Gold hotel. Because of this, and the time of the year we stayed there, it was occupied almost exclusively by British pensioners. You should also note that some of the things reported here might not apply during the Summer season (May to October).
I must say that we were a little disappointed when we first arrived. On reflection, I think this was because our expectations had been raised too high by the hotel’s 4 star rating, the Thomson Gold branding and the ‘rave’ reviews and ranking (2nd of 34 hotels in Fuengirola) on Trip Advisor. But the hotel grew on us. Our view now is that the hotel has far more positives than negatives and we have no hesitation recommending it.
Location - 8 out of 10. The hotel is not in the centre of Fuengirola. It is in Los Boliches - one of the town’s better ‘suburbs’. So if you want to be in the centre of things then the hotel may not be for you. Having said that, it is on the seafront, it is a flat walk to the town centre (1500m), to a bus stop (200m), to the little red train stop (200m) and to a real train station (400m) where you can get trains to the town centre and to Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Malaga. There are two large supermarkets (Mercadona and El Corte Ingles) about 400m away and a range of smaller shops, restaurants and cafes in between. If you like walking you can walk for miles on the wide flat promenade in front of the hotel, but mind the dog’s mess which seems very prevalent in Fuengirola.
Reception - 9 out of 10. We found the reception staff to be helpful and efficient. We particularly liked being able to get into our room on arrival around Noon. In some hotels they make you wait until (say) 2pm even though they obviously have rooms available earlier. Similarly, when we reported a problem with a bedside light it was sorted out within half an hour. Reception also seemed to be pretty receptive to room requests made before arrival (e.g. by email). As a starter for 10 the following may be helpful. If you don’t mind heights (the hotel has 15 floors) the higher the room the better the views and the less noise you will get from the road, the pool and the evening entertainment that takes place in the atrium. If you have a room on the front of the hotel (rooms ending in even numbers 20-36) you will get the best views (sea front) and early morning sun, but the sun will be gone by noon and you will get most road noise. If you have a room on the side overlooking the pool (rooms ending in even numbers 02-20) you will get poorer views (sea/town) and some noise from the road and pool area but sun from late morning to sunset. Whatever floor you are on, if you have a room by the lifts (rooms ending in even numbers 06-14) you will get noise from people chattering as they wait for and leave the lifts and from the ‘ping pong’ sound as lifts arrive. One minor gripe. The Yaramar charges one euro to weigh a suitcase. I know lots of hotels charge but it’s petty. What’s happened to good old fashioned service!
Room 6 out of 10. We had room 608 (i.e. on the 6th floor overlooking the pool - see pictures). It was a standard room - there were some superior rooms on the front corner (rooms ending in number 20) which were larger. The room, bathroom and balcony were reasonably spacious and kept superficially clean by the housemaids. Sound insulation between rooms was reasonable – you could hear people above and in adjacent rooms but it was not too bad. There was decent storage for clothes and plenty of surfaces to put things on. Parts of the room were a bit knocked about and most of the door hinges could do with some oil. The beds were hard and creaked and groaned when you moved. They provided two large pool towels. The safe was free but small, and some of its push buttons were worn limiting the range of codes you could use. There was a small fridge (basically an empty minibar) but they charged for use of this (2.5 euros a day, 16 euros a week and 30 euros for 2 weeks). There was a small old fashioned CRT type TV on which you could get the main UK channels but reception was not always good. The room had tea and coffee making facilities. The plumbing was good. In the bathroom there was a hair dryer, a shaver point and they provided a good range of toiletries, but some of the towels we were given had seen better days. They did not provide a clothes dryer for the balcony, and discouraged you from hanging wet clothes from the balcony rail, but there was a pullout line in the bathroom. There were no spare electrical sockets in the room. If you wanted to plug something in you would have to pull the kettle plug out. Basically, we think it’s about time this 4 star hotel upgraded its rooms a little as they are beginning to look and feel a bit tired.
Restaurant and food 7 out of 10. The hotel has one restaurant. Breakfast is available there from 7.30 to 10.30am and dinner from 5.30 to 9.30pm. They have a gala dinner every Wednesday (candles on tables and a lady playing music but no discernible difference in the food) and a theme dinner (e.g. Chinese) once a week but, again, you would struggle to notice much difference in the food if they had not told you what the theme was. Overall, the food was pretty good, but mass catering buffet style does get a bit ‘sameish’ after a while even though they changed the dinner menu daily. Incidentally, the ‘a la carte’ option mentioned by a few reviewers is not available in the Winter. Our main gripe is about the queueing. Both at breakfast and dinner you often had to queue to get a table. It may be they did not have enough staff to turn tables round quickly. But they also obviously made a decision not to use certain tables at all after a certain time. At breakfast one section of the restaurant was fenced off after about 9.30am. At dinner they started laying tables for breakfast from about 8.30pm. You could be eating while staff set up breakfast tables around you. We also noticed that if you went early you got a better choice of food as things were not always replaced when they had run out. One evening they started removing the hot food at 8.30pm. Maybe they knew everyone had been to dinner. We also found the temperature of the food to be variable. So depending on what ‘hot’ food you chose, you could have food on your plate that ranged from piping hot to lukewarm. The stealing of food from the restaurant at breakfast time was rife. Although they asked you not to do it, it was so obvious that they appear to choose to ignore it.
Bars 9 out of 10. There were loads of bars – in the basement (evenings only), on the ground floor, on the mezzanine floor, by the pool on the 1st floor and over the road on the beach. Drinks were 2 for 1 at the beach bar from 11am to 1pm and between 8 and 10pm in the two main bars. You could also get 2 for 1 cold drinks between 3 and 4pm in the hotel’s ice cream and coffee shop. The bar staff seemed a bit bemused during happy ‘hour’ if you chose to buy drinks at half price rather than drink twice as much for the same price!
Entertainment 8 out of 10. There was a programme of typical Thomson Gold daytime entertainment (bean bag throwing, beach boules, a quiz etc etc) and evening entertainment provided by a resident duo (the guitarist was really good) and a 4 person entertainment team. I don’t know whether Thomson have changed their policy, but when we stayed at a Thomson Gold hotel in Lanzarote 21 months ago we got professional headline acts for 11 of the 14 nights. This time we got professional entertainment for only 3 of the 14 nights. The entertainment team worked really hard, and some of the shows they put on were great, but we could not help feeling a bit short changed. It was also clear, from the attendances, that the guests preferred the professional shows.
Lounge areas 10 out of 10. These were plentiful and really comfortable.
We have not commented on the pool, spa, gymnasium, Jacuzzi, games room or beauty parlour as we did not use them but, from observation, the reservation of sunbeds around the pool is alive and well (even with no Germans present) at the Yaramar!
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Priceline, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire, HotelQuickly, Cancelon, Orbitz, Travelocity, TripOnline SA and Cheap Tickets so you can book your Yaramar Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Yaramar
- Yaramar Hotel Fuengirola, Costa Del Sol, Spain