Never has a proverb been truer than the above. The Hotel Hydros is NEARLY the most wonderful hotel and spa that there is. The problem is that there is absolutely zero service. None whatsoever.
The hotel itself is a genuine "boutique" hotel. Glass elevators, stunning original interior design features and the well furnished suites with outdoor jacuzzis that are just marvellous. The spa is wonderful and is one of the best that we've ever been to.
As is usual with Spanish hotels though, it's the staff that let the hotel down. Culture differences aside, nothing was too little trouble for them. Blank stares to any request with that silly little shrug they love to do with outstretched hands accompanied with the contemptuous "not possible" phrase that most Spanish staff chant regularly almost like a Buddhist mantra! There is no porterage whatsoever. They have a neat little row of airport style trolleys and the reception staff bunched together in gossip sized groups smirk at you as you're struggling to balance your bulky suitcases onto and push by them to get to the elevators.
Most savvy business travellers already know that the very best way to secure the best possible deal AND good service when you get there is to find the very best deal and then ring the hotel and explain how you've found the suite £45 a night cheaper on this site or that site and can they match the rate? Every single major global chain in the World does and they usually publish a bold guarantee like "we guarantee you the best rate if you book with us or we'll give you......".
By making the booking directly with any hotel, you'll generally receive much better service and most importantly the best chance of an upgrade or extra amenities. Say there are two couples arriving simultaneously, who do think the hotel is going to upgrade to the last available suite? A couple arriving with a direct booking that the hotel receives 100% of the revenue from or one holding a voucher from one of these amazing super duper late deals that the hotel has sold it's unsold rooms to for just 20 or 25p in the £?
When you arrive at any hotel with one of these vouchers you WILL BE TREATED LIKE A LEPER! Aggregators (online bucket shops) are now an essential part of the hotel industry and whereas nearly every hotel uses them, every single hotel absolutely hates them because cut heavily into their increasingly strecthed margins).
Apart from of course the business geniuses at Hoteles Holiday World (owned by Grupo Peñarroya), the operator of the Hotel Hydros. We found a suite on Hotel Hydros on a well known online deals site for 110 Euros a night and that compared favourably with the hotel's "rack rate" of 180 Euros a night. I rang the hotel's reservation's department and explained that we wanted to stay at the hotel but had seen the same suite on the aggregator's site for just 110 Euros and please could they match it as we'd prefer the revenue to go all to the hotel. The famous phrase "not possible! (incidentally, officially the most commonly used English phrase/word in Spain besides "manana") was then yet again uttered. I then asked to speak to the reservations manager and explained how I'd rather give 110 Euros to the hotel rather than the 25 or 30 Euros they'd receive from the aggregtor if we went through them. I was firmly told that "It is not our policy to discount our rates at all and if you want a cheaper rate then you are welcome to book it through so and so" Let's face it, in this sunny part of the World, businessmen in general are not generally world renowned for their business acumen to say the very least, but this was the most incredible thing I've ever heard in 30 years in business!
99% of the guests were English yet no English breakfast was available (even at a price). It was a very basic continental breakfast with very Spanish style spicy meats and poor quality orange juice (obviously from concentrate) and we noticed that most guests who walked into the breakfast room took one look at the sad fare on offer and walked straight out again saying "let's go into town and get a proper breakfast". On asking the waiter if I could pay to have scrambled eggs made specially for me he looked faintly confident and said that he would try to arrange it. When he didn't come back after ten minutes I was feeling quite optimistic as he'd obviously succeeded and my beloved eggs were on their way. Pedro however returned emptyy handed after 30 full minutes and very apologetically explained that the chef couldn't find any eggs. So in this supposed 5 star hotel there was not one single egg? In the entire hotel? It's common knowledge of course that any stars can be taken with a pinch of salt in Spain as there is no central recognised authority like the AA or the RAC in the UK so that virtually every hotel in Spain is a five star hotel as they simply erect five stars next to their main sign.
The Spa was absolutely gorgeous, one of the very best that I have ever been in and the relaxation / chill room was the star attraction, closely followed by the aromatic steam room and saunas, plunge pools, hot and cold and a magnificent heated pool overlooking the Med with large stainless steel water fountains gushing out mini waterfalls.
Put a crew of polite attentive staff in and a savvy marketing manager who does deals and the around 10% occupancy that the hotel enjoyed the night we were there would shoot up to at least 80%.
There are hotels in the area that will provide ten times the level of service at half the price. If you don't mind overpaying and want to spend a romantic night with your loved one locked in the suite and using the jacuzzi, don't need room service or breakfast the next morning and enjoy wrestling with your own luggage than this is surely the hotel for you! If however you want any sort of a deal and any sort of service then avoid this hotel like the plague! DO NOT COME HERE! Far better to be found elsewhere.
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Hydros Hotel Benalmadena
- Holiday Hydros Benalmadena, Costa Del Sol, Spain