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“Christmas at the Gran Castillo”

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Gran Castillo Tagoro Family & Fun Playa Blanca
Ranked #10 of 38 Hotels in Playa Blanca
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Christmas at the Gran Castillo”
Reviewed January 4, 2013

We stayed at Gran Castillo in Playa Blanca for 11 nights from 16th to 27th Dec. We had a lovely holiday.

On arrival we were given a glass of cava and my children orange juice and sweets which they loved. Our suitases were delivered to our room by the porter. All the reception staff were very welcoming.

Our room was lovely. A spacious family room with sliding doors connecting the main bedroom to the living room which had a sofa bed for kids, but also the tv as mentioned in other reviews so we couldnt watch the tv if the kids were in bed but this didnt bother us really. We were given a room with a fabulous partial sea view which was unexpected and we could watch the sun set over the sea. This made the holiday even more lovely. The bathroom was great too, walkin shower, seperate bath, his and hers sinks and toiletries provided.

What we most liked about the Gran Castillo was the outside space. The hotel is light and airy, spread out so you dont feel like your on top of each other, but not too spread out! There are numerous pools, many of which are heated and a comfortable temperature to swim in despite it being December. The main pool is beautiful and heated, overlooking the sea. There is also a sand area next to the pool for the kids to play in. The kids club is to the rear of the hotel. My kids loved the kids club, especially ALEX!!! - you are fabulous and Faye and Jamie cried in the car as we left because they were missing you already!!! There is a pool right next to the kids club which is also heated. We spend all our time divided between these two pools. The animation team are great and worked very hard, especially Marcio, Stephanie, Mandy and Alex. The kids pool with the slides is not heated though, this is a shame as it was always empty.

The food in the main buffet restaurant is ok. Some dishes were very good, some were poor so it averages out as ok I suppose. The sausages were not nice. The chicken kebabs were awful. But generally it is ok. Plenty of choice at every meal. If you like fish you will be in heaven.

Evening meals in the main restaurant are split into two sittings. We were allocated a table in the earlier sitting which was fine. You sit at the same table every evening so you are not fighting for a table. This worked until Christmas Day, when our table was given to someone else so on arrival there was not a table for us. We had to wait for staff to find two tables from around the restaurant and put them together. As this was happening, the people who were supposed to be sitting at one of these tables also turned up, not very good for Christmas Day dinner, but we were seated eventually and the staff were very apologetic.

If you like Pizza then the Italian restaurant is a must. The Pizzas are delicious!! As is the Lasagne. The Chinese restaurant we didnt enjoy as much. The soup and spring rolls were awful but the ribs and chicken in black bean were lovely.

The drinks were good, named brands and lovely cocktails (although the cocktails at the bar by the kids club were undrinkable). The staff were all lovely. There were long queues a few times but not all the time.Tthere would be a busy spell, then it would be quieter. Go to Mandys pina colada cocktail game, she makes the best cocktails!!

On christmas day the hotel made a big effort for the children. There was a bouncy castle, face painting, balloon making and santa came on a camel with presents. The presents were really good quality gifts!! We were really surprised at how good the presents were! Thankyou Gran Castillo.

The entertainment was ok. We didnt really see much of it though so cant really comment much but the kids loved the disco. Our main entertainment were the people we met here. Everyone was really friendly and we have made some firm friends.

Overall we had a really great Christmas holiday. Yes there were a few grumbles but generally everything was fabulous and we will definately be returning next Christmas.

Room Tip: Room 6320 is lovely with partial sea view.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Melanie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Beverley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed January 4, 2013 via mobile

I have just returned from a lovely Christmas at the Dream Gran Castillo... We are a party of 2 couples and all had a wonderful time. We had a sea view junior suite and oh my goodness it was huge, sun beds on the balcony, jacuzzi bath and robes, and a separate sitting area my parents had a superior pool view room, and that was also huge, and really nice, all rooms have a massive bathroom with separate shower cubicle and toilet cubicle, and 2 sinks, there is a hair dryer and plenty of toiletries which are re stocked each day. There are other useful things in the room such as a free safe! (Unusual to be free in Spain) a hair dryer which worked fine, and a fridge, great for keeping water cool, you also get a large bottle of water in your room on arrival which you can then fill up in any of the bars.
Have stayed at Sandos Papagayo and can honestly say the rooms are not a patch on these at the dream Gran! (And neither is the service!!)
We really enjoyed all meals in the main buffet restaurant, I'm not usually a buffet fan but enjoyed every meal in there and always ended up with 3 courses!! Chinese was very good and was nice to choose from a menu, I had Tempura Prawns followed by Sweet and sour pork, and then green tea ice cream with roasted nuts.. Lovely..
We went to the Italian twice, Pizzas here were freshly cooked thin based with a selection of toppings, but they were huge so I never managed to finish one! Little tip, go to the Italian for breakfast and lunch as its much quieter and chilled out and same food as the main buffet restaurant.
Drinks service in the restaurants was fab when ordering a glass of Rosé or cava I always ended up with the full bottle..
Not sure what the previous reviewer is talking about with regards the pools, the main one was heated and I went in most days it was lovely, I believe the one by the Italian is heated too.. Jacuzzis round the pools were lovely also.
Xmas day was magical, we watched Santa arrive on a camel and give a gift to every child (they were very nice too from what I saw, I would say worth at least £20 each, mini laptops, remote control bmw's etc)
Enjoyed a drink watching the sunset on the terrace bar, and often a snack from the pool bar.
We made use of the free spa pass on Christmas Day, this was really chilled and relaxing.
Location was nice, 15-20 min stroll to Rubicon Marina and the twice weekly market.
Entertainment team work very hard and are all great fun, loved the daily cocktail making and show cooking they did.
Special thankyou's to Hamid, Gemier and Barak in the restaurant, Valentin and Elizabeth on the bar, and Javier Reception manager.. And the hard working entertainments team (sorry I can't remember all your names)...
Please don't book this thinking you are going to a hotel with a standard of a 5* shangri la hotel in Asia because a 5* all inclusive in Europe can never be compared with this.... What you will get here however is good value spanish chain hotel good weather only 4hours away on a flight, endless food and drinks and excellent rooms and services, that's what we did and where not disappointed.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Birkatron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wickford
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2013

We stayed in the Dream Gran Castillo Over Christmas. A wonderful time had by all the family, ranging from 6yrs to 63yrs. The service was excellent, staff couldn't do enough for you. Food was great, served by "Ainsley" the Senegal chef. I stayed here last year, recommending it to my family who are all well travelled, we all loved it. I am planning a return visit, this year.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Richard B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dunchurch, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013 via mobile

We visited the hotel from 23rd Dec to 3rd January 2013 as a family with the in-laws and two young children (aged 6 and 14 months). We concur with much of the positive views given in earlier reviews regarding rooms, staff etc.
The reception staff, animation team, bar staff, waiters etc were all fantastic.
On the negative side, the pools could do with heating - they were freezing! I can't believe that they cannot install solar heating in his climate. There was a shortage of bar staff, especially in the pool bar ( we didn't personally experience any drunk ness as indicated by previous reviewers. Service was very slow.
The food was 'passable' and agree with he reviewer who said that stews etc were best choice. The cooked-to-order meat and fish from the skillets was often undercooked ( especially the fish!). However,the hotel put on a fantastic Gala Dinner on New Years Eve with a fantastic choice of fish and meats. The 'hot plates' didn't seem to keep food very warm, and where food was warm, it tended to dry up quickly so you are best advised to get in early for meals.
Great animation team - especially Alex who kept our young son busy. The restaurant waiters were excellent and very attentive. We did get a little agitated when they kept changing our table very night for the first six nights before allocating us a permanent table for dinner.
On the whole it was a fabulous holiday and we would come back here again.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Cymruman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow
Level Contributor
41 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

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.

Room Tip: Reception claim there are no family rooms with a sea view. We're not convinced...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Dinkyenjoyinglife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport South wales
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

My disabled mother and I spent Christmas 2012 at this hotel for one week. We stayed from 23 to 30 th December. The room though large and suitable for wheelchair, was dirty. I found tow balls of hair under my bed the size of a tennis ball. I was offered food on chipped crockery, and dirty cutlery, not what one would expect having paid over £2500.00 for five star!

The staff worked incredibly hard and it was clear to see that in areas such as the Chinese restaurant there was insufficient staff to cope with demand, consequently guests left before having thier third course and also had to get up and get their own drinks from the bar next door.

Some areas of the hotel were not wheelchair friendly. If one is ina wheelchair sinks need to be lower for example and a wheelchair should fit under the sink so that basic hygiene can be maintained following daily grooming routine. This was not possible in our room.

The food was poor and anyone ina wheelchair had no hope of choosing thier own food like their able bodied counterparts, at mealtimes it was a free for all and so crowded like ants milling around it was not a pleasurable experience. We couldn't wait to come home.

sadly we would not recommend this hotel to anyone who seeks five star treatment. We would not recommend this hotel at all in fact. sorry!

Room Tip: Choose another hotel!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LadyHelen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester
Level Contributor
21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

Not up to the standard of the (occasional!) "real 5 star properties I've used in the past. Perhaps the all-inclusive factor is dragging down standards. Still for the price this was my best option - and so (despite generally being disappointed) I won't 100% rule out for the future.

On the good side: Room was large with an ocean view (no extra charge - perhaps we were lucky); food quality was OK (in comparison to previous 4 star all-inclusive I have used). No problems getting sunbeds during our stay. SPA was nice (one free visit per room - no under 16s)

On the downside: pools were only "environmentally heated (in real terms not heated). This was especially disappointing for the impressive looking pool with slides which was pretty much unused during our stay (staff said it was 24 degrees - in any case it was unpleasantly cold).
OK - I'll probably sound like a snob (I'm not - I'm of working class stock myself) - but some of the other guests were actually a negative. Nothing personal: just some were drinking a bit too much and getting noisy and inconsiderate to staff and other guests: I guess this could be an inevitable consequence of the 'all-inclusive' factor.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank united_always_score
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gran Castillo Tagoro Family & Fun Playa Blanca

Property: Gran Castillo Tagoro Family & Fun Playa Blanca
Address: Calle la Hoya de Afre 2, 35580 Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, Spain (Formerly Dream Gran Castillo Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Spain > Canary Islands > Lanzarote > Playa Blanca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Playa Blanca
#4 Green Hotel in Playa Blanca
#6 Romantic Hotel in Playa Blanca
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Blanca
#7 Family Hotel in Playa Blanca
#8 Luxury Hotel in Playa Blanca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Gran Castillo Tagoro Family & Fun Playa Blanca 5*
Number of rooms: 327
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Like a grand castle which majestically dominates the seascape of the AtlanticOcean and its islands, the magnificent GRAN CASTILLO TAGORO is erected in the charming area of Playa Blanca, in the south of the volcanic isle par excellence: Lanzarote. With the conviction that elegance and comfort should come naturally, this Hotel is a tribute to 16th century Canary history and colonial architecture, inspired by the "Castle of San José" and the typical landscape of the island, blending in with the environment. The building is divided into different zones which maintain their colonial style, where the white facades and volcanic stone contrast with the backdrop of the deep blue ocean. A charming interior courtyard of Arab inspiration bathes the reception area with light, and the contemporary décor and pale colours create a warm and very elegant atmosphere. GRAN CASTILLO TAGORO pampers every detail of the rooms and suites, which have breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding scenery. They are decorated in a contemporary style, with marine touches, light-coloured wood and pale colours, creating a pleasant atmosphere full of light. The discerning selection of restaurants and cuisines serve Canary, national and international specialities. There are conference rooms featuring spearhead technology, and various outdoor zones for events of different kinds. The "Vitanova SPA" thalassotherapy centre provides the benefits of thermal seawater, and specific treatments for the body and soul. The Hotel features a wide range of facilities and services. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dream Gran Castillo Hotel Playa Blanca
Dream Castillo Papagayo Lanzarote
Gran Castillo Tagoro Family & Fun Playa Blanca Lanzarote

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