We booked our holiday through Thomson who from the start lied to us about availability and the standard of their service and the hotel.
We wanted a good quality hotel, not too big and with good food and nice wine. We wanted it to be near the beach for our 4 year old daughter to play on, some nice 'café del mar' style bars very close to stroll to with our daughter, and no 'Brits abroad' type hotels
Thomson initially tried to push us towards a hotel that he said had a beach 5 minutes away – but even the brochure stated it was 4km away.
The Wilmslow store manager then remembered the Riu Paraiso in Puerto Del Carman, Lanzarote. He advised he has an apartment very close by and so knew the place very well and could guarantee it would be perfect for our requirements. We challenged the fairly high cost for a 4* (£2500) especially as the holiday we were about to book elsewhere would have cost half as much, although admittedly only B&B. He persuaded us with his knowledge of how nice the hotel, beach and surrounding area is/was, and that the extra cost brings the comfort of the Thomson service levels.
We arrived at the hotel and immediately saw we had been miss-sold to. Before our cases arrived in our room, my wife was in tears and went to see the Thomson rep asking for her to enquire as to early flights home – she offered to look for that Sunday, but never did. She also asked for us to be moved rooms as soon as a comparable room became available – again, something which despite chasing was never offered.
Our room, despite having been upgraded to a superior room, was very dated and run down. It was also a twin room, not a double room as we were promised. It looked like a 1980s cheap motel room. It was tiny – so small that we had to stand on the beds to allow two people to pass. The décor was very tired, the balcony overlooked a noisy pool and a concrete wall and the bath was so designed so that you could only see 12-18" of the bath, the rest (including the taps/plug) being hidden behind a wall. Useless to bath a 4 yr old and so difficult that my wife damaged her back out trying to reach to turn the taps on. Despite having a 4yr old, the room was a 10 minute walk to the restaurant/mini-club/children's pool etc – 15 minutes with a 4 yr old. There was a pool nearer, but it had a pool bar in the middle and thus was filled with drinkers shouting obscenities at each others. All this in a hotel thomson describe as a 'Platinum' hotel, and something that we paid over £2500 for, or over £300 per night.
On our requests:
• The Hotel is nowhere near a 4*, maybe a 2* at best (as collaborated by every other guest we spoke to). It was very clean, but the facilities and everything about it's operations were nothing like of the standard we requested. The food was always dry, tasteless and 90% of it didn't change from one day to the next. There were 1400 guests while we were there (so much for 'not too big'), so each meal time was like an army mess hall. The only option for children was Pizza, BeefBurgers (which didn't even look like anything like beef) and hotdogs. The drinks were all dire. The only wine available was from a tap and tasted quite obviously watered down. The beer was flat. All cocktails were pre-made and tasted of plastic and even the Gin & tonic was made with post-mix tonic, and flat. There was no mini-bar in our room (which we were promised) so when we had to go back to our room to allow our daughter to go to bed, I had a 20 minute round trip to go and get a drink from the bar.
• The beach was very nearby, however it is a shale beach, the sand is so coarse that you cannot walk on it without shoes – plus being dark sand (something we had challenged Thomson about) was so hot, it burnt feet even if you were brave enough. The hotel and even the Thomson rep said they advised people not to go onto the beach with small children
• The nearest bars were a 15 minute walk away (20-25 minutes with a 4yr old) and were burger and chips styles places. Plastic chairs/Irish bars/loud music/free entrance cocktails/etc.
• As for 'Brits Abroad', the first thing we saw was a group of shaven headed men, with tattoos, dive bombing into the pools, swearing across the pool. That was very typical of the standard of guests there. When one woman saw my wife in tears she just advised her to join everyone else and get "[--] P*ssed". The whole place gave the impression of catering for people who wanted to drink and eat as much as they could. Archetypical 'Brits Abroad'. We spoke to 6 or 7 others parties, mostly parents with young children at the Mini-Club, all thought the same. Every Thomson customer felt fully miss-sold and vowed never to travel with you again. Even the Italians and French we spoke to said the same thing.
We complained to the Thomson Rep less than an hour after arriving, and again an hour after that. We were promised information, early flight details, room move – nothing happened. We also asked for her to look at other options of accommodation for us to move to within the hotel – bearing in mind we hadn't even unpacked, or spent our first night there. Eventually, after 2 hours per day on the phone to the UK and the local Resort Duty Office, they offered to move us after over 4 days in the resort, but with less than 48 hours until we needed to start packing to head home, and a risk that a move could take 24 hours, it was a fruitless offer.
In the end, my wife spent most of the time in her room in tears and even our daughter stated she just wanted to go home, partly so she could eat some "proper food" - both her and my wife have lost weight due the scarcity of genuinely edible food, only the three feature restaurants were palatable, and even then, only just. My 4 yr old daughter lost 4lbs in weight whilst there so bad was the food.
Frustratingly, when we tackled the hotel manager on our last full day, he advised that had your rep spoken to him about our unhappiness (which she claimed she had), he would have moved us to wherever he needed to in the hotel to minimise our dissatisfaction.
To top it all off, we then had a 28 hour flight delay due to Thomson’s failures – nothing to do with the hotel, but just capped off what a dreadful experience it all was.
Thomson repeatedly stated they could do nothing whilst we were abroad, and that we would have to deal with everything on our return – Having now done so, Thomson are refusing to do anything saying that they can see nothing wrong. They won’t even compensate for the 18 hour flight delay caused through flying a plane that even one of their engineers stated shouldn’t really be flying.
To the hotel’s defence, the RiuLand children’s club is excellent, and the hotel is quite clean. But unless you are a member of the tattooed fraternity and rate you holiday purely on the volume of food and drink you can consume, this hotel is best avoided.
Regardless, if you are tempted to book through Thomson, don’t. Their service is non existent.
Our holiday is now in the hands of solicitors.
I am happy to speak/communicate with anyone who has any questions about this review.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Located 30 m from Playa de los Pocillos beach * Two 2-story main buildings and 1 or 2-story annexes * 2 km from Puerto del Carmen * 400 m from various shops * 8 km from the airport * 300 m from a bus stop * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa, Diners ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Clubhotel Riu Paraiso Lanzarote Hotel
- Riu Paraiso Lanzarote
- ClubHotel Riu Paraiso Lanzarote Resort Puerto Del Carmen