Working hard to get to riu standard
Just arrived back from the Riu Buena Vista, Tenerife. The hotel has recently been taken over by the Riu group and although it is not quite up to Riu standards it is obvious that changes are being made to meet them.
All the staff are very friendly, the receptionists, the bar staff, waiters and animation team. Well done for your excellent service.
We had a standard room, the view was of the tennis court, and the balcony received little sun. Having said that, the room itself was adequate and the bathroom, although small was very nice with a lovely power shower. You could pay extra for a better view or a suite if you wish, it’s a personal choice.
The food was ok but there is definite room for improvement. For breakfast there should be eggs cooked to order and an omelette station, and I don’t think many people eat brussel sprouts for breakfast. Coffee is brought to the table but you still then have to queue up to get milk from a machine. Just putting a jug of milk on the table would be an improvement. Some mornings there were fresh juices, but these should be available every morning.
Lunch and evening meals were much the same. There was a choice of meats, fish, pasta dishes, soup, salad etc. Nothing special but not too bad. Desserts were a little disappointing, same type of cake every night.
The drinks were quite good for an all inclusive. The wine and the cocktails were nice and you could even have champagne. It was really quite palatable!!
The animation team worked hard in the day to get people to join in the activities. There was the usual aqua aerobics, volley ball, bingo etc. You could do as much or as little as you wished. At night there was a choice of entertainment in the theatre or the resident duo in the lobby. The duo was good and got people up to dance. However, couples danced together, sort of come dancing type of thing, maybe because most were German? Thank you to John, who tried to show me how to dance that way. Must have been the worst dancer he ever had!!
The hotel grounds are very nice with two lovely pools and plenty of sunbeds. However the hotel is quite isolated and there isnt much to see in the vicinity. The hotel does put on a shuttle bus to Las Americas but only until 12.30 pm.
I would return to this hotel. There is room for improvement, but I think it is trying hard to meet the Riu standard and I think it will get there.
All-Inclusive on the Cheap
My wife and I stayed at the RIU Buena Vista for 12 nights in February, 2009. We booked via the Riu website, which was at the time offering discounted prices. The booking was easy to make, the confirmation was emailed promptly, the hotel was expecting us when we arrived, and the price quoted was the final price we paid.
Two things about the RIU website. It says the Buena Vista is a nine-story hotel, giving the impression of a high-rise concrete block. It is, in fact, built on a slope down to the coast, and the height of the building is staggered accordingly. For example, the entrance to the hotel’s Reception area is on level 4, and the rooms above it take it to level 9. At the coast end of the building, the floors range from one to five. The general effect is of a well-designed building, not of a tower block. The other thing that could be misinterpreted from the website is the mention of a ‘small beach nearby’. This is not part of the hotel and facilities are chargeable locally.
The Buena Vista is a 500-room modern and smart hotel that has been part of the RIU Group for only a few months. It’s a 35 Euro taxi ride from the Airport. Comments on the TA site and also from other guests seem to indicate that the hotel has not yet been brought fully up to RIU standards, although as this was our first holiday in a RIU hotel, we can’t comment on this. All the interior public rooms are non-smoking, making the environment very pleasant, but this does mean that the smokers congregate outside, which could be more of a problem in the summer. There’s a courtesy bus to and from Playa de las Americas three times a day – we thought Americas looked smarter than we had been led to believe.
During our stay the hotel was around 50% full, so our comments should be read in conjunction with this. The clientele was mixed, with a large number of elderly couples, mainly from Germany and Britain, and some younger couples. The hotel is a magnet for families with young children, particularly Spanish, so be prepared to go on holiday with lots of other people’s children.
There are two very nice freeform swimming pools, one (on the upper level) with a kiddies pool, although most of the families used the lower level pool, which is heated. This is also where the daytime activities take place, so the upper level pool was both colder and quieter. There were ample sunbeds provided – plastic with cloth inserts, which were comfortable (if a bit creaky) even without mattresses. In our opinion, the banks of sunbeds by the lower level pool looked rather unattractive, and didn’t give much privacy. Despite the notices that reserving of sunbeds is prohibited, there were the usual saddo’s who insisted on putting their towels down early in the morning, and then appearing when they felt like it. This wasn’t a problem at this time of the year, but the hotel management need to deal with this more effectively at busier times.
There are some definite positives and negatives about this hotel. On the positive side are the staff, the rooms and the drinks service. The negatives are the entertainment and – very definitely – the food service.
The staff are all brilliant. You normally get one or two that are grumpy, but not here. From the time we were welcomed on our arrival by John at Reception, we felt the staff were all working to make our holiday enjoyable. Ironically, the only person I felt wasn’t totally helpful was the manager himself (see later).
There are different types of rooms available at the Buena Vista, and as the rooms vary even within each type it would be nice to be able to choose your room, but this would obviously be impractical. Basically, the accommodation is in standard rooms (average size, seem to look out over the front of the hotel, and may not get much sun), standard suites (about 50 Sq metres, with a 12 sq metre balcony with table, chairs and sunbeds), superior suites (two bedrooms, some with very large balconies and stunning sea views) and villas (two bedrooms, ground floor, near the seafront, but not much privacy). We opted for a standard suite, which had separate sitting and bedrooms, a spacious bathroom (separate bath and shower) with toiletries (sachets) and hairdryer but no tissues, a separate wc off the sitting room and a small fridge. There was a safe (no extra charge – makes a change), and the only criticism I had of the room equipment was the lack of drawer space – a chest of drawers would have been useful. The TV had Sky News, and less usefully, BBC World and CNN. At this time of the year the room was quite cold, particularly at night, but there was no heating available. We also found the lovely balcony almost unusable as the only sun it received was in the very late afternoon, and it was generally too cold during our stay to sit in the shade.
The layout of the rooms is unusual. The doors are off balconies overlooking an (almost) interior courtyard, giving a very open outlook. While these are attractive, it does mean that noise from other floors carries up to your room, as well as that from your own floor. So the sound of doors slamming and kids screaming can be heard a lot further than in most hotels.
The final positive is the drinks service. Tea, coffee, soft drinks, beer and wines are all available on a self-service basis, and they are all very drinkable. Cocktails and spirits are available at the various bars – the bars are no busier than in most pubs, so there were no long queues when we were there. The all-inclusive drinks are also available until midnight, giving a certain amount of freedom, although most people seem to have gone to bed by this time. An interesting feature is the ‘branded spirits’ issue. Most of us have been to all-inclusives where our favourite drink is not available free, but can of course be supplied and charged to our room. Not so at the Buena Vista. Branded spirits are not available, but for example, if you ask for a Bacardi and Coke you get the spirit poured from a bottle labelled ‘Ron’, although it doesn’t say Bacardi, and my wife couldn’t tell the difference. Similarly with Campari, Baileys and Champagne, which we both tried and found very acceptable. You would need to be a real expert to tell the difference here.
On to the negative things about the Buena Vista. The entertainment is poor. In the bar from about 8 until 11.30 a duo play and sing, and were very entertaining, with a large repertoire. But they are on for six nights out of seven, and at the end of our 12-night stay we felt we knew some of the words better than they did. No criticism of the duo, but they would have been appreciated more if, for example, they had been performing for 3 or 4 nights a week.
This wouldn’t matter if there was something to break up the evening – something in the form of some reasonable adult entertainment. Well, there isn’t. What is on offer in the nightclub is, at best, enthusiastically amateurish, and at worst, puerile. Firstly, the nightclub is totally unsuitable for stage-focussed entertainment – there are so many pillars that the seats have to be laid out in groups to enable most people a partial view of the stage, but there are areas which are totally unusable because of the lack of view. Secondly, for six nights out of seven (or as many of these as I could drag myself down for), the entertainment is done by the ‘Animation’ team. This enthusiastic bunch of amateurs seem to cope well with volleyball and aquarobics during the day, but putting on a multi-language, multi-cultural show in the evening was beyond them. One evening’s show was limited to playing loud music, with the entertainment team going into the audience to get reluctant guests up to dance. Class! Apologies if it got better after the first ten minutes, but that’s all we could stand. Thirdly, young kids are allowed in the nightclub and are not controlled by their parents, so there are frequent distractions. The only exception to the low level of entertainment was the flamenco show, performed by an outside troupe, which at least looked semi-professional. Sorry to be unkind, but a 500-room hotel must be prepared to put on better entertainment than this.
The worst aspect of this hotel is the food service. There are two restaurants – the main one, which resembles a staff canteen, and the seafront one, which has a better ambience but much less choice of food. The range of food on offer in the main restaurant is good, and you would be pushed to reject all of the choices of soups, salads, main courses and desserts. The environment, however, is awful, the food is generally no better than lukewarm, and the dining experience is therefore not pleasant. There is a cacophony of noise from the hundreds of people talking, moving about the room, plates and cutlery being frantically cleared away to make room for the next diners, and of course, the kids screaming. You are not meant to linger over your meal here, which is a disappointment. The staff, as everywhere, are magnificent, but they are just overwhelmed by numbers. What it must be like in August, I wouldn’t like to think. As a couple who like to relax over dinner in the evening and enjoy the dining experience, this was horrendous.
An alternative to the main restaurant is the one by the seafront, for which you must book a table at Reception. This has a much more relaxed atmosphere, with background music, and waiters with a little more time for you. Unfortunately, there are several negatives about this restaurant. Firstly, the structure of the building is such that it has to be closed in bad weather, such as on the first few nights of our holiday. Secondly, you can’t escape the kids – this would be an opportunity if this restaurant was for adults only. Thirdly, the menu here is very samey. For four nights, it’s Canarian food, but the menu is the same for each of the four nights. It’s the same for the other three nights, which are Italian. Lastly, and most importantly to me, I had reservations about the food recycling. On one evening, I remarked to my wife that the leg of pork which had just been brought out looked suspiciously like the partly-carved leg of pork which had been put away after the previous evening’s meal – had they reheated it and brought it back out? The rice dish didn’t look fresh, and even the soup was the same as the previous evening. So I avoided all these and had some of the cold mussels, and guess what? I was ill all night, and suffered the after-effects until beyond the end of our holiday. Had the previous evening’s mussels been brought out again? Who knows.
I reported my suspicions to Reception, who had the manager ring me. He denied food recycling, and said the pork had been carved for ‘salads’ – using hot pork for salads is a new one on me. He said his kitchens were inspected and passed as satisfactory every month – fine, but that doesn’t mean that food recycling didn’t happen inbetween. There was no way he was going to admit that his food caused my illness. In fact, he said there was a virus affecting guests at the hotel – strange, as rumours of viruses in hotels normally spread quicker than the viruses themselves, and not one person mentioned a virus to me during our stay. And if there was a virus amongst guests at the hotel, shouldn’t someone be advising guests on taking precautions? Having said all that, the seafront restaurant made a nice change for lunch, when I was eventually able to eat again.
The Buena Vista is a ten minute walk from the small village of Playa Paraiso – nothing very inspiring there – just a small selection of bars, restaurants and shops, and a good-size supermarket. Several of the bars are ex-pat owned, trying to create – as one put it – ‘a taste of home’. There are several car hire shops, and the one we used – AutosTeide, next to the Britannia pub – gave us a Fiat Seicenta for 60 Euros for three days – about the best price we could find.
We booked our flights directly with Monarch, and they were fine, except for the modern ‘nothing’s free, pay for everything’ culture of charter airlines. Nothing ‘costs’ anything, it ‘retails’. The pre-assigned extra legroom seats were worth the money, but pay for them in advance. If there are any of these seats available on the day, they sell them at the full price – you don’t get offered them for nothing.
Would we go back to Tenerife? Yes, but we would go a little more in season, as it wasn’t really warm enough for us. Would we go back to the Buena Vista? No – it seems to offer cheap all-inclusive, and you miss out on the food service and decent entertainment. However, we wouldn’t be averse to trying another RIU hotel somewhere as they seem to have a good reputation. Are there any adult-only RIU hotels…?
nice time but......
first thing dont get ripped off in taxi from airport we payed 45 euros and our return fare 30 so watch out the restaurant is the only complaint canteen feeling bright light not pleasant,out side very cold no heating so its imposssible to sit for long dinner and the theme restaurant, well dont bother food terrible,no choice and cold,but saying all this yes we did have a good time no its not riu standard no where near but our stay we did enjoy, largley due to the weather been perfect, we had a lovely suite with sea views and a very comfortable bed.The staff we met were very nice and helpful,the pools are nice 1 been really cold not heated but the other ok ,you have to keep swimming to keep warm,we have been to lots 4 stars in caneries and this one is just ok we got a good price so all in all nice but could do better.
I see many comments about this venue not acheiving Riu standards & perhaps it still has a few things to do to get to Riu standards, but it far exceeds the standards of most other hotels. The reception staff are excellent, particularly Lucas, & the first impression that they make is carried on by every one that works there. The barstaff are quick & efficient & there are no long queues. The food is not gourmet standard, but it is fresh & well cooked. Our suite was perfect & the maid/cleaner was immaculate. The duo who play on floor 3 are competent but very boring & they wear 'street clothes' & lack any attempt to entertain. They could easily be replaced by a tape. The animacion team are lovely vibrant enthusiastic young people who try their best to present a nightly show by miming to records in a room where the stage is always obscured by loads of pillars. To be frank, they don't have a chance, but boy do they try! The one visiting cabaret that appeared in the week was a Flamenco Troupe. They were good dancers, but they performed the 'morbid dying gypsy' style of Flamenco. Most holiday makers want the happy foot stamping twirling style of dance. This holiday was made by the quality of the hotel itself & by the wonderful staff & management. They need to put a professional entertainment package together as a matter of urgency. A small investment that will put the Buena Vista at the top of the reasonably priced venues.
Take your knitting !!!!!!!!
Me and the wife have just returned from a week's stay (22/02/09-01/03/09), the hotel is very nice but also in a very boring location. Playa Paraiso itself has nothing to offer during the day or night, it's like a ghost town with just a few shops, and what pubs there is are not worth a mention. So unless you get a taxi into Playa de las americas £20 each way, your holiday will be spent in the hotel, which is fine if you can sit listening to the same duo every night,he plays an electric piano and she sing's along very slowly. Thats in the main bar area ,you can also go down into the basement , where the animation team try to keep you entertained (in about 5 different languages). Speaking of the animation team they do an excellent job ,both day and night they work very hard and always have a smile on there face's. This level of friendliness/helpfulness applies to all the staff, from reception, barstaff, waiters, and the cleaning staff,could not fault any of them.During the day the weather was very nice ,but it was cold on a night both inside and outside the hotel, (this may improve as the year goes on but for now take a jumper). We found the food was o/k but nothing to rave about,the restaurant could also get very busy at times, but the staff were very quick to clear the tables.Our rooms were nice and big, and the verandas all had tables and chairs, and two sun loungers on each.All the drink's are self service for soft drink's ,wine and beer,but the bar staff supply short's and cocktails ect,ect. If you require bottled water this is free from reception,you just have to ask for it. All in all the hotel is nice but very isolated,and quiet ,after the sun goes there is nothing left to do, so take your knitting or a couple of good books you'll need them.Last of all just a short stroll downhill outside the hotel is a small beach (no water sports) were you can hire sunbeds, and the hotel also has a gym.
fantastic hotel but no nightlife AT ALL
my self and my husband came back from the riu mid feb, and while i have to agree with the comments" take your knitting "reveiw made i did make the choice to go some where a little quieter than normal,as we have not had a day off since nov 08 (publicans) but i didnt think it would be as bad as it was, we refered to playa parisio as the ghost town, well more like ghost street, there where 4 bars to speak of all which only really had local pats drinking in them we found the talk of the town to be the most welcoming even tho myself and my husband are only in our early 40's and everyone else were a lot older!, but we made some good friends, and prices not bad either. the hotel was excellent food, rooms, and staffthe only thing to let it down and stop me from returning here was the lack of entertainment at night , o by the way everything is closed by 12midnight infact we were sat on our balcony one night at about 11.30 and we saw only 2 people and they were walking back to their rooms, the duo who performed each night well what can i say........, funny 1st night, oh no not again 2nd night, and by the third night it was let's get the hell out of here and go for a walk quick !!!!!!!!!!!!! the hotel i would say is 75% german some dutch and british so maybe they like hungerian duo's in germany all in all we had a peace holiday, we hired a hire car from the airport for £83 for thr week and that took us all round the island fantastic taverners up in the mountains, if you do hire a car go to the camel park on sunday afternoon next door is a taverna where all the locals meet and have a good old spanish fiesta myself and my husband stayed for lunch and joined in as well after a bottle of vino(only 15 euro's for canarian potatoes canarian stew, fish soup and a bottle of vino oh and water for the hubby ) you tend to let your hair down, we dropped the car off back at the airport on our departure saved us a fortune, roads easy to read in tenerife no probs there, i hope the hotel sort out the entertainment as most of the british people loved the hotel it just spoilt the holiday with nothing to do at night.
First Time All Inclusive
Just got back having had10 wonderful days here, my Husband and myself was a bit concerned with everyone together in one large room getting food but after a day or so we was so used to it we felt very much at home, the staff were fab and the animation team worked so hard all day .The hotel is so clean even the cleaners had a smile for you nothing was a problem, the food was lovely , we were so impressed the way they catered for so many different nationallitys.If you want a quiet and relaxing holiday this is the one for you.The hotel I understand have been taken over by the riu group they are trying so hard well done! if i was to pick a fault it would be no draws in the rooms lack of storage.The views are lovely to wake up to, as far as the towel saga goes yes it was true it didnt matter what time you came down it was a see of yellow towels but no-one on them typical, so we would just lay on them just to see their faces it made us giggle. There is a handy little shop that has papers, drinks, food ect ( bit expensive ) hairdressers other little gift and a clothes shop. There is a bus service regular outside the main entrance to and from playa del las americas. (be advised taxi service a rip off).