Value Score No Data
Good For Business
Terrific Value for money All Inclusive Resort
When you book your stay at this resort hotel you might be excused for thinking you’ve booked B&B basis as the cost is so good! Then you arrive and find you’ve actually booked all inclusive (AI) and things just keep getting better.
As five star hotels go, the reception area here is understated and almost disappointing. However, as they check you in they guide you to the lobby bar, with terrific views over the resort and many of its pools (looking to the sea) and start your holiday right with a glass of bubbly, chilled beer, or whatever your favourite tipple might be from a long list of AI drinks.
It was quite a walk from reception to our room, but when we got there I loved it. It looked exactly as it does on the website but with the huge balcony overlooking the glistening boating lake and facing into the sunset it’s actually much nicer in reality. Everything is scrupulously clean, with the only downside being that the minibar is empty. You can, I understand, pay to get it filled – but as you’re there on an AI basis I don’t think it would have hurt them to fill it with a few cans of minerals and water.
Leading directly from this, the hotel shop does not sell drinks of any kind so if you’re the kind of person that likes to sit on your balcony and enjoy a peaceful drink away from the crowds then you’ll have to go to the village and stock up.
The hotel building layout is in a horseshoe shape facing the sea. The reception rooms, museum, function rooms etc are all in the main area furtherst from the sea and two wings of rooms reach out from here. Several of the hotel’s pools are nestled in the centre of the horseshoe. At the bottom of the left side of the complex (facing the ocean) you will find the kids club, the hotel shop, and the main pool bar. Across from these, and at the right of the horseshoe, are the mini-spa, the main restaurant (Atxona) and the themed restaurant (La Proa). In the centre of these two seafront areas is a huge outdoor theatre and bar area, plus what would be the main pool complex (with two large pools and a childrens’ pool here).
Some pool areas are quieter than others. The two pool areas surrounding the two pool bars (one mid-complex, the other seafront) are the busiest and attract most of the families with children. The seafront pools are the fun ones where activities such as aqua-gym, water polo etc take place. There’s also music here most of the time (though unfortunately it’s very repetitive). The quietest pool area is perhaps the one behind the mini-gym. There is never ever a shortage of sunbeds, but there is very little shade anywhere in the complex. The plentiful and, I would think, expensive sun umbrellas are more or less useless because of the almost constant strong winds on this part of the island.
The staff throughout this hotel are fantastic. They are very hardworking, always smiling, and always ready to help. The animation team work night and day to keep guests of all ages entertained. Apart from the very active kids’ club, for adults or teens there are the aqua gym, water polo, wall climbing and abseiling, beach soccer, French bowls, tennis, canoeing on the lake, and on and on. At night there’s a kiddy disco until 10pm and then varying forms of adult oriented entertainment. My favourites were the dancers from Argentina, other dancers from Spain, and a fun music quiz. The reason I liked these were that they suited all nationalities. Unfortunately, much of the other games were aimed mainly at the Spanish and I saw many guests of other nationalities leave the fun because they couldn’t understand what was going on.
Overall the food is very good, though La Proa is a real let-down. I will write a more detailed review of each restaurant on Virtual Tourist.
I found the landscaping to be disappointing, until I heard that the planting had to be all of plants indigenous to the (arid) locale. You are therefore left with a landscape predominant of cacti and succulents. Because of the terracotta and grey colours of the built areas, something more is needed to give the place a lift. I also find myself concerned about the ornamental pool surrounding the La Proa restaurant complex. This becomes discoloured from the rusting of shore covers and the growth of ugly algae in the pool. I heard people refer to it as “the yellow pool” or even “the brown pool.” It really needs some planting to deal with this before it becomes a really ugly problem.
The resort is big and sprawling, so no matter where you are you’re quite a walk from anywhere else in the hotel. There are many steps, a confusing layout, and an elevator system that leaves something to be desired e.g. we had to walk 50 metres to the next block to reach the closest guest elevator. While 50 metres may not seem a lot, it is when you’re with a disabled 73 year old!! We discovered a service elevator just steps from our room and used this instead – until we were hauled over the coals by a rather nasty housekeeping supervisor.
Unique Quality: The tour of the Hotel's private Reserve is not to be missed – a definite high point of my vacation, as was the amazing interactive museum. Again, this will be the subject of a separate VT review.
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