More about Gran Melia Volcan Lanzarote
Told on arrival overbooked - so bumped to half-built hotel
We booked the Gran Melia Volcan 7 weeks before travelling on 19 March. We had read the reviews and did a lot of research because we wanted a special holiday for my husband's 40th Birthday - we thought it would be perfect. We were wrong. We travelled with Thomson and on arrival (after a 3 hour 15 minute flight delay) we were told that the Gran Melia Volcan was overbooked and therefore we would be staying in a brand new hotel called the Dream Gran Castillo. We protested, asking how the hotel could suddenly be overbooked and why had we only been notified on arrival. Various lame excuses and claims they had only been informed that morning. We later discovered that it was overbooked because of a Conference - yet they then put conference guests into the Gran Castillo, we wonder why couldn't they have put more of them in the Castillo and let us stay in the Volcan.
So we had no choice but to go to the Gran Castillo - this hotel was unfinished. It did not officially open until May 2006. Instead of 5 restuarants it only had one open. No spa or massage etc., no air-conditioning working, building noise, no gym, no beauty salon, no internet availability for guests, no bathrobes or slippers, total lack of drawer storage in bedrooms - and absolutely appalling breakfast buffet / evening meal. Brocclli and carrots for breakfast, but no bananas, baked beans or bacon! The staff (apart from reception) were useless and surly - had not got their act together. Not the 5 star luxury envisaged.
Having arrived at 7pm at night we called the Thomson holiday line to complain again - they said it was too late to do anything about anything that evening and would send the rep. to see us the next morning. We met the rep who suggested we visit the Yiaza - I said that I didn't hold much hope for that, having read the trip advisor reviews when choosing to stay at the Volcan. We went to look at the Yiaza - offered a family room in horrible block approached by vile tunnel or over a very busy road - balconly overlooking v.busy road - so as no other alternative we agreed to stay at the Gran Castillo. Almost considered returning home but Thomson said we would have to pay for our own flights. We completed customer report forms saying we were due approx. £650 compensation.
As the week progressed we realised how bad the Castillo was - much further out of town, (almost adjoing the Papagayo Arena Hotel) - and all the points listed in paragraph 2 became very evident. Because the hotel was new there was no way of knowing what the price was. A lot of Germans were there on some sort of 3 week, pay for 2 cheap deal. We asked at reception for a tariff / room rate - but they said it was available only on the internet - no internet in the hotel, so unable to check. On arrival back home we found that it was impossible to get a price from the web-site. We also discovered that the only brochure featuring it is First Choice - a comparable company with Thomson - and that for the same week in March 2007 the hotel was £400 cheaper than what we paid to stay at the Volcan, and that is for a hotel completely finished with everything open and up and running.
We wrote to Thomson asking for £930 compensation - £600 for difference in price of holiday, plus £230 daily rate of holiday as one day completely lost due to flight delay and messing around looking at other hotels - plus £100 for the stress caused and time and trouble having to complain. We received 3 letters from one person saying - no, absolutely no compensation would be paid, nothing - not even acknowledging there was anyting to complain about. The Thomson complaints system is appalling, designed to irritate, annoy and try to get rid of you. We were just about to write to ABTA when she finally passed our complaint to her line manager and we were then sent a cheque for £600. A very dissapoining and frustrating experience. We also received a letter from the Gran Melia Volcan saying that they would not pay any compensation to Thomson. We will never stay in a Sol Melia chain hotel again if this is how they treat their customers. We will never book a holiday with Thomson or any company in the TUI group again, simply because their non-existent "complaints system" is so utterly terrible.
Peace and Tranquility
My wife and I stayed for one week in the Gran Melia Volcan in Lanzarote from 28 June.
The hotel is situated on the outskirts of Playa Blanca overlooking the Marina Rubicon and must have one of the best sites in this area.The staff are friendly,in particular the manager of the Florida Buffet restaurant,who made us most welcome every night.There is a fantastic choice of food at the breakfast buffet and the evening dinner buffet-in fact,with so many lovely choices,one is inclined to over indulge.
We used the large pool,which is salt water and cold,which we didn't mind in view of the hot weather.Just like your last contributor,the hotel was quite empty ,due to the world cup and we would wonder what it would be like ,if it was fully occupied.
We walked into Playa Blanca on only one occasion,which was enough for us.It does not compare to the Marina Rubicon area-fast food outlets and trashy shops dominate this resort.
Now some quibbles about the hotel.
You have to pay for use of the computers for the internet-3,5,and 9 euros for 15,30 and 60 minutes use.Most hotels that we have stayed in provide this for free!
Do not use the hairdressers-my wife found her rude and made a mess of her hair and they even complained that she was 5 mins. early for her appointment!
On our last day,we were leaving at 6 am.and at reception,we requested that a porter could collect our luggage,which we left in the room.We were surprised to be told that there was no porter,that the desk clerk was the only person on duty and we would have to go back to collect our luggage ourselves.this has never happened to us before,especiallly in a 5 star de luxe hotel!
However,we enjoyed our stay immensely as the "pros" certainly outweighed the "cons".
We would definitely return in the future.
We had a very nice week at this hotel- it is very spacious and attractive -good for people who don't want to feel in a crowd.Relatively private.Lovely views.One or two minor glitches but nothing to spoil the holiday.The breakfast was good and plentiful- though us Brits do like hot food!We can't comlain about the service or friendliness at all.We were very impressed by evening entertainment at pub jameos-worth catching though perhaps not for the clubbing fraternity?
The room was good-sized, comfortable and well decorated.You can order a special pillow!Also nice bathroom,though ill fitting shower screen made the floor flood dangerously.
We only ate one dinner at the hotel-a very nice if somewhat pricey meal at "Playa Blanca" It was the best dinner we had,though. If there are very good restaurants in the area we did not find one.The best was actually a chinese meal on the water front in Play Blanca-also very friendly there.I would rate this hotel 4 1/2 -short of excellent but value for money if you like beautiful surroundings
One of the best hotels ever
I spend a wonderful week in this hotel at the beginning of march. Everything was just right from the start; the main entrance, styled as a church, makes you feel at home right away. The reception and lobby area is fabulous with a wonderful waterfall and the feeling of being in a large spacious open area.
When arriving at the room I was very impressed with the size, the decoration and the cleanliness of all. We had a wonderful view overlooking the marina towards Fuerteventura. There was a minor tecnical problem which was solved as soon as we reported this to reception.
As we were on a half board basis, we had both breakfast and dinner in the buffet restaurant. Both were fantastic. Breakfast is served from 07:30 to 12:00!!!!!!! First in the buffet restaurant, which closes at 10:30, and from then on an a la carte breakfast is offered in one of the a la carte restaurants, with NO additional cost at all. Dinner was just great. As we found out, the buffet restaurant had been renewed completely and they had the offer to show for it. Everything looked and tasted great; with a huge variety of prepared salads, smoked fish, cheeses and the show cooking corner where you have the opportunity to choose out of 4 or 5 diferent kinds of fresh meat and fish, equally.
We were very sorry to leave at the end of the holidays as we had absolutely felt at home. All of the staff were just great an made us feel at home. At all times have they been friendly and, above all, helpful. At the end of our stay we felt as if were part of the family. We will definitely return in the future and might even try one of the rooms in the Royal Service part, which is being prepared at this very moment, and which will be opened in the month of July.
Fantastic 5 Star luxury
We chose this hotel on the basis of the great reviews it had on Trip Advisor and we were not disappointed. The worst thing about the whole holiday was the 2 days of rain we encountered on the day we arrived and the 3rd day. However the children's club opened early to accomodate the fact that there were lots of bored children.
The rooms are lovely, clean and the little touches of roses on the beds every night and a choice of pillows and bed linen were great. We had booked 2 rooms with an inter-connecting door. However when we arrived we had a slight argument as the Spanish Hotel Manager who told us that 'adjoining' just means next door. So beware if you, like us, needed that element. However, they were able to offer us a suite instead, which was smaller than 2 rooms, but nicer view with a good terrace view across the pool areas. The bottle of Champagne and basket of fruit that was in the room, made up for the slight annoyance.
The hotel was definitely 5 star luxury. The food in the Buffet restuarant was super and our boys just loved being able to have thier food cooked to order. Everyone was friendly and couldn't do enough for you.The largest proportion of guests were Spanish but that didn't stop just about everyone we came into contact with speaking fluent English.
The pools were clean and never crowded as there was 4 to choose from! On many occasions our 2 boys were the only ones in there !
If I had any complaints it would be, that some of the restuarants at the Marina Rubicon were naff and beware of the Cappucino's at the Cafe Del Mar. It was like nothing I have ever tasted and who puts sweet squirty cream on a coffee ?????
It was worth every penny, and it did cost alot of money, I would go back to this hotel as it was by far the best in the whole region, that we came across.
The Best Hotel in Lanzarote
If you are looking for a luxury hotel with friendly service and excellent facilities in a beautiful unspoilt location then look no further.
We are a family of four (daughter aged 17 and son aged 14) and value our holidays. We chose this hotel because of the fabulous reviews and we were not disappointed - it was better than expected.
About a week before we arrived I faxed the hotel and request rooms on a high floor with a specific view. They faxed me back and said they would try to accomodate my request but couldl not guarantee it due to the hotel being fully booked over Easter.
On our arrival we were greeted with welcome cocktails and the Guest Relations Manager came welcomed us personally. Our rooms were exactly as requested with fabulous views.
The rooms are very good indeed, so comfortable with a separate sitting area and good sized balcony. The children loved watching Channel 10 in the evenings before dinner which is a spanish movie channel that plays blockbuster films all in English. It seems to be available 24/7. On our first night we received a bottle of sparkling wine and the children received soft drinks and chocolates. They had their own room next door to ours. On my birthday, three days later I again received a bottle of Cava and a birthday cake and flowers. The maids service the rooms to a very high standard and the hotel provides a turn down service at night with fresh towels if you want.
Breakfast was excellent, lots to choose from and is served until 11am, after that you can have breakfast in the A La Carte restaurant until 12.30 at no extra charge.
Dinner in the Florida (Buffet) restaurant is good. We were on bed and breakfast so it was quite expensive to eat in the hotel. If you are on dbb you eat in the Florida restaurant ( I think this may be a bit boring after a few days) but you can upgrade to one of the other hotel restaurants with an allowance of 20 euros. On my birthday we ate at La Geria, the A
La Carte Gormet restaurant. It was very good and suprisingly not much more expensive than the buffett.
The Rubicorn Marina is just outside the hotel grounds and has some reasonably good restauants. Avoid Lani's the Mexican restaurant - it looks lovely, has a good menu and the atmosphere is good but the food is absolutely awful as is the service, if you do deside to risk it check you bill as they will charge you for extra bottles of wine etc.
Trattoria il Commendatore is good, their steaks are excellent and they do good pasta etc. Ask to see their Specials menu and read the English translation of Fettucine La Marine - "Fettucine with red sauce of Squid and Customs Officers"
Aphrodites is also good and very informal but friendly.
Hotel Grounds - most people stay up at the top pool but do walk round the grounds as there is lots to see and private places to swim and sunbathe. Go and visit Woody in the Club House he runs excellent short activities for adults - we never usually do this - but attended his wine tasting course, which was good and also the tour of the hotel where you get to see a suite (personally I though the rooms were just as nice) and a tour of the kitchens etc. He will also tell you what wines to buy locally and also about where are good places to visit, things to buy etc.
Things to do - Definately The Grand Tour of the Island, it is very interesting a well organised, we went though out tour operater (Soverign) but you can also book a similiar tour through the hotel. We initially thought about hiring a private guide but if you go to fire mountain, which is amazing most of the mountain is closed off to cars and only open for official coaches so you would miss a lot of the scenery.
We didn't visit the caves on the North side of the island but they are meant to be fabulous.
We made the fatal mistake of going to Teguise Market on the Sunday - over 50 euros in a taxi each way. The town is pretty and the market is huge and lots to buy but we didn't know that many of the stallholder attend the Saturday and Wednesday markets in the Rubicorn Marina right outside the hotel. This market is just as good as Teguise, much smaller though but without the tat.
Rubicorn Marina - quite good restaurants and very good upmarket shops. You can walk along the promenade for about 20 minutes into Playa Blance, no where near as nice as the Rubicorn Marina but more shops and restaurants, although more touristy.
Weather - we went in April. It was lovely and warm, like a good English Summer. We had a day of rain but the rest of the time did have somecloud and it is quite breezy. Take a jacket for the evening if you go out of the hotel.
We will definatly return to this lovely hotel - we felt really relaxed and pampered during our time there. The service is superb and although the hotel was fully booked over easter it hardly seemed crowded. OUr rooms were always peaceful, we never had to queue for a table or wait to be served and could always get four sunbeds together by the pool.
We looked at some of the other hotels to see if we had made the right decision and I was releaved we hadn't booked anywhere else.
Princess Yaiza - Huge, impersonal and next to the sewer so it smelt
Hisperia - Big 1970's concrete jungle
Timanfaya Palace - Tired and wrong side of Playa Blanca
Melia Gran Salinas at Costa Teguise - very tired, not in the same league as the volcan and Costa Teguise is very touristy, busy and rather tacky.
If you want a fabulous luxury holiday in an upmarket hotel whose guests chic and well behaved then book the Melia Gran Volcan - I promise you wont regret it.
One of the best hotels ever
We have travelled the world extensively (both business and pleasure) and this is one of the best hotels we have ever stayed at. It is definitely 5 star luxury and modern but has the most wonderful atmosphere too - very hard to achieve. Internal waterfall and plants, lots of natural stone, churchlike entrance all in the best of taste - some 5 star hotels use lots of marble and so on but just end up looks gaudy. This hotel has class with a capital C. The hotel is in a really tranquil location (many in Playa Blanca are ona busy road) with views to die for out over the pools, marina and island opposite. The breakfast is the best ever - freshly squeezed juices (not just orange but combos like kiwi and mango etc.), free bubbly, 4 different sorts of bacon cooked to order (including "proper" English back bacon), eggs anyway you want, tomatos and all the trimmings, different yoghurts, wonderful breads plus of course all sorts of local and international specialties - smoked salmon, chorizo and meats, cheeses, fruits of all descriptions - all just out of this world. The rooms are luxurious but with character - nice wooden touches painted blue, lovely linen, all immaculately clean. It became a challenge to find a bin in the hotel with anything in it - we found out why they were always empty - a dedicated staff member did a continual circuit emptying them. Public toilets always looked like the cleaner had just left. They even take you on a tour of the hotel including the kitchens and you can see then how high their standards of cleanliness are. The "quiet" pool is lovely and really peaceful. There are a number of restaurants just outside the hotel grounds on the marina and its a lovely 15 minute walk along the sea promenade to the town. The other way its about a 30 minute walk along another promenade to Papagayo. Staff were exceptional. We have been to Lanzarote a number of times and intend to return - we would not even consider a different hotel.
Just returned from two weeks holiday at this hotel. Read reviews before we went. They are absolutely spot-on. This hotel is luxurious, the food is excellent both in variety and quality. The service is excellent. Very relaxing atmosphere with plenty of room to sunbathe with no fighting for sunbeds. I won't repeat what has already been said in previous reviews suffice it to say it was not a cheap holiday but it was worth every penny - worth paying the extra for half board - and we would certainly go again without a doubt.
Excellent experience - and we will return
After a trying winter in the UK my wife and I were anxious to have a short break in the warmth. This can be difficult to achieve from Europe without having to suffer the inconvenience and expense of long haul flights and jet lag. But the Canaries are only three and a half hours from London Gatwick and they are in the same time zone.
The Canaries have something of an unfortunate reputation - cheap beer, bad behaviour and mock English pubs. But there was little enough of that at Costa Tequise and none at all at the excellent Hotel Gran Melia. We had a very quiet, well appointed room with a glorious outlook over the ocean. We were hugely impressed by the influence of the contemporary artist Cesar Manrique not only on the island itself, but also in the hotel where he had designed the fabulous murals. And the food! What is so great about the buffet option is that you can have as much or as little of you like of what you like. And it was all delicious.
The climate could not have been more pleasant - hot enough but not uncomfortably so and no humidity. We were made welcome by the hotel staff and the local people and were treated most courteously. We certainly expect to return.
Luxury & Peace & Quiet
We booked a week here during the World Cup (although footie fans we wanted to get away from the Manchester rain!). I chose it because of other 'advisors' enthusiasm and we weren't disappointed! We had a beautiful room overlooking the marina which had a bed big enough for 4 (tho not tried!), 2 sinks in the bathroom, robes, TV, coffee making, a lovely lounge area, balcony plus good aircon. I booked a standard and the web pics show this room as a suite so am not sure if that's correct or we got an upgrade!
From the very welcoming cocktail on arrival, through the managers' reception (cava and canapes) the staff were attentive and friendly always with a smile. The rooms are turned down at 8pm with chocs on the pillow and a change of towels! All areas of the hotel were immaculately clean which was very impressive.
No need to say more than previous eulogies over the huge and extremely choice boggling breakfasts! We didn't eat in any of the restaurants but had drinks which seemed reasonably priced. The soccer was laid on via a big screen in the boardroom!
The grounds are beautiful and fun to wander around - just like a little village.
We used the gym which was free (not huge but adequate) - the spa/sauna bit has a daily cost.
We didn't go to any of the organised events but they looked quite fun. The evening pub entertainment was a bit patchy but not bad - hey it was free!
The marina is beautiful though a bit clinical with a few bars and restaurants. We ate out each day and did find by the end of the week we'd been everywhere! The pizzas at Aphrodite are excellent - authentic Italian and delicious.
We were lucky in that the hotel was well below capacity (apparently it's very popular with the Germans but they were all watching the World Cup at home) and so we had no problem with queuing, sun beds, too many people etc. However, at peak season I am not sure how well the hotel would cope. Would be interested to know other people's experience of this as it is my only reservation about returning.
There are a lot of steps - to be taken into consideration.
The main pool isn't heated (well didn't appear to be!) and as Lanzarote is quite windy (and a bit cloudy when we were there) it was chilly!
Playa Blanca is a good 25 min walk away and the restaurants there are more of the burger, fish and chip variety.
On the whole, the pros well outweigh the cons and if you want a hotel for couples then this should suit. It's not really the place for kids though there are a few facilities - but that's why it suited us! The family market is well catered for on Lanzarote and it was a relief to find somewhere a bit more sophisticated for us childless types!
I heartily recommend it and hope to return another day.