We stayed in the Don Pancho in mid july and I have to say I was really shocked at how run down this hotel is. The decor in the bedrooms looks like it came right out of the 1960's and hasn't been done up much since. Light switches were falling apart when you turn on the lights, door handles to balconies would break and you would have trouble getting onto the balconly. TV would periodicly swithc itself off and was an old style TV probably from the 1960's as well.
The pool is extremely small and the pool area has definately seen better days. It is definately in need of a major upgrade, all the tiles were black and faded, and there is extremely sharp edges on the steps into the pool so watch you dont catch yourself on them as they haven't been cleaned since the 1960's either. As if thats not bad enough, there is not enough sun beds for all guest, so if you dont queue in early in the morning you wont get one until mid afternoon if your lucky. The staff dont police the pool area so although there is no reservations allowed, this simply isn't the case, and the staff dont really care. They are meant to free sun bed with no guest on at 10:30 but never bother to do this, probably to much trouble for them. Whatch out for the sun beds with wheels on, they have a habbit of falling down, and if you have your hands under the back, then it might get chopped off.
Now onto the food, the breakfast has to be the smallest continental breakfast I have ever seen in a hotel, there were only two choices, dont get me wrong, there were fruit and cerial, but normally you have a much larger choice of continental. there was not one chocolate croisant to be seen the whole fortnight. The cooked breakfast consisted of bacon, eggs, scrambled eggs and a sausage. There was fried bread, but it was so hard you could use it as bricks. Mushrooms were only offered once, and this was boiled mushrooms. All food was left under the hot plate until it went cold, no fresh food was cooked.
Dinner was shocking to say the least. You have the usual soups, which to be fair were okay, and the salad selection was okay as well, but if you went for a cooked dinner the choice was awful. On an evening you would have 4 choices of food on the hot plate, one choice of meet on the carvery. The meats on the carvery were quite good, but very very fatty! the hot plate choices were pretty dismal, most of it was pork, chicked or fish all covered in a batter. If you were lucky and Piella or Pizza was on offer, if you didnt get in fast enough then you could wait 15-20 minutes before they would repace the food, it was awful. To be fair you could just about alwasy find something to eat, but this is a four star hotel, so the food should be amazing, I have seen better serverd at John and Josephs.
The deserets were even worse than the main course. It was the smallest selection I have seen in any hotel, there were 3 choices of main desert, 3 choices of ice cream and 1 choice of a hot desert on offer each night. The main deserts were not your usual gateux, triffles of other fancy deserts, they were in house made rubbish. One example was a bannana slice on a custard base, very similar to a pizza, then you would have jelly, or cream caramel... utter rubbish. I normally pig out on desert when on holiday, this year I actually lost weight!
I have stayed at far better hotels in Benidorm in the past, one example is the Palm Beach, now that is definately a four star hotel, its only let down is the location. The Don Pancho is in no way a four star hotel, it would be lucky to get a 3 star in my book and even then, only if it was going extremely cheaply.
Beware this hotel is not child friendly, in fact if your under 65 everything about this hotel is unfriendly. If you want to have a good time in Benidorm, find somewhere else, the Don Panch might have been good in the past, but it certainly isn't now. I had heard that it used to be a five start, but now is only a four, well I think its high time it lost another star.
Unique Quality: The lifts are very fast, and the view is amazing.