I wasn’t too keen on the long, uphill trek from the airport to the bus park, but I guess that couldn’t be helped. (Just be aware of it!) Transfer from the airport was about 20 minutes maximum, which is ideal when you’ve already had a long day.
On arrival the reception staff took my passport, attached my silver AI wristband and directed me to the pool bar where I could eat and drink while they processed me. When I returned 20 minutes later I was given my room key (credit card type) a map and various other information along with a large bottle of water, which was available from reception 24/7. My door entry card stopped working within 24 hours, so I had to go back down several flights of stairs to reception to get it fixed, only for it to happen a second time 24 hours later. The receptionist suggested I keep it well away from my mobile phone as this is apparently the biggest cause of room cards not working (my mobile had been nowhere near it, but do bear this in mind!) There are ground floor rooms available.
There is no free WiFi anywhere at the complex unless you’ve paid for a superior room upgrade. There are PAYG desktop computers or you can pay for WiFi at reception (and even then, you can only use one device at a time).
The twin room was spotless, but I felt it could have done with a couple more drawers for storing clothes. Ten clothes hangers was enough for me but a couple may well want a few more. There were extra blankets and an extra pillow in the wardrobe. The décor was simple but pleasant and the bed was comfy and I managed to get a decent sleep the very first night, which is something I rarely do when I’m anywhere unfamiliar. The room was very quiet with no noise from doors banging or loud music. There was plenty of lighting and adequate electric sockets for my needs. 3 sockets in the main room, with an extra 3 if you unplug the lamps and 1 if you unplug the TV. There’s also 1 in the bathroom. I was in room 2318N which had an inter-connecting door to the next apartment (useful for families.) It could also have done with an extra bin and not just the tiny one in the bathroom.
The complex is a bit of a rabbit warren with many stairs to climb. I was fine with the exercise although others may not appreciate it (I understand lifts are to be installed soon). The location was great, just yards from the beach and lots of shops and cafes. As with most holiday destinations, there’s ‘lookey-lookey’ men (and women) along the beach area – just ignore them.
The maid had created a pretty flower design out of my bed linen, with a silk flower on top which was a nice touch. This had also been done in the bathroom and to my complete bemusement the first sheet of my lavatory paper was also folded into a flower (that’s a first!) The armchair in the corner of the room was comfy and there was a large flat-screen TV, which I didn’t use. The shower was lovely and big, and the water was hot and plentiful.
The balcony overlooking the pool was a decent size with a table and 2 chairs; however, privacy is a real issue with a glass front and low sides. It’s good if you want to make new friends but if you don’t happen to like the people in the next room this could be a problem. Also, if your neighbours smoke and you don’t, you might not be particularly happy. I also felt that there ought to have been a clothes line of some sort attached to the wall. The cream-coloured fabric on the outdoor chairs was a little bit stained, and it would’ve been better to have had plastic chairs that could be wiped clean. They also have these types of chairs in the pool bar.
The main restaurant (predictably named “Timanfaya”) is downstairs with no outside view, making it a little claustrophobic, especially when busy. Not the biggest restaurant I’ve ever been to at a holiday resort but just about adequate for the number of guests. It does get very smoky to the back of the room, so a table near the entrance is a good idea if you can get one. Food choice isn’t as extensive as I’ve had elsewhere but (again) just about adequate. As a vegetarian the options were a bit limited but I didn’t go hungry, although by the end of the week I was a little fed up of salad and plain pasta. Food labels were few and far between, making it a bit of a lottery, and I wasn’t impressed when my ‘vegetable rice’ had bits of chicken in. Dessert choices were minimal (I’ve never seen chocolate mouse with plain biscuits thrown into it as a dessert before), and again, no food labels near the ice cream. The red stuff I put on my vanilla ice cream tasted a lot like cough syrup.
Breakfast in the restaurant is also adequate, with a range of cooked options (after 8am) along with cereals, fruit, breads and so on. The orange drink is a bit sweet but you need to pay extra for the freshly squeezed juice. There’s a machine at the back next to the hot drinks machine that does rather nice fruit juices, and next to that is the fizzy drinks machine, so plenty of choice. Opening times are; 7.30am til 8am cold breakfast, 8am til 10am breakfast, 1pm til 3pm lunch and 6.30pm til 9pm for dinner.
The pool bar (“Manrique”) has very basic burgers and hot-dog type food with fresh fruit and yoghurts for those who don’t wish to scoff chips. There’s also a few mini doughnuts for those with a sweet tooth. There’s a coffee machine in there where you can help yourself to hot drinks if you wish or booze. There’s a little bar where you can be served alcoholic drinks and boozy slushies (the pina colada one was lovely). Cold drinks are also ‘on tap’. Opening times are; 10am til noon for late breakfast, noon til 3pm for warm snacks and 3pm til 6pm for cold snacks. The variety of food on offer is extremely limited and your best bet really is to have breakfast in the main restaurant if you can manage it.
The upstairs bar (Bar Salon “Jameos”), where the evening entertainment is held, is small and can get a bit crowded. It’s open from 6pm til midnight. There’s a kiddies disco before the evening show. I didn’t really see much of the evening entertainment but the 3 tenors seemed quite good as did the trio singing popular music and a solo female singer.
The sun-beds have definitely seen better days and are in a bad state. You pay 15 euros refundable deposit for a beach towel, which you get from the lifeguard once reception issues you with the paperwork. I understand the pool is to be heated during the refurb – hardly anyone was brave enough to go in during my week there.
All of the cleaning staff were lovely and always greeted guests with a cheery ‘Ola’.
The air con was predictable noisy but I really didn’t need it.
I didn’t use the safe, so can’t comment on that.
As my friend booked independently, I did get to see what a superior room looked like and it was worlds apart from my own, with a kitchen (although no pans to cook with and no plates or cutlery to eat with, making the oven and hob a bit pointless), microwave, kettle (but no plug socket in the kitchen), fridge stocked with drinks, nibbles, fluffy bathrobes a coffee machine, speaker system and an additional lounge area and sea view. There was also free WiFi for these guests and free use of the room safe along with being able to choose what time you want the maid to clean your room and what time you wanted your bed prepared for night time and a chocolate! It was only when we were leaving that my friend realised that she was supposed to have been given a bottle of champagne on arrival (which she didn’t receive).
While I appreciate that the hotel was due to close for refurbishment on the day we were leaving (mid December 2015), and that they clearly didn’t want to have a lot of food wastage, during the final few days of our stay the variety and quality of food on offer was well below par. It seemed mildly amusing at the time, but we paid for our meals in advance and in my opinion this situation, which left the full-paying guests making do with what was remaining of the leftovers, was unacceptable. Several of the all-inclusive guests were actually paying to eat at local restaurants instead.
Would I go back to this hotel? No. It was adequate for my needs for the most part, and I accept that I hadn’t paid a fortune for my holiday, but I was disappointed with the food situation throughout, from the underachieving pool bar to the lack of labelling in the main restaurant.
I understand that there’s a new bar area now and a few other things may have changed.