Garden Playanatural Hotel & Spa

56 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


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September, 2015

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After spending the last four or five years on cruises around the Med, the Baltics, and the Norwegian fjords we kind of fancied going back to a peaceful and relaxing holiday on a lounger, next to a pool, with a bit of luxury attached.

We were reeled in by the tempting description in the Thomas Cook brochure and paid £1430.17 for a seven night, full board, all inclusive stay in this spa hotel on the Costa de la Luz on the Spanish mainland.

There was a complication when I booked online, and to cut a long story short I received an email from Thomas Cook, after I had accepted the price, offering the holiday at around £200 less. When I queried this on the phone, I was informed rather tersely that I had accepted the first price so that was that.

There is a rather important lesson here for everyone to heed!

The second disappointment was that when we received the paperwork we were booked on an easyJet flight from Newcastle to Faro in Portugal rather than a Thomas Cook flight, and that seats together could not be guaranteed either on the outward or inward flight. That was a major concern for my wife who is a nervous passenger at the best of times.

The transfer from Faro to the resort in Spain was pleasant enough in a smooth and speedy taxi which took about 20 minutes less than the published time.

On arrival at reception the booking in process was smooth and efficient with good English spoken, and the superior sea view room was spacious with a king size bed, plenty of wardrobe space and a nice balcony overlooking the two pools and the sea in the distance.

The food experience at lunch and dinner at this hotel was frankly poor, with very little in the way of variety, and quite repetitive and unappetizing, but if you like pork this is the place for you. Breakfast on the other hand was more than acceptable with a wide variety of choice.

The all inclusive drinks experience was good with the exception of the white wine which was of poor quality. The beer and spirits were all recognizable top brands. The Irish coffee served in the bar after dinner was a major highlight.

Anyone who is not fluent in Spanish will have found it impossible to follow the entertainment during the pool sessions and anyone looking for a quiet and relaxing day by the pool will be disappointed by the noise level of the music and noisy organized activities during the day. The evening entertainment, spoken almost entirely in Spanish, was obviously difficult to follow and resulted in some early nights for us.

This is the first time we have visited this part of Spain and I don’t think we will be returning. It is quite a long way from anywhere, including the beach. The hotel is very popular with the Spanish and Portuguese, and inevitably everything is most suited to them rather than the British clientele.

Colin Wills

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