As long as one avoids school holidays this place is quiet, luxurious and the food is amazing. My sister and I took a five day break in February. We booked directly with the hotel and opted for half board (option of lunch or dinner). The hotel arranged a car to collect us from the airport – 65 Euros one way, which we thought pretty fair. On arrival we were given a glass of cava and told that our room wasn’t yet ready, but offered a changing room with shower facilities so that we could put on some cooler clothes – when we left Gatwick first thing that morning it had been snowing!! While the apparent temperature in Gran Canaria was a mere 15 deg C, the actual was far warmer, especially if out of the wind.
The hotel is modern, reception is slightly soul-less but very smart. It has been designed very cleverly so that it is a figure of eight – with one side being quiet and the other side more family oriented with the restaurants and bars and entertainment. We adjourned to the rather nice poolside bar (next to the Quiet Zone – which was nice and quiet) and enjoyed a glass more of wine and observed some delicious food being served from the onsite grill.
Our room was on the fourth floor and overlooked the pool. It was very comfortable with a large flat screen TV and the usual mini bar, safe etc. A useful USB charging point was a first for me and saves having to use adapters. The hotel is designed so that all the rooms overlook one of the pools and it is quiet sheltered from the wind for which the islands are well known of course!
The quiet zone pool was a perfect temperature – cool enough to do some serious swimming without getting too hot, but just warm enough not to take your breath away when plunging in the first time! There is also a very efficient and well designed whirlpool with the option of lying on raised beds or sitting around the side. The pool also has proper steps down into it as well as a ramp for anyone infirm.
The hotel lifts are very efficient but be warned – some of the corridors are quite long! So if booking, do request a room not too far from one of the lifts if you aren’t able to walk too far.
Onto the food – wow! The buffet restaurant was pretty amazing. Considering it is such a large hotel, they have designed the layout so that you don’t feel that it is too massive and there are different areas with different decor. The menu is themed – we had one night with Indian, another with Mexican and another two which were Mediterranean and Gala night. (The fifth night we had opted to go out to a nearby bay with an interesting couple whom we had met on arrival and they had a hire car.) There is always a selection of freshly grilled meat and fish which one can request and it is cooked to order – I had steak one night and pork another – both really good. There is a great selection of Spanish food – all top quality. Lovely cheeses and loads of fresh fruit – including some fruits which I (consummate foodie) hadn’t ever seen before! Vegetarians have loads of choice too. And if you are totally ‘pogged out’ at the end of dinner, but still want your money’s worth, there is even an ice cream trolley, where you can help yourself to a selection including sorbets.
On the subject of food, the breakfast at this hotel was incredible! Unlimited cava and freshly squeezed orange juice (plus loads of other juices), hot or cold smoked salmon, lumpfish roe, bacon, sausages (Spanish and English style), tomatoes cooked every which way, and eggs – you name it, it was available, including delicious baked eggs en cocotte with ham and cheese. There was also Iberico ham, sobrasada, chorizo, cheeses galore, The bread section was a veritable bakery, with lovely wholemeal and rye breads of umpteen varieties, all freshly baked. I have to confess that we made rolls at breakfast on a couple of days and ate them for lunch on our balcony. There was also a fabulous selection of Viennoiserie as well as a complete gluten free section, with individually wrapped brownies which tucked nicely into one’s bag to enjoy later!
Coffees and teas were available to order at breakfast and to select from the buffet at dinner (annoyingly something which I didn’t spot till our last night!)
The staff were delightful throughout the hotel – the day we had lunch instead of dinner we went to the casual restaurant and had a 20 Euro credit each for food. I had grilled octopus which, when presented, gave me a bit of a shock but it was very nice, if a touch rubbery. The padron peppers were excellent and superb value – almost a meal in themselves. My sister had a wrap which to be honest, one could have had anywhere, so didn’t appeal to this foodie.
Drinks in the hotel were very reasonably priced for a five star hotel. Wine was from about 20 Euros a bottle or 4 a glass.
The entertainment every evening was, I have to confess, pretty dire. This is something the hotel needs to improve. I visited the market on the Friday morning. It was a very short walk from the hotel, but was much like any market anywhere in Spain and not very exciting – mainly clothes and touristy junk.
The port itself it very pretty indeed. The marina has a definite Venetian feel to it with little canals and very attractive buildings. There are lots of restaurants and bars there too but the hotel offered such good food we weren’t tempted to try any, apart from an early evening cocktail. Maybe if we had been there for a week or more we would have done so.
I thoroughly recommend the hotel. That said, there were a couple of niggles; one was a persistent smell which seemed to come from our bathroom (and having seen some other reviews we weren’t alone in experiencing this). We reported it and someone did put some bleach down the drains but the smell emerged again a day or so later. The other niggle was the fact that even though it calls itself a spa hotel, guests are expected to pay extra just to visit the spa and use the sauna etc. I quite understand paying for treatments but to be expected to pay every time you visit the spa I found very strange indeed. We were told it is standard practice in Spain – is it?
The weekend after we arrived coincided with half term and the dynamics of the hotel changed dramatically, so be warned! It was much noisier – even in the quiet zone – and the restaurant was packed with children, some of whom seemed to be allowed to run around unsupervised. I would think that 40 per cent of guests were British the first part of our break, and 60 per cent from the weekend.
We were amazed to see some people getting into a rather vulgar stretch limo one day at the hotel and assumed they were celebs or very rich. However, on departure, we were shocked to see that our 65 Euro airport run was in the very same stretch Mercedes with tinted windows!!
Do check your bill carefully on departure – there were a couple of mistakes, which were speedily corrected, including a 360 Euro charge for airport transfers – maybe they were trying to charge us for the stretch limo! All in all a great few days in the warmth with fabulous food and a totally relaxing and indulgent time. I hope to return!