We booked this as an all inclusive package with Thomson Holidays, and had booked a private transfer to the hotel. Our driver was waiting for us on arrival for a journey which took approximately 25 minutes. The hotel rises out of the sand dunes looking like a 'Moorish Castle'. It is very remote, and there is nothing around for miles.
Once at the hotel, checking in was a very smooth process and we were given silver wristbands and were soon in our room. This is a family hotel with a separate adults only area, known as Santa Monica, which is guarded by security at all times to ensure only those who are wearing the correct wristbands and are resident in one of the adult only blocks. We had a second floor tower room (covered balcony) in the adults only section of the hotel. The room and bathroom was spotlessly clean. We had asked for a double and been told these were only available on the ground floor, but the room contained two singles pushed together to form a very large double. We assumed this to be the norm, as the headboard was definitely designed for this configuration. We had optics stocked with Rum, Vodka, Whisky and Brandy and a small fridge stocked with fizzy water, mixers and beer. Large bottles of still water can be collected from main reception at any time.
We found the separate adult pool area and bar to be a relatively relaxing area. There is some background music on in the bar, but it is not overpowering. There was plenty of loungers both around the pool and slightly further away, or you can choose to walk onto the beach where again there were plenty of loungers and umbrellas. The beach is absolutely stunning and we took several walks along it, although it can be quite hard going walking on the soft white sand. We didn't have a green flag during our week but there were two yellow flag days, but there were still some very brave (or silly, not sure which) people in the water, as there is a very strong swell, which easily knocked people off their feet. Definitely not a beach for swimming and certainly not suitable for children.
Considering the number of people that are being catered for, we found the food to be of a very good standard, although it did feel a bit 'school dinners' in the main restaurant. The other three main restaurants are by reservation only, but we had no problem getting a reservation in each even though the resort was fully booked. These were much smaller and rather more intimate, with slightly themed menus, although they were still self service. There is a fourth bookable Gourmet restaurant, only available to Santa Monica residents, and this one is table service, and we found the food to be very nice, although the menu choice was quite limited .
There was entertainment each evening in the central square, where you can find several bars and a nightclub, but we preferred the quieter bar back in the adults section.
The weather is very hot and sunny with average temperatures of 25/30C all year around with not a lot of rain. Be very careful to use plenty of sunscreen, as you are quite close to the equator and the sun really is very strong, even at breakfast time.
If you like a quiet holiday, then I would definitely recommend spending the extra to go Adults only, as the area around the main pool could be quite loud and noisy at times as there were lots of activities around there during the day.