Travelling - from Cardiff, everything went like clockwork, we walked into Arricife Arrivals to find our luggage coming straight at us as we arrived at the collection belts, straight out into a nice coach, and after about 40 mins we started off for the hotel. The drive was 20 mins and everyone on the coach was for our hotel (40 odd people) so when we arrived at the Hotel we had a good 25 min delay standing in reception queued for our rooms.
The return journey started smoothly but inside the departure lounge they called our gate, and we stood like lemons for 50 mins with no explanation. We were an hour late arriving at Cardiff, and as usual, the baggage handlers there took a good 40 mins to start the belt up in the arrivals hall. One of our two ...
cases came in the first five mins, the second one arrived 20 mins later. Thank you Cardiff Airport!Read More
The important bit - Hotel
Layout - The accomodation & facilities are set out in the shape of a very very large number 8 when viewed from above. i.e. two large quadrangles. There are two equal sized pools, one in each quadrangle, with a connecting path between them. Both pools are overlooked and surrounded by balconied apartments, and each has it\'s own pool bar. The \'top\' pool near reception has a proper kitchen and produces a range of simple fare at lunch times (pizza, burgers, baguettes, etc), which is reasonably priced. The lower pool has a more restricted menu and was located nearer to the sea.
The pool areas are well kept, and modern. The water could be a little cold, take an ice pick along! During our two weeks, the first week we had no problem getting a nice sunbed with a shade, but as we approached our second week it got a bit competitive. Service at both hotel pool bars was typically Spanish, with the top pool being table service (if you stand at the bar they will serve the waiters first anyway!) and depending on who the waiter was, and how many people were using the area at a given time, you could be in for a lengthy wait for that desperately needed coke or beer. It was often quite a long wait for the bill after you\'d finished, I think this is deliberate hotel policy to make it appear the bar is busier than it really is.
Drinks prices and measures are, unfortunately, a serious issue here. A beer served in a San Miguel glass (at all times) tastes like yak pee. Everyone agreed, there is NO WAY this is San Miguel, and I noticed that there was no label on the beer pump, it was just shiney chrome and blank. Same goes for the beer in the bar near reception \'the Monkey Bar\' where the beer was served in S.M. Glasses but tasted like pee. The price was 2.80 for this. In resort, you could get vastly superior beers nearby for 1.60 and they were the real deal, though some of the nearer bars charged more, knowing what the hotel prices were, no doubt! The shorts were also \'short\' and in a narrow, six inch high glass you got about 30mm of spirit poured VERY carefully over two enormous ice cubes, and got charged 3.80 for that, with an extra 1.20 for a mixer (coke, tonic, dry ginger etc) which made a round of one beer and one short with a mixer cost nearly 9 Eu. I tackled the barman about the short measured \'shorts\' and he was clearly agitated to be asked. All he would say was it was Hotel policy. On resort, my wife ordered the same drink in a nearby bar, and it nearly knocked her off her feet - the difference in strength was remarkable. I expect value for money within reason, at least, but it has to be said, the Hotel is completely exploiting the \'captive\' residents and should be ashamed of itself for being so blatant. A LITRE bottle of Smirnoff can be bought for 9.97 Eur in the nearby Netos Supermarket (if you buy two, the second one is just 6.97) - exit the hotel entrance, walk out to the roadside, turn right and keep going for approx 150 metres, on the same side as the hotel. A litre of Smirnoff 9.97 or a small shot of it at the bars in the hotel 3.80! Do the maths!!
To add insult to injury, the Hotel owner\'s orange Lambourghini was more often than not parked right out front. (no, I am NOT kidding).
Rooms are large, well lit, spacious with good sized balconies. Well kept, clean bedding every other day, clean towels every day, toileteries etc renewed as required. There is a 15\" TV which picks up Sky News but to receive BBC1 & ITV you have to pay 3 Eur a day. Same with the safe located in the wardrobe. If you need it, you have to pay 3 Eur a day. Nice bathroom, water ran cold once in a two week stay, approx 6pm so be sure to bathe / shower early, unless we had a one off glitch. If you like using your balcony as we do, you may be disappointed if you are NOT on the highest level, because the tapered building facace means that if you have anyone above YOU on a higher level, they can see 80% of your balcony area at all times. We were ok, being on the highest floor, but we could see down and across over several balconies both left and right.
Reception is efficient, friendly, very helpful and oddly, everyone seems British so communication is very easy indeed. The Restaurant is nicely laid out with views over the pool area in the periferal area, or, nearer to the food counters it is a simple dining hall. Food was very good with a few main meal choices each night. Watch out for the Sea Bass, it was particularly good. Breakfast\'s were repetitive, but with a little imagination you could easily vary your choices to make it interesting, and, there was a wide selection even though it was a little repetitious - just be prepared to vary your choices and you\'ll be fine! The evenings drinks have to be paid for when exiting the restaurant, the gentleman usually on that desk was particularly nice and gets our top employee vote. Nothing pretentious about him, just a cool, friendly and well educated Lanzarotarian.
Entertainment - If you have done a Thomson Gold before you will know the format. Alternate days the Thomson employees \'entertainment team\' put on some kind of show at 10pm, alternating days we had a \'bought and paid for act\' which, during our stay comprised mostly of Tribute bands. We had an Otis Redding / James Brown (very good) Beatles (top knotch) Elton John (not sure, the volume was so loud it was unenjoyable) and a very good comedian. The other nights were very poor and we have done five of these \'Gold\' hotels and have to say the entertainment has been ok at all of them, with Atlantica Bay, Rhodes, being exceptional. There, the Thomson entertainment team seemed to be people from proper stage school, properly trained, good dancers and singers, and we enjoyed every night, be it the team, or alternate nights, the \'act\'. At the Coronas Playa, it was a very different story with the team being worked to death by Thomsons, who clearly were not spending enough of our hard earned money on entertaining us.
I feel sorry for the team, because they were a lovely friendly bunch, but they were not supported by a professional enough singer / dancer and were thus punching above their weight.
In conclusion then, nice hotel, good food, good service except all bars, drinks absurdly expensive, poor beach, pools ok but cold, and entertainment needs
Tour Operator: Thomson