This was our first holiday taking our two youngest grand daughters, aged 12 and 9 years, without their mum and dad. We therefore looked for a hotel and destination that would suit the children's needs, as well as suit us. Knowing Fuerteventura, having traveled there in the 80s, 90s and at the turn of the century, we thought that they would love the beaches / dunes of the National Park, just outside of Corralejo.
To our surprise, we were able to get the best price for an AI package, through Thomson and, as a bonus, were able to Fly Norwegian Air Shuttle. This was to prove a real bonus!
Our flight out from Gatwick was excellent, on a newish B737-800, with Recaro seats, providing good legroom. Despite pushing back approx 15 minutes late we arrived in FUE ahead of schedule and were soon departing for the hotel, arriving shortly after 9:30 pm. We were advised by the helpful reception staff to leave our cases and our passports and go to dinner, as the restaurant closed at 10:00pm. We found the dining room staff to be equally helpful and we were soon enjoying steak and chips, washed down with free flowing local wine and soft drinks.
All check-in formalities had been completed when we returned to reception, all that remained was to sign the form, collect our passports and keys and head off to our rooms to unpack and settle the children. We were allocated adjacent rooms, with an interconnecting door, on the fifth floor of the main hotel. The view, even at this time of night, of the sea and the dunes and the sound of the breaking waves certainly took the sleepiness from the girls eyes and they took a little settling down.
On certain websites, some reviews in recent months had not been too favourable, so we had some trepidation about the accommodation (rated by Thomson as 4T, but officially only 3 star). We needn't have worried. Whilst the rooms were by no means new, they were spotlessly clean ( the daily cleaning regime would have put some 5 star accommodation, in which we have stayed, to shame. There were twin beds, good, though old furnishings, a fridge and TV, safe, adequate hanging and wardrobe / drawer space, a very clean bathroom, with hairdryer and shower over the bath, shampoo, body wash and soap. Additionally each room had a balcony with views over the beach to the sea.
Over the next couple of weeks we enjoyed ourselves immensely. There was a Riu Kids club (which the youngest one loved, despite being one of the few English children), 2 large pools, 2 kids pools, various sports activities (including a programme run by the in house team), special kids activities, once again headed up by the animation team, and evening entertainment - shows (some rather amateurish) and an entertainment programme in the main evening bar. There is also a disco, but we never tried this.
As the "clubhotel" was in two parts (main hotel and apartments) I cannot describe the activities other than in the main hotel. It is worth noting that I could get a 5 bar mobile signal (not 3 or 4G) on both Vodafone and Moviestar in the hotel.
The food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) was served buffet style in a main restaurant in each of the two sections of the hotel. Whilst it cannot be described as "fine-dining" the standard was pretty good and more than adequate - sometimes bordering on very good (especially the roast pork and crackling which, strangely enough, seems to be a Canarian speciality. Additionally there were two theme restaurants, which required pre-booking. You are allowed one booking per restaurant per week - but we cheated and booked several times under our two room numbers. These were a Canarian restaurant, in the main building (our favourite we ate there 5 times) and an Asian restaurant (where we ate once) in the apartment section, serving Sushi, and Chinese / Far Eastern style food and noodles.
Additionally, snacks suitable to the time of day and quick lunch (the kids loved this one), typically Pizza, Hot Dogs, Burgers, Croque Monsieur, salads and other snacks. Additionally there was free flowing soft drinks, water, beer, wine, hot drinks etc., available in the restaurants / bars and at various locations throughout the buildings.
TIP - buy some 500 ml water before you get to the hotel. These can then be refilled at your convenience and stored in your room fridge.
Sunbeds and shade can be a problem around the pool area as, true to form, some of our continental cousins are reserving beds at the crack of dawn. No point in moaning - we did the same and always has good beds in the shade.
The beach outside of the hotel is beautiful, but very busy immediately in front of the hotel and between the Oliva beach and it's up market sister hotel the Tres Islas. As is it a public beach, loungers and umbrellas have to be paid for - 3 Euro per Bed and 3 Euro per shade per day. For the 4 of us, this meant 18 Euro per day. We were aware of the charges but some people obviously hadn't budgeted for this expense.
The beach gets quieter the further you get from the hotels. Similarly fewer and fewer clothes are worn. If you are embarrassed by nudity, or holidaying with children who may be embarrassed, it is as well to be aware. It is also worth noting that the hotel is quite a way outside of Corralejo Town - approx 6 to 8 Euro each way by Taxi.
So, I've talked up the hotel, what were the down sides.
1. WiFi access - expensive, slow and only available in reception.
2. Availability of sunbeds / umbrellas in the pool area.
Our flights back, by Norwegian, were once again excellent (although check-in at Fuerteventura airport was slow). We had an added bonus on this flight as we landed at Gatwick in the midst of the baggage fiasco, where people had been waiting for several hours. We were more fortunate - we landed 30 minutes early, picked up our bags very quickly and were out of the airport only 10 minutes after we were due to land. Norwegian do NOT use Swissport as their baggage handler!
Excellent flights, good accommodation, food more than adequate in quality and quantity, clean rooms, excellent helpful staff, sufficient entertainment, good beach - great value and fun. We were not ill (we always used handwash before eating and only used bottled / fresh water, including for teeth).
Would we go to this hotel again?
With children - yes, excellent value
As a couple - no, we would use the Tres Islas (4 star and not AI)
Please note that this is a personal opinion only based upon our experience on this trip.
Travel operator: Thomson
Hotel tip: Rooms in Main Hotel have more breeze and sea view. They are also closer to the main facilities
Because it is all inclusive just about no-one leave the pool area so beach is pretty deserted so that is good. We went in February and was fairly sunny but very very windy. I mean almost gale-force. Was not able to go on the beach without a coat or sit on the balcony. Maybe slightly better in better weather conditions, but either way I would not return.
The umbrellas around the pool are all gone by daybreak. So if you don't get down before 08.00 you will have no shade. We had to use the beds/brollies on the beach and this cost us 9 euros a day. Over the fortnight we paid around 90 euros.
The location was a bit out of the way but was still good because it was queit and you had the beach next to the hotel n the entertainment was good which kept you busy all day till 4:30pm.
The staff at the hotel were really helpful and always asking is there anything else you need.
Travel operator: thomas cook
The choice of food was very good and catered for everybody with hot meals with salad and cold selcetion with lots of fresh fruit, cake and ice cream for desert. The hotel staff spoke excellent english and were very helpful and attentive. The entertainment was very professial and the entertainment in the day and activities were for any age and were extreamly good, the evening shows were amazing and very professial and mostly in english. The night club was very good for 18 years to 50 plus all in all the riu oliva changed our hoilday into an amazing experience and looking forward to going back next year
Travel operator: thomas cook
The hotel is located along with its sister hotel The Riu Tres Islas right on the beach in the dunes National Park area just to the South of Corralejo. Whilst many consider this an ecological disaster it is the hotels biggest asset and although it is not my favourite Fuerteventura hotel it does have the best location out of the ones I have stayed in. Saying that I am coming from the point of view of a beach lover for those who like to be near shops, bars restaurants it is not ideal. It is not really practical to walk into Corralejo, busses or taxis are the best option unless you like a long walk.
The hotel is divided into 2 sections, the main multi storey block where all rooms have sea views The Southern side over looks the pool and the dunes and gets the sun, the North side looks towards Corralejo Los Lobos and Lanzarote and is quieter. The other part of the hotel is the annexe which is low rise apartment style and seems more popular with families. The hotel is a bit dated but clean, the amenities in the main hotel are all accessible for the less able and fairly close together. For some strange reason guests in the annexe don
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
I will try to make this as honest a review of the Riu Oliva beach as is possible.
As you will see with all the reviews on here peoples expectations are somewhat differnt and sometimes it takes a little bit of reading between the lines to get a generalised picture of the place.
Arrived late evening and reception staff were exellent and very friendly.
We were allocated 3 pool view rooms in the annex and had a drink whilst our baggage was delivered to our rooms.Nice touch !
To access the annex rooms we had to go round the back street and the buildings looked in dire need of a makeover.
Previous reviewers have commented that a little bit of cracked paint here and there does not contribute towards the over all holiday experiance and whilst I agree with that opinion I personally would not just call it small sections of rough paint work.
There were large pieces of plaster off the walls everywere with cracked and broken tiles and the staircases were also full of rust.
The front of the annex building though was in much better clean condition
Inside the rooms were basic but spotlessly clean . We found the beds to be very hard.
A major negative here though is the Riu policy of switching of the air conditioning from the 1st october !! Yes you read it right. 1st october is NO air-con time
We struggled and they supplied us with complimentary fans which helped greatly
What a crazy thing to do to save money.
If cost cutting is the order of the day then instead of boiling your guests why not reduce the time you can have all inclusive from or give everyone a sausauge less for breakfast or even only have maid service once every other day.
To switch off the air con will not win you guest favour .
BTW ;The hotel is currently reparing the paintwork on the hotel sections with no disturbance to its guests.
THE FOOD; We all thought the food was superb with something there for everone.The salads were amazing and extremely fresh.They even had my favourite king prawns.
A lot of the food was cooked fresh in front of you.
DRINKS. Fantastic and not watered down, the strenth was exellent as was the choice.
The majority of the drink was self service so no waiting at the bar.
SERVICE; First class throughout with every member of staff having a smile and a welcome for you. Typical of Riu hotels who excell themselves on customer care
LOCATION; JUST WONDERFUL
Entertainment; Well done Riu staff with a job well done,
We all joined in with the games as it was good fun to mix with all the differt nationality's who all seamed to co-exist in perfect harmony. Well done to christina pablo doreen and all the crew. Also Uri the shaolin grand master
Volly ball shufle board with bools on the beach and even rife shooting ect .
No one was ever forced to join in at any time so if you just wanted R and R then so it was.
Night time shows were the usual fare or there was a live band playing 4 times times weekly in the local pub.
All in all a fantasic holiday with just a few minor niggles.
One more important thing Riu ; Stop the crazy alienation of your annex guests by offering free beach towels to hotel guests only. Madness ! Utter madness
Even so Thank you Riu for a very VERY nice holiday.
MICHAEL DIANE AND FAMILY
Travel operator: thomsons
Travel operator: thomas cook
We ate in all four restaurants and the food choice was plentiful. The drinks were on self service for 24 hours per day which included tea, coffee, hot chocolate, slush drinks, fruit juices, fizzy drinks, beer and wine. Spirits and cocktails were available from the bars and there were never long queues. Bottled water is available from reception and you can have as much as you want.
All of the staff in the hotel were friendly and helpful with nothing being to much trouble.
The entertainment staff worked very hard and some of the shows were very good, others not our taste.
The beach is to die for and we will deffinately be returning to this hotel.
Travel operator: Direct Holidays
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
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