So in 2017 it re-opened (Sanji wrote a report being one of the first to visit) and we didn’t. Not that we did not try but every time we tried to book Thomson kept telling us we could only fly at time when there were no planes (I kid you not) so it was not until last year we were able to do so. Now to say we were disappointed is an understatement. What were two first class family hotels both with a solid customer base had turned into a monster in some ways. What had been the Costa Lago has now become nothing but bedrooms whilst food, drink and entertainment have been concentrated in what was the Bel Playa.
They did get some things right. Somebody realised that having quality staff is important and the staff of both hotels were kept on and what a nice bunch of people they are. Food is still great although even with the varied selection if gets repetitive but then in defence I am not known to be adventurous. Point of interest The Chef at the Costa Lago left when they closed to do the refurb and turned up at the Riu Bueno Vista in Tenerife and the food has improved there.
The entertainment team might work hard but their offering is dire. Overloud music and still repeating shows they have been doing for years. I have written to Riu about this without any success but will do so again. They do need to think that an entertainment programme repeated across ALL hotels does them no favours when they have a loyal customer base coming year after year. Based on the size they really need to consider booking a lot more professional acts and let the entertainment team do what they do best – run bingo and daytime games.
So we have been two years running to the new hotel and that is why I started by saying how could they have got it so wrong. It is not just my views but that of other regulars to the old hotels and the staff. Doubt it will change as they have spent a great deal of money but with a little bit of thought they could have done it better but we shall probably continue to visit. The location is spot on for us. We know what we are getting and we are getting a bit long in the tooth to change. There are three restaurants six bars and four pools and plenty of sun beds – I suppose these large faceless places are what it is all about these days – and you can drink 24 hours a day if you want.
Travel operator: Tui/First Choice
Hotel tip: Free Safe - Free Pool Towels - Free Water
The hotel is on the seafront in a quite part, can walk into town about 30 mins.
The thing that spoilt our holiday was the food which is not very nice, it reminds me of the old days when everything is cooked in so much oil. The food is very bland no taste to anything. Apparently it caters for diabetics that’s why the jams are watery and don’t taste like jam. All the restaurants are self service we tried all three and the quality of food was not 4 star standard. Everything is chips with lots of fried food all dried up including pizza which was horrible. Nothing seemed to match they had veg but nothing really to go with it, curry’s without taste and after a couple of days it was a chore to find something tasty. The main restaurant is very big but the food is at one end so you have to walk far to get to your table. Some foods were just warm.
They had hand sanitizer but not many people used this on entering the restaurants and many times saw people picking up food without using the tools provided, even saw a woman going round tasting food and putting the spoons back in the dish which was disgusting. New cooked food thrown on top of what’s in trays.They say they have a sports bar it’s tiny uncomfortable chairs with a couple of tvs. Around 10pm they bring a trolley round with pre cooked burgers and put in the fridge so you can microwave them at 11pm if you fancy a snack- we didn’t. The hotel is full of elderly people, I wish we would have known at the time of booking we would have gone somewhere else, nothing against them just everything here is geared up for the older clientele, they have a show every night but mainly consists of the people being the entertainment or up dancing to old music. The drinks all their own brand and taste weird, the cocktails are pre made couldn’t taste alcohol and looked tasted dreadful.
I went to town got myself a drink to take back in the end. In the evening it gets cold and apart from the crowded entertainment bar and lobby bar where you couldn’t get a seat there was a couple of bars outside with no heaters. We spoke to the rep told her that we didn’t like the food it was bland and the drinks seemed watered down she noted our complaint, she also stated this hotel had the best reviews- I-cant see why. Overall this hotel is catering for the mass serving cheap food and drink they are not bothered about the quality and there were no little treats available that compliment the stay. The rooms had a thing on the wall of body wash but again no complimentary items. From the back of the hotel as you come out of your room you can see a small hospice with people in it. Which was sad and next to it a mortuary which wasn’t very nice to see.
The complex apart from the pool areas are ok but it’s not very green more concrete everywhere. On a good note we walked to the train station and the train was cheap to get to Malaga €4.10 return per person. Went to Gibralter hired a car €30 a day. We have been to this chain before and it has always been really nice perhaps it’s because its Spain I don’t know but I wont be coming back. It was not worth the money.
Travel operator: Tui
Hotel tip: Don’t go all inclusive
I emailed the hotel to request a room on a high floor and they allocated us a room on the ninth floor in the building that was previously the Hotel Bella Playa. I was so pleased that they managed to honour our request because we had a lovely view and our room was ready on arrival.
Having just been refurbished, we were one of the first to stay in this room. The room itself had been refurbished to a high standard and the bathroom had a walk-in shower that occupied the length of the wall....and two sinks.
Each room also has a 4-6 code safe which you can use free of charge, with A/C in the room also free.
By combining two hotels, it has made it a large complex, situated in the Los Alamos district of Torremolinos. To get to Torremolinos centre, there are taxis available at end of street or use the local bus which stops on the opposite side of road of the main entrance or depending how fit you are, it's approx a 20/30 minute walk.
La Colina railway station is about a 10 minute walk away from the complex.
There are 4 pools, ranging in size from a large pool opposite the beach to a small shallow pool for the babies situated lower down the complex. There's also a Spa/Gym and indoor steam room/pool.
There are several bars, I don't touch alcohol, so I can only comment on the tea and coffee... both were putrid and they ought be fined under the Trades Description Act.
So, for a decent cup of coffee I had to go outside. I tried the orange juice 'on tap' in the restaurant just the once, once was enough, it was like drinking pure sugar.
You have three restaurants to chose from. A Spanish restaurant and an Italian restaurant, as well as the main buffet one, however you have to book the Italian and Spanish ones at the reception.
The Spanish restaurant was just a smaller version of the main one, offering more or less the same food, but, it was more civilised by having to be booked in advance.
We didn't like the main restaurant, it's big and it was too busy, and depending where you sit, it's a trek up and down for food. The food was average and repetitive, typical mass catering.
The animation team work very hard and at night it's cheap in- house entertainment. This doesn't go down well with me when there are excellent local artists begging for regular work.
In conclusion :
All Inclusive suits some people and in some parts of the world I recognise the merits of offering this type of holiday. Sadly, it's not our 'cup of tea' when the Spanish Costas offer so much more.
Not really much more to say, we were not impressed and we won't be returning.
Travel operator: Thomson
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