European Holiday Reviews

European Holiday Reviews

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Gran Canaria 3rd – 10th December 2012...

After a very early start and a very long day of travelling, we finally arrived at The Marina Suites and all I can say is WOW! We were greeted by genuinely friendly reception staff and given a room on the 8th floor overlooking the ocean – stunning. We were given 2 room keys (credit card types that also serve the electric) and were told if we needed an extra one just ask, which was just as well after my partner dropped his key in the lift and it disappeared down a gap in the wall. There were 3 lifts in reception, so we never had to hang around very long waiting to get back up to the apartment.

Even though I’d read on Trip Advisor about the size of these rooms, I was still taken aback by the vastness of this apartment. We had a large bedroom, with lovely wide beds, the biggest bathroom I’d ever experienced on holiday along with a beautiful large lounge area with kitchenette.

I’d also read that the wifi wasn’t very good and not available in the rooms, however, my partner was thrilled to be able to use free wifi on his iphone in the room for the entire week! (He only lost his connection a couple of times). I’d taken my laptop with me and although I couldn’t seem to access the wifi in the room I had a decent connection downstairs in reception, which suited me just fine allowing me to do everything I needed. Wifi was a little hit & miss around the pool / restaurant area but this wasn’t a huge problem for us.

Everything was spotlessly clean, which you always hope for on holiday but don’t always get. Even though the beds were really comfy, I suffer back problems, so I asked at reception if there was a slightly softer mattress I could have. Despite being told the hotel was fully booked so the lady on reception couldn’t guarantee anything, within 5 minutes a maid had appeared upstairs with a thick mattress topper and within seconds it was on my bed and the bedding all replaced! This made a HUGE difference. I have never slept on such a comfortable bed before. My partner didn’t like the small, long pillows but if only he’d asked reception I’m 100% confident they’d have found him bigger ones.

The pool towels were an extra 20 euros but you got it back when you checked out, so that wasn’t an issue at all. If you required a clean one during your stay you simply handed the dirty one to the lifeguard at the pool and 1 euro 50 cents and he’d hand you a nice clean dry one. It couldn’t be simpler.

The first day we weren’t sure about the on-site restaurant options as we were self-catering, but for just 17 euros 10 cents for two you could make use of the all-you-can-eat buffet from 8am – 11am!! We felt this was exceptional value for money as there was a huge variety of food and drink from crispy bacon, cold meats, cereals, breads, cakes and so on, as well as unlimited soft drinks, teas, coffees…. I must admit, I pigged out and couldn’t move afterwards (shame on me). In fact, after an encore the next day we decided to ask about breakfast deals and on the 3rd day we paid reception 30 euros each so we could have breakfast every day for the rest of our holiday. This saved us quite a bit of money, although I think we’ve gained a stone each in just 7 days!

The Balcony was big, with plenty of space, and this is where we spent most of our time when we were in the apartment. I had originally requested a marina view but I’m really glad we had an ocean view as it was beautiful, and this will be the view we request when we return. The balconies are glass-fronted so as not to spoil the magnificent scenery. I was a little worried as I’d read that there can be noise from the boat yard but we were never disturbed by any industrial sounds and it was actually interesting watching the men at work. I also liked the idea we could watch the evening’s outdoor entertainment from the comfort of our apartment if we felt too lazy to go downstairs (starting 9.30pm and ending before 10.30pm so “noise” was never an issue.)

The décor was minimalist and very stylish with a lot of marble and aluminium, which we like. The settee/bed and armchair in the lounge were both incredibly comfortable (don’t lie down on the sofa if you have plans to do anything because you’ll fall asleep!)  There was a large flat-screen tv and a DVD player to use (apparently there was a large selection of DVDs at reception but we never bothered to watch any). I think there were just Spanish tv channels but that didn’t worry us as we had no intention of wasting any of our week glued to the screen.

The kitchenette was cleverly hidden behind doors. It was small but perfect for the two of us. There were plenty of plates and glasses etc. The microwave was definitely a bonus. There’s a sign telling you not to bake for longer than 10 minutes or the kitchen would overheat but this wasn’t a problem for us. The fridge was perfect for all the usual self-catering bits and pieces, including our bottled water (DON’T drink the tap water on Gran Canaria). I was especially pleased we were provided with a kitchen pack consisting of washing up liquid, a sponge and a cleaning cloth (something I always hate having to buy on holiday).

The two outdoor jacuzzis were a fabulous 30 degrees and quite addictive. The infinity pool was utterly gorgeous and around 28 degrees. Much has been said about sun-loungers but we had no problem whatsoever nabbing two right next to the edge of the pool whenever we went down there and it didn’t bother us that there were lots of other loungers in close proximity. The lifeguard was, as all the Marina Suites staff are, very friendly and ever-present, so we felt confident about leaving bags unattended (although common sense should prevail and you’d be a bit daft to bring high value goods to the pool with you when every room has a safe – for an extra charge).

On the Thursday we decided to try the buffet dinner at The Marina Suites, and at 15 euros each (drinks were extra) we found it to be exceptional value. It was steak night and the food was outstanding, plentiful and there was a wide variety (plenty of options for a fussy vegetarian like myself). The staff in the restaurant (downstairs opposite the reception) were polite and helpful and at no point did we ever feel rushed. It was the only time we have ever said we’d consider all-inclusive next time (we ALWAYS go self-catering but the food at The Marina Suites has been sensational). Every night the menu has a different theme (Italian, Spanish, Mexican etc) and I assume the food is just as good then.

We also tried out the Atlantic Bar & Restaurant afternoon menu (1-4pm) and that too was excellent (pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, chicken etc). As with all the meals and bar services at The Marina Suites, you could pay cash, credit card or simply give your room number (and sign the receipt) and have everything added to your bill, and pay when you checked-out. Everything is made as simple as possible.

There was a toilet block behind/underneath the Atlantic restaurant which was spotlessly clean (same as everything else at The Marina Suites) and jolly handy if you’d been in the pool or around the restaurant area. Disabled toilets and baby change facilities were near the covered walkway. Ramps everywhere make this complex highly accessible.

There was an information booklet in the bedroom listing everything you needed to know, and if you needed anything else 24/7 you could simply phone reception staff who would help you.

There was a supermarket within 5 minutes walk, which would suffice for most self-catering needs, or the Spar which was about 10 minutes walk (near the beach).

There was a dress code – you must cover up when in reception and for evening dining gentlemen are to wear long trousers, not shorts.

I have to add that we always felt safe at The Marina Suites and felt that our belongings were also safe. This was highlighted one day when my partner accidentally left his Reebok trainers under his sun lounger by the pool about 4pm, and when he eventually realised at 8.30pm the same night the trainers were still exactly where he left them! (Thankfully!)

It wasn’t just the main features which impressed me about the Marina Suites, but also the ‘little things’ like having a liquid soap dispenser in the bathroom, having ‘do not disturb’ signs to hang on the outside of the doors so you didn’t get woken up by cleaners in the morning and finding out that the maids who clean the rooms also do your washing up!

Disney was wrong – The Marina Suites is the ‘Happiest place on earth!’

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