Advantages fabulous service, good and varied choice of food, good entertainment
Disadvantages slightly stuffy rooms, cramped bathrooms, small indoor pool
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
|Quality of Facilities|
The first I heard of Marconfort Beach Club Hotel, Torremolinos, Spain was when making a holiday booking for March 2013 through Lastminute.com. My previous experience with lastminute.com was a very good one with a fantastic deal so we were more than happy to go for this all inclusive package for 7 days for just under £700. This was really all inclusive including flights, shuttle bus transfer to and from hotel, double room with balcony, all meals and soft and alcoholic drinks AND quite importantly checked baggage cost included in the price.I received the confirmation of the booking by email within moments of putting the phone down after making a debit card payment and was pleased to see all the information quote was 100% accurate.
The hotel’s website lists the hotel as a 3 star hotel yet on the board outside the hotel they have 4 stars. Please be warned that this is a lengthy review which I’ve tried to break up into different sections.
As our shuttle bus pulled up to the hotel (after a less than 15 minute journey – approximately 6 miles or so) my husband said “I hope this isn’t ours?!” I looked at the pools and said that they looked very familiar as I had checked out all of the photos on the hotel website, except in reality the pools looked much smaller.As we got off the bus we walked up to reception with our cases rather gloomily, we already felt a bit let down and we had a sinking feeling now wondering if the rest of the hotel’s facilities would be as misleading as the photos on the website. “Don’t write it off just yet!” I told hubby as we made our way to reception up the conveniently placed slopes for disabled access or for taking your wheeled cases.
We found the welcome from the lovely receptionist to be more than friendly and our check in was done with the minimum of fuss, we were given a leaflet giving the times of meals and a summary of the hotel’s facilities and directed towards the lifts to take us to our rooms on the 9th floor.There were 4 lifts in between the reception and main bar area and we found it was quite congested around the ground floor lift area and this was the same throughout our stay, often having to wait a couple of minutes or more for a lift to arrive – although they’re Schindler’s Lifts they didn’t seem to move very fast. The lifts are supposed to carry 6 people but even with 4 people in them, they felt crowded.
First impressions of the room were again not so great. We had requested a double room but as with many European hotels where the norm seems to be two single beds pushed together with separate bedding, this was also the case here. The beds were considerably smaller than the hotel at our last visit to Costa del Sol and the room considerably smaller. There was just one chair in the room for the dressing table area and a wardrobe large enough to store your clothes for a good few weeks as well as ample storage space within the dressing table and the bedside tables on either side of the beds.
The room was clean as were the beds and bed linen. We were a bit disappointed to see just one pillow on each bed with no spare pillows in the wardrobes but we requested additional pillows and these were provided very promptly. The beds were comfortable enough for us.The heating/air conditioning was not working and we were advised later in the week that the air conditioning is not turned on until the summer months. We ended up having to sleep with the balcony doors open as the room got very stuffy at night times but it meant having to put up with the noise from outside be it the rain, heavy winds or noise from other guests in the hotel which was not ideal. With the doors closed there was pretty decent sound insulation although during the day a few times we heard heavy drilling going on nearby but as it was during short periods of visiting the room to get changed it did not affect our sleep. We did actually ask at reception if there were any plug in fans available but were advised that we would have to rent these as the hotel did not provide fans. I thought this was a bit disappointing as we weren’t overly keen on having to sleep with the balcony doors open all night. As the weather was not exactly hot for most of our visit this wasn’t too big an issue but I imagine if it had been hotter we would have had to fork out money for a fan for the room. I felt this was a bit of a let- down where the room temperature was concerned. The heating/air conditioning was completely switched off, so if it had been colder, I’m not sure what was in place to heat up the room.
The balcony had a decent enough view of the sea to the right (even though we’d requested a sea and pool view room) but sitting on the balcony directly ahead was another similar sized hotel that apparently was previously owned by the same owners as the Marconfort. Not quite the view I was expecting when wanting to relax on the balcony – looking across at other balconies at another hotel!We found the bathroom to be rather small and cramped – when sitting on the toilet it felt as if your face was almost up against the end of the sink. We heard a few other people we met during our week make the same comment. There were 2 hand towels, 2 bath towels and a floor mat waiting for us, although to call them bath towels was a bit of a stretch, they weren’t very big. There was a hand soap dispenser by the sink and a soap dispenser in the bath and we thought it was a nice touch to have 2 toothbrushes and mini toothpastes waiting for us in bathroom individually packed. There were a couple of plastic cups provided in the bathroom as well as in the bedroom with a bottle of water, which was replaced with a fresh bottle every day or so – or just when we requested from the chambermaids.
We found the service provided by the chambermaids to be fabulous. Any of them we encountered in the corridors always greeted us with a genuine smile and greeting of “Ola” or “Buenos días/tardes” and were happy to provide extra water bottles, pillows, toilets rolls, etc, when requested.
The Marconfort has 2 bars, one on the same level as reception – the Piano Bar, which is open from 09:00 till 24:00 every day. Tea and coffee is available all day with a selection of biscuits available for people to help themselves. The Piano Bar has a wide range of drinks available, local and national but as we were on an all-inclusive plan; I can’t really advise on the prices of drinks, aside from having seen a sign which said a glass of wine was 6 Euros. As pretty much everyone we met there was also on the all-inclusive plan we didn’t hear any gripes from people about their favourite drinks not being available in the all-inclusive so there seems to definitely be a wide variety of drinks available. There is a different cocktail of the day available each day and the bar staff are friendly, efficient and really not at all mean with pouring shots. In fact, I found myself telling them to stop when pouring my drinks within the first couple of days as the shots were just too big for me to handle!In The Piano Bar there are lots of tables with comfortably chairs to relax in. In this area as well across the whole ground floor reception area free Wi-Fi is available and we saw many people with their iPads or laptops logging into the free Wi-Fi – the username and password were clearly displayed at reception. Peanuts and crisps are available for free during opening hours.
The lower ground floor bar is called the Magnum bar and this is open daily from 10:00 to 02:00. The all-inclusive drinks in both bars are available from opening time until midnight, so if you wish to continue drinking after midnight in the Magnum Bar you would need to pay for your own drinks. We found we didn’t need to do this during our week’s stay. Some of the bar staff seemed to rotate between the 2 bars and we couldn’t find any reason to fault any of the bar staff, they seem to work very long shifts yet they always manage to be cheerful and friendly AND extremely efficient!We found ourselves automatically wanting to leave tips for the staff and every time they receive a tip, the bar staff ring a bell quite loudly which was quite funny as the first evening we were there we didn’t know why they were doing this and at 10pm my husband asked me if it was last orders!
Breakfast is available from 07:30 to 10:30 every day (I understand the hours are slightly different in the summer months). Lunch is served between 13:00 and 15:00 and dinner is served between 19:00 and 21:00. Now before you start thinking these hours are slightly limited – think again!
From 11:00 to 12:30 snacks are available in the restaurant, pretty much the same dishes available for breakfast but cold dishes. From 15:30 to 18:30 again there are snack meals available as well and then again from 22:30 to midnight there are snacks available. So basically the longest time between meals you would have to wait is about 30 minutes if you miss the official breakfast, lunch or dinner hours (even though the evening snacks are not available until 22:30 and the dinner officially closes at 21:00 we found people were still being allowed into the restaurant well after 9pm).~Breakfast~
For cooked breakfast there was a selection of bacon, fried eggs, sausages, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, fried bread, hash brown type “thingies”, and freshly made omelettes. There was also a large selection of cold meats and cheeses as well as pastries such as croissants. Lots of fresh bread was available to put through the toaster but we noted there was no sliced brown bread available at the toaster. Butter, margarine, jams and marmalades were always available in ample supply. Fresjly made fruit juice smoothies were available every day and I have to admit these were absolutely heavenly! Made with a mixture of bananas, pineapple, oranges, kiwi and several other fruits I can’t remember, not a day went by when I didn’t have at least 2 glasses of this yummy freshly made juice. There was also a fruit juice machine serving drinks such as orange, apple, pineapple, but having tried a drink from the machine once, I was not keen to miss out on the smoothies so stuck with those!There was also sparkling wine available every morning at breakfast. Didn’t touch it personally, way too early in the day for me but we saw a handful of people indulge in breakfast drinking in champagne glasses! Who am I to judge? Everyone was on holiday, after all!
~Lunch/Dinner~At lunch and dinner there were always two different types of soup available and I found myself having soup for every lunch and dinner meal as I am a great fan of soup and the huge variety of fresh bread available to slice yourself was just irresistible too! There was a varied selection of salads as well as dressings such as mayo, Ali Oli (garlic mayo which was delicious – one could easily overdose on garlic here), vinaigrette, marie rose sauce, etc. There was also a selection of oils and vinegars available in a separate area.
There was always at least one fish dish available at lunch and dinner as well as a variety of pork, lamb, beef, chicken and turkey dishes (not all of these at every meal of course). My husband was quite impressed with the Panga fish that he had on a few of the days but not impressed with the cooked tuna dishes as he found them to be too smelly and he was a bit shocked that the fish was cooked with the scales on.There was a pizza/pasta area also which had a variety of freshly made pizzas and pastas available to a couple of different types of sauce such as tomato based or cream based. I tried the pasta one day but found the ham and mushroom creamy sauce to be very watery and lacking in flavour.
As well as this rather varied selection of foods available there was a good selection of olives, pickled onions, cheeses, crackers, fruits and a huge dessert collection. In the dessert area there was also a sugar free section which really made me happy, being diabetic, I couldn’t risk gorging on the main desserts but there was always a decent selection in the sugar free area and some days I just stuck with fruit!I find it amazing when I look at reviews on sites such as Trip Advisor and people say there’s not enough variety of food, I can’t imagine HOW fussy these people must be if they can’t find something to eat from all of the above.
Oh and did I mention there were also hot dogs and burgers and chips available to suit even the most basic of needs as well as a separate trolley with 3 different vegetarian items every day as well? Ooh I also forgot to mention the freezer full of different flavours of ice creams!Drinks wise, there was a water machine available as well as a soft drinks dispenser serving lemonade, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, fizzy orange, as well as white, red and rose wine AND beer (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).
There were also jugs of Sangria available at lunch and dinner times which proved quick popular with the guests.One thing I noticed which was very impressive before entering the restaurant was that there was usually a member of staff to greet you, check off your room number and spray some sanitizer into your hands. People became so used to this that even when the entrance wasn’t manned they used the sanitizing unit on the wall at the entrance.
If I had any niggles about the restaurant it would be the fact that the tables which had been used by previous guests weren’t cleared fast enough for the next batch of diners and sometimes you had to wander around with your plate of food trying to find a cleared table with cutlery available. On several occasions we found ourselves having to go and track down our own cutlery and napkins before eating. I know the staff are hard-working and working long shifts but this is an area they slightly fell down on – we felt sometimes that only the first batch of diners would get a fully laid out table and later diners seemed to struggle to find a table already laid out for them.
The animation team at the hotel work really hard to keep the guests entertained, Jenny and Lucy were fabulous and the activities they organise include rifle shooting, pistol shooting, killer darts, pool, ping pong (table tennis), etc, during the day and activities such as pub quizzes and bingo in the evenings. There was usually a show on at 10pm which included a magic show (which was good fun), an Adele tribute singer, a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons tribute band called The New Jersey Boys Spain (who were absolutely fantastic and the best show I’ve seen in years) and a drag queen act by Diamonds are Forever who were pretty good too and had the audience in stitches with their acts. We won a bottle of whisky the night before we came home on the bingo so were quite pleased with that and people who won the competitions during the day were awarded certificates in the evening and were greeted with rounds of applause from the audience.There were activities for children as well but as there were hardly any children there during our stay these activities weren’t very obvious to us. Outside the Magnum bar in the foyer there is a big board detailing the daily activities for the week advising what time they start. We found that overall, the activities and entertainment were very well attended by guests and very well organised.
The hotel has a dozen or so bicycles which you can hire for an hour for free with a 20 Euro deposit and the cost per hour after the first free hour is 3 Euros. The bikes are in good working order and my husband went out 4 times during our 7 day stay. He found that he was undercharged at least twice but they don’t seem to be too strict about the times, the deposit really is to make sure you bring the bikes back.
There is a decent sized gym available on site too which is kept locked so children don’t wander in an injure themselves. The key is available at reception for a 5 Euro refundable deposit. I used the gym once during my stay which I think was very good considering I didn’t see anyone else bother with the gym the whole time I was there!The indoor pool is quite small and the only time my husband tried this he said it got crowded when 2 small children got in, so he didn’t want to use it again. Another couple we met in their 60s said their grandchildren didn’t believe them when they said they had done 50 laps of the pool in one go but of course they hadn’t seen how small the pool was!
During our stay it wasn’t really warm enough to use the outdoor pools but the one day we had sunshine all day, some rather brave individuals thought they would be able to handle a running jump into the pool, except they came out very quickly with the shock of the cold water! The outdoor pool area is very pretty with small bridges going over the narrower parts of the pool and a waterfall type effect over one part. There were ample deck chairs around the pool area although the literature in the rooms did say you must use your own towels for sunbathing rather than the hotel’s towels, which I believe is standard practice in most hotels in Spain anyway.There is a Jacuzzi in the indoor pool area available as well as a sauna and steam room; again the keys for these were available from reception.
There’s also a games room with a few pool tables and other games available for 1 Euro per game. A couple of ping pong tables were available outside but didn’t seem to get much use during our stay.
During our stay we saw several people in wheelchairs and using mobility scooters and noted that there were several lifts available exclusively for disabled guests. On one occasion a lady who was pushing someone in a wheelchair got rather irate because people had put their suitcases along the path where you exit from the disabled lift. This, of course, was not the hotel’s fault, rather the guests who were checking out later who were too lazy to put their cases in the luggage room.
Overall I would say we had a really enjoyable time during our stay. The customer service overall was fabulous, we met lots of wonderful people from all over the world and it’s testament to the fact that the place is worth a visit that we met dozens of people who’d been to the hotel several times previously. We met one couple who were booked in for 3 months and have been going for many years. There were people from Scotland, Wales, Manchester, Plymouth and various other parts of the UK (we were the only Londoners that we were aware of) and a Swiss football team staying there for over a week, numerous Spanish people as well as French, Swedish, Polish, Latvian and Germans. On our previous visit to the Costa del Sol, there were only British people in the resort, so it was really nice to meet people from different places and practice a bit of Spanish and French with them.I would definitely give the Marconfort Beach Hotel Torremolinos a high 4 out of 5 stars for customer service, entertainment, quality and variety of food and overall cost. And although we don’t really generally plan on going back to the same places, we wouldn’t rule out visiting again!
Marconfort Beach Hotel Torremolinos
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