Advantages Super location, lovely food, great entertainment all day
Disadvantages Miserable staff, hard and noisy beds
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
My Mother in Law celebrated her 60th birthday this year and instead of a party or a big celebration, she very generously decided to take the family on holiday. There are eight of us in total ranging from 10 to 60 so there were many needs that would need to be satisfied. After a mammoth search and much discussion the Hotel Suite Atlantis in Corralejo, Fuerteventura (Canary Island) was booked and we travelled there for our weeks all inclusive stay on the 28th March 2012.
After a four hour flight from Bristol we flew into Fuerteventura airport which is the only airport on the Island. The transfer was only forty minutes which is ideal I think and the route to the hotel is absolutely stunning – on one side you have the beautiful turquoise ocean the entire way and on the other there is the dramatic landscape of this once volcanic island with bits of Island civilisation dotted in-between.
Situated in the resort of Corralejo, the hotel is a twenty minute walk away from the main town centre and harbour, or a taxi ride which will cost about a euro. There isn’t masses to do in the town but there are plenty of bars, restaurants and tat shops where you can purchase the traditional holiday souvenirs but it is certainly pretty and well worth a browse. In the other direction there is a shopping centre with many touristy shops and which also hosts a craft market on a Sunday and nearby this there is a water park which also takes about twenty minutes to walk to (we went here for a day and the family loved it but I entered reluctantly like a dog going to the vets as I don’t like getting my hair wet!). The hotel has its own private beach across the road from the entrance and it is accessed via your room card but it isn’t particularly nice but the hotel has a courtesy bus to the main beach (Oliva) which is nothing short of stunning with turquoise sea and white sand and so definitely a must.
Checking in was a simple process, but it did seem to take a long time and a lengthy queue quickly forms when many people are being dropped here at the same time. We were allocated our rooms and given wristbands which allow you to have all inclusive benefits. You cannot have access to your rooms until 3pm which is fair enough but something to bear in mind if you have an early arrival flight. We arrived at 3.30pm and still had to wait another hour for our rooms to be ready but this gave us a good opportunity to have a look around the extensive grounds in which this hotel sits. Check out is strictly at 12pm at which point your all inclusive band gets cut off and you have to pay for everything and it isn’t cheap – we left at 11am but if you have an evening flight this would not be a good end to your holiday and it is something that I haven’t come across before despite being on many all inclusive holidays, you usually get to keep your band until you physically leave. In a four star hotel I would expect a bell boy to take our cases to the room after check-in, but this service is not offered at all at the Suite Atlantis; you just get given a map and sent on your way!
As previously stated, this complex is big. The accommodation is only two storeys and spread over a large area. We had requested second storey rooms before leaving the UK and I am glad that we did as no privacy whatsoever is offered to the ground floor apartments and I wouldn’t really like to hang my smalls out on the balcony for everyone to see and touch! Within our group we had two junior suites and a family room – we occupied the family room and we were absolutely delighted with it. We chose this hotel mainly because they could accommodate us – my eldest son is 13 and it was difficult trying to find a family room that would allow him to be in with us – essentially we booked 3 adults and a child into the room which is exactly what we needed.
There is a walk in wardrobe in all of the apartments with plentiful shelving space but there are only a few hangers so you may need to bring extra if required. The safe is located in the wardrobe and it can be utilised for a 30 euro deposit plus 2.5 euros cost per day. As well as the massive wardrobe there are also bedside tables for every occupant with drawers, a dressing table and a large chest of drawers. Our boys had a pull out sofa bed in the lounge area which was surprisingly comfortable compared to our twin beds which were not so great – they were hard and creaky and I do not think that I had a decent nights sleep for the whole week which is very disappointing, if I didn’t wake up aching, I was woken up by my husband noisily moving! Just off the lounge (which also contains a frideg and TV with limited channels) there is a small balcony but it is overlooked by the next door suite, as they all seemed to be – a dividing screen would have been nice. We had a separate bedroom with its own huge balcony which was a real treat and somewhere relaxing to sit (and dry the swimwear from the day on the provided airer) however the views are not great – there is an abandoned building site directly opposite which seems to dominate the whole area and does not make for pretty balcony photo shots! The bathroom was amazing. Double sinks, separate shower unit as well as a shower over the bath, spacious bath, plenty of good pressured hot water, lots of clean fluffy towels and a basket of free stuff that is well worth pinching! There was maid service everyday and the sheets were changed twice during our stay, and she made our son’s holiday by arranging his cuddly (well travelled) monkey into a different jaunty position each day! The entire room was spotlessly clean and well maintained with attention to detail, apart from the beds, a pretty good start.
The main pull to this hotel for us had to be the pools. It is advertised that there are seven but we could only find five. The main pool in the centre is where all of the activities take place but it really is not that big considering the size of the hotel, it is well heated but soon becomes overcrowded. There are lots of sunbeds in this area, but as the hotel filled up (we were there for the start of the Easter holidays) the beds were quickly taken and if you hadn’t put a towel out on the way to breakfast, chances are you’re not going to be sitting here! I don’t like doing this at all but when in Rome... There is a bigger pool a short distance away but when we were there it was not heated and the swim-up bar that we were looking forward to was closed. A relax pool for adults only is located near to the plaza, this is also heated and offers serenity to those not wishing to participate in activities of get splashed by children however in total contrast the toddler pool is exclusively for parents and very young children which I think is a lovely idea. It is located near the mini club and the children’s play area and from what I could work out, rooms are allocated to you depending on your requirements. Another busy pool area is on the far side of the complex quite far away from anything but it is ideal if your room is over there as it is quite some distance from anything.
There are tennis courts available for use, but even if you have your own racquets you have to pay to hire the court so we gave it a miss. A small shop is in the complex which sells clothes, accessories, souvenirs, postcards etc. The prices were reasonable but there is a better selection in the town. Above the reception there is a relaxation area where children are not allowed, there are card tables and it makes a welcome retreat in the evenings if you want a bit of peace and quiet. Wi-Fi is is available at an extra charge, but after speaking to some other clients, I believe it is a sporadic service but not one I have personal experience of as the laptop stays at home – internet computers are set up in reception for use for a small charge. There is a spa and fitness centre but the facilities all have to be paid for and it is very expensive in my opinion. Bike hire is just outside of reception if you want to explore further afield – mountain bike hire for the day would set you back 8 euros for a day. Also just outside there is a supermarket which is very handy if you need to top up on holiday essentials and the prices are competitive with those in the town. Towel hire for the pool requires a deposit of 20 euros per towel so I would recommend that you take your own.
Food and Drink
The main restaurant in the Atlantis is the Gaudi restaurant which is situated in the plaza in the centre of the complex. Breakfast was outstanding with a massive choice of cold meats and cheeses, breads, fruit both fresh and dried, cereal, toast, pastries, freshly cooked eggs (in every form) and pancakes and also the ingredients to compose your own fried breakfast - all prepared to a high standard and delicious. Breakfast is served from 7-10.30am but we found that between 9 and 10am a queue formed even though inside there were empty tables, but they were just not being cleared quickly enough. Emilio seems to be in charge in here and he is grumpy and miserable – he behaves as though you are getting in his way by wanting breakfast and he is quick to point out that you can go to Rambutan for breakfast also, but the choice here is not as large. A lesson in customer service is needed for Emilio I think. You can also eat outside here but there are far too many tame birds for my liking eager to nibble at your plate whilst you are right there – it is exactly the same at Rambutan.
Lunch and dinner are along the same sort of lines. A plentiful selection of hot and cold food, different every day – my fussy 10 year old never had a problem finding something to eat and it is mostly clearly labelled although the labels are high up and he couldn’t always see them – he consequently ended up eating rabbit and squid which he wouldn’t have touched if he had known what it was but he quite enjoyed it! Once a week during your stay you can make a reservation at the Rambutan Asian restaurant and the El Molino Spanish restaurant. We went to both of them and the Asian was better than the Spanish in my opinion (probably because we got told off and ordered back to our seats when we went to get our food and the chef was bringing it over, but how were we to know?!). In both restaurants there is a buffet but a chef will also cook your desired dish freshly in front of you which is a treat and delicious. You do however have to be careful that you don’t end up ordering anything that is not All Inclusive as it is not particularly clear. The deep fried Chinese ice cream is a definite must for your taste buds if not for your heart!
For snacks during the day Rambutan is open for cakes and pastries outside of meal times and there is also a sandwich bar Subway style where they make up a sandwich to your liking from a selection of ingredients. Basically you can eat from 7am – 10.30pm nonstop if you wanted to and it is all rather delicious.
Hot drinks, water, and various juices are self service at breakfast and at lunch and dinner – three colours of wine, Sangria and lager also becomes available on a self service tap which again, I think is great and is doesn’t taste too bad at all. In the bars you help yourself to soft drinks and carbonated drinks so the children can be absolutely self sufficient but they are only high enough for older children. There is an extensive selection of alcoholic drinks on an all inclusive basis – probably the biggest selection that I have come across so it is easy to try something new every time – I plumped for Malibu and Pineapple juice most days, a holiday in a glass (well, plastic cup!)
The daytime activities kick off at 10.30am with the Good Morning song by the main pool when the animation team come at you from all directions waving about their specific prop for their activities and there is something for everyone, young and old – yoga, water aerobics, French boules, water polo, volleyball, darts, bingo....the list goes on and on. There are separate activities for older children in the same area or there is a kids club on the other side of the complex – occasionally we saw the little ones walking about on treasure hunts or adventure trails and they looked to be having a whale of a time. Wild horses couldn’t drag me off my sun bed to participate in organised activities as it is just not my thing but the rest of our group did several things a day and enjoyed it all, so in conclusion, you can do as little or as much as you like.
The animation team comes out again in the evenings in full force – firstly they hold a disco for the younger ones from about 8.00 then at 9.30 they hand out the certificates for the winning participants of the day’s activities. After that at about 10pm the main entertainment commences – on several nights the animation team put on a show (Mama Mia, blues Brothers, Grease...) which is exceptionally well choreographed and they dance their hearts out – they clearly are confident and showy people but if I could dance like a demon, entertain enthusiastically for 14 hours a day, speak seven languages simultaneously and look amazing whilst doing all of the above – I would love myself too! A couple of nights a week the entertainment is provided by different acts, and to be honest, whilst a lot of it was quite clever (tumbling, acrobatics, singing, magic...) it got quite repetitive and wasn’t really good enough to get through to the second round of Britain’s Got Talent. The evening entertainment is put on in the theatre in the Plaza but seats are quickly taken – we only learned on our last night that there is upstairs seating where it is a bit warmer.
I cannot discuss entertainment without mentioning the Waka Waka. Three times a day (after the morning, afternoon and evening entertainment) the animation group assembles and does a dance to Shakiras “it’s time for Africa” world cup song. This song is stuck in my head and will be for quite some time! It goes on for about three minutes but is gets everyone up and joining in whether it is around the pool or in the plaza and it really is a feel good dance executed enthusiastically by all participants and it is therefore theme of our holiday!
I must say a resounding yes! A couple of little niggles – hard bed, grumpy staff for which half a star is lost for each – but overall each and every one of us had an excellent time and there was something for everyone. The complex was in a perfect location for us with a short transfer and not too far from the town and amenities. It was clean, there was plenty to do, the choice of food and drink was excellent and the entertainment was enjoyable. Price wise, it cost roughly £500pp for the week including flights and transfers but I am confident that I got the money back for all of us with my consumption of honey rum and Baileys! The week went far too quickly for all of us and if I could be right back there now, I would be which is a huge thumbs up from me as we never go back to the same place twice. Thanks Suite Atlantis, you lived up to our expectations!
Also posted on Dooyoo under my username emmachilcott
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