6.16.2014

Holiday Village. #Tenerife #FirstChoice #FamilyHoliday


I’ve been asked quite a bit about all the ins and outs of this holiday, mostly from my friends with kids looking for somewhere to go on holiday...pool size etc is very important to us, its not my usual style however I’m going to make this more of a review/blog. So bare with me its a long one but you've got to give the people what they want! 

 After a 9 week stint offshore, It took the husband... oh about 4 days of being on UK soil (not to mention 2 of them being solo with the Brothers Grim as I was on my girly weekend in York) to realise he needed hot weather again so a family holiday was just answer. This time last year we went to Portugal but unfortunately the weather wasn’t very good which in turn made the pool freezing...so the kids didn’t have much to do! We didn’t want that at all and now the boys are bigger, hotels that we would have normally avoided at all costs were on the menu; giant inflatable’s and Aga-du here we come. We toyed with Egypt to ensure good weather but when I saw a deal to Tenerife, also with pretty much guaranteed good weather the year round and a shorter flight we couldn’t resist. I was looking for: 
  • All Inclusive, I think it’s essential with kids as if they are like mine they are always after some sort of refreshment so it’s ideal for the constant “Can I have a drink, ice cream etc”...yes go get one. 
  • Great pool, as endless fun for kids. 
  • Kids club, this is the first year Archie can go into one. They are a daily run club usually free, doing all sorts of activities with supervisors so means you can have an hour or two to your self....I’m serious. This is a real thing. 
  • Large Room, we also wanted a large room or apartment as two weeks all sleeping, getting ready etc in the same room is just too much and its nice when the little ones go to sleep or for nap time to be able to read or watch TV.

That will do very nicely!



So with 4 days to go I found one with all of it called the “Holiday Village”,  booked up immediately and went on a mad dash of shopping for summer things as the boys literally didn’t have a pair of shorts that fit...this is us all over I can barely keep up! I know its TOTAL first world problems but I wasn’t digging it the day before when I had washing, ironing and packing for 4 people to do, also never been to Tenerife or had much time to do my usual obsessive reading of reviews on Trip Advisor...I consider it a hobby really. However the next day when we were sitting in the airport, (which had been refurbished with a SOFT PLAY #YESSSS) a Bacardi and Coke in hand I couldn’t wait!

Packing hell...



Airport heaven.




I was worried about the 4hr flight time which is stupid considering the boys did 4 flights over the Atlantic last year but they have all the entertainment systems on long haul and it was the first flight Oscar had his own seat, however it went over quickly and the boys were pros falling straight asleep. We normally try to book a private transfer where possible as it’s worth the extra cash, after about 10yrs ago a 30minute coach transfer in Corfu took 3hrs going round every single hotel on the island and several people had to get off to be sick! The transfer to our hotel was allegedly 1hr and we arrived at 9pm so just wanted to get there quickly, we paid £75 return on the First Choice website, which was cheaper than anywhere else. It said for a car, but when we arrived we were quickly guided to a luxury mini bus which was much better as we had a lot of luggage, the journey only took 30mins and I know we arrived quite a bit before the coach so well worth it for us. We were quickly checked in and I realised that this complex was huge when a golf buggy was called to take us to our room. This was excellent as we had 2 small, tired boys, alot of luggage and not enough people to carry it. Again I was apprehensive of our room but we couldn’t have been happier when we opened the door. We had a hall which led off to 3 doors, a huge master bedroom with a TV, large family bathroom and a spacious living room also with a TV and a fridge. We also had a nice balcony that overlooked the main pool and the sea; ideal for us with little ones as some nights we would put them to bed and sit out with a bottle of wine. This was third floor M block and perfect for us as it’s not too far from everything, we always seem to forget something for the boys so could easily pop back to the room, it wasn’t noisy either considering we were in the thick of it. 

Loves his own seat.



Apartment view.




The hotel stops serving food at 9pm and there is no local shop, however I was impressed when we were told that the restaurant had laid out some cold foods for us which was good as we hadn’t eaten much since takeoff. Me and the husband drew straws, as the boys were already in bed so someone had to stay with them...and crack open the fridge which had brilliantly already been stocked with San Migual, Coke and Water. I lost and had to go on a recky for food. I went to the restaurant and there had indeed been plates set out with Ham, Cheese, Salad, olives and covered in cling film, there was also  bread rolls, yogurts and fruit. I don’t think I was supposed to take it back to the room but we had no choice and it was a really nice start to the holiday to sit on the balcony overlooking the sea, supping beers and having a picnic in 22C.

I had originally thought the name of the hotel was ‘Holiday Village’ but we quickly realised that it is in fact a chain of 13 - to be precise. These hotels are either purposely built or carefully picked (The case with this one, as it is from Oct-March called Luabay) to be a Holiday village and perfect for family's. We have travelled loads and stayed in lot of hotels but we really didn’t expect what we found here; It is brilliant. After speaking to other holiday makers who have stayed at other HVs its not an exception either but I will only comment on this one. The complex is huge which is great as you don’t feel crowded and you can stretch your legs without having to leave. It has 4 pools, one is the quiet one at the top end which has no music or games going on. The other 3 are closer together, the main pool which has music and all sorts of activity's/games going on even for adults (You can take it or leave it though, I can honestly say it wasn’t too loud or too much), there is a baby splash pool on its own which is where we camped most of the holiday as perfect for our 2yr old and nearby another quite shallow pool with a huge slide which was operated twice a day. There are plenty of sunbeds, umbrellas and room to spread out. There is also high ropes, mini golf, a park with a soft play, foot ball and tennis courts as well as the various kids clubs...I appreciate if you don’t have kids or a husband who literally cant sit still you might be thinking who cares? If you’re like me, my point is there is heaps to do!



All scruffy but happy having an ice cream.








The food was fantastic, there is a large main restaurant for breakfast and dinner, for lunch there is another large restaurant as well as a BBQ and snack bar at the quiet pool which has different daily specials like kebabs, burgers etc. There is also an option to book Ala Carte 3 times a week either Mexican, Italian or Grill. We did the Mexican which was really nice and to be waited on as its  help yourself otherwise but we preferred the main restaurants the rest of the holidays as can pick a bit of whatever for the boys and they were usually bizarre requests like hotdog and melon!  It really annoys me on reviews when people complain about hotels, “there isn’t much choice”... as if they have anything other than cornflakes daily at home. However I really couldn’t see how anyone could complain here, It literally has everything, for every meal. Breakfast has all sort’s of cereals, breads, fruits, pastries, cooked foods including an omelette station and pancakes. Lunch and Dinner had every kind of salad, pasta, chips, jacket potato's, cheese’s, always a choice of meat and fish freshly being grilled as well as tonnes of desserts. There were also themed nights which were nice but there is so much to eat after the first few days by dinner we were actually sick of eating so me and the husband would do a kind of tapas plate to share. The drinks were also fantastic, every kind as well as cocktails and mocktails menu all inclusive. I really liked that at the pool bars it was all help yourself to hot drinks, pop, larger, slushies and wait for it. On tap, red, white, rose and sangria ....jeans were a bit tight on the way home needless to say.

"Mam you can help your self to pop!"



Tapas time.




Delighted...not.



Mexican Al a Carte.




Real us... being grumpy.



FAKE us!




Now the important bit – Kids Club! When I was about 8 we went on a camping holiday in France and going to kids club was more like a large tent you turned up to, used the boules and colouring things then left when you like. I remember my Mam being horrified when she found me and my brother doing bombs in the swimming pool after we had just got bored, left the club tent and walked the half mile ourselves to the pool but no one had even questioned it. This is totally different. When you arrive your asked to fill in a form with all relevant information about your child, you are then issued with a card to note down each session and where you will be during the session, like ‘baby pool’ or....’cocktail bar!’ At pick up you que up again and sign the child out one by one. SO professional and safe. There are 3 different groups for different ages 3 – 15, which have about 6 different sessions per day 1.5hrs long with time in between for pick ups and breaks.  They have fantastic rooms/facility’s for kids club doing all sorts of different things Archie’s Favourite was Harry Potter Magic and Super Hero day, but they do try to get around the complex as well for treasure hunts etc.

You can do Swimming Lessons and Football Academy as well at an extra cost and we decided to sign Archie up for 2 days of Football as he just made the age limit 4 – 15 and was very excited to be able to eventually wear the full Newcastle strip his Granddad got him for Christmas. I must admit the first day I was worried as it was clear the other boys were older and clearly played at home clubs etc but they really took him under their wing, we heard them whisper “Let little Archie score”...(there was a big Archie as well) but I thought that was so nice and the Coach’s Brett and Steve were brilliant with him too...even when he was more interested in worms and the sky. He must have loved it though because he begged to go and ended up doing 4 sessions with a presentation on his last night. That alone was worth it, he is proud as punch of his t shirt and now is Football mad...just in time for the world cup! Now we were just happy to get a bit of peace from one child but imagine when we discovered they had a crèche.... if you keep up with my blog you know where it comes to Oscar this is incredible news. We went straight to the free ‘Stay and Play’ session to check it out and the crèche is fantastic, it is just like a smaller version of our nursery at home; safe, bright, clean and fun. It has lots of Fisher price toys and books like the Gruffalo, they also do theme days though, Oscar came back most days with his face painted and some memento like hand prints. We were so impressed we bought a block booking so it was 56Efor 6x 2hr sessions and meant that some days Archie would be having blast learning magic at kids club, Oscar would be blissfully making a mess at crèche and me and the husband would be in heaven sitting into total silence for nearly 2 whole hours! It’s the first holiday in nearly 5yrs that I have read 2....yes 2 whole books AND a magazine.

Off to kids club....Yes!



Football Academy.



Widget Time.





Creche projects.



The fab Brett and Steve.



Todays activities thanks to Kids Club!



The atmosphere was so nice everyone was relaxed and happy and we made so many new friends some who we spent most of the holiday with and are staying in touch with at home too, particularly a lovely family from Stevenage who have a little boy called Freddie. Him and Archie bonded over an addiction to i pads and Archie is now asking when he is coming to stay and apparently Freddie has gone home with a Geordie accent! We enjoyed it so much that we didn't go on any of the popular trips like Siam Park we actually only left the complex once to have a day at the beach 10minutes away and had a spot of lunch at a nice taverna. The boys were amazed that the sand was black and I was amazed how out of breath I was walking back up the hill! 



Black Sand....








On the evenings we would go down to the huge bar and watch the ‘I 5 Live show’ which is just brilliant. It reminds me a bit of 'Live and Kicking'...you know when it was good with Ant and Deck!? The presenters Jenny Bean and Jay were epic, dressed up and always raring to go. They are split into two teams, Yellow if your birthday is an odd number and Red if your age is an even number which all 4 of us were! They do all types of quizzes, tasks and trade mark songs, which instantly get stuck in your brain. They have there own mascots called the Widgets which are like 3 Muppet's but they have an extra one called ‘Russel the Brussel sprout’ who is our favourite and has his own song which encourages ‘Eat your 5 a day’ I cant tell you how much fruit and veg this enabled our kids to eat on this holiday “because Brussel does”...thank you who ever invented him! We loved him so much that when they had a charity day to raise money for Make a wish, they auctioned a breakfast off with the Widgets but 
after several Sangria's me and my new mate Charlie (Freddies Mum) begged to have one with Brussel, which they did for us in exchange for a donation. Now at this point I should mention that Brussel isn’t even a puppet he is just a giant green paper mache ball with eyes on a stick however it was worth it Archie, Oscar and Freddie all lit up when they saw him and argued about who could sit next to him.

'Russell the Brussel' 



Archie and Freddie loving it.


Disco Time.



My dudes.



i pad love.


After the kids show around 9pm they would do all sorts from quiz’s, magic shows and tribute acts again all fantastic. Me being totally not competitive suddenly found my self racing to the stage for the Reds answering “What year did the Spice Girls have their first hit Wannabe?”...96 if your interested. On previous holidays as well we would normally have headed back to the room with the boys but most nights everyone was having such a good times and the kids wernt flagging that we would get a shock when we realised it was midnight luckily they adjusted and were also sleeping in until 9ish. Lie ins, free time, fantastic weather, facility’s, childcare, clubs, Food, entertainment and company (obviously not provided by first choice but still) What more could you want from a holiday. Every single member of the Staff was amazing they never once looked tired or fed up. I always find this a bit cheesy when people mention staff names in reviews but call me Gouda because on the off chance they read this I want the ones we personally dealt with particularly Jay, Jenny, Brett, Steve, Alan, Paige, Kim and the crèche girls to know how extra special they made the holiday for the kids and for us . We are both in agreement that we would try only to holiday at ‘Holiday Villages’ until our kids are well into their teens now. A brilliant holiday and can’t wait to book up again. 

Zzzzzz....

4 comments:

  1. Really good write up of a fantastic family hotel. You were there at the same time as we were x

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  2. Thank you Ruth, sorry I didn't get a chance to say hi! We loved it, hope you had a great holiday too. x

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  3. We love it to was our second visit there and hoping to go back in September x

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  4. This is really delayed comment as i have just stumbled across this, i'm so happy that Archie enjoyed the football, reading the blog made me remember who he exactly is ha ha the little legend, I hope he is still playing his football to
    Many thanks
    Steve Parker (Football Coach)

    ReplyDelete

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