We visited the Playa de Ingles resort within Gran Canaria in the Easter holidays, travelling with my mum and meeting the rest of our family out at the hotel. Although we mostly lay by the pool and relaxed for the week, there are a few things I thought it might be worth sharing with you in case you’re thinking of going, or have plans to go.
We flew from Glasgow – which was mobbed and due to restricted time, the only option for food was Burger King – and after a 90 minute delay and two exhausted little kids, we arrived at Las Palmas at 11pm. We waited ages for our luggage due to industrial action, which was fine, but a piece of advice on taxis to avoid further delays: to get a taxi, head out of the airport and turn left – staying on that same side, you’ll get cabs for four people. If your party needs a bigger car, cross at the pedestrian crossing and stand on the raised pavement/embankment as this is where the six-seaters pick up from. We made the mistake of unwittingly queueing for a regular sized taxi, and had to queue again to get a bigger one for the five us of us. It took about 15/20 minutes to get to our hotel (Abora Bueneventura by Lopesan Hotels) and cost about 40 euros. We took the coach transfer back to the airport which had one pick up on the way, and it took about 20/30 minutes.
2. Our hotel
We booked our holiday with Jet2 through Barrhead Travel. The process was fine, but I think you could find the holiday as easily using Jet2’s app, which is amazing and stores all your holiday information, including boarding passes. Our hotel was the Abora Bueneventura by Lopesan Hotels and although it was huge, it didn’t feel overly busy until the Thursday of our week – this was the first day of the Easter weekend and the hotel filled up pretty quickly. Standards did dip a little, but that’s to be expected when there are more people to cater for. The first half of the holiday, our experience was excellent so I’d probably recommend staying here outside of really high/peak season. I imagine it’s pretty crazy in July and August.
The hotel was modern and clean, though the corridors to the rooms were dated – obviously these are the last thing to receive attention. The rooms were really clean, and spacious. We had a family room with double bed and sofa bed, and we all had balconies which was great for circulating the breeze as the air conditioning didn’t seem to be doing much. Perhaps because it’s still spring, sometimes hotels only turn the A/C on fully for summer/high season.
The pools were great, though could have done with a bit of a refurb with some tiles coming away. The hotel had a ‘holiday’ pool which was by a stage and bar, where all the daytime and evening entertainment went on. The other pool was more kid friendly – smaller and quieter – and there was a small jacuzzi style pool which our kids loved. Further up towards our rooms there was a children’s area with a toddler pool, splash area, faux grass and a small park. There was also a free kids’ club which was right beside the kids’ area. Sun loungers were available at this area too, though overall the hotel could do with replacing the sun loungers – most were broken.
The hotel’s entertainment was really impressive. The team put on shows most nights, there were daytime activities including aqua aerobics, there were mini discos for the kids, and there was a room full of arcade-style games and machines for older kids. The hotel also had tennis courts, pool tables and table tennis.
The food was brilliant – fresh fruit, salads and veggies, Spanish options like paella, classic food like pasta and pizza and fries, and loads of delicious desserts, including a permanent ice cream station.
Lunch and dinner were much the same, though dinnertime did seem to have a loose theme – curry, sushi, etc – and breakfast had a great selection of continental pastries, cheeses, and meats as well as a hot buffet of bacon, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, etc. There were churros, pancakes, yoghurts, cereals…. every breakfast order was catered for.
The bar staff were excellent and there was a great choice of drinks. As a group we sampled lager (Amstel on tap included in all inclusive), wine, spirits (vodka, rum, tequila, gin), cocktails, and there were soft drinks and still and sparkling water available on tap. The cava was included in the all inclusive package, my favourite – it went down a little too easily!
3. The location
Our hotel was ideal for families from a practical sense, but I wouldn’t say it was a particularly pretty setting. If you’re after a great all-round hotel with pools, a park and good, fresh food, then it would be fantastic – but if your location, views, and general surroundings are important to you then Gran Canaria might not be for you. The resort of Playa de Ingles was purpose built in 60s and 70s so it’s not exactly Instagram material. If you want to feel like you’re living an authentic Mediterranean or Spanish life for a week or two, perhaps look elsewhere, though when you’re travelling with a professional photographer everything looks great through a lens!
4. The beach
The beach was huge, with dark sand, and the sand dunes were quite spectacular. Great fun for messing around in, and Nathan (6) said playing the beach was one of his favourite parts of the trip. The ‘boys’ on our trip all went for an afternoon jet skiing (ages 70, 44, 15), which cost 45 euros for fifteen minutes though it sounded like they were given an extra five to ten minutes. There’s a market near the beach with some restaurants and bars. Put kindly, the market was tired, outdated and not particularly clean. That said, it was cheap and cheerful enough, but, again, if you’re looking for something a bit more upmarket then head to the local pop-up markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays instead.
5. The weather
We were on holiday the first week of April and the weather was superb. Our first five days were bright blue skies filled with sunshine and without a cloud in sight. The temperature was between 23 and 27 degrees, even on our final two days which were cloudier with sunny spells. With the cool sea breeze we never felt overly hot, so it’s ideal for those who don’t want baking hot weather, and it was especially good for our pasty little Scottish kids who haven’t felt hot sun since last August!
I loved the weather – especially when comparing it to Sorrento last July, which was 30+ degrees, with out a breath of wind, and felt stifling at times. Gran Canaria’s weather is perfect for anyone who wants to feel the sun on their body at the end of a long, dark winter in the UK.
6. Local attractions
There are loads of things to do in Playa de Ingles, but the only day out we had was to the Maspalomas Aqua Park. We had tickets included in our package and it was a great day. Sun loungers are available to hire for 4 euros each (all day), and the refreshments are expensive, so maybe take a picnic if there’s a few of you.
Our kids are six and four and there was a huge area for them to enjoy which was safe, with sun loungers very close. Our nephew is fifteen, and he enjoyed the bigger rides, though as a bit of a daredevil there was only one that really made him go back for more. I did go on a couple of the big chutes and they were great fun and not crazy (I’m such a wuss); my mum and I enjoyed floating around a river in a giant ring with Nathan and Kittie – nice and relaxing, and fun too. There’s also a huge swimming pool with a wave machine.
The toilets were fine with plenty of soap, and there’s an ATM at the entrance. We took taxis there and back and it was about 10 euros each way.
7. Gran Canaria airport
We were advised by a Jet2 representative on the outward journey that the airport at Gran Canaria was no good for finding something to eat before our flight home to Scotland. We knew we’d be at the airport with the kids from about 6pm until our 9pm flight, so we paid extra for in-flight meals. When we got through security, however, the airport was more than able to cater – there was a Burger King as well as a sandwich deli-come-bakery large cafe, and a Starbucks. I’m pretty sure the Burger King was still open at 9.30pm (our flight was delayed and our gate was right beside BK) so even if you had a later flight, you’d still be able to get some fries at least. That said, the in-flight chicken tikka was actually really nice, though the kids didn’t eat their chicken nuggets and beans dinner. If your flight is before 10.30pm, I’d suggest eating at the airport and buying snacks for the plane.
I’ll also mention here that there was a great kids play area in the airport, but leave around 10 to 15 minutes to get to your gate, and there’s retail shopping including a Sunglasses Hut and duty free. The toilets were great too.
We had the best week with our family and that’s what it should be about – making special memories with the people you love.
Have you been to Gran Canaria, and if so, where did you stay and what did you think? Let me know your Gran Canaria tips in the comments – it would be great to add your experiences to this post!