It was definitely a trip we’d longed for! If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know that due to the surprise that was Saajan’s heart condition, we had to cancel our first holiday to Punta Cana – that holiday symbolised a lot for us as a family. It signified the “proper” start of our family, new beginnings and a fresh start. It also meant family time together to absorb all that we’d been through over the last few months. Little did we know that that chance at that time would be robbed from us as we’d have to embark on a journey that is every parent’s nightmare – that of open heart surgery!
With that behind us now, and with Saajan recovering so well, we decided it was time to get away! Our last trip as a family was to Santorini almost a year and a half ago while Saajan was still in my tummy!
My sister, Goov, recently got married and we decided it would be a nice time to go away with my parents and my sister, Harv, to give them a break after the wedding and it also would be great for us to have 3 extra pairs of hands with us!
With his surgery only 3 months behind us, we decided it would be sensible for our first trip to be somewhere close to home just incase. We decided Gran Canaria would be perfect as the weather is great, it’s a short flight (3.5 hours) and also there is no time difference minimising any disruption to our routine! It just seemed like an “easy” option compared to the others. Other than Santorini, we’d not done any European destinations with Arjun before – he’s such a jet setter, we’ve travelled to Dubai a few times, Abu Dhabi, the Maldives, Singapore and Bali!
We booked our trip with British Airways and the carrier was Iberia Express. Thankfully it was a short flight as the plane was definitely the smallest aircraft we’ve ever travelled in! It was a really tight squeeze for me let alone Preetam at 6’3!! The aircraft was super hot and most parents had stripped their restless babies down to their vest including us! The staff were really friendly and hospitable. No meals are provided on the flight but you’re able to purchase food and drink.
Thankfully we had my family with us – Harv was an absolute God send with the children as always!
I used my own in flight tips for both legs. On the way out, Arjun was a dream and Saajan wasn’t too bad. They shared the iPad and Arjun was entertained by a magazine we picked up on the way at the airport as his surprise toy.
Our hotel had kindly pointed us in the right direction for a transfer company who had kindly also arranged car seats to be included in the vehicle.
We arrived in Gran Canaria at about 9.30pm and by the time we got to the hotel it was about 10.30pm. Despite it being a short flight, we were all quite tired.
Upon pulling up at the hotel, we were instantly wowed. We were recommended the hotel by our good friends and we definitely weren’t disappointed on first impressions.
The hotel boasts a beautiful African theme – the attention to detail is second to none. My parents, who are from Africa, said it made them feel right at home! The impressive architecture is absolutely breathtaking! As we entered, it felt magical walking across the wooden bridge over a water landscape and subtropical gardens. The reception area was just as beautiful – the wooden posts, tree stump tables, and animal print upholstery.
The wider premises boast huge tropical gardens with 9 swimming pools, ponds, waterfalls and sand beaches with African huts with animal statues dotted around – always great for a photo opp!
In the centre, there is an absolutely stunning African lodge. The interior design is phenomenal with large straw (what look like) jelly fish hanging from the ceilings, unique seating areas captivating the African culture and high ceilings. The lodge was by far my favourite part of the whole hotel. It reminded me a little of the Maldives for some reason!
The resort is by far one of the most beautiful properties we’ve stayed at.
The reception staff were really helpful and friendly especially towards the children.
We’d selected a senior suite as we figured we’d need the extra space with two kids in tow and we are so glad we did! It was just beautiful and at approximately 68m², so so spacious.
The room had ample storage space for our entire luggage – we were all able to hang most of our clothes up and store our suitcases in the cupboards. The suite itself had so much space so I was able to set up mini stations such as nappy changing items, poolside bits, feeding items and sterilising bits. The space really helped with being organised.
The bedroom was huge even with a cot in it! It also comes with a small sofa and desk and a TV with a sliding wooden cover. There’s a frosted picture panel between the bedroom and the bathroom which is a nice feature. The main bed had a beautiful snakeskin headboard and was huge and super comfy and there were lots of extra pillows and duvets if we needed them. There was also a sofa bed in the lounge. There was a sofa in our room with a small coffee table and a desk. Arjun often used both to do colouring and play with his toys. There was direct access to the balcony from the bedroom as well as the lounge area.
Our room overlooked the pool and to the right of the balcony we had a view of the sea. The balcony area had two beautiful sun loungers which I often used to take beautiful shots of our littles! It was a nice place to relax when the kids were napping.
The bathroom was wow! The toilet was a large room. There were his and her sinks with a huge mirror (I love mirrors!). The sinks were large enough to bathe Saajan in. The wooden tree detail is gorgeous and the little soap dish was my favourite thing! The shower was a really large room which was handy as it meant we could fit in when giving Arjun a shower over a bath. The only down side was the lighting was quite dim making it difficult to do my make up!
The bath tub was really big and Arjun loved having a bath (once we’d convinced him to get in!). He had hours of fun splish splashing about.
The lounge was really spacious with a sofa, a TV and a dining table and chairs. We found the extra space so handy.
Just a pre warning, there is a charge for things like using the safe, for wifi and for an ironing board.
We arrived at the hotel quite late, about 10.30pm really hungry and were quite disappointed with the lack of a hot food room service menu at that time. There were only cold foods available and barely anything for vegetarians. Just a heads up if you have a flight that lands in fairly late!
The breakfast at the hotel was exquisite – the best by miles that I’ve seen in Europe. They had fresh egg stands for omelettes and fried eggs, fresh fruit, a huge selection of cheese and breads, cereals, pastries. I could go on and on! It was really good for vegetarians – I particularly enjoyed their roasted vegetables, sautéed potatoes and grilled tomatoes with basil. I obviously had my daily crepe with Nutella for breakfast dessert too! It was a great opportunity for us to kick start Saajan’s weaning too.
Unfortunately for us, the lunch time and dinner time buffet options didn’t quite live up to our expectations based on breakfast. The selection looked amazing for non vegetarians however for us it was extremely limited. Surprising considering the huge shift in vegan and vegetarianism! We basically lived of pasta, pizza, salad and chips daily for the first three nights as we were half board.
By the fourth night we were quite bored of the food and decided to venture out to some of the local restaurants which are located by the sea just a short walk away. It was a shame as our half board dinner went to waste for four nights but half the fun of a holiday is the food!
We found the restaurant staff really pleasant and smiley however their English was quite limited. One evening I asked what a particular ingredient was (I wasn’t sure if it was meat) and the gentleman wasn’t able to tell me it was mushrooms.
There was also no real desire to accommodate us – for example, one evening there were roast potatoes with bacon, we requested some plain potatoes without the meat if possible when the next batch was cooked and were declined. The same happened the next evening with peas that included ham. Our stay was quite a let down in that sense – it’s definitely the most unaccommodating hotel we’ve stayed at food wise. I met with the hotel catering manager and all she was able to offer us was a gluten free menu which just included gluten free pastas and pizza and so wasn’t very helpful sadly!
This was the only real let down during our stay but thankfully the fabulous location of the hotel meant that we were able to get pretty much whatever we fancied outside. The added bonus of having dinner outside was the beautiful view of the sunset by the sea!
I’d highly recommend Misbah for Indian food – the food was delicious and the restaurant overlooks the sea. We also really enjoyed Sushi Mex which was a Japanese/Mexican restaurant again with a view of the sea and a gorgeous sunset. There are several restaurants located in close proximity to these restaurants. There is also a small shopping centre and a few supermarkets right outside the hotel to grab snacks and other essentials which we visited almost daily!
Our favourite dessert place was Mar Cafe which was located a few minutes from the hotel. They did the best Nutella crepes I’ve ever tasted and we visited for dessert way more times than we should have! The staff were really friendly and it’s a nice little casual place to catch a coffee and dessert after dinner.
Just outside the hotel, there is also an arcade place which Arjun visited daily with his daddy. I loved the location of the hotel because of how close everything was!
The hotel boasts 9 swimming pools, 2 of which are children’s pools. We managed to see 6 pools in total. Our favourite was the lazy river one! It’s a shame there were no water slides at any of the pools bar the children’s ones. However there is a beautiful waterfall by the bar at the main pool. Most of our days were spent by the swimming pool relaxing! There were activities throughout the day such as Zumba and water aerobics which you could dip in and out of – Arjun, Harv and I had fun! Most of the sun beds are located in gravel like sand which wasn’t great – it was a little painful to walk on to be honest!
Again, the food was limited by the pool – the only thing they had for vegetarians was a salad or a cheese and tomato with apricot chutney sandwich. When we requested no chutney for Arjun, they said they’re unable to. My favourite thing to have by the pool was definitely the iced chocolate drink!
We did eat lunch at the Pili Pili restaurant once – the vegetarian lasagne was delicious! This restaurant isn’t included in the half board option.
Despite the hotel being advertised as a beach resort, this is a little misleading. The beach is about a 10 minute walk but it is so worth it! I’d recommend taking towels with you if you don’t wish to rent sun beds. We purchased an umbrella and sat on the floor on towels as we wanted to be close to the sea front. The beach was beautiful – the sand felt like a mattress and we really enjoyed watching the sunset!
The kid’s facilities at this hotel are by far the best I’ve seen – perhaps I’m more aware of it now as i have a toddler that needs a little bit of entertainment! The hotel’s mascot, Panchi, visits the children at breakfast every morning – the first day Arjun was sceptical but by the last he was running up to Panchi and giving him a great big bear hug! Panchi greets the children at their seat so not to distract them from their breakfast.
After that, Panchi and his team head off to the stage by the main pool and perform a little dance where the children can join in if they wish to do so. It’s usually a Daler Mendhi tune so very close to home for us! Haha!
Panchi then comes out again at night for the Mini Disco.
There is a dedicated kid’s club where children older than 4 can go, under 4s require parental supervision. The girls that work at the kid’s club were always so bubbly and friendly – i have no idea whwre they get their energy from! They work from morning to night.
There are two swimming pools at the kid’s club – one for little babies and one for toddlers. Arjun went to the kid’s pools twice during our stay but was happy paddling about in the bigger pools with us.
He loved getting his face painted and also colouring in. There is also a kids indoor area with soft play bits in.
There were various children’s activities that also take place throughout the day.
While Arjun had his fun, Preetam and I made the most of having babysitters to hand and so went for a Spa Experience at the Wellness Spa Corallium which is located at the sister property, Lopesan Costa Meloneras, across the road. Preetam’s not a spa kinda guy but we both really enjoyed the experience which usually lasts about four hours. We enjoyed it so much so that both of us fell asleep at some point during it! The experience consists of a unique circuit style spa experience using treatments that use water at different temperatures to improve the functioning of the muscles. Preetam’s favourite room was definitely the womb room and mine was the lava relaxation dome!
The hotel has it’s own gym which is adequate. However just by the exit, there is also a gym called Titan – definitely the best gym we’ve ever seen! It was beautiful! The gym offers a concession to guests at the hotel. Preetam joined for the week and really enjoyed his workouts.
All in all we had such a beautiful first family holiday full of such happy memories and I was so grateful to be able to share those with my parents and sister too! The beautiful premises and location of the hotel made it really hard to believe we were in Europe!
The lack of flexibility and desire to accommodate food wise was a little frustrating at times however the facilities for children, the staff friendliness and the premises were absolutely wonderful. The location of the hotel is also perfect. We’d definitely return but would go back on a bed and breakfast option next time and venture out for lunch and dinner!
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post however all thoughts and opinions are our own.