It was our first holiday as a family of four. To say I was nervous to travel with a tornado toddler and a teething baby is an understatement! Preetam had wanted to venture out to paradise – somewhere like Jamaica. I’d suggested perhaps testing out travelling as a four on a shorter journey destination first! Also being so close to Christmas and Saajan’s first birthday, I didn’t fancy suffering with a week out due to jet lag and confused babies! We decided to go to Fuerteventura as it’s close, there’s no time difference and it’s a fab destination for a bit of winter sun. We were so impressed with Gran Canaria, we thought we’d try our another canary island!
We flew out via Gatwick simply as there were no flights from Heathrow on a Saturday. A blessing in disguise as we were so impressed with the hospitality and friendliness of the staff in addition to their extra service provided to families. The check in lady was absolutely lovely in reassuring Arjun that he’d be reunited with his luggage at the other end – he was having a melt down as he wanted to take our luggage on board the plane with us. We’ve done this so many times before, no idea what ticked him off this time!
There is a separate queue for families at security at Gatwick which we were so pleased about – we literally walked through and Arjun behaved so well – he had calmed down thanks to the check in lady (I really should have got her name!) who had gifted him with stickers. Again once you’ve walked through security, children are given stickers keeping him busy for a little longer!
In departures there’s also a soft play Kid Zone to keep them entertained while you wait which he played in for a while before he had a quick Nando’s breakfast.
We travelled with British Airways and thankfully it wasn’t a full flight – most of the back of the plane was empty which meant we had ample room to give the kids some space.
We’d ridiculously left the iPad at home by mistake so picked up a mini Samsung tablet (we’ve been meaning to get one anyway) at the airport. The iPad is used at times of desperation and as a last resort but given I was so so nervous about flying alone with a one to one ratio with the kids, I felt like I needed it!
I’d also picked up Arjun a small aeroplane set from the airport – it was actually really hard finding any toy so I settled for something with lots of parts – he loves role play and I knew it’d provide him with hours of fun.
Food wise we bought pasta and a few snacks from the airport for both the boys as we knew the food on board isn’t always great for kids.
Arjun was actually a dream onboard the flight (I wish I could say the same about the return trip!). He shared his toys with a very sweet girl on the plane, ate nicely and we didn’t even need the iPad/tablet!!! I couldn’t believe it! And he did that without sleeping a wink!
Saajan on the other hand was a bit of a pickle – just like his daddy, he can’t stand even the lightest bit of crowded heat! Preetam took him to the back of the plane to lay down where he was much happier and cooler!
Saajan was similar on the way back and Arjun was so so bored and wasn’t as interested in his magazine, the tablet or any toys! Thankfully it was a short flight!
Prior to arriving at the Sheraton Fuerteventura, I’d been conversing with them over email. They were beyond helpful with adhering to our needs. We were provided with all that we requested – a baby bath tub, a cot and a bottle steriliser. I found the staff very helpful and accommodating and it really did make our life a lot easier.
We went for a sea view junior suite for the extra room with the boys. The rooms are spacious but unlike most suites, this hotel combined the lounge and bedroom in to one separating the two with a television in the middle of the room. It took a little getting used to but actually combining the two meant that the entire space actually got used.
We were provided with an extra bed for Arjun (which he used to play on) and a cot for Saajan. Saajan was happy to sleep in his cot and Arjun jumped in to our giant bed (just like he does at home!). The bed was super comfy.
There was a dressing room which held all of our clothes – I loved how it was separated in to its own little room and it was large enough to store all of our clothed plus our suitcases.
The bathroom was separated over three rooms/areas. The one directly next to the dressing room contained a large room and mirrors and a his and hers sink area. There was then a glass wall separating that area from the bath tub which we used to give the boys a bath – it also had a Jacuzzi. There was also a shower included in this room. There was another small wall between the bathing area and the toilet which included a bidet.
Though the room was spacious, it could definitely do with some TLC – for example the bath tub required silicone and the ceiling had damp marks. The room also felt quite dated and dust had collected in the corners.
The location of this hotel was perfect for us. it made everything so so easy. The hotel is located on the beach and there’s a lovely walk way along the beach which we walked along every single morning. The beach was pleasant – there is a charge for the sun loungers but we were happy to sit closer to the sea on towels and enjoy the sea breeze while building sand castles! Thebeach was never crowded and we never had any issues finding a spot. There is a small shopping centre which has a Spar about a 5 minute walking distance from the hotel which we used frequently – one afternoon we picked up fresh baguettes, cheese, coleslaw and some salad and had our own picnic on the beach! There are a few restaurants at the shopping centre – we used the Indian one, Shivam Indian Restaurant, a few times as Arjun loves his desi food and we also ate at the Italian restaurant, Panna & Pomodoro, on the top floor which was delicious and had generous portions.
Given our mediocre experience of food in Gran Canaria, we didn’t have high expectations of the food at our Fuerteventura hotel but we were blown away by their dinner buffet! It was one of the best dinner buffets we’ve had – we really enjoyed their vegetable pie and quiche, the fresh selection of salads and vegetables and their chocolate bread and butter pudding was amazing!
The breakfast had a good selection for vegetarians – cooked breakfast, cheese, cereals and breads. I’d highly recommend their potato rostis! Delicious! There was also a selection of fresh juices and smoothies each morning. They also had ready made baby food jars.
The restaurant staff were incredibly friendly especially towards the kids – Ali and Diego in particular made a huge effort and it made the experience so much nicer.
I loved the outdoor landscaping at the hotel – I definitely have a preferred hotel type and this fit the bill! I love the large rocks and carved cave like feel surrounding the swimming pool. I also loved that the kids pool was right next to the main pool making it much easier for us to manage. There is a heated pool which was definitely required as there was a breeze. the kids pool is not heated so we didn’t take Saajan in there for long however Arjun didn’t seem to feel it at all! One of the things we loved most about this hotel was the number of sun beds and four poster loungers available – there was an abundance and there was no need to reserve beds and nor was it ever over crowded. we spoke to a few families that were visiting while we were who have stayed here previously and they said that even during school holidays there’s no need to reserve beds which was great to hear. There was no poolside food or drink service however there is a restaurant located right next to the pool and they were happy to deliver the food to your lounger if you ordered at the restaurant.
The hotel has a kids club located by the tennis court and the mini golf course, however as we went off peak, there wasn’t much going on and Arjun seemed much happier playing by the pool or building sandcastles at the beach!
The weather during December is around 19-23 degrees but there was a constant breeze requiring us to wrap up warm in the mornings and evenings and sometimes during the day. I’d recommend packing for all seasons when travelling to Fuerteventura during December. It’s known as the windy island even when it’s not winter! Our friends had warned us that some days would be cooler than others and had recommended we hire a car – we are so glad we did!
We managed to pick up a Hyundai i30 for a week including two car seats for £150 which was a bargain. We managed to visit several places and it gave us freedom to venture out as opposed to being stuck in doors on the days where it wasn’t suitable to be by the pool.
We visited the Oasis Safari Park which was one of the nicest zoo’s I’ve visited. it was a spontaneous decision on our first day and we had such a great time. The boys loved watching the sea lion show and it was our first time at a botanical garden full of different cactus’. Arjun’s favourite was seeing the crocodiles and Saajan’s was definitely watching the sea lions! You are also able to buy animal food to feed several animals while there.
The highlight of my trip was visiting the sand dunes – it was absolutely breath taking! There are miles of untouched white sand. We decided to stop off so that Preetam could have a quick splash in the sea. We ended up having a few hours of fun building sandcastles with literally only a lifeguard there. it was so peaceful and tranquil and it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I felt really close to nature – away from all the hustle and bustle and stresses of life!
The country feels really spacious and not heavily populated – it felt really different to other places we’ve visited in that everywhere we went, we found we had ample space – the swimming pool, the beaches and even the roads.
We also visited Callejero – it had a market which had lots of clothing and handbags, larger shops and lots of food places. We stopped off at Hamburguesa where we had a beetroot falafel burger – the burgers were HUGE! They’re all homemade and tasted so good!
We also did a road trip to the mountains where we experienced breath taking views and got to see thousands of cute little squirrels.
Another top place to visit is Ajuy, the view was lovely but I’m not a fan of the rough black sand – Arjun was indifferent!
We would most definitely return to Fuerteventura and would stay at the Sheraton. We had a fantastic first family holiday as just us four where we created so many beautiful memories!