30 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Don't expect 5*

Reviewed Tue 6th of April 2010

"We stayed at the Hotel La Palma Princess with our 9 year old granddaughter on All Inclusive March 29th to April 5th. We travelled with Portland Holidays. We also stayed there 18 months ago on Half Board, hiring a car at the airport and just using the Hotel as a base for a walking holiday.
Clean and spacious accommodation. Eleven well maintained pools (one heated) and pool areas with lots of space for sunbathing and plenty of sun-beds. (Even so people were out reserving beds with their towels at 7am!) Pleasant and well maintained grounds and gardens. Nicely designed and furnished reception/piano bar area. Plenty of activities for adults such as riffle and pistol shooting, archery, boules, table tennis, darts, keep fit, gym, a spar and water aerobics. An excellent team of girls who run the daily activities. Large pleasant dining room area with some special areas looking out over the sea. Separate facility for late breakfast with indoor and outdoor eating if you failed to make it up by 10am.
Long wait in queues at reception to check in on arrival. No lifts to any of the upper room accommodations. A poor variety of food, both at lunch and dinner times, which was quite repetitious and bland. No one we spoke to were looking forward to meal-times after the second day. Smoking is allowed in the special dining areas with views out to sea so it is unpleasant for non-smokers and families with children to use those areas. The House Wines were virtually undrinkable. Drinks in the dining room have to be paid for, even if you are on All Inclusive. There was a daily club for children up to the age of 12 years but the activities were only suitable for children up to the age of 6 or 7 years. The entertainment room is large but due to pillars it was difficult to see unless you had a front seat. As with the sun-beds, people were selfishly taking up the best seats an hour or so before the entertainment began by leaving items on the seats and drinks on the table. They would then go off for dinner or sit in a more pleasant room until the show started. Young children were allowed to play unsupervised in the gym. There were silly, petty rules concerning food and water at various eating/drinking places. i.e. At the Pizza Hut you could have a Pizza on All Inclusive but even though they had chips and salad there you could not have either unless you paid. Likewise, you could have as many plastic cups of water as you wanted but they would not give you a small bottle unless you paid. Must of the bars were understaffed which often meant a long wait to be served. Finally, the Hotel is a long way from anywhere and there is a poor bus service to and from it.


Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 6th of April 2010

Rating breakdown

  • 3 Room
  • 5 Pool
  • 3 Service
  • 2 Dining
  • 4 Amenities
  • 2 Food

Relax & Enjoy

Reviewed Tue 17th of February 2009

"Last minute booking on-line with Thomsons and can't complain about a thing.
We wanted a get away from the cold, snowy British weather for a week, somewhere warm, sunny just to relax and unwind. Exactly what we got!
Ok so it was mid February and there were lots of sunbeds, no queues for meals, attentive staff (all spoke good English). Superb food, spoilt for choice and loads of it. I compare it to the Thomson cruise ships.
Airport/hotel and vice-versa transfers were great, La Palma airport wasn't busy so no problems there either. Great flights both ways with amusing cabin crew.

Thank you Thomson & La Palma Princess - 10/10 fully deserved "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 17th of February 2009

la palm princess, la palma

Reviewed Tue 18th of November 2008

"Wonderful views from the spa out to sea - spa was free to use in November for Thomson guests and a real treat. Hotel cleanly and staff very friendly. Restaurant food - tasy and a good variety available every night - there is an outdoor terrace that forms part of the restaurant overlooking the sea. There are a couple of other restaurants on site to visit for an eight euro supplement. Hotel is set in a remote area but perfect for a luxury, get away from it all, relaxing time. Nightlife limited. Some steep pathways so would not necessarily suit visitors with walking disabilities. La Palma very unspoiled island - capital Santa Cruz pleasant - but very small. Lots of small steep roads to navigate to get around island. Overall had a fanstastic time. Would highly recommend this hotel if relaxing in luxury is the objective of your holiday."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 18th of November 2008

After reading the last 2 reports I was w...

Reviewed Fri 9th of May 2008

"After reading the last 2 reports I was wondering if we went to the same hotel.
Must admit we got a taxi from the airport £30 return booked with Portland & arrived around an hour before the coach. Left the hotel 15 min before coach going home & booked in at airport before coach got there. Up to you if you think it’s worth it.

I did email the hotel before we went & asked for a sea view room if possible. We were put in block 6 & had a view of pool & sea. Not the best view you could of got of the sea but never the less the sea. It was ok sitting on the balcony looking out. Would be nice if Thomson’s or Portland gave you the choice of upgrading to the good sea view rooms there are some with brilliant views.
The room it self was large & clean & with a very upmarket bathroom. It also nice to have a good air conditioning system (No noise).
Lots of pools to swim in & lots of sun beds. If you want a go at archery, carbine & pistol shooting along with lots of other actives it’s all here to have a go at free.

The Food: Well I don’t like Spanish food at all never have done & by now never will. But there were a lot of choice & never-ending amounts. Not just chips but real potatoes & vegetables along with pasta & meat dishes & not forgetting vegetarian. The only complaint from my wife was they always seem to put tuna in the salad. So even I would have to say it was good.

If you are one for going out shopping all the time this is not the hotel for you in fact the island of La Palma may not be for you .If you ask the locale what they do they will tell you they go to Tenerife. There is a bus service from outside the hotel & will get you most places or Hire a car the roads are empty. Or there is always the trips.


Holiday details

  • Travel date: Fri 9th of May 2008

Nice if you pay the extra for a sea view...

Reviewed Fri 29th of February 2008

"Nice if you pay the extra for a sea view but horrendous if you are in Block 6 or 7 where Thomson put all their guests. These rooms look like army barracks / Tenko and the towers of the reception building add to this bleak effect. As it wasn't sunny when I went, the doom and gloom felt worse as everything is black - the volcano and the building materials (and the sky!). We had to pay through the nose to move rooms for a better outlook.

The food in the main restaurant is lovely but it's difficult to get your free go in the a la carte ones. We missed out - there were no tables left by 10am. Also, the spa is hard to get treatments booked and pretty expensive.

The main problem on my holiday was that my mother got food poisoning. Obviously Thomson and the hotel deny this - but there was nowhere else to eat and it followed her eating a meal in the snack bar that tasted of rancid cooking fat.

Because the hotel is in a very remote place I would have expected a doctor on site or at least in a nearby town. But no, we had to wait an hour for an ambulance to come through the mountains (they won't send a doctor) and then take us to the hospital - another hour. Meanwhile my mother was being so ill she looked like a corpse when they finally got her on a drip in the hospital!

Thankfully she made a quick recovery but it cost as an arm and a leg in cab fares as we had to get the cab back from the hospital and then I had to go the pharmacy for the tablets. This in adition to paying 100 E to move rooms.

Thomson will take no responsibility at all for not having a doctor nearby. They agree there should be one but that's all. I noticed that most of the holidaymakers were in their senior years and Thomson are happy enough to market these holidays to that group and describe them as 5T but aren't concerned about people's welfare. Those 2 hours could well be a matter of life and death for someone else taken ill in the future.

I am appalled by this experience and really surprised as I have been to lots of other Thomson Princess hotels and had a positive experience."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Fri 29th of February 2008

This was our first trip to any of the Ca...

Reviewed Wed 20th of February 2008

"This was our first trip to any of the Canary Islands - so had no pre-conceptions of what to expect.

The hotel is beautiful and very large, but being November was not too busy so there was plenty of space for everyone. We cannot fault the service we received from any member of staff, on arrival we were welcomed with a cool drink and once checked in provided with detailed map of the hotel and grounds. There were plenty of staff to take both you and your luggage to your room.

Our room was spacious, clean and tidy, with fridge, tv & safe. Large balcony that looked out onto gardens, a very pleasant place to sit and read at the end of the day. The bathroom was amazing, full size bath and a huge shower.

On site there are two hotels, La Palma Princess had mainly English guest whilst the Teneguia Princess had mainly German visitors. The hotel grounds are beautiful, fantastic pools, lovely gardens which are very well kept.

We were on a half board basis, with breakfast and evening meal taken in the same restaurant - the food was good and plentiful. Buffet style for both, eat as much or as little as you like. There are two themed restaurants which open on alternate nights, and you can eat there once without paying a supplement by booking a table - the food was traditional and very good.

Entertainment was laid on every evening and in the piano bar of the La Palma Princess there was live music provided every night by a group of three musicians. Lots of space in the bar area and outside if you just want to sit and relax after your evening meal.

The hotel itself is right on the coast but there is no access to any beach on site. A walk of approx 20 to 30 mins brings you to a small beach accessed by rickety stairs with a bar serving drinks, snacks etc overlooking it. This hotel is ideal for those who either love walking or for those who want to relax and not do anything.

There were plenty of trips available and all reasonably priced. The two Thomson Reps were there every day and always willing to share their knowledge and both very friendly.

If you want a quiet, relaxing holiday then this could just be the place for you, both my husband and I would visit again as it is a great place to unwind.


Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 20th of February 2008

Our flight arrived at Santa Cruz airport...

Reviewed Wed 13th of February 2008

"Our flight arrived at Santa Cruz airport from Gatwick with the Manchester flight 15 minutes behind us. Therefore, 2 coaches arrived at the hotel within minutes of each other, both full. We therefore had to queue to check in. It is all very well offering glasses of orange juice, but it is very difficult to hold a glass whilst trying to manouvre cases around. Best advice is to try and get off the coach and get your luggage as quickly as possible!

On checking in, a map of the complex was provided and very quick directions were given on how to get to our room. The receptionist did not speak very good english and what she told me was very confusing. The main reception is at the top of a hill. As we came out of the door that she had pointed us in the direction of, we found several of our fellow passengers looking around very confused, with a very steep slope ahead of us. Directions were to come out and turn left, but that would have taken us out of the complex. About 10 of us decided to go down the slope and were relieved to find a signpost directing us to Bloqs 6 and 7. Assuming that we were in Bloq 6 as room number was 6022 we went in that direction but still could not find our room and the map was no help. Eventually I sent my husband off to find the room, which he did, eventually, but if there had been more signs we would have found it easily. I did advise the reps (Emma and Chris - who were excellent) of the problems that we had and they said they would let the hotel know.

The room itself was excellent and I've never encountered such a lovely bathroom with a bath and separate shower cubicle, but we were disappointed with the situation of the room. The brochure does not provide any opportunity to book sea view rooms, which I would have done if I had had the choice. Our room looked out on what can only be described as a compound. My husband said it reminded him of being in barracks when he was in the army. Later on in the week I was advised by a fellow guest that the Germans (of which there were many, although for once they were less arrogant than usual, probably due to an abundance of sunbeds!!!) and possibly other nationality's, were given the sea views. It was also noted that the other nationality's appeared to be on an all inclusive basis, which was also something that we were not offered!

Food was excellent and there was plenty of it. Don't believe the brochures when it says they have 2 a la carte restaurants. It's the same restaurant under 2 names depending on if it is Spanish or Italian night lol. Beware, the waiters do not speak much english and in the main restaurant do not understand if you try and order a cup of tea with your dinner, however, you can get a cup of tea in the Pizzeria and the Teneguia piano bar.

The Pizzeria is excellent value for lunch and I would recommend 1 pizza between 2 as they are large. The La Choza restaurant is not good value for lunch at 20 Euro's per head for a cut down version of the evening buffet. This is where those on all inclusive were having their lunch.

The hotel is actually 2 hotels: La Palma Princess and Teneguia Princess and at times we did not know which of the two we were in. There are 2 receptions, so if you book any trips, make sure that you know which reception you are being picked up from. Trips on La Palma are quite limited. We went Whale Watching and only saw dolphins, which we obviously cannot blame anyone for, but I was disappointed. It's a great base for hikers and a selection of guided hikes were available. If thats not your thing (and its not ours), there are other day trips around the island, but they are very long and tiring. I would recommend a day between trips if you can manage it.

The hotel is in a very secluded spot at the bottom of the mountain (or should I say volcano lol). This means that even if the weather is bad on the rest of the island, it still stays virtually sunny all the time at the hotel. The nearest shop off complex is a 20 minute local bus ride away and therefore you are a captive audience when it comes to buying drinks and snacks.

The shop on the complex only carried a very small stock of grocery items. We managed to buy milk (we took our own kettle for my husbands much loved cup of tea lol) but could not buy sugar or tea bags. Luckily we had bought some of our own, but the girl in the shop managed to advise me in very limited english that we should take some from the restaurant when we got the chance. As Thomson's give this hotel 5 stars, we think that tea and coffee making facilities should be provided in the rooms.

The spa has a lovely spa pool with lots of buttons to press for different types of bubbles and jacuzzi experiences. It costs 10 Euro's each to spend the whole day there, which is OK but I felt that if you were also paying for treatments (110 Euro's worth in total for us)you should get the spa for free.

Outdoor swimming pools in February were too cold to swim in except for the 1 heated one, which was very nice. Beware, there is a nudist area of the hotel beside the vitamin bar with no warning notices, so if you don't want to see other peoples wobbly bits, don't go to the right of the bar while exploring!

Entertainment staff not pushy and provided a daytime sports and activity programme. Evening entertainment not too bad. We just didn't bother as I ended up with a cold!

If you have limited mobility, I wouldn't recommend this hotel, although the hotel will ferry the less mobile around the complex in golf buggies, but for those of us that are mobile, I suggest getting fit before you go, as there are no lifts and everything is up and down steep slopes!

Overall, we didn't have a bad time. I just found a lot of things that annoyed me as I had expected 5 star luxury and don't think that we got it. Official rating is 4 star and I don't think that Thomsons should give it more than that. I think the main thing that annoyed me was not being able to sit on my balcony and enjoy what would have been a lovely sea view. That really marred my enjoyment! No wonder the Germans love the resort!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 13th of February 2008

We would like to tell everyone what an e...

Reviewed Mon 4th of February 2008

"We would like to tell everyone what an excellent hotel this is.
It has to be the cleanest hotel we have ever stayed in, the staff were friendly and polite at all times.
Being Christmas, the hotel was full, but there was so much space, with the choice of twelve swimming pools, and plenty of room to lie in the sun, without feeling crowded.
The food was excellent and the galas dinners can only be discribed as excellent, these were included in the price of our holiday too.
Very quiet relaxing holiday, if you get the chance do go."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 4th of February 2008

Excellent Hotel

Reviewed Sat 10th of November 2012

"This is a beautiful hotel in a stunning location.
The rooms are large clean and airy, the bathrooms are huge and spotless and the hotel has all the facilities you require of a first class resort.
Breakfast is excellent. Use the outdooor La Choza after 9am. The views are stunning and although the choice is a little less than the main restaurant, there is no shortage of good food.
I cannot see how anyone can complain about the evening buffet. The salad bar is the most extensive I have seen in a package resort. There are a minimum of six meat and fish dishes each evening plus a couple of veggie options. For a buffet it is reasonably warm and the plates are kept red hot. You always needed serviettes to pick them up. Always cloth napkins at the table, a nice touch.
The resort is isolated but the hotel did not charge vastly inflated prices for the drinks.
The Thomson Rep and the hotel staff were excellent.
The hotel is isolated, you can't walk anywhere, but there is a bus service from reception, car hire is easy and there are a couple of good excursions. The upside of the location is that the SW corner of the island has the best winter weather factor.
We had one dinner in the a la carte restaurant. It was ok but compared to the buffet a disappointment"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 26th of January 2008

Unspoilt and Clean

Reviewed Mon 29th of October 2012

"We booked a family holiday for New Year 08. From the begining of the holiday we were pleasantly surprised. The pre gala and gala dinner was good the pre drinlks of cocktails etc was free and all families/couples/etc mixed together well.The rooms were very big and very clean. Even though we were not given the option of sea view - it was a nice view as all of the hotel grounds were well kept and pretty. The food was varied and the late breakfast is worth a go even if you are an early riser because its outside and not much different from the main breakfast choice The poolside is lovely and quiet -the heated pool has more going on as is good for kids and familes. At the time of year there weren't many kids about but my 10 year old son really enjoyed himself.

It is worth hiring a car- especially here for 3 reasons. 1- you are kind of stuck in the hotel if you dont 2 you cant really get lost as there are not many roads and 3 the island is beautiful and unspoilt - no tourist rubbish - just the locals who are all very nice.

As a family we explored walks which were lovely and my Husband and stepson did some real hillwalking and loved it. Its a great place and warma and sunny especially at that time of year - weathe much warmer than scotland!

Only problem with hotel is if you have any mobility problems then this hotel or island may not be for you as there are hills all over.

My Son had his 10th brithday there and the hotel sent him a present and make a lovely cake and set the table specially for his birthday tea!

We had a good family holiday!

Ayr Scotland - 3 adults and 1 child aged 10"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 22nd of January 2008

La Palma - Treasure Island

Reviewed Thu 18th of October 2012

"We stayed at the La Palma Princess from 14th to 21st January 2008. This is the first time that we have stayed half board in 30 years and I have to say that it is a necessity for this hotel. We were really surprised how good the buffet was with a huge amount of choice. The only downside was the vegetables tended to be overcooked but the salads certainly made up for this. The breakfast was excellent and we preferred the late breakfast venue as it was smaller and quieter.
The rooms were lovely and the bed huge and comfortable. We were originally given a ground floor room but when they told us at the reception, we asked to be moved to a first or second floor (thanks to a review read on this website) which they did without any problem - the view from our balcony could have been a little bit better but the views from the main building of the hotel made up for this.
We found all the staff very helpful and friendly - and special thanks to Helga (one of the senior bar staff in the main bar) for her efficient and friendly service. We agree with the previous review that we found the drinks and the pizzaria really good value considering they had a captive audience. The hotel gives you a card with your signature on, which you can put all you spend against an account and settle up at the end of the holiday. We kept a running total of what we spent and it compared exactly to the bill we had on our last day. We liked this method as it meant you didn't have to carry a lot of cash around with you.
We travelled with Portland Holidays which is a sister company to Thomson and the reps were excellent. For a change there was no hard sell for the trips. We had hired a car for the week (picking it up and dropping it off at the airport) as we prefer to see our holiday destination at our own pace and what a beautiful island to see. The roads were in very good condition which made driving around easy - although finding more than 50 yards of straight road was a challenge. La Palma has stunning scenery and it is completely unspoilt by tourism and long may it continue to be. We will definitely be returning to La Palma and the La Palma Princess"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 22nd of January 2008

great hotel for a good rest and winter sun

Reviewed Thu 8th of November 2012

"We stayed at the La palma princes second week of january where we had four great days of hot sun and three still warm but overcast days.

The hotel is great and ideal for a winter break if you want to rest and relax and get some sun. The hotel is clean, rooms are great but it is self contained and miles away from anywhere else so if you want to expolre youll have to rent a car or make use of the excursions if you book with an agency.

The best excursions take in the caldera, a fantastic cross between the rockies and the grand canyon. Go to santa cruse yourself as the trips dont leave you long enough to explore and give the whale watching trip a miss its expensive and after four hours we only saw a couple of turtles who promptly dissappear as soon as you stop to look at them.

On site the food is excellent breakfasts and dinners are an event but the a la carte resturants are a bit of a let down by comparison and as the hotel is set at the bottom of such a steep mountain getting around and up to the reception and resturantes could be difficult for older people.

You can buy lunch drinks and snacks from many of the bars around the pools and the food is good and surprisingly cheap seeing as you have no choice to get to shops ect outside the complex. early evening do coctails... champage coctails are under 5 euros...fantastic!!

In january it was really quiet and this was great, i dont think id like it mid season i imagine it would be packed out. However it appears there quite well set up for children with enough activites for them to do each day

For the grown ups the spa is excellent but the gym seriously lets the hotel down the few machiens they have are ancient and broken so all there is to use really are free weights a big let down if your a fitness addict and certainly worth asking your travel agent to make enquires to see if they have improved the facility before you go as you will be dissapointed. However if your in to sport play tennis on the roof as the views are great.

The reps were brilliant really freindly and helpfull and helped you make the most of your holiday. Were going back same time next year but would want to spend a day in santa cruise and do more of the hiking excursions as the scenery on the island is spectacular. i just hoped they've fixed the gym up!!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 16th of January 2008

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