17 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"Before I start, let me say that we did enjoy the holiday. We would rank the Hotel as 8 out of 10 and the area the same. Would we return? Yes, but not for more than a week. Now read on. However it really does depend on what you are looking for. In our case a little sun and relaxation. The place: Isla Canela on the Spanish Atlantic Coast adjacent to Portugal. Beaches superb, clean and sandy but if you want to swim it can be a long way to walk. The tide goes out about half a mile and I never managed to reach water that went past my knees. Watching the kite surfers is a great spectator sport as was watching cockle collectors. What else to do? Nothing: except lie on the beach or by the pool, walk for about 2.5 miles in either direction and wonder where everyone is. We were there in the last two weeks in September, just as it was closing down. In our opinion the perfect time! Excellent sunny weather and completely uncrowded! Trips to other towns were on offer and we enjoyed our trip to Seville. But do check out all the tour groups as prices vary a great deal with different options and different languages. We went with Thompson who charged E40 per person but it was also possible to pay E21 or E56. Oldies take your passport as entrances are often cheaper. A good trip with an excellent knowledgeable guide but a 2 hour journey each way with about 4 hours in Seville not enough time to see very much. The Hotel: Barcelo: about 2 miles from Ayamonte (Market on Saturday) which is reached easily by bus for just under E1.05 each way. Taxi for the same distance 8 to 10 euros. Buses leave about ten past the hour from near the hotel. Always queues but everyone manages to squeeze in. Buses clean and well maintained. Hotel Staff excellent and always very happy to help. Food good: always warm and quite varied although after 2 weeks a little boring. The big annoyance was table placement but it was difficult to envisage a different layout whilst seating all the guests at the same time. The food corridor could be a nightmare with guests moving in opposite directions and kitchen staff determined to replenish platters. A two lane highway used for three and sometimes four lanes! Plates frequently ran out but were quickly replaced: This often meant eating cold food from a hot plate and ice cream is not at its best in a warm dish. Lack of glasses and cups could be a real problem at breakfast so before joining the queue for coffee it is always advisable to check. Our second week was heaven when there were fewer guests. Solution: Eat early or late to avoid the queues. Be aware that the hotelâs definition of a sea view may not be the same as yours. And it may not be worth upgrading just for that reason alone. From our room you could just observe the sea in the distance. However the room itself was fine. About 12 ft by 12ft, plus a clean neat bathroom. The balcony was not very good, to say the least. A cheap plastic table and two chairs just fitted and if you had neighbors who smoked the smell was unpleasant. The double glazed door served to keep out the noise of the evening entertainment but was less that 2 ft wide with a 6 inch drop as you step inside: not too easy to enter as you get on in years and I managed to stumble a few times. The safe was tucked away at the bottom corner of the cupboard and reached only on hands and knees. Entertainment was less than acceptable. Live extremely loud music most of the time but luckily ending at 11pm. For this the balcony door was a bonus although I suspect that those in rooms directly above the entertainment might not have been so lucky. The gardens were well kept and very Moorish: with fountains and roses both in the atrium and the main walkway to the pool. Pity there was not a gym which we needed after over eating. However there is a small indoor pool and Jacuzzi. Outside the hotel. A small supermarket and a few cafes and bars cater to those who are not all inclusive. We wondered how they managed the summer season when all the apartment blocks were full. There was well maintained promenade to the next resort at Punta del Moral about two miles away but a visit there dispelled any hope of entertainment. It was closed. Isla Cristina via bus and boat was very good. A well laid out town with a bustling fishing industry. Tip: Try it for a week but request a high room well away from the entertainment. Possibly also away from the pool as although it was fine during our stay we were advised this area could be noisy during the summer vacations. Balcony rooms near the main body of the hotel looked down on to the roof of the atrium so ask for a garden view away from the hotel and pool. "
- Travel date: 2nd October 2012
Lovely summer holiday!
"I really enjoyed my stay at this hotel! I am a teenager and went with my parents. We have never visited this part of Spain so we were open as to what to expect. I didn't feel as though the Thompson picture in the brochure showed the true beauty of the hotel as I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the hotel and its grounds. The hotel staff were very friendly and helpful including the waiters at the buffet meal. 8pm at the start seemed quite a late time for an evening meal but it didn't have an effect as you soon get used to it after having a busy day of doing lots of activities. The food was great with a wide variety of choices and the buffet didn't get busy until about 10pm so you have to get your timing correct to avoid queueing. Ayamonte, the nearest town is a typical Spanish town which was nice to look around for a morning trip. we hired bikes and this was particularly enjoyable as we got to ride along the coast next to the beach. This resort is a quiet resort (just what we wanted) so if you are looking for nightlife this hotel isn't for you. The hotel didn't offer alot of entertainment (only a few nights)but it is very nice to sit out on the balcony at night. I would definitely recommend this hotel and visit it again."
- Travel date: 3rd September 2011
Quite nice, but not great
"We've stayed in Isla Canela for about four years running but not at this hotel, so we decided to have a change. From the outside the hotel looks very smart and the reception area is actually quite nice. We were given a downstairs room which was very dark and quite smelly, it was as though it hadn't be opened for a long time. Luckily we were able to change it for one on the fourth floor, I think if we'd arrived any later we would have been disappointed because the hotel was almost full. The room was comfortable enough but in need of decoration. The TV only had news channels in English so by the time we came home, we were well aware of what was going on in the rest of the world! We had poor weather for a few days, hence the TV mention. We were told by one of the entertainment crew that the hotel is used mainly by Germans until the end of June when the Spanish then stay. We had half-board and the food was very nice but beware - drinks are not included with evening meals and all the drinks are very pricey, even the water. The food was served as a buffet and there was a huge choice, I loved the bacon in the mornings and the strawberry ice cream was absolutley gorgeous! The staff were very helpful and the cleaner was very efficient - no problems there. Isla Canela is a very quiet place so if you want lots of nightlife and excitement then go somewhere else! By the way the entertainment at this hotel was rubbish! We will be going to Isla Canela again, but not to this hotel, it's back to the Iberostar for us next time. Would recommend for peace and quiet."
- Travel date: 21st July 2010
"Another excellent Expedia booking. We went for a quiet relaxation and property search holiday. The hotel was excellent. Clean, quiet, food choice was superb. We went to 2 entertainment evenings, Spanish folk group and Flamenco and enjoyed both. The beach was just across the road with sunbeds available at â¬3 per day per bed. When the tide was out, you can walk along the sandbanks. When the tide is in the swimming was wonderful. Seaweed on beach appeared to be cleared during the week, but a minor point. We visited other beach areas in Spain and Portugal and found this the best for us. Ayamonte, the nearest town, was a pleasure to visit, apart from Sunday, when there was nowhere to sit and have a drink as everyone was eating. But we found a lovely little bar within a short walk. We were on half board and didn't need to eat in between breakfast and dinner. The only complaint I have was the breakfast coffee!"
- Travel date: 13th August 2007
Not much outside the hotel
"August 12th 2007 just returned from the hotel. The staff are very friendly and keen to please The rooms are a little on the small side but very clean. The food is varied although at certain times the restaurant can become very crowded and we often queued to get a seat. The towels were removed from reserved beds, which we thought was a good idea.however parasols were often taken if you left the bed as they were in short supply compared to the number of sun beds At night a part from the hotel entertainment very little to do as the selection of bars along the small resort is very limited. The area is under a lot of development and consists of large apartment blocks for the Spanish. Only go if you want a hotel based holiday. Car hire not easy to arrange. Tried Avis twice and let down, turning up at almost midday!"
- Travel date: 13th August 2007
awful for teenagers!
"Before we went to the isla canela resort i read that both the hotel and the area were a bit foreign and not full of Brits like where we had been before. Well when we got there we were in for a bit of a shock as on our first two days we didn't even see a another group of brits the hotel was just full of the spanish, but as the holiday went on we did gradually meet a few brits. At night there is a very limited amount you can do as there is not many bars out side the hotel and the entertain was poor to put it nicely. During the day it was all very good :- -the pool was very nice and also big. -there were a lot of activities to take part in. -and the weather was beautiful. The beach whilst we were there was covered in green seaweed and smelt awful, but to be fair they did remove it once while we were there. The resort is currently under major construction as there is a lot of building sites where new hotels and apartments are being built. But don't worry as you can't hear the builders at all as they are a fair distance away from the hotel. One problem we did come across was the fact that many of the staff spoke no or little english so was very hard to comunitcate when ordering drinks or food. But nevertheless they all did a very good job in cleaning the room etc. After staying in the hotel for 10 days i was dispointed as i had stayed in Barcelo hotels before and this one i feel hadn't been very good. i recommend this hotel to older couples who don't want to leave the hotel much looking for bars and just want to relax. i don't recommend it to families with older children as there is little to do at night and a little amount of english people there too."
- Travel date: 9th August 2007
Wonderful hotel - more like 5 star
"The hotel is lovely. Beautiful gardens., literally hundreds of white, red and pink roses around beautiful andalusian style fountains. A very romantic hotel. A drink on the terrace overlooking the fountains is wonderful. The staff are very friendly and helpful. Nothing is too much trouble for them. Very professional. The restaurant is a haven of style, sophistication, superb food, beautifully presented. Very relaxing. The entertainment in the evening is of a very high standard - I was pleasantly surprised. Quite important because there is not much to do in the evening except go for a walk on the promanade by the sea. (Very nice) The beach across the road is fantastic, wide, lovely sand and not too crowded. At about 5pm it can start to get a bit windy, and lots of windsurfers and people water skiing powered by a huge kites appear. The hotel pool is lovely, lots of palm trees and flowers everywhere. (hibiscus and bouganvillia) Drinks at the hotel are very cheap (compared to the prices we are used to) and lunch is cheap too in the hotel outdoor cafe. This hotel is like a 5 star hotel, and exceptional value for money. I wander if the prices will go up."
- Travel date: 27th July 2007
"Very Spanish resort, 50 minutes taxi transfer from Faro airport, quite small, although loads of building work going on, a couple of shops and a handfull of bars/restaurants, but the local town is only 5 minutes taxi ride away and has plenty of shops, bars, cafe's, parks, a free zoo, marina, golf course(not bad, with a bit of water on the first few/last few holes and only 42 euros green fee), whatever you want. The Hotel, room fine, very clean, the staff are excellent, food good. The road outside the front, that you have to cross to get to the beach is very quiet, and more of a free carpark for those who don't want to pay for the hotels own car park. We stayed AI and were in the minority, all of the Spanish stay B&B or half board. Slightly quirky method of AI in that you are given a wristband on arrival, but still have to strictly sign for everything, (which I suppose gives them stock control, but would be no good if there were alot of people AI - too slow). Also if you order off the "a la carte" menus and you are on AI you get 50% discount, this even applies to bottles of wine in the restaurant so if you want a nice bottle of wine with dinner its very reasonable.(Rioja about 5 euros). Definitely a family hotel, lots of kids, our 4 year old couldn't find any other english kids his age, but made friends with a couple of Spanish and Portuguese children and had a whale of a time. Kids club good, mini disco good, and childrens play area/pools fine. All in all a lovely quiet spanish resort and hotel a bit away from it all, very unlike the other Costa's, not alot of Brits or Germans, mainly Spanish and Portuguese, who once you have talked to them/nodded a couple of times are very frieindly and smiley (previous reviewer please note), and usually make the point of waving/speaking to you the next time they see you. Very safe, nice promenade for the evening stroll, (had to wait until about 10ish to do this as it's still very hot and sunny til then). We were already planning our next trip back on the plane, so obviously for a close break in Spain we give it the thumbs up."
- Travel date: 8th July 2007
Bit too Spanish
"Stayed at this hotel as part of a 4 hotel holiday all individually booked on the web. The other 3 were in the algarve. Firstly the carpark to the hotel is chargeable at around 8euro a day,but its safe to leave your car on the road so dont waste your money. This hotel looks like a enthusiastic sand castle maker designed it -- it looks rearly good. The staff are pleasant and try their best to speak English. Our room was a bit dull and the aircon wasn't working but clean,the bathroom was very green and the bidet was in the way of the bath,everything worked though. We travel a lot and do prepare ourselfs to be positive but---the resort is too quiet and you do feel like everyones looking at you and saying why are them English people here!!!!!. Sorry but we was relieved to get back to the algarve were people smile. Lastly the sea is green as it breaks onto the beach -- bit of a algi problem here -- some bits further on are ok though. 5 nights was plenty for us."
- Travel date: 28th June 2007
"We stayed in the Barcelo Hotel in June 2007 and had a fantastic holiday. We stayed for 10 nights and had great weather, it was 26 in the shade, The hotel is 50 yards from the beach and can be accessed across the beach road. The beach is wide and very clean and great for seashell collecting if you have children. The hotel food was great, we stayed half-board and the choice at both breakfast and dinner was fantastic but avoid the 9.30pm slot at dinner when its the weekend as it gets very busy. As with most hotels you can purchse wine with your dinner and save it for the following day if you do not finish it. The hotel has a mini club for children but is not very well structured compared to other hotels but the entertainer is great with the children, even with his limited English. There is a play area around the side of the hotel (still within the hotel) which is great and safe. The swimming pools are fab and child friendly, but the only disappointment with the hotel was with the room. They need updating as the white wash furniture is old hat now and they seem to have an ant problem in the hotel. We asked to be moved after the 2nd night as we had an army of ants crawling up the walls and curtains. The 2nd room was an upgrade but still a few ants crawling about, but the view was worth it. The hotel staff's solution was to spray ant killer which smoked the room out but the ants only returned the following day. we spoke to other guests who did not have this problem so we put it down to bad luck. Hire a car and visit Seville ,Isla Islantilla and Villamoura in Portugal. All of these places are well worth a visit. A car is best to hire for the holiday. Overall a great place to stay."
- Travel date: 13th June 2007
Now owned by Barcelo group of hotels, he...
"Now owned by Barcelo group of hotels, hence Barcelo Canela and not Riu Canela anymore. Excellent stay. Very quiet as almost end of season. Lovely beach just over road. Lots of development going on around as this is an upcoming resort. The marina at the other end of Isla Canela was pretty too. Food was fantastic and staff always helpful and polite. Room furniture was in need of update but no other issues. Hope to go again in May."
- Travel date: 31st October 2006
"Just had 10 nights at this lovely hotel. A bit isolated at the moment until all the building work going on around is completed but no inconvenience as a result. Very quiet, due to time of year but weather was fantastic - 25/30 C and no rain. Food in the hotel is superb and we'll certainly go again."
- Travel date: 15th October 2006
Top traveller tips for Barcelo Isla Canela
"Isla Canela is the best place in Spain"
Barcelo Isla Canela is also called
- Barcelo Isla Canela Hotel
- isla canela barcelo
- barcelo isla canela