16 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Nice hotel in the middle of nowere rubbish entertainment
"Nice hotel and food ok. Entertainment let's this hotel down it's rubbish at night and too far to walk anywhere bus or taxi is needed. Sun loungers are rubbish they just in a lay down position. The holiday was overall ok but wouldn't return as we paid alot for it had have stayed in a lot better."
- Travel date: Wed 1st of August 2018
Loved it, would go back tomorrow
"After reading some of the other reviews I think we must have stayed at a different hotel!
firstly I must say they have had a few problems- the toilets were blocked for two days in the bar area (loads more close to hand that were not blocked though) and did have a few ceiling leaks in a couple of public areas- but this seems really minor when you see what a fantastic hotel that it is.
I have never seen a hotel like it- its out of this world. The rooms are huge, comfortable, great decorations, big balconcies- loved the shower!! The food was never cold- slightly repetative (which you expect with all inclusive) but so much choice you you didn't go hungry ( we had 4 very fussy eaters who never complained and lack of choice) the fountains in the evenings were beautiful, the reception area is amazing and the pools were fab.
Would agree that is isn't suitable for less mobile guests and it isn't close to a resort- but no where in the brochure does it say it is!
There were 9 of us and every one would go back tomorrow!"
- Travel date: Thu 21st of May 2009
Faulty Towers 2
"Think very hard before booking the Polynesia. We were a family of 3 adults a teenage boy and a baby and had the holiday from hell. Firstly little or none of the hotels plumbing is working. The ceiling in our bathroom came in as the shower in the room above wasn't fitted right. The pipes along the entire floor rattled so bad that our baby woke when ever anyone in a room on our floor flushed the loo. If you are on level -2 where the pool, bar and snack bar are you have to go to an other floor to use the loo as the raw sawage had flooded the ladies and the smell was horiffic. Anyone with restricted mobility can forget about the hotel as it is by no means suitable and if you are in a wheelchair you have no hope of getting round. The food could have been very good but as many other people have said it is cold. No attempt is made to keep the food warm and the microwave is not working. Yes the hotel looks nice but it's rather bland and looks nothing like the suggested rooms Thomson promoted. Most of the staff are very nice and will go out of their way to help you. Simple things like getting you milk for the babies bottle make you appreciate them. The chilldrens club is excellent and suitable for most kids. The location of the hotel is terrible. It's stuck up a steep hill and an 11e taxi ride either way to Benalmadena which is not within walking distance. There is still a lot of work going on in the hotel and the crane working at the hotel Hydros next door make for a lot of noise. That's before you consider the noise from the trains running just a few yards from you that go all night and the donkey in the field who starts ranting each time the train goes past LOL . Maybe in a few years time when the hotel has sorted it's self out and the building works finished it will be a good hotel but for now I'd stay well away."
- Travel date: Tue 19th of May 2009
IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE HOLIDAY A YEAR GO ELSWHERE
"We would suggest that had the weather not been so beautiful the first week of May with most people enjoying a discounted stay, a very different reflection of a holiday taken at the Polynesia may have transpired.
The Hotel Polynesia is indeed a modern clinical building with some pleasant features â fountains, birds, turtles and fish, and the bedrooms are very spacious but donât expect them to be spotlessly clean even though new. Excusably, there are teething problems with electrics and plumbing, but do not however expect sympathy that you are experiencing them, even having parted with your hard earned cash in the present economic climate. The Staff Management is appalling with insufficient levels, inadequate training in very many cases for customer facing staff, and a lack of hot, quality and a good variety of food. The spirits were the roughest I have ever tasted on an all inclusive basis, even taken with a âmixerâ.
Portland//Thomson have been very economical with the bold print â no mention of the continuing building work (only 4 out of 10 planned hotels built so far), or the 2 trains every 30 minutes, starting very early in the morning (which must be audible in all bedrooms and the few it is not, probably suffer extraction noise). Then there is the fact that the hotel is up a steep incline (admittedly served well during the day by shuttle bus from 10 a.m. but only until 6 p.m.) and some considerable walk to shops, bars or restaurants. Nor did they mention that access to the Beach Club for lunch is gained only (any other means was denied us) by navigating a sizeable spiral at either end of a footbridge. Whilst generally healthy and not that old, my husband has walking difficulty following surgery and gained no sympathy for the discomfort suffered each day going for lunch. Late arrivals and late evening flight returns, means a penalty that you will only get six days all inclusive, and the Thomson representative is only too happy to point to this in the small print terms and conditions. Oh and courtesy facilities for late flights mentioned on Portland website and in the Polynesiaâs own âPassportâ are non existent, but they will cheerfully offer you a 6 hour extension of your room for 39 euros and include the food for a mere 70 euros. Beware too of being captive audience for timeshare in the hotel, purporting to be the hotelâs representatives and there to look after you!! We enjoyed our week of consistent sunshine and thanked our lucky stars that we had not paid full price and were only staying a week.
Dismiss any claims that it opened too early, as we have stayed at new hotels previously and still enjoyed the holidays enormously despite problems, because Management/Staff were well trained to provide sympathy with problems and provide a quality package. In our case this will certainly not be many happy returns, as we like to be treated with respect by the hotelier and tour operator, which in this case was Portland/Thomson."
- Travel date: Tue 19th of May 2009
HOTEL POLYNESIA WAS GREAT
"just returned from a weeks holiday at the hotel polynesia which was excellent. anybody who has booked to go please ignore any negative comments you read on here. food was excellent never cold which so many people seem to think it was ( over 60s ) choice was excellent . dont know if we were just easily pleased but really got sick of people making a scene and constantly moaning for moanings sake . we are already looking to return in september for another week with my wife , sister and brother in law and will also be going back again next year with our freinds who also went this year with us and really enjoyed it and never once had any need to complain if you want to get picky there wasnt enough channels in the bar to watch all the football. my wife is a travel agent who returned to work with nothing but praise for the hotel and its staff"
- Travel date: Mon 18th of May 2009
Polynesia - not what i expected!!!
"The Polynesia hotel was not what i expected! we stayed here on the 7th may for 1 week.
Though the hotel had the WOW factor when we arrived, this was quickly squashed by the lack of attention to detail which you would expect from a 4* hotel.
We found the reception staff very unhelpful, for example when we arrived and given our welcome pack, it says our fridge would be stocked with drinks on arrival - IT WASNT! when i rung down to reception they said they would send someone up. I had to ring again twice before someone stocked our fridge and when they did arrive, this wasnt until 9pm!
Our t.v in the room also didnt work properly, after going down to reception to ask someone to look at it, it took someone 4 hours to arrive!!!
We also asked for an ashtray - this NEVER arrived!
If this is the service of a newly opened hotel not in peak season, god help people travelling in peak season!
What people have said about the food is correct - 80% of the time it was luke warm/cold.
The food basically consists of chips, chicken nuggets, onion rings and pizza, with a couple of local dishes thrown in. However the salad bar was very good.
The main food hall is where you eat at breakfast and evening time. If you want a 'proper' lunch, you will have to catch the bus to the beach club, but the food here is just a repaet of the food you will have in the evening. Alternatively you can eat at the snack bar by the hotels pool area, but these are snacks - pizza, chips, toasted sandwiches - again not a huge variety!
The hotel decor was tasteful and we really liked the room but im really not sure that the service, food etc.. is up to standard for what you would expect from a 4 *!! quite disappointing!"
- Travel date: Sat 16th of May 2009
Please don't go to the Polynesia
"Very disappointing stay, Hotel very luxurious and out of this world apart from floods in bathrooms, tiles falling off walls, bare electric wires,beam falling down in Piano Bar and drains being 'dynarodded' during our stay. Main complaint was the Restaurant - food never hot and OK if you like pizza, burgers, sausages and chips with everything. No-one was interested in our complaints from management to travel reps and believe me we weren't theonly ones to complain. No baby changing facilities in public areas. Photos do not show main road and train running through middle of complex. Indoor pool Â£18 per day as part of leisure complex. Won't be going here again!"
- Travel date: Sat 16th of May 2009
A good all-rounder
"We stayed at the Polynesia on the All Inclusive plan in early May â there were 2 adults and a 3 year old in our party. We had a lovely timeâ¦it was the first week of opening and we had a couple of VERY minor issues but nothing even worth writing about as they were all solved really quickly.
The rooms are tastefully decorated, very modern and with clean lines. They have a bedroom with two small doubles (or very large singles depending on your point of view) and huge amounts of storage space. As with many hotels there arenât many drawers but the shelf space more than accommodates all our stuff (and trust me I packed for a small army, taking over half my stuff home clean!!). There is also a door from the bedroom onto the balcony which is a nice touch.
They also have a lovely lounge area with a large sofa bed (easily seats four and sleeps two), a large flat screen TV (no idea about channels as I didnât watch muchâ¦). There is so a dinning table with four chairs, a breakfast bar (with two stools) and a small kitchenette with hob, microwave, toaster, kettle, sink and basic utensils.
You also have a well equipped bathroom with rain showers, bidet, two sinks, bath and loo and the balcony has a table and four chairs too.
Itâs finished (there is still some landscaping outside the hotel grounds but our daughter thought the view of the digger on the hill was fab! â and there was no noise from this as they worked during reasonable hours) and has some beautiful public areas. It is close to the train tracks but these didnât appear to be accessible at all and the kids loved looking out for the trains. They stop early evening and so the noise is limited.
There is one main pool and a small plunge pool near the playground and mini golf (both very sweet!) and also a Jacuzzi pool. The kids area is up some steps but there is a steep ramp for pushchairs. Pools were clean and really good for the kids. Towels are available but require a token from reception (with a deposit).
On the whole the pool was very clean but for a few dirty buggers that left nappies etc lying around but the hotel staff soon cleared these away â but you have to ask what sort of people do that? Extra points for hotel â deduct points from some of the guests!
Turtle area was sweet and so was the aviary and fish pondâ¦.they also have a kids indoor play centre which is great. Itâs an ideal place for people with younger kids that donât want to be organised within an inch of their lives!
Spa is quite pricey and the indoor pool is part of the spa so there is a charge.
We heard rumblings that the food was cold and not good â but not so, we had some really great food and it was always warm. You do have to remember this is a buffet and so some things wonât be piping hot (thatâs buffets for you) but they have a grill area, a great salad bar and thereâs a reasonable range of food. Themes for each night included Spanish, Seafood (great for me!) and Tex Mex. Didnât bother trying the a la carte as the buffet suited my familyâs needs. Breakfast was also very good â I really enjoyed the fresh cooked omelettesâ¦.
For lunch the pool bar is adequate but you might need to order double portions. I would recommend heading for the beach club buffet â but check seating times â they vary according to operatorâ¦if youâre not with First Choice or Thomson youâll need to wait âtill 1430.
Great but already busy this early in the season â will be mad in main season!! Get there early and stay for the dayâ¦.although only half the beds are out at the moment, so it may not be horrendousâ¦
10 min bus ride into Fuengirola and Benalmadena â costs â¬1.30 each way â itâs not walking distance. You can walk to the beach but outside the Holiday World area youâll need transport (bus, taxi or your own car). The Polynesia is up a steep hill from the main road but a shuttle runs from 1000 â 1800 so you can hitch a ride. The hill is do-able with pushchairs but I wouldnât want to get a wheelchair up there!
Beware really really large (huge) people in small cossies - almost put me off my ice-cream! He he!
On the whole a cracking holiday here!!"
- Travel date: Fri 15th of May 2009
Definately not for wheelchair users yet !!!
"Being a wheelchair user I found the Hotel staff most un-helpfull, the Thopson staff were superb.
On our arrival we were put into a nice room on the 3rd floor,which I understand is illeagal in Spain, when I questioned this the reply was "we have plenty of lifts", and yes there are lots, but "what if there's a fire you cannot use a lift what do I do fry ??" was my reply
on the 3rd day of our week they told us we could move to floor 1, this was actually a room with grab rails in the bathroom maybe for disabled ie: wheelchair users ? DOH!!!
a nice room once again but no Bidet, only 1 wash basin, the walk in shower was good apart from a 6" peice of wire knotted through the drain tile, the drainage was inadequate as it would not take the water away quick enough and on first using the shower the bathroom floor was flooded, the hotels answer to the problem was 6 bath towels for my wife to mop up the water.
The hotel is in a very isolated area, leaving it with nowhere to go for a walk after your COLD evening meal, with only cold plates so on the rare occasion there was some warm food it was cold before you could eat it .I asked the returant manager why there were no warm plates he mumbled something and walked away as if he was looking for something but he did not come back
THIS HOTEL OPENED AT LEAST 6 WEEKS TO EARLY AND MANY PARTS WERE UNFINISHED"
- Travel date: Thu 14th of May 2009
could do a little better!
"We went the 1st May 2009 day of opening....
Transfer to hotel fine, first impression on walking in to lobby WoW!!! Very Big, you will get lost at least twice we did!
Rooms very nice although as only just open, still a lot of dust, saw dust remains, in cupboards under beds etc ..
Food very dissapointing as at most meal times in both the main hotel and beach club resturant and the WoK, the hot food was NOT hot, but either luke warm or just plain cold, we did ask the waiter staff if there were any facilities for warming the food such as a microwave but no there wasnt, although we did on a few occasions think about going to room and using our own microwave!!!! So my suggestion, wait until the hot dishes come out direct from the kitchen you may get warmish or even hotish food!
The spa and gym is not part of the all inclusive package, which is very dissapointing, it costs 18 euro per person for the day and you can use both, if you wish to use the gym only it is 11euros per person so you would have to have one heck of a work out to get your moneys worth, and as the pools outside were pretty cold it would have been nice just to use the pool in the spa for a swim in the morning, but not at that price!
Our two children aged 4 & 6 liked the childrens club did lots of different things playing catch, running around on the soft play areas, painting, drawing making things and staff very nice.
On the day of check out be warned your all inclusive deal runs out in the resturants at 12pm so if you are not travelling till late you will only be able to get snacks after then, not a full blown meal.
The location is a bit poo! the only way to get to either of the two towns on either side is to walk next to a very busy main road not nice at all especially with children or get on the bus 1.30euro very cheap
Have a happy holiday!"
- Travel date: Tue 12th of May 2009
Hotel Polynesia with small children
"We went for a week at beginning of May 2009 - the first week the hotel was open and had a nice time. The rating of this review is based on the hotel itself as opposed to the whole package holiday. I have outlined good and bad points. The good points far outweigh any bad and I am convinced a lot will be resolved as the hotel becomes established fully. It was very good considering it was the first week of opening anyway.
The transfer from Malaga airport took about 30 mins and was on a proper coach with
Thomson reps waiting for you at the airport and advising you which coach to get. All very efficient.
Huge - impressive looking, all themed on Polynesian style. The whole place is all marble floors and glass barriers on the balconied tiers inside... I was a bit worried at first about the possibility of children getting excited and slipping. I don't know how to describe but it's all open plan atrium and even if you are on the top level (there are 7 levels) you can look down and see the lake and fountains on the bottom floor of the hotel.
Reception is located on floor 0 then it goes up to levels 1 to 4 which are guest rooms. Then down to level -1 where there were more rooms and the restaurants are. Down again you have level -2 where the shop/spa/pool/pool and snack bar is. On the first weekend everyone including us were wandering round lost trying to find the restaurant as it was not obviously signed lol There are 8 lifts around the place. These are small though they state 8 person max capacity. The luggage trolley with 4 cases on did not fit in the lift!
A queue but efficient Spanish staff who speak good English.
Wristbands were put on us: orange coloured one for adults and white for children.
You have credit card type keys to get in your rooms. These are also 'swiped' each
time you go in the restaurant and get all inc food at snack bars. I do not know if this is something that will be ongoing or whether it is for initial auditing purposes.
We paid 10Euros deposit for the TV remote and 15 Euros for each beach towel. The
money was returned with no problems. Just get a receipt to show what you paid.
We stayed in a junior suite. There was a kitchenette with kettle and toaster, microwave and hob. Breakfast bar with 2 stools, table and 4 chairs, coffee table, flatscreen tv, a pull out sofa bed, 2x queen beds pushed together in the bedroom.
Bathroom had bath, seperate shower, bidet and toilet, two hand basins and a hairdryer. There is a glass partition between bath and toilet.. there was no iron in room and I do not know if you could hire them, I do not know about interconnecting rooms - sorry - ours certainly wasn't. I did not see the upgraded suites with jacuzzi on the terrace. The view we had was a side view - so if you stood on the balcony and craned your neck you could just see a bit of blue sea... but our main view was of the hillside and the infamous donkey (see the Holiday Village Benalmadena reviews) who made us laugh each day with his loud braying...
MINI BAR IN ROOM
The fridge was not stocked daily, on arrival it was empty and I had to ask for water to make baby's bottles. It was then filled with 2 small water bottles, 1 small coke, 1 small carton juice. These are NOT replenished daily. I argued this with a Thomson rep who tried to tell me bottled water is never all inclusive at hotels. Well, we know that's not true, but there you go. We just ended up buying bottled water at 1.50 Euro for each 1.5 litre bottle in the hotel shop. If you ask for water in the restaurant you get brought tap water. I suspect it would be fine but I was not sure re baby so didn't risk it. There were no coolers with purified water at all.
A digital safe was in the wardrobe in the bedroom. We did not have reason to use ours. I queued behind a couple checking in and I think they were quoted 2.50 or 3.50 Euro a day to 'hire' it.
ON SITE ENTERTAINMENT
The kids cub is for little ones - I'd say under 7's. No bigger kids club that was
on when we were there. You pay for 10 pin bowling (5 Euro) and pool tables (2Euro) and arcade machines. There is mini golf which you need to leave a 30 Euro deposit to borrow the sticks and balls. There is supposed to be WiFi but we did not try.
There are coin operated internet tables at 1Euro per 10 minutes time.
There was a different singer in the Piano Bar each evening doing covers of old songs. There was a late 'Disco Pub' the Ukelele Bar (though I did not visit it as we had a baby with us) which opened at 11pm til 2am but all inc drinks finish at midnight. People were going to the bar at 5 to midnight and getting 4 drinks each in the piano bar.
There was a stage where they had some shows the animation team did. They were at the hotel pool too sometimes getting the kids (and mums and dads) to join in games.
There was a football academy for kids 38Euro for 2x 2hour sessions. Swimming
lessons all at Beach Club at cost too.
Some info from the entertainment flyer:
KID's CLUB - no age range mentioned but it was really only tiny ones there. None
over 6 or 7. All was indoors, ball pits, slides, tables for them to paint and draw etc.
Daily 10-2pm and 3-6pm (free)
Fri and Sat 9pm-12pm (12Euro)
NURSERY same hours as kids club (says it costs 12 Euro an hour and half)
FRIDAY 9pm mini disco; 10pm magic show
SATURDAY 9pm mini disco; 10pm flamenco show
DISCO PUB daily 11pm-2am
PIANO BAR MAITAI live music 8:30pm-11:30pm (opens 6pm-midnight)
None of the pools are heated, not at the hotel nor at the Beach Club. Not even the
outdoor jacuzzi or tiny pool at the children's play area. The sun was beaming down
though so, in my opinion, once you brave the old water after the initial shock it's ok though and after 5 mins it's alright.Inflatables in pools are not supposed to be allowed anywhere. Though they let the babies go in in aqua seats. My grandson had a beach ball which was ok and lots of children had water squirters. I got told off by a life guard for standing in the pool knee high in water wearing my sun glasses...
The 'indoor pool' is really just a tiny pool in the spa area where you can have a sauna and massage. I am not sure how much it cost and yes, people were all wearing the necessary swimming caps!
The water rings for hire at the Beach Club to use on the water slides were something like 30E deposit and had to be returned by 3pm. The water park closed at 6pm (we went 1st week May) The Beach Club is NOT open all year round anyway.
Breakfast and dinner are served in the main restaurant (Maeva) buffet style.
Lunch is served either across road at Beach Club or from snack bar (Tiki Bar) outside by the hotel's pool. There are two a la carte restaurants Uru Wok (Chinese) and Ahima'a (Polynesian style) We did not do the a la carte restaurants. I planned to, but missed booking as we were busy at booking time or out late anyway. We assumed we could visit EACH restaurant once during our stay; HOWEVER, was told at reception it was just ONE on a 7 night stay. The Ahima'a (Polynesian one) is open Thu-Sun and the Uru Wok one the other nights. You have to book at reception on the morning of the evening you
want to eat there between 8am and 11am. This will be difficult when the hotel is full I imagine as they are small places.
Breakfast in the Maeva buffet restaurant
Juices from dispensers, orange, apple, pineapple. Coffee from machine, hot water from machine to use with tea bags.Cereals, corn flakes, muesli etc Full English fry up, sausage, fried bread beans, bacon, mushrooms, tinned toms, black pudding, saute potatoes. Fresh rolls, sliced bread and toasting machines. Danish pastries, croissants, pain au chocolate. Fruit, apples/pears/grapes/bananas/kiwis etc. Yogurts, dried fruits, apricots/prunes/sultanas/dried apple slices - you know, to add to your cereals. Cheeses, salad and cold cuts.
Dinner in Maeva buffet restaurant
Different themes each night: There was a Chinese night and a Mexican night for example and a strange one when the Spanish staff were unsure what it was called
themselves. So funny but by the decorations it looked like it was meant to be Arabian/Eastern but I wouldn't have been able to tell by the food lol
An abundance of food stuffs, there was always a paella going, fresh fish on the grill. One night there were sirloin steaks another was chicken breasts. Several choices of sausage from English breakfast type to chorizo to hotdog smoked sausages. Lots of cold meats and cheeses too. Choice of soups, seafood, salmon, king prawns, crab legs, carvery with roast beef one night, turkey another. Stews and pasta dishes, vegetarian and hot vegetables, chips and burgers available as well. Lots of sauces/salad dressings/mustards/ketchup/brown sauce/Marie Rose sauce/mustards etc - I saw bottles of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce too.
Desserts: jellies/cakes/rice puddings/ice cream/blancmanges. Saturday night has a huge chocolate fountain with a mountain of strawberries to dip in it. I could go on and on lol
Lunch at Snack Bar
Pizza, chicken nuggets, burgers, chips, salads, toasted sandwiches, cakes. Small
portions but order as much as you like.
Lunch at Beach Club - all buffet spread: salads, soups, meats, cheeses, pizzas, nuggets, burgers etc etc drinks
Packed lunches: Order day before by 7pm - collect from restaurant at 9pm to keep in fridge in room. Carrier bag with a small bottle water, bread, butter, cakes, biscuits, apple, orange, tin pate, tin tuna.
ALL INCUSIVE DRINKS
Drinks served outside by pools in plastic glasses for obvious reasons. In the bars they were served in nice glasses - beer was available in pint glasses too.
Sangria, beer, wines (red, white, rose), non premium brands of spirits like vodka, whisky, brandy, baileys, martini, tequila, gin, flavoured liquers (coconut/almond/strawbery/kiwi to name a few). Coke, diet coke, lemonade, fanta lemon, fanta orange, fruit juice, teas, coffees. They pour equal measures of spirit and mixer so it's quite strong but you can always ask to put less in. The staff were happy to give plastic glasses or glass in the piano bar.. we wanted plastic for children to carry and to be able to take up to the rooms safely.
Men are expected to wear long trousers to dinner in a 4 star and above hotel but I am not sure if it's going to be enforced rigidly here. My 8 year old grandson wore smart shirts and trousers in the evenings but there were other boys his age group in long shorts with shirts. I did not see anyone get turned away for not being smart enough. Almost all guests while we were there made an effort to dress for dinner. The Maitai Bar open in the evenings was not the type of bar where one would wear sports clothes and trainers though again, it will likely not be enforced.
The location is what spoils the place. Had the hotel been in Benalmadena where you
could easily walk along the beach front in the evenings and not stuck on top of a steep hill it would have been ideal. If you like a long walk then you could do Benalmadena and Fuengirola but for us it would have been too much of a hike along the dual carriageway with children. If it was on a pretty coastal path with bars and shops all the way and not up hill and down dale then yes we might have had a stroll. For most families I suspect it will not be possible.
You can't really just nip out to a shop and the hotel shop was very expensive - a loaf bread was 3.90Euro Ketchup 2.90E tin Heinz soup 1.90E. KitKat 2E etc etc plus very over priced souvenirs. If the hotel was not up a hill and located was by Benalmadena Marina it would be perfect and likely totally unaffordable lol
The railway line and dual carriageway run parallel along between the hotel and the
beach club. The railway is securely fenced off and the road can be crossed safely by footbridge. The trains go past every half an hour and you can see and hear them if you are at the pools but it wasn't an issue for us.
There is no proper beach at the hotel but a beach can be accessed if you are prepared to walk down the main road. From the hotel you go down the hill under a bridge which the rail track goes over, then you go down anther bit of hill and come to the main road. You can cross at the zebra crossing but there is also a footbridge. There are pavements along the dual carriage way. To get to the beach you go down another hill from the main road. From google earth it all looks flat but it is not, the terrain is hilly.
There were Thomson reps in the hotel at a desk where you could book trips or you could go into Fuengirola/Benalmadena to book them at travel agencies at about half the price.
I went to Gibraltar - think it was 60ish Euro for shopping/rock tour and dolphin boat trip. Pick up at 7:30am got back about 6pm - half price for children but I paid over the top through reps. The WW2 tunnels through rock would not have been accessible with baby buggy, my partner stayed at hotel with baby anyway. But you can go and choose to not do the tunnels or boat trip and it's still a nice day out with cheap shopping.
There were day trips to Morocco. A zoo in Fuengirola, Sea Life in Benalmadena. We just got a taxi to these and paid on the day for entry rather than booking. The rep said Tivoli World was only open Saturdays at beginning of May still so we missed that, There's a cable car and also a marine park and a crocodile park in Torremolinos. You can go down to Benalmadena and go out on a boat trip for around 10Euro an hour. Markets - the Fuengirola one was on a Tuesday.
The hotel is set up a steep hill from the aqua park/main road. There is an hotel courtesy bus which runs all day from 10am to 6pm to ferry you up and down. With a very happy driver! See reviews for the Holiday Palace hotel for comments on the hill. The bus will take you from the hotel entrance down the hill to the security gates where you then can
access the public transport buses or cross the road to get to the aqua park. There is a bridge over the road to get to the Beach Club if you don't fancy risking crossing the busy road.
It was 1.30 Euro one way on buses. But these were a long time coming, like half hourly and often packed so we chose to take taxis. For people with baby buggies: The local bus is the sort where you need to fold down the buggy not just wheel it on with baby in buggy. It is like a coach with steps up.
There is a taxi rank at bottom of hill by security gates but if you were going out you would just ask reception to call one to come up to the hotel. Fuengirola was between 12E and 15E, Benalmadena was between 8E and 10E depending on the driver. They carry laminated set price lists of fares anyway.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
There are 4 hotels in the Holiday World group now at this location. The Holiday Village, The Holiday Palace and now the Hotel Polynesia. The Hydros looks almost finished being built, it is the 4th hotel to be built and will be adults only.
There are actually plans for 10 hotels altogether on the site and it will be very crowded.
The Polynesia looks fabulous but there were a couple of things service-wise which
made its 4 star status questionable in my opinion. There was no greet when arriving
(midday). No porters whatsoever. (Yes you can do it yourself but if you have 4 cases, 4 lots of hand luggage, child and a baby in a buggy then Dear God it's necessary to have some help when you are dumped off the coach outside the hotel). No luggage trolleys - I had to leave luggage outside to go in and queue at reception to ask where one was (I assume this was a teething problem and will be resolved). Then the trolley didn't fit in the lifts with all the luggage on it haha..
There is no bar with waiter service at all, in fact, the only time you get any drink brought to you is at dinner when you are first seated you are offered - The rest of the day/eve it's queue up at the bar like in a pub. They could do with a lobby bar for use in the day time too - it was strange the only place to get a drink before 6pm was to go out to the bar by the pool, i.e. Walk across lobby past reception then down two levels, then go outside, walk past the pool - it would have just been nice to get a cool drink in an air conditioned lobby). I'm sure people will have more to say about this.
Timeshare touts - This is happening on the hotel site: A hotel rep stops you to chat about your holiday then offers you vouchers for attending a 90 minute presentation to let you know all about the wonderful plans for the future of the resort. In reality they keep you cooped up for 4 hours and they want you to sign up for a time share Holiday club. Don't waste your precious holiday time going. Would
you really want to go back to the same place for the next 40 years anyway?? The one who spoke to us was alright when we said no thanks.
Not to do with the hotel but down in Benalmadena and Fuengirola it was impossibe to
sit and have a relaxing drink at a beach front bar without being asked every few minutes if you want to buy fake handbags, sunglasses, dvds etc. Well I guess we looked like we would be the type to buy them...
The airport going home: No problems, several shops for last min spending.
Have a fabulous trip if you have booked. We had a good holiday - was not expensive really Â£1200 2 adults 1 child 1 infant for a week in May so we had our money's worth.
I would recommend the place for couples. Families perhaps might do better at the Holiday Village which I would imagine would have more children's entertainment.
Things may be different though as time goes on as we went early in the season and the first week of opening.
I am happy to answer any questions I can about the place on the Benalmadena Forum here on Trip Advisor and I will be adding photos and videos asap.
There are some pictures of mine alrady on www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]"
- Travel date: Mon 11th of May 2009
Curious rate of extras
"All inclusive lol on arrival the hotel has a wow factor but went down hill 1.5hrs queuing to check in no water offered.
CREDIT card needed for deposits on towels golf clubs table tennis bats plus a non-refundable 20.00 euros for a code for the safe.
One bottle of water in the room also no tea coffee ect and we were on the top floor.
HOTEL groups water world we were not told to take money as we had to pay deposits for pool rings 14 euros each if you had not gotten correct change they kept it.
Food and drinks you had to pay for so much for all inclusive.
We arrived on Thursday to Thursday we were told there was a shuttle to take us down the hill to the Waterworld what they did neglect to state from the Sunday Waterworld wI'll be closed for the season and the shuttle was on a request only even then it didn't turn up.
3 restaurants as food repetitive but only 2 was opened which was the Chinese but it had never been Chinese it was left over food from the buffet restaurant.
We were not told cocktails were available and only found the menu 2nd to last day.
THE pool is small for the size of the hotel and only ring inflatables allowed in the pool.
This is awful staff not pleasant not a hotel for couples.
The photos are clever not to show train line and bars all the way round."
- Travel date: Fri 4th of November 2016