16 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

A good all-rounder

Reviewed Wed 28th of November 2012

"We stayed at the Polynesia on the All Inclusive plan in early May – there were 2 adults and a 3 year old in our party. We had a lovely time…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 aren’t 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 didn’t watch much…). 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.


It’s finished (there is still some landscaping outside the hotel grounds but our daughter thought the view of the digger on the hill was fab! – 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 didn’t 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 – but you have to ask what sort of people do that? Extra points for hotel – deduct points from some of the guests!

Turtle area was sweet and so was the aviary and fish pond….they also have a kids indoor play centre which is great. It’s an ideal place for people with younger kids that don’t 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 – 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 won’t be piping hot (that’s buffets for you) but they have a grill area, a great salad bar and there’s a reasonable range of food. Themes for each night included Spanish, Seafood (great for me!) and Tex Mex. Didn’t bother trying the a la carte as the buffet suited my family’s needs. Breakfast was also very good – I really enjoyed the fresh cooked omelettes….

For lunch the pool bar is adequate but you might need to order double portions. I would recommend heading for the beach club buffet – but check seating times – they vary according to operator…if you’re not with First Choice or Thomson you’ll need to wait ‘till 1430.


Great but already busy this early in the season – will be mad in main season!! Get there early and stay for the day….although only half the beds are out at the moment, so it may not be horrendous…


10 min bus ride into Fuengirola and Benalmadena – costs €1.30 each way – it’s not walking distance. You can walk to the beach but outside the Holiday World area you’ll 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 – 1800 so you can hitch a ride. The hill is do-able with pushchairs but I wouldn’t 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!!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Fri 15th of May 2009

Definately not for wheelchair users yet !!!

Reviewed Fri 7th of December 2012

"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

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 14th of May 2009

could do a little better!

Reviewed Sun 25th of November 2012

"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!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 12th of May 2009

Hotel Polynesia with small children

Reviewed Tue 27th of November 2012

"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...

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.

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.

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.

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 £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]"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 11th of May 2009

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