Hotel Riu Grand Palace Maspalomas Oasis
During the easter holiday in the year 2008 we spent 11 days in Gran Canaria and were accommodated in Riu-Hotel Grand Palace Maspalomas Oasis. In the following, we describe our personal impressions and experiences we made during our stay in this hotel.
Situation of the Hotel and Environment
when we decided to spend our holidays in Gran Canaria and looked for a suitable accommodation, it soon became clear to us that we wanted to live close to the dunes of Maspalomas. The fine sand beach of more than 8 kilometres attracts since 30 years the vacationists of Gran Canaria. Here, arouind the light house of Maspalomas, hiking on the beach is one of the most popular sportive activities and the apparently endless view to the smooth golden yellow dune landscapes in front of a shiny blue sky provide an intensive holiday feeling.
The fine sand is generated by the surge that repeatedely flushes the finely grinded coral and shell lime. Since the year 1987, the dunes are under natural protection. The huge oasis of Maspalomas is in the same way imposing, where the Hotel Riu Grand Palace Maspalomas Oasis is located. Approximately 40 years ago, thus in the year 1970, the hotel had the privilege to be built at this spot; Provided the naturally generated oasis would not get too strained and continuously maintaned, the arquitectual like-hotel for these times was built.
The garden complex extends over a huge area of 65.000 square metres. More than 2000 palms grow in this unique oasis. Amidst some beautiful hibiscus flowers and high rising palms, one has a straight access to the beach of Maspalomas. In one wants to get to the beach, one can leave one's shoes in the hotel complex and walk through a secured door right at the front to the beach. It is not possible to live closer to the beach of Maspalomas!
Already from the ourtidem the hotel appears to be very simple and not very welcoming coompared to the other hotel complexes of the neighbourhood. Even though we are not fans of kitshy claddings, we had to get used to this very simple brown stone cladding. Those who think: 'A treat for the mouth... a treat for the eyes' will have problems in the Hotel Riu Grand Palace Maspalomas Oasis. The real advantage of this hotel is the immediate proximity to the beach and the nicely grown garden area. Unfortunately, this cannot be taken into the interior of the hotel.
The friendly reception with a cup of champain and orange juice could unfortunately not help concerning the obsolete arrangement of the lobby area. The wicker furniture with a cover that partly reminded me on the eighties transmitted the feeling to me to check in an hotel without any style. There was nothing to see from a 5-stars atmosphere. This impression got stronger during our way to our room.
The door frames partly had some scratches, the carpet of the corridopr was frayed. We really asked ourselves if we were in the right hotel. What we saw reminded us on a cheap 3-stars dosshouse. This environment did not really match to the friendly personnel of the reception or to the 'slightly lordly appearing' suitcase carrier. The personnel behaved as it is usual in a 5-star hotel, only the hotel had not the respective appearance. It reminded on the glamour of old times.
Normally, in a five-stars hotel I am used to still having enougfh space in a normal standard room in order to be able to move freely in the room. but here, everything was very cramped. It was not really possible to reach the right part of the big cupboard, as the door could not be fully opened due to the small cupboard in front of it; Also between the bed and the sideboard it was hardly possible for us to get through together, although this was the main corridor between the door and the balcony.
The word "outdated" repeatedely came into my mind. The wooden furniture was clearly scratched and presented some grave signs of wearout. For example, the draws partly only could be opened or closed with a big effort when they got stuck again. The TV was of an old generation, a thing we surely had forgiven if there would have been enough German programes. Unfortunately, we could not get the most important programes so that we still could watch N24, Eurosport, RTL and SAT.1. What was also very obsolete was the fact that I repeatedely had to go with my laptop to the lobby area or to the first floor in order to use the w-Lan-reception that was free of charge. In the room there was no way to get to the internet.
But the possibility of using w-lan resulted to be a pleasant variant, as by this way, one could check the e-mails and browse the internet for free. Those who did not take their laptop to their holiday could use the internet in a corner for 6 euro per hour. Internet at a huge price, but possible.
Also the beds left a lot to be desired as we did not have a real double bed but two single beds that were put together to a double bed. But the gap n the middle hurt while laying on it and the cover was a blanket that was wrapped between two sheets. it just took a slight impact and the gap became a deep canyon so that the beds had to be pushed together again. The small chocolate that was put every evening on the bed did not make things better.
The safe in the cupboard was a real plus factor, as it was big enough to leave there the laptop as also a reflex camera together with some bigger objectives. This service was charged one time with 25 euro.
We certainly had two washbasins at our disposal, but there was also not much space there. Two bath robes were already hanging from two hooks, but no slippers. it was possible to dry the hair with an instsalled hair drier but after one of us finished, the hair drier was so hot that the other could not use it anymore, as this facility consisted on an enlongated tube. The bidet was surely well-intentioned but if there is no space to comfortably use this facility it is meanless. The glass wall that was supposed to separate the bidet and the toilet from the usual bathroom area was simply too narrowly positioned.
The door also appeared not to have had any refurbishment since long ago, as the hinges had some dark areas that reminded me on rust. The small dents on the enamel of the bath made the total picture coherent and did not surprise me anymore. This is more than a pity.
From the room, we had a nice view to the palm oasis at the back and over the beach mile of Maspalomas to the sea. ion the mornings and during the day, this view was nice to look at. But in the evenings, the semll of food came up, as right behund the hotel garden there was the restaurant mile of Maspalomas; And some different singers/bands in the restaurants could be heared up to late night.
While I write this report it becomes clear to me that the negative aspects clearly outbalance. The feeling at the time we were there and also afterwards was not anger but a deep disappointment. As known, people argue about taste. We surely did not expect a designer hotel but neither obsolete furniture. We also would have wished that the things of the daily life would have been smoothly. In relation to what we expected or to what we experienced until then of a 5-stars ambiente, we had to wipe off a lot. This was also in accordance to the opinion of the other vacationers we had been talking to.
In the whole hotel complex there is only one bigger pool that is straight appending to the restaurant 'Foresta' where also breakfast is served. beside this pool there is also another paddling pool for children and a jacuzzi in the garden area that extends to the beach side; Those who like nicely arranged poolscaspes will be respectively disappointed in this hotel. But the pool is fully sufficient to keep in shape with a few rounds swimming, to get a cool refreshing from the sun or to teach the children swimming in an easy atmosphere.
In accordance to the age of the hotel, the pool complex was also not the most modern one. It was certainly big enough so that sportive guests could swim a few rounds but the children were the ones who seemed to have real fun as they could try their frist attemps of swimming in a safe area of a depth of 0,5 metres. From this separated area it was also possible to feel in the times when the temperatures were lower that pool was filled with warm water.
But we were a little taken aback due to the reason that on some days, almost all deck chairs seemed to be occupied already before the breakfast. After a couple of days we noticed that one of the pool attendants liked to earn some additional beer money by reserving the deckchairs. When the stunned people asked him where they could possibly find a free deckchair, he released the deckchairs with an almost patronising gesticulation in accordance to his preferences. We heard this pool attendant saying the words: 'Those people who reserved them will not come today anymore' many times during our stay. Amazingly, the deckchairs were only then scarce when this attendant was at work.
But durring the easter time, it was really so that there was not one deck chair available around the pool. Then one had to change to the garden or go to the beach. We found it a pity. If there would be more deckchairs available, the guests would not be forced to take part in this reservation game.
Infortunately, the deckchairs were also not comfortable. On one hand, one first had to get use to the fact that for adjusting of the back or the armrests one did not have to push them upwards as it is usual but downwards. Due to this, we had to stand up several times slightly annoyed in order to readjust the back fronm behind. Once laying on one's stomach, one still felt a small bend in the deckchair. Also the old beige coloured parasols and the slighty frayd blinds were not really a highlight. Here, some bright colours, new fabric and some new functioning and specially comfortable deckchairs would surely beautify the poolscape.
Sometimes, it was tried to make it nicer with live music or, during the easter time, a fashion show was performed for the bathing fashion shop of the hotel. This was really a diversification. Also the service of the pool bar was very good. Beverages, ice cream or some small snacks were rapidly served and were very tasty.
Those who were not sitting right at the pool but in the palm garden in the background will find an absolute calmness, as there, it is possible to put the deck chair at 10 metres distance from the neighbour. Thus, optimal conditions to read a book or have a nap. There was also a small jacuzzi, but we found the water was much too cold.
In the huge hotel complex, the differences between calmness and turbulence were quite big. Those who are at the pool will be amidst the people's excursion. I have never seen such a crowded poolscape lie I did in this 5-star hotel. But those who take a seat in the palm garden will enjoy an absolute calmness and dream views to wonderful palms and other plants.
Finally, I owuld like to mention another disadvantage: those who want to get from the pool to the beach must first walk through the hotel to the plam garden at the back and from there straight to the beach. On one hand, the proximity to the beach is comfortable, but on the other hand one does not have the comfort to be able to change quickly from the pool to the beach.
Food and Drinks
Breakfast: What was really nice is that for breakfast we could choose between sitting inside or outside in the terrace. Any day we could choose a different place and were greeted with a big pot of coffee with milk. The buffet was internationally arranged and offered a wide choice.
There were different kinds of bread, rolls and toast. The choice of cold cuts and cheese was rather adopted to the Spanish taste, but therefore, the offer of fruits was very abundant and fresh: cut melons, pineapple, grapes and kiwis or also for self serving: bananas, oranges, plums etc. Also the freshly made juices were a highlight. Every morning, there was a choice of melon-, banana-, orange-, raspberry- or mixed juice. I would not have wanted to miss these juices of this hotel.
During the week, the show cooking was limited to different egg dishes and freshly made pancakes. Once a week, there was the possibility to get freshly made omelettes. As they were very good, people respectively rushed to get them. Actually, I thought I could every day a freshly made omelette in a 5-stars hotel, but unfortunately, it was not like that.
Lunch: we only took 3 times the opportunity to have lunch in the hotel. But then we were pleasantly surprised. We certainly did not make use of the attractive buffet but had the lunch that was freshly prepared on the spot: paella and fresh seafood at very cheap prices. It was very good!
Apart from thew lunch buffet and the dish of the day, one could also choose a rather english-style lunch in another bar. Those who like it simple and prefer a sandwich with chips could probably be happy in this terrace restaurant. But we missed more offers.
As we went every evening out for dining, we can only speculate how the dinner was in this hotel. As we also talked to some other guests in this concern and these people were really enthusiastic about the dinner, we could make some possible conclusions under the consideration of out positive experiences of the lunch, this would surely have been an outstasnding plus factor. The only thing that deterred us of the hotel offer was the determined times for dinner: at 06.30 p.m. and 08.30 p.m. The first was much too early for us, the second too late. Surely, these two times are a good opportunity to rearrange the buffet with fresh food. But it was more important to us to have a flexible time, as during the holidays, not all days are the same.
Hotel Personnel and Service
there was nothing to say against the hotel personnel. Just the opposite: the service was already good due to the reason that a lot of personnel was in action and also during the meals made a big effort to observe the people in order to see what is needed; No matter if it was a plate to be removed, or quizzical looks, we experienced a really dedicated treatment by the personnel. thus, kudos to the hotel personnel, as they earned 5 stars!
Sports and Entertainment
Beside sun bathing and the viewing of the island, we also looked forward to do some sports in the hotel. Maybe a little cycling or treadmill. We certainly are not fitness cracks but what we found in the fitness room was rather deterring. A small open area right beside the pool with barely 10 devices. it is surely not necessary to offer a fully extended fitness area and this place was surely functional, but somehow also not inviting and loveless.
In total, the hotel offered several possibilities to do sports. We did not make use of the tennis courts, the ping-pong tables or also the opprotunity to try golf. Neither we made use of the spa-facilities.
But the best possibility to do some sports was offered on the beach of Maspalomas: here, one can nicely hike on the beach. The hiking tour on the sand beach to the dunes takes approximately half an hour and it take sapproximately one to one and a half hours to get to Playa Ingles. Such a hiking tout on the beach is part of the obligatory programe in th esouth of Gran Canaria.
The Palm Oasis in the Hotel Complex
This is surely a thing that cannot be offered in all hotels. Those who can abstain form a modern ambiente and an extended poolscape and is delighted by a naturally grown environment AND this is a thing that has absolute priority, will be amazed here. The palms really appeared to be huge and one almost feels like in an oasis.
The hotel garden sizes 65.000 m² and in this pascinating complex, more than 2000 palms grow. At some places there is entrance to pay to see such a palm oasis. Yes, it was a pleasure to walk through the palm park, to gaze at the plants and to watch the gardeners climbing up the palms.
The garden complex life the bafore- and after - effect how intensively green some palms appeared after the gardener removed the dried leafs. Those who did not look for some calmness at the pool but preferred to lay in the shade of the palms could find some deckchairs in this garden area.
The Hotel Guests
The hotel mainly lives from faithful regular guests. Accordning to the hotel management, two thirds of all visitors of the hotel are regular guests who always return. Nowhere else there are so many families of three generations that are on holidays in this 5-star hotel at the same time; Grandparents, parents and children partly occupied the pool area with 8 persons. the life of the pool was respectively loud during the day when the children could not go to the kids-club.
In the evenings, the atmosphere was totally different in the restaurant. Here, there were mainly men dressed with a suit and over-styled ladies who apparently thought the more straws they had on their clother the more chic they were. If we had not seen those persons in the morning at breakfast being still totally crumpled, we would have not been able to believe the transformationn. During breakfast, we had been talking to some 'Non-regular clients' who were very amused of this "freak show", as they called them.
Additional Service of the Hotel
The hotel offers numerous more services to the guests as for example a hotel doctor with an own consultancy. the doctor is three times a week there and it is possible to visit the doctor without having to wait much time. he is payed in cash or with the room bill; he speaks German, English or Spanish. The way to the chemistry is not far as it is located in the immediate proximity.
Some different shops and boutiques are also part of the service. We certainly neither used the hairdresser nor the opportunity to shop in the boutiques but this was surely a comfortable matter for those who love it. Beside a jewelry we also saw three more sport and bathing fashion boutiques and in front of the hotel some further boutiques.
Another service is the handicapped accessible arrangement; Either the pool as also the stairs were equipped with the respective lift.
The Hotel Riu Maspalomas Oasis is a traditional hotel and this is a thing one should be aware of before going on holiday. For those who need to have a modern room arrangement and an arquitectonical sophisticated poolscape, this place is not the right one. The hotel attracts by its good service, very good food, proximity to the beach and a unique plamscape. But the rooms, the hotel arrangement and the pool are arquitectonically not up to date.
This is the reason why the total impression was rather disappointing; We did not get a real 5-stars feeling.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz