A Quiet, Relaxing Week in the Sun
We really enjoyed our week (December 20-27) at the Suite Princess because it was exactly what we wanted and expected – a relaxing, all-inclusive vacation in a warmer climate on the beach front with options for “active” excursions. We are a married couple in our early thirties, and we were celebrating an anniversary. The things that we liked best about the hotel were the location, the calm atmosphere, the gala dinners and the optional hiking excursion. The things we liked the least were the nightly entertainment, the absence of a jacuzzi/hot tub, the toiletries, and the fitness centre.
The location of this resort was perfect for what we wanted: quiet and uncrowded. Taurito is a tiny resort area forty minutes from the airport. It is very tranquil (especially when you compare it to Puerto Rico and Playa del Ingles). The Suite Princess is built into the side of a volcanic cliff face and overlooks the ocean. The black sand beach is very rocky and not very large – but there are golden sand beaches in easy reach.
The hotel itself is comfortable and attractive, though not very big. There are two pools: one deep (unheated) and one with a shallow and deep end (heated). They were large enough that we could do short laps. The fitness centre has very old equipment. We were disappointed that there wasn’t a treadmill (just bikes and one elliptical) but we found loads of places to run outside. The restaurants has had a makeover and looks fantastic.
Our room was amazing (8th floor). All the rooms have a balcony and face the ocean. It is a fabulous view, and the sunsets are gorgeous. Request a high floor if you can. We had a large entry way, a decent-sized bathroom, a king bed and living area. There was ample wardrobe space and we enjoyed the fact that we had floor to ceiling windows. Sound-proofing in the rooms is not very good as sometimes you can hear the trucks outside or the clack of high heels above. We hated the toiletries (though we did not have the black wristband upgrade) – there were packets of shampoo and bath gel and a couple of bars of soap. We’d recommend bringing your own (especially if you like using conditioner, shower caps or lotion).
The food was delicious. The breakfast and dinner buffets were amazing – as was the attentive service of the wait staff. There were a lot of different dishes with a variety of meat choices. Desserts, the sleepy head breakfast and the lunch buffet were less inspiring, but decent nonetheless. You are allowed to eat at La Choza once, which is a set course meal. It is not particularly romantic as it was advertised, but the food is very nice. The Christmas gala dinner was our favourite dining experience by far – great food and presentation! Most people dressed quite casually for evening meals – jeans and/or long trousers for men with a smart shirt and short or long summer dresses for women. Not much is available late night by way of food, but you can take food up to your room. Coffee/tea is not available in the dining room at dinner but you can get it from the sports bar.
The one thing we were disappointed with at this resort was the entertainment. The day time entertainment was okay, although we found the announcements and constant cajoling by animators a bit irritating if we were relaxing by the pool. Those who participated (ping pong, archery, darts, aquagym, etc.) seemed to enjoy themselves. We found the evening “professional” shows to be quite horrible. The two singing shows we attended seemed little more than high school productions with decent singing but awful dancing. We enjoyed some of the acrobatic shows (China Pekin and Eclipse) because of the sheer skill the performers exhibited – but there were still parts that were unbelievably corny.
The holiday reps, Leslie and Alex, are awesome. We were on holiday right after the airports closed because of snow, and we were amazed at the reps’ tireless cheer in handling disgruntled tourists. Always smiling and always helpful, they helped make our holiday special and memorable.
As for activities outside the resort, we found many things to occupy us when we were not lounging poolside. The small water park in Taurito is a bit pricey (14 euros per person) and the water is not heated, but may be a fun option. There are also free tennis, squash, and basketball courts just outside. There are taxis and a bus stop a five minute walk away – from which you can access other (better) beaches. Playa Amadores is amazing (ten minutes on the number 1 bus). Puerto Mogan (5 minutes on the hotel shuttle or the 32 bus) is also very nice, and of course there is the super-crowded Playa del Ingles (20 minutes on the 32 or 1 bus). You can also visit the sand dunes of Maspalomas (number 1 or 32).
For excursions, we took the 4X4 off road adventure and a hiking trip. The 4×4 adventure was okay – though we were tired of being in the jeep for so long. However, they made some interesting stops – the reservoir and waterfalls were very nice. There is also a camel ride included. The hiking trip was so fantastic we wanted to go again. We went on a level 2+, which went up a mountain (there are easier hikes). The guide was excellent at coaching the less athletic guests and provided interesting information about the flora and history. The views were worth every uphill step!
This is an adults only hotel, so the atmosphere is sedate compared to its neighbours. Most of the guests are from Germany or England. When we were there, it seemed an older crowd (over 50s) with a few younger couples.
We did not upgrade to the black wrist band (which gets you imported/premium alcohol, bathrobes, slippers, in room fridge/safe/kettle, sunbeds on balcony, bottle of water delivered) because it seemed overly expensive for very little benefit (about 350 euros extra). Instead, we rented the safe (12 euros) and a kettle/cups (12 euros plus 10 euro deposit). In either case, you still need to get your tea bags, milk and sugar from the buffet and bring it up yourself. As for the bottled water, reception gives it out upon request (there is nothing wrong with tap water except for a funny taste). We found the local spirits and wine to be just fine.
So, to sum up, do not expect the expansiveness or opulence of a Sandals resort, the quality of food of Cunard, or the dazzling evening shows of a Carnival cruise ship. However, you can expect a quiet, comfortable holiday with spacious suites with great views, decent food, excellent service (especially by the wait staff), interesting excursion options, and, of course, lots of sun.