“ Address: Caleta de Fuste / Fuerteventura / Spain „
My summer holiday of 2008 was spent in Fuerteventura and my hotel of choice was the Hotel Costa Caleta. The hotel is also known by its former name Hotel Ocean Costa Caleta.
Av. Alcalde Juan Ramón Soto Morales
Caleta de Fuste
I'm not sure if the hotel offers any car parking facilities as I hadn't needed any.
It's a 3 star rated hotel and is quite modern and situated quite centrally in the resort of Costa Caleta (or Caleta de Fuste, or Castillo as it is also known) Only a short 10-15 mins transfer time from the airport. It has over 300 rooms. It was built in 2005 so is still quite new. The hotel is only about 5-10 mins walk (it says 5km but seems far closer) from the beach and the shops and parks are all nearby too.
They do have internet facilities with 2 PC's in the lobby with pay to use internet, and also wireless connection in rooms for small charge as well.
I booked a 2 week all inclusive deal through Thomas Cook, for myself and my 2 children; I booked this in July 07 to leave at the end of June08. My complete holiday including flight and hotel cost me just over £1300. (I did manage to get it reduced from about £1500) Booking was simple and a Thomas Cook rep met me at the airport and arranged coach transfer to hotel. You can book this hotel alone (not part of a package) with various websites, always best to shop around for best deal as with any purchase online.
Checking in was quick and relatively easy, We arrived at the hotel around 10:45pm, to be met by the receptionist who took my passport, scanned it and asked me to sign a check in form, then he strapped our rather fetching luminous green all inclusive wristbands and advised us where our rooms were located, how to reach them and then said that because of the late hour the restaurant was closed but that a complimentary meal had been left out for us in the restaurant which was pointed out to us.
Now this was all very efficient but I had 2 young tired children in tow and had 3 suitcases and 3 flight bags to struggle with and had only been pointed in a general direction of our room....the receptionists English wasn't perfect so was a bit difficult to understand exactly what he said. So I wandered off in the general direction of where he pointed...to find myself in the middle of a busy bar. I went up to the bar to ask the barmaid where I could find my room...which she couldn't understand and she summoned another over to interpret. Not a good start, but eventually I was pointed towards the double door where I found an elevator which took me to my second floor room. I had been given 2 key card type keys which is the norm nowadays. The lighting is operated by leaving your key on the switch on the inside of the door...took me a few minutes to work this out of course, not being one who visits hotels on a regular basis.
Now the room was on first appearance quite pleasant. Yes it was basic, with just one large double bed, with a basic checked bedspread, and nice clean white bed sheets. And one red easy chair....there was my first problem. I had 2 children with me and only one double bed. On closer inspection I noticed the chair actually converted to a pull out bed. Problem solved...daughter could share the double bed with me and son could have the chair bed. There were extra sheets and one extra pillow in the sliding mirrored double wardrobe. This was also where the digital safe was located. For a cost of 2 euros per day you can get a key from reception for this. (It is advisable you take advantage of the safe as if you lose any personal belongings your insurance may not pay out if you haven't) There was also plenty of hanging space in the wardrobes but more hangers would have been appreciated. The curtains in the room were great; they were heavy full length curtains which totally blocked out any sunlight...great first thing in the morning when you didn't want to be woken at the crack of dawn.
The en-suite bathroom was small but very clean. It was fully tiled with large light up mirror and a hairdryer included, and also a plug for shaver. The shower was over the bath with a plain white curtain which could have been better if I'm honest...it didn't reach the entire length of the bath and so the tiled floor did get wet every single time any of us showered which meant having to be extra careful when coming out of the shower...my daughter actually fell one time and hurt her bottom which bruised. I asked reception for a slip mat which they didn't have.
The shower itself was perfect though, with variable temperature control and also different settings so you could have a gentle pulse action or a full on blast shower.
There were 2 bedside cabinets with wall lamps above them; switches on both sides of the bed enabled each person to turn their own lamp on and off. A large dressing table with an equally large mirror at the foot of the bed meant I could sit on the bed getting ready instead of the chair provided.
Through the sliding patio door was our small balcony with a gorgeous pool view. There was a cheap white plastic table and 2 chairs. (Strange when the room was booked for 3 people) So I had to put the aforementioned dressing chair to use on the balcony or I would have had a fight on my hands.
There was a television on the wall socket, but to be honest we didn't even turn this on during our stay, we see enough TV at home. I refused to turn it on whilst we were away.
The best thing about the room was the air conditioning though. There were 3 settings for this...1, 2 and 3...with 3 being the coolest (and slightly noisier than the first one) The A/C worked again by inserting the key in the switch at the door, and then turning it on. If you opened the patio doors at all then it would switch itself off...which was a gentle reminder not to leave doors open at night.
The only downside to our room was no kettle or tea making facilities, which was a bit disappointing as I like to have a coffee first thing in the morning as I'm getting dressed and I had to wait till I went down to breakfast for it.
Service and cleanliness
I was definitely pleased with the levels of cleanliness throughout the hotel during my entire stay. The maids were seen cleaning outdoor areas throughout the day; rooms were cleaned daily, with fresh bed linen as and when needed (which was usually daily or every other day) and fresh towels daily. Our maid didn't speak any English but was very friendly and sweet.
The pool areas and bars, restaurant always appeared to be exceptionally clean and the toilets were also immaculate and always stocked with soap and toilet paper. 10 out of 10 for cleanliness!
Now as I mentioned before, the receptionist mentioned a light meal had been left for us, so hungry as mules after the flight we made our way back downstairs to the bar and to the side of the bar where the restaurant was located, we noticed a few tables set out with bottles of water and covered plates. We sat down at one of them and uncovered our plates to find some meats, cheeses and there was also a basket of bread to choose from. Just what we needed to be fair, anything heavier at that time of night would have given us indigestion. Although my son didn't like the meat or cheeses...he ate a few bread rolls.
We went back to our rooms and saw an introduction to the hotel on the bedside table which told us times of meals, and some other useful information (i.e. safe hire, towel hire etc)
Breakfast was served between 8-10am every morning and as it was an all-inclusive hotel mostly it was all buffet style meals. Breakfast had all the usual, eggs, bacon, sausages etc as well as various pastries - croissants also cereals and fruits, plenty to choose from. There were also two toasters and a microwave for guests to use. At breakfast time you could use the tea, coffee, hot chocolate machine, and also the fruit juice dispenser machine. But at other times of the day this was covered over. There was always a plentiful supply of various breads.
Lunch was available between 12noon and 2pm and again was a buffet, there was always soup, a salad bar (which looked pretty fresh most of the time and was always filled up pretty quickly) various pasta or rice dishes were also available as well as meat dishes, and always seafood dishes. Desserts were always available at lunch and dinner and consisted of fruits, ice creams, various sweets, pastries etc (plenty to choose from) I did see some flies occasionally but to be fair there wasn't anything that could have been done about this given the restaurant had an open terrace where people could sit outside. The flies were never really a problem as there wasn't that many. All inclusive guests could help themselves to red or white wine during meals, and also local beer. As well as carbonated drinks, all of which were draught. Ice was also available and we were assured that all ice in bars/restaurants in Fuerteventura was safe to drink as it was all made from bottled water.
Dinner followed much the same rules as lunch, with similar types of food available, pizza, pasta etc I had to laugh at the description on the labels...a beef dish was labelled as "Cow" my son found this hilarious and asked if his bacon would be labelled "Pig" Which I wittily replied "no but we should get you that label greedy guts"
I have to admit the first few nights were a novelty, for both my children and myself eating in the hotel with a variety of different foods each time, but my son being a fussy little monster soon got bored and was beginning to eat a lot of the same things each day. He didn't seem to mind too much about the ice cream though...funny that! We did eat out once or twice to break up the monotony of the food...and to be fair there were a fair amount of different dishes available, but quite a lot that I didn't really like the look of being quite a fusspot myself at times.
The staff in the restaurant could only be commended on their constant hard work. The tables were cleared quickly once plates were emptied and always with a smile. Once a table was vacated they were quick to replace the table linen and cutlery as well which I thought was a nice touch for such a large busy restaurant. The manager was great with the children and made a point of always having a word with most people each day. My son nicknamed him the "Meanager" because he kept sticking his tongue out at him and twiddling his ears LOL.
There are 3 bars within the hotel, one which is only used at night in the main bar area. One beside the pool and the other is located in the main foyer just indoors from the pool which to be fair is actually the same bar as the pool...but has 2 sides. 9 times out of 10 there was only one staff member working at this bar too. Now the bars are what really let the hotel down! For the whole two weeks of my holiday there, I had to wait almost every time I went to the bar to be served...especially by the pool. Now another fault here is that each person is only allowed to items at a time, this could be 2 drinks, or 2 ice creams or 2 snacks so if there were 3 people in your party you would all have to go to the bar at the same time to get your drinks or go up and down many times...waiting for anything between 5 -20mins each time! Drinks were served in small disposable cups and 2 of those cups would amount to about 1 medium sized glass anywhere else! So as you can imagine this was a pain - having to go up and down to the bar multiple times. Most of the bar staff with the exception of one or two were quite rude at times and mostly ignored children who were up getting juices or ice creams until adults were served regardless who was there first! Of course at the end of the day even I could see the bar staff were vastly overworked, some of them worked in the pool bar from 10am and were still working in the main bar at night at 11pm....and when you only have one barmaid on trying to serve a couple of hundred people throughout a day you can only imagine the sore feet and intense Canarian heat they have to endure. More staff would definitely be an attribute! Perhaps there would be less arrogant moody staff if there were more of them. Definitely a management issue...now bear in mind this was late June/early July so perhaps not their busiest time of year but even then...they do know how many people are staying with them.
Now this is one area which the hotel excelled. There was a vast amount of sun loungers available by both of the large pools. There was a notice in the rooms asking people not to leave their towels on loungers therefore booking them as theirs...but on our first morning there we noticed that everyone left theirs down before breakfast so we followed suit and did the same. There were two large pools both of which were freezing cold at first but you soon adapted to it and it was a welcome cooling off session from the intense heat! There was also a small baby pool for the little ones. We bought some armbands for my daughter who cannot swim yet, and a large inflatable boat for my son who is a confident swimmer, and a large ring which was a lot of fun for them both too. We left the inflatables behind with another family who we had met the day before.
The time of year we went it was busy enough but I expect at high peak times these pools could get really busy, but as it was the kids had a great time playing in and around the pools and I could keep my eye on them at all times. There is also a small play park at the rear of the pool area, but unfortunately this is uncovered so children could still burn here. It would be good if it were covered over; perhaps even a large gazebo type covering would be advantageous. Table tennis and Pool is also available and pool cues and table tennis paddles and balls available from reception, which have to be booked out paying a 10euro deposit which is returned to you when you return the items. A good idea I thought.
There is also a rooftop small pool and spa area, which has two jacuzzi's and pool and is like a little slice of heaven and was very quiet on the few occasions we ventured up there. There is also a rooftop mini golf course (again equipment available from reception for deposit) the golf course though looked in a bit of a sad state, and could have done with some fixing up in places. But the kids still loved it. Sun loungers are dotted over the rooftop too, allowing some peaceful sunbathing. It does state that children should not use the rooftop unattended...which is pretty self explanatory really.
Now this was another big letdown for someone who travelled alone with 2 children in tow who were looking for lots of fun at night time. I expected children's disco's, fun and games as well as entertainment for the adults every night, after all, I paid for an all-inclusive holiday I didn't want to leave the hotel to go out looking for things to do.
It soon became apparent that the kids entertainment team (The animation team) who consisted of one young man for the first 10 days - was absolutely diabolical. There was a room at the back of the pool areas which children should have been able to do activities in, such as painting etc to get out of the sun for a while, but during my entire stay this room remained locked, and apparently had been vandalised a couple of weeks prior to my stay. Nothing had been done to fix this during my stay, despite complaints from myself and fellow holidaymakers.
Now Mister Animation as my kids christened him, appeared at the pool daily to try to get people involved in games of water polo....but when my active son asked to join in he was told on a number of occasion's adults only just now, children later...but later never came! At night he introduced the act that was taking place that night...one night a snake show, a parrot show the next, a bird of prey show the next...you get the picture? No disco's for the children, and certainly none for the adults! One night there was some live music...but it was like a very bad audition for Britain's got Talent! Needless to say most of our nights were spent out and about in the town, either going to the parks, walks or shopping....or popping into other bars etc which had entertainment on which were suited to children and adults alike.
It wasn't until the Saturday before we were going home that Mister animation apparently got fired, and 2 new people replaced him...as we had booked to go on the Camel safari and trip to the zoo that day we never saw them until that night when there was actually a mini disco for the children...which lasted about half an hour. And then much of the same shows for the rest of us...yes those bird shows etc again!
Sunday was the animation team's day off, but on Monday morning they had organised various activities for adults and children by the pool and also in the downstairs court...games of basketball, water polo, water volleyball etc. A bit too little too late in my opinion.
Now any activities the children took part in they were meant to be presented with a little certificate at the mini disco that night and my son took part in most of the activities and didn't receive his certificate, he said it was ok but I could tell he was a little disappointed, I asked the Animation team if he could get his, and they said he would get it the following night as their printer had broken...ok fair enough.
But the following night, son having taken part in more activities that day he still had no certificate, and this being our last night, I again asked if he could have one, to be told that she had forgotten and would have it at reception after breakfast in the morning...I explained we were leaving before breakfast and would it be possible to have it that night...to which she said she couldn't possibly as she was going off duty in an hour! I was not amused and my son, daughter and I went off to bed not very happy.
Checking out was relatively hassle free. I simply handed over our lovely green armbands leaving behind a nice white stripe on our arms, handed over the 2 room keys, safe key, and wrote down my room number for the receptionist who didn't understand a word I said! I then signed a sheet of paper which was a breakdown of any extra charges I had incurred (thankfully mines was zero) which I expect you would pay then and there. My flight luckily was an early morning flight so I was being picked up at 7am in the morning, but on speaking to other holiday makers who were leaving that night, I know they do offer a complimentary room if they have one available (which has to be booked) where luggage can be kept and also showers can be used if needed. A nice little extra touch as I expect a lot of hotels actually charge extra for this and on my understanding from the people I spoke to they didn't pay anything.
Overall I enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Costa Caleta, it was clean and tidy. Close to all amenities and the beach and whilst not the best food in the world it was mainly edible so can't really complain that much...the entertainment could definitely have been better and the bar could have been better staffed, and also it would have been a bit less stressful for me if someone had offered to help take my bags to my room on check-in. But I am sure that if more people make complaints about this then the problems should hopefully get resolved. I filled in a survey about the hotel just before my departure and mentioned all of the things that I thought could be improved upon and hopefully they will not fall upon deaf ears.
I would recommend this hotel if you are not too fussed about entertainment or eating buffet meals all the time, and don't mind a wait at the bar