I stayed at Monica Beach from 7th to 21st December 2009. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a friendly 3 star hotel, with good value for money. This was my second stay there. I booked the holiday online with Travel Republic. Their website is very easy to use. I use Travel Republic for all my holidays now.
Monica Beach is definitely a 3 star hotel. If you want 4 star, go next door to the flashy Costa Calma Palace, but expect to pay twice as much for half board there as for all-inclusive at Monica Beach.
I particularly liked:
Good location, with easy access to the town beach, probably the best beach access in Costa Calma. The town beach is clothes on, the beaches beyond are all clothing optional. Most of us look better with some clothes on!
Good restaurant, plenty of space, good choice of tasty food. I was on my own. Breakfast and lunch you sit anywhere. In the evening, you sit at numbered tables. Singles are seated on a table for six and soon make friends.
Very good service, rooms are cleaned every day. Each cleaner has to clean 23 rooms every day! All the staff were very friendly, helpful and hard working. Do try to use some Spanish phrases, it makes such a difference.
Room was OK, with a nice balcony and clothes drying rails. If you're not happy with your room when you arrive, ask for another, and be persistant.
The rooms are showing their age and maybe need some updating, but remember this is a 3 star hotel.
The pool area is pleasant, just mind your head on the low thatched roofs around the pool, they are rather low. Free drinks all day. The Africa Bar is good for watching volleyball on the beach.
Many of the guests said they stay at Monica Beach year after year. Most of the guests during the first week of my stay were German. You have to make an effort, but the Germans are OK, once you get to know them. Try to learn a few German phrases. I took the Lonely Planet German phrase book. You really do not want to be the only Brit in a hotel full of Germans, as I was last year at Sunrise Jandia. That was a dismal experience. There were quite a few Brits at Monica Beach during my stay. Second week the hotel was full of Spanish families there for Christmas. Again, learn a bit of Spanish and you'll get on fine.
Monica Beach has a warm friendly atmosphere. You are welcome to use the facilities at any of the six Sunrise Beach hotels in Costa Calma, if you have an orange all-inclusive wristband. The Palace Hotel next door is also part of SBH Group.
What to do in Costa Calma? Most people come for the beach, which is the best you'll ever see. There's a continuous procession of people walking along the water's edge all day. You can spend a day walking all the way to Morro Jable, and then bus back to Costa Calma.
I rented a mountain bike for two weeks from Volcano Bikes, ask hotel for details. Ralph from Volcano delivers your bike to the hotel. Without some wheels you really are confined to the hotels area. You can rent a car at Monica Beach, and see more of the island; or visit Oasis Park, theme park 10 minutes away by free bus. The African Market on Wednesday and Sunday mornings is a 10-minute walk away, and is OK for one visit. Most visitors find a week in Costa Calma enough.
So, give it a go and enjoy your holiday at Monica Beach. Just writing this makes me want to go there again!
I stayed in this hotel back in the beginning of November 2006 with my then Fiancé. We had a great time and so I will share my views on this hotel.
The hotel is set on the beach in Costa Calma which is one of the quieter resorts in Fuerteventura. It is set back from the road slightly and has a small selection of local shops just around the corner from it.
The hotel is quite large and is an all inclusive property. It is popular with German tourists and tends to be fully booked throughout the high season with coaches coming and going with guests all day! The large complex is no more than 2 storeys high and as mentioned is set right on the beach.
Check in takes a little while as each person checking in has to be issued with their all inclusive band and then given a little map of the resort so they can advise you where everything is and to also give you directions to your room. However staff are as efficient as they can be and are friendly and polite so there are no complaints from me!
We had booked a sea view room and were located quite far away from reception down towards the beach area. It was a good size with a large bedroom area and decent sized bathroom that had a hairdryer too. The bathroom had a tub with over shower. The main room besides the bed which was actually quite large also had a TV, wardrobe area, safe and sofa bed. The balcony was pretty big with lots of space for the two of us to sit and play cards before going down to dinner whilst enjoying the sunset. I imagine if there were a family in the room it might feel pretty cramped but for just the two of us it was brilliant. The room was cleaned every other day and the maids always left a nice towel design on the bed which was always a nice little touch!
The hotel has 2 swimming pools both with a bar around them and the smaller pool has a slide attached onto it too. The bar at that pool is the one that stays open later in the evening whereas the bar around the other pool is just for in the day. All together though the resort has 4 bars, 2 around pools, one down near the beach and the big main one in the bar/disco entertainment area. In the day the bars have cakes brought out to them at lunch times that you can help yourself too but you can order food as well like hotdogs and toasties etc. At the pool ones you can help yourself to tea, coffee and beer but have to ask the bartenders for the spirit drinks - also at the beach one you can help yourself to ice cream from the freezer which are only the small tubs of plain ice cream but quite nice with three flavour to choose from.
The resort has a good entertainment programme for in the day and evening and these are separated for adults and children. The children have a programme made up games and normally done all in the building or around the pool. The adult programme consists of games such as range shooting, archery, volleyball and many others. The entertainment team who take care of all these games are very good at what they do but, are not pushy and therefore you have the best of both worlds and only have to join in if you feel like it.
In the evening there was also entertainment on in the main bar which was located below the main restaurant and this normally was in the form of children's entertainment early on followed by the main show which was sometimes the reps doing a show or an act brought in to perform.
Breakfast was always a good spread with hot and cold food and a good mix of juices, tea, coffee etc. Breakfast ran from about 7-11 and you could just go the restaurant whenever you wanted and help yourself to the hot and cold buffet.
Lunch was the same as breakfast with it running between the hours of 11.30 - 2pm and a choice of hot and cold buffet foods to help yourself to.
Evening meals were slightly different as the hotel has two sitting times. The reason is that because the hotel is that big that they wouldn't be able to serve all at once! When you first check in you are given a sitting time which is your time every evening then. The first sitting was between 5.30- 7pm and the second is between 7.30 - 9pm. This gives the staff enough time in between to clear away any of the remaining dishes and clean up for the next sitting. The food was different everyday and in the week we were there we didn't eat the same food twice which we thought was very good - The staff were excellent too and if you got up to get seconds or desert by the time you got, back the table was cleared of dirty plates. They always had a good selection of deserts too and always a good choice of salads.
At all meal times you could help yourself to the drinks from the machines from a selection of hot and cold and this also included wine and beer.
We stayed for 1 week and paid £440 each. This included the accommodation, flights from Manchester with MyTravel and transfers and was based on all inclusive.
We loved this hotel as it had everything we needed for a relaxing week in the sun. It had a quiet location, decent sized rooms, lots of facilities, it was right on the beach and the all inclusive package had everything we needed including entertainment and great food. The staff were always polite and friendly and the only fault I can honestly find with this hotel is that it probably wouldn't be suitable for people with walking difficulties as the hotel resort is on a slight incline so walking up and down from your room or to the beach would be quite tiresome! Other than that it is in a peaceful area and so ideal for those either looking to get away and relax or families who need a hotel that has something for them as well as the children.
Overall this hotel is perfect for those either looking for a relaxing sunbathing week or two and for those with younger children. The hotel felt safe and had lots going on to keep children entertained including a kids show in the evening and then adult shows after so something for everyone. The hotel's animation team as they were called, were excellent and they also spoke a multitude of languages. Food was excellent and rooms were just the right size.
I would go back to this hotel in an instant!
The room was open plan mostly and as you walked in you had the bathroom to the left which had a tub with a shower and a sink with a small hairdryer provided and then straight ahead was the bedroom/living room.
The room was cleaned daily and the bed was a huge double. The room was in pretty good condition with a sofa bed against the far wall and a TV. The balcony was large with a table and 2 chairs.
The room from our room provided us with a partial sea view which was nice.
There was no room service that we could see of.
General hotel amenities
The hotel is really large scale but is all one level apart from the front section which is two level. As you arrive you cannot really tell the size as it is spread out.
The lobby and reception area is nice enough with comfy chairs and it is always busy enough as this hotel seemed to have guests arriving every half hour or so! The reception staff are excellent as they spoke a multitude of languages. There wasn't a lot of English guests there while we were but we didn't find this a problem.
The restaurant was huge and for evening meals there was two set times - 5.30 - 7pm and then 7.30-9pm. Upon check in you were given a time you had for dinner which at first we thought odd but to be honest it didn't bother us and during your time you could go in anytime as long as between the set times. Every evening there was something different to eat and the chef was always doing a different 'meat of the day' each evening in front of the guests and the rest was self serve. Great choice of salads and desserts too and drinks you could help yourself to from the machines whether it be tea, coffee, hot choc, or even lager. Cold juices were in jugs in the fridges for you to help yourself.
In the main bar there was always a lot of drinks to choose from and the staff were always chatty and friendly. Besides the main bar which was actually located underneath the restaurant, there was also a pool bar in the day around the two pools and there was also a bar located at the edge of the beach so always one close by! Snacks could be ordered from the main pool bar and at certain intervals in the day cakes were put out for guests at each bar.
The hotel had two main pools, one which had a slide and there were other facilities that included tennis courts, volleyball and archery etc. The entertainment team would come around every so often to ask if anyone wanted to join in with the games and activities etc and if you said no they would leave you alone but to be honest, they made the games so much fun and a good laugh that we joined in most days.
As i mentioned the resort was pretty big so the pool areas were never rammed so it was pretty relaxing around the whole place - they didn't have any spa facilities though.
As far as child care goes the resort was very family friendly as they had lots of children's activities during the day too but not sure if there was an actual children's club.
Food & Beverages
The food was great and always something different. The restaurant as I said before had set times and this really worked well. Also when you were eating the staff were very efficient at clearing dirty plates so if you got up to get desert by the time you got back the table would be clean for you. The chef was always smiling and sometimes even singing! The food for me was the best part of this hotel as there was such a good variety and something different every night.
Drinks were a plenty and even though the all inclusive was supposed to finish at 11.30 you could always get a few more drinks a while longer - however you can purchase drinks vouchers anyway should you need them for after hours.
Location and surroundings
The hotel was set right over the beach so was brilliant for a beach holiday and the views were great as the hotel is slightly uphill from it. It is a huge beach that is always clean and there was always available sun loungers. The sea was lovely and clear too.
The hotel is set just near a local shopping area but, the area is only small so not an amazing array of shops. There were a couple of bars near to the hotel, one being an English sports bar which was open pretty late so handy if you wanted to have a late night drinking session! However due to lack of bars and restaurants outside, the hotel was lovely and quiet and great for relaxing.
The hotel was about an hour and half away from the airport and we had our shuttle included - however we did see buses pass the main road and taxis were available so if you wanted to explore further afield then yo could easily get about.
In the past my wife and I have been pretty relaxed about where and how we holiday. We've done all inclusive, B&B, Half Board, City Breaks, Beach Holidays, make it up as we go along etc.
However we now have a 5-year-old boy to look after and so our holidays have to be thought through in advance.
This year we chose Fuerteventura as our holiday destination and chose the Monica Beach Hotel on the recommendation of our travel agent because of its reputation as a nice family orientated hotel.
The trip from Birmingham Airport takes about 4 to 4 1/2 hours. I'm not going to talk about the flight since different airlines will offer a different standard of service. Suffice to say that I travelled with MyTravel and went 'cattle class' :(
After meeting other people at the resort we later found that people had travelled from airports as far a field as Glasgow, East Midlands and Gatwick.
For people who don't know Fuerteventura, this is one of the many islands that make up the Canary Islands. The other larger islands are Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma, Gomera, Hierro. Fuerteventura is the second largest island after Tenerife and is thought to be the oldest. The origin of its name is unclear. Some people say that it is derived from 'forte aventure' meaning 'great adventure' whilst others say its derived from the word 'venutra' which means 'wind'. Indeed strong winds are a characteristic of Fuerteventura and on our excursions we saw one wind farm with about 20-25 electricity generating windmills. Temperatures vary between 21°C in the winter and 27°C in the summer and during our trip in the middle of April, temperatures were around 22-24°C with just a single night when it rained.
At these temperatures its still possible to get sun burnt and the cooling effects of the wind lull you into a false sense of security. During our stay we saw a number of people who had clearly stayed out too long in the sun without realising that they were getting sun burnt.
The Monica Beach Hotel is one of a chain of hotels in Costa Calma, which lies on the southern coast of the island.
It's a three star hotel, which in my opinion is verging on being a 4 star. It consists of over 800 rooms some of which allow for self-catering though the hotel works primarily on a fully inclusive basis. There's a lot to talk about so I'll try and break this review into useful sections.
>> Location <<
The hotel is situated on the southeastern side of the island and is very close to the beach. In fact it takes about 3 or 4 minutes to walk from a ground floor room to the beach. It is close to the main road, which travels up and down the east coast of the island. Some local shops and supermarkets are within walking distance but to do some real shopping you would have to catch a bus or excursion to the closest large town called Morro Jable on the southern coast about 1/2 hour away. This town happens to also be the location of two of the excursions we went on which I'll talk about later.
>> Rooms <<
I'm not sure about what kinds of rooms other people had but we had a room with twin beds, a sofa bed for our 5 year old, a table, couple of comfortable chairs, a TV, cooker, fridge and sink and separate bathroom. We also had a small balcony and we found that most of the rooms like ours faced the beach and sea. We found that the wardrobe space was just about right for us but then again we tend to travel as light as possible. I suspect most people would have preferred more wardrobe space. During our stay we came across 2 cockroaches (one of which I flushed down the bidet) and a few small ants on the floor. These were not really a big deal and the room is swept clean every day. Some other guests were rather put off by this but to be honest I think people over react when they see insects in their rooms. If you look at what's crawling around on your living room carpets you'd be surprised. Anyway 2 cockroaches do not an infestation make :)
The TV channels consisted of a load of Spanish and German channels. The only English one was CNN, which I hate with a passion. It's the worst news channel around. I much prefer BBC or Sky News.
>> Food <<
Usually when we go on holiday I'm okay with the food but my vegetarian wife often has problems finding stuff she can eat. This hotel was different. Each meal had a small but nice vegetarian option which my wife who is very fussy about her food found surprisingly tastey.
Also there wasn't any of last nights dinner being served up as the next days breakfast which is what we've found at other all inclusive hotels.
The food was varied and highly edible :).
The only downside was that there didn't seem to be much available that was cooked in a local style.
>> Facilities <<
Its an all inclusive hotel and all the facilities are available as part of your package.
There are tennis courts available and a small crazy golf course. At set times during the day there is also a Holiday Club where parents can leave their children in the care of hotel staff where they enjoy various activities such as indoor/outdoor games, colouring, model building etc. The club is generally available for about 1½ to 2 hours at a time 3 times a day and a timetable of the different activities on different days is posted near reception. On Mondays there is no holiday club and I presume this is so that the hotel staff can get some much needed time off from all the little brats that they have to look after.
It has 2 main outdoor swimming pools. One of these has a small section separated off from the main part of the pool and is 0.7 metres deep for small children. The other pool has a water slide for older children who can swim. There is also a third small pool for very small children, which is just deep enough for toddlers to walk about in. At this time of year (April) the water was rather cold and this along with the constant wind means that you end up shivering away when you leave the pool for any length of time. All the pools have a bar nearby where you can help yourself to both alcoholic and soft drinks and where you can also order snacks like hot dogs and toasted sandwiches.
Talking of bars, along with the pool bars, there are two additional indoor bars. One is ideal for a quiet civilised drink for adults whilst the other has a stage and dance area for when the music is on. A daily mini-disco for children starts at 8pm and lasts for about 45 minutes. Here the children's entertainers lead the dancing and very soon most of the kids join in and within a couple of days know all the dance moves. The stage area is used to host various entertainment events during the week such as singing, quizzes and on one of our nights we were treated to a group of 3 fantastically talented African guys performing some amazing balancing acts.
On the beach sun beds are available and these are not included in the price you pay. They cost about 9 euros a day, which is a bit of a rip-off. I didn't bother with those at all. You can try and pretend you didn't know that they have to be paid for but this will only work once. The guy looking after them has an excellent memory for faces.
The beaches themselves are amazingly clean. The golden sand set against clear blue water really allows your mind to relax and get away from it all. For the adventurous there are a few water sports such as sailing and surfing and again these are not included in the all inclusive package. Apart from that there's not much to say about the beach except perhaps that unlike other resorts I've been to, you don't get pestered by people trying to sell you stuff. The only people on the beaches are tourists
>> Excursions <<
As large as the hotel is, inevitably people will get bored and look for things to do. From our hotel there were a number of excursions available.
Cost: 54 Euros (Adults), 27 Euros (Children). Transport included
This is a catamaran, which is also a submarine. There are apparently only 3 of these in the world and all are located in the Canary Islands. The one we went on was in a shopping town called Morro Jable, which also happens to be the main harbour. The coach ride took about ½ hour but it can easily take longer depending on how many other guests are picked up from other hotels nearby. The Subcats are unique because unlike other small submarines, these can make their own way over water and then submerge when the destination has been reached. Other submersibles have to be taken there by another ship. The Subcat is able to reach depths of up to 30 metres. On our trip we went down to 25 metres. The dive down took about 10 minutes and once we reached our depth we stayed there for about ½ hour. During this time a scuba diver from a support boat above dives down with food to attract fish. There are lots of photo opportunities and light levels at that depth are sufficient to allow you to take some snaps of fish swimming around the Subcat. I took my camcorder down and the images I got with it were okay although it did have trouble focusing on fish outside the porthole. The Subcat has room for about 28 passengers and there are 7 portholes on either side of the boat. Once the diver has finished attracting the fish, he then goes back up and brings back an underwater camera with which he systematically goes around each porthole taking a snapshot of the passengers peering out through the windows. The photographs are then developed by the time you get back on land and cost a very reasonable 10 Euros each. All in all it was a fantastic experience and I would recommend this.
Cost: 24 Euros (Adults), 12 Euros (Children). Transport not included. Bus Fare: 1 Euro per person
This is a botanical garden and also a small zoo. The zoo part consists of mainly primates but also Emus, Crocodiles, Giraffes, Birds, Snakes and Meerkats. It's a fairly small park and there are no large animals such Elephants, Lions and Tigers. You can wander around the park in a couple of hours but this excursion lasts most of the day. This means that you can also see some of the shows that are put on at various times during the day. In fact if you get your timing right you should have enough time to see all of the shows.
There's a Parrot show where different parrots perform a number of tricks like riding bikes, counting numbers.
There's a sea lion show where 3 sea lions perform various tricks. This was pretty good for the kids as one of the sea lions went around the seating area kissing people on their cheeks.
There's an excellent crocodile show where the crocodile handlers allow the audience to touch a small crocodile (the teeth are taped shut!!). There's a whole load of other stuff that they do but it would spoil the fun for anyone who reads this and goes as a result. The crocodile show was the best out of the shows we saw.
There's also a Bird of Prey show but we didn't manage to catch this.
Finally included in the entrance price is a camel ride. Here a party of about 10 camels takes visitors for a ride around the outside of the park up a pretty high hill side and then back down again. The camels have a huge saddle on their backs with seats sticking out at either side. Couples can sit on these seats and a single child is able to sit right in the middle. For those not wanting to go on the camels the entrance price is reduced by 7 euros and 3 euros respectively for adults and children
Cost: 34 Euros (Adults), 17 Euros (Children). Transport and BBQ Lunch included.
Once again located in Morro Jable harbour, this is a 2 deck sailing ship that takes you out to the sea for about 4 or 5 hours. During this time you can sit around on the deck and enjoy the sun whilst a pirate entertains the children. At some point during the trip the ship drops anchor and the guests are invited to take a dip in the sea. If they wish they can also make use of the snorkelling equipment on board. A BBQ lunch consisting of sausages and pork chops with boiled potatoes and salad is provided which in my opinion was better than the food we had in the hotel. Unfortunately there wasn't much of a choice of food for vegetarians. My wife ended up having what I had minus the pork chops and sausages.
All in all this was a great holiday for us. It was the first one where we had to be careful about what we did because of our little boy but the family orientated nature of the resort made this a very easy holiday for us. The only possibly negative thing about the resort was the number of German tourists there. Don't get me wrong I don't have anything against Germans but because it is a well-known holiday destination for Germans it meant that much of the entertainment was in German first, then Spanish and on the odd occasion in English. Many of the staff only spoke German or Spanish, which made it difficult to communicate but apart from that we really enjoyed ourselves. I would recommend this holiday destination to any family with children simply because there is so much for the kids to do.