Looking for some warm reprieve from the cold of the Nordic winter, Hotel Vik in the sunny Lanzarote, the island of the eternal spring seemed like a perfect option. Far enough from the maddening tourist crowds and yet walking distance along the waterfront to the island capital of Arrecife it is perfectly located in a residential area, surrounded by similar villas, one in particular with spectacular night garden of cactii and lights. Our standard room 208 had a large terrace balcony overlooking the sea, simply splendid to hang around and have a drink (that is if you could get a drink, but more of that later!).
Thinking with only 14 rooms, lovely gardens, heated pool and enough sunbeds not having to fight anybody, it would be a quiet perfect place to unwind. And it was all those things, except… despite pleasant rooms, lovely balcony and views, one of the best bathrooms in this category of hotel, it was hugely let down by its unrealised potential. Global financial crisis may be responsible for many ills, but cutting down staff to such a degree where service becomes non existent and some major challenges are presented to your patrons, to my mind, is not an option.
The biggest disappointment is that the very few staff that were there were maids, who were absolutely lovely, were completely ran off their feet doubling as cleaners, room maids, waiters, bar staff, front office - everything you can think off and not doing ANY of it properly because the ratios of rooms and guests to staff was just abysmal. At one stage, there was only two maids present looking after the whole hotel, they literally ran everywhere, they looked stressed and one of them at one stage when torn between waiting on breakfast crowd, wiping leaking ceiling (there were quite a few leakages around the common areas of the hotel, and answering the front office, she was close to tears. In a purported 5-star establishment, that is just unacceptable.
No reception, no admin staff to assist, no maps of the area offered at any stage of our stay, leave alone on arrival, no recommendations or anyone to assist with hire of the car, forget about excursions, we had to work it all out ourselves. Staff wellbeing aside, it is a let down to have to arrive where the maid has to abandon her cleaning and check you in, no front office staff or reception was ever present in 7 nights that we stayed at the hotel. Commercial manager for the Canarias visited on the day of our check out, but she had to be fetched by one of the maids who was trying to work out what to do with our checkout bill.
We did not see the manager of the hotel once, perhaps he was also on holidays and let the whole place discend into hellhole that it was. We nearly missed our flight as it took literally 28 minutes to check out as the maid had to abandon her pool cleaning duties and tried to work out what to do regarding payment, running around trying to find someone who may know. Once and only once did I see someone in the front office but she was unhelpful and seemed to be filling in, as when asked about the massage I ordered (a lovely German lady with range of massage options, in your room) the aforementioned staff member did not know where the massage will take place, whether i had to present somewhere on the premises, or elsewhere, she said "I think it may be in the room, but I do not know!"
Again, there is no point having a lovely well stocked bar on the premises if there is noone ever around to serve you a drink. Lovely South American maid found the recepie to make me a bloody mary, poured the vodka generously in, to then realise they did not have tomato juice, she did not know it needed it in the first place. Speaking of which, I have asked for the juice every morning for the first 3-4 days, but it did not occur to anyone to actually buy it next time they purchase their breakfast supplies.
Speaking of breakfast, the very same lovely but very overworked maids served as waitresses, despite very low occupancy particularly when we first arrived, it took absolute ages to get anything, you had to ask for coffee, leave alone more coffee, you had to ask for freshly cooked eggs etc. Only once in 4 times that I have ordered a 3min boiled egg did I get anything that resembles such thing. In a tiny hotel, half occupied it still beffudles me as to why the chef felt the need to pre-prepare eggs (which turned plastic and grey under the moisture encompassing silver container presumably sitting there for at least an hour before the first customer showed up, bacon went watery, and sausages, as inedible as they were, dry. I suggest you order poached eggs and some fresh tomato, just ask for it, it may take ages, but it will be the nicest option. The cold supplies and bread were lovely enough, but varied little from day to day and the only juice offered was orange juice, so bad luck if you have allergy to it.
As to the chef on premises restaurant tha the hotel professes to have, the chef is a nice enough Brit, but it seemed to us, that in line with other economies, he also was terribly constrained in what he could offer. Lets just say after the dinner at the hotel on the first night of our arrival we have spent the remaining 6 eating out. Not only was the menu limited to two choices of main and entree and set dessert, it was not fresh, it was precooked and then warmed up, oil that one tasted on one's bacon at breakfast, seems to have been reused on accompanying condiments at dinner, the whole thing poorly executed and in places simply awful. Stay away, nobody will be there to serve you, nobody will be there to help you work out the menu either, the cleaning staff used for that purpose do their best, but their English is poor, so unless you speak Spanish or they fetch the British chef out of the kitchen, you will struggle. I suggest you hire a car whilst you stay on the island and visist such wonderful dinner places as La Cabana in Marcher and Casona de Yaiza instead (see separate reviews and pics).
All in all, what a major, major disappointment as we were really looking for a nice small lux hotel base on the island for years to come, now we have to start with our search all over again unless some urgent action is taken to remedy what is awful situation at otherwise lovely hotel full of potential and promise.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Villa Vik is nestled in the residential area of Playa del Cable, this elegant villa in Lanzarote was completely renovated in 2007, combining a modern design with classic touches with the aim of providing a warm, agreeable environment. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Villa Vik Arrecife, Lanzarote