First, the positives. All the staff were friendly, and the lady who generally works at reception was fluent in English and both charming and helpful. The cleaning ladies do a fantastic job and the rooms were kept spotless.
We paid a little extra for a superior room and it was well worth it. We enjoyed a large room with a very large balcony, equipped with a table and two chairs but more importantly two good quality sun lounges each with a good thick cushion; these were very comfortable indeed. Our room was equipped with a small fridge and a safe, included in the room rate. The bed was very large and very comfortable.
At lunchtime there is a good variety of snacks including sandwiches and burgers, all reasonably priced as indeed are the drinks. After about 15:00 (until around 22:00) the bar menu reverts to tapas (which we didn’t try) and pizzas (which we enjoyed and were reasonably priced at EUR 6.00).
Happy hour is currently from 17:00 to 20:00. You pay in full for your first round of drinks and afterwards take your ticket to the bar where the same round is duplicated free of charge. This is very good value.
There is an annexed restaurant which now focuses on gourmet tapas. The best approach is to ask for the special offer which includes a starter tapa, slightly larger “following” tapa, a dessert plus one glass of wine and one glass of cava. The price from recollection is about EUR 16 per person.
This seems like reasonable value, but after VAT is added at 10%, it starts to look a bit pricey. One is tempted by the headline price although to be fair, the menu plainly states that VAT is payable in addition.
All that said, we generally found the quality of the gourmet tapas to be very good indeed although I had a scare when I found one of the pork tapas to be undercooked. Nevertheless, when I complained, it was replaced free of charge with a different dish and without any fuss which I think is fair enough.
Now to some less positive points. Unfortunately, the onset of “happy hour” sees the arrival of a considerable number of expats. Nevertheless we found plenty of room in the drinks garden (happily the evenings were quite warm) but even inside there was plenty of space.
Less enjoyable was that some of the expat crowd could be quite loud and some unfortunately drank somewhat more than was probably sensible. By and large however this crowd largely evaporated shortly after 20:00.
In terms of breakfast, for a three-star establishment, I have had both better and worse. The cooked items usually comprise fried eggs, bacon, baked beans, and sliced-up frankfurter sausage. Inevitably, the bacon is not as lean as we are used to in the UK but to be fair it is fairly typical of what one experiences in southern Europe.
Occasionally we would find that the last two or three eggs in the heated container did not look particularly appetising but to be fair, we simply asked at the bar and fresh eggs were fried to order.
There is a lot of fresh fruit available and usually watermelon. My wife and I both enjoy watermelon, but dare not risk it because it was out in the open and the area was plagued by flies (the whole of Nerja, not just the hotel). I think it would be a good idea for the watermelon to be placed under a transparent cover.
For those preferring a “continental” breakfast, there are warm rolls available which are very nice plus small muffins, small croissants, and white/brown sliced bread together with slices of cheese, ham and salami which are kept in a transparent enclosure and therefore safe from flies. Unfortunately, the toaster is rather slow in its operation.
A plus point for us was that breakfast is served until 11:00 since we are late risers. By then, however, the coffee in the boiler was often cold or the boiler was empty. To be fair, however, we simply asked at the bar and fresh coffee was made for us from the machine.
One irritation was a hotel rule prohibiting guests from taking drinks purchased at the bar into the restaurant. This is contrary to the practice in most hotels and it is difficult to understand the motivation.
As far as I understand it, the restaurant and hotel are owned by the same people and if one has paid for a pre-dinner drink at the bar it should not be a problem to take it into the restaurant. Indeed, at good-quality hotels, the restaurant server will often take your bar drinks through into the restaurant for you. Very puzzling and irritating.
Finally, you should be aware that a large supermarket is under construction almost next door to the hotel. By the time we left (October) substantial progress had been made with the superstructure but it is difficult to estimate how long the project will take to complete. I would not be surprised, however, if this ran into several weeks if not a couple of months.
It is tempting to hire a car, but we didn’t bother. We booked with the hotel directly and obtained a decent price for a taxi transfer to and from the airport (EUR 120) plus discount off the room rate. We tended to walk down to the relatively nearby Burriana Beach (where a number of restaurants and bars are located) and then get a taxi back (uphill ! ) - the taxis charged a fixed fee of EUR 7.00 anywhere within Nerja.
There is a lovely little village nearby called Maro which can be reached on foot. The walk is almost completely flat and if you are of average fitness it will take you about 35 to 40 minutes.
The Nerja cave complex is amazing and can be reached by local bus very easily. Similarly, there is another beautiful little village called Frigiliana not too far away but it would be quite a hike and probably not a good idea when the weather is warm and sunny. A local bus from the centre of Nerja will take you there for one euro each way.
Despite a few irritations, our overall view is that it was a reasonably enjoyable stay.
Unfortunately, the rating system has no point between "average" and "very good" - I would actually rate it as "good".
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- Also Known As:
- Los Arcos Hotel
- Los Arcos Nerja