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“Very pleasantly surprised,both by the hotel and the area”

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TUI Sensimar Riviera by MedPlaya
Ranked #4 of 45 Hotels in Benalmadena
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 August 2011

This is as much a review about the area as the hotel, as both significantly exceeded our expectations. To set the scene, we were looking for a bit of a cheapie holiday in the sun, but at the same time we're very picky ( i spend far too much time lost in tripadviser reviews ). This time last year we had a last minute trip to Bodrum in Turkey, expected not a lot, and it was genuinely excellent ( see Diamond of Bodrum review ). We were planning to try another area of Turkey this year, but Thomas Cook seemed to put prices up as we got closer to booking, and with a week to go we still hadn't booked anything. From a rapid last minute internet we came across this hotel for £890 for both of us through Thomson, including flights, transfers and half board ( B&B would have been our preference but seems you can only do h board ). we had real reservations about the Costa del Sol, having never been, but just imagining it to be full of fake donkeys, and England strips. In the last year we've been to Thailand, Paris, New York, and our main expense is holidays. Time is previous and the last thing you want is a wasted holiday. As regards the hotel, lets get a few negative/constructive points out the way first. If you had a room low down and towards the road side of the hotel then the view could be limited and the road would be a bit noisy, when you arrived you're then told that its a futher 15 euros a week to hire the safe in the room, and a further 3euros a day if you want a fridge. Not a big expense, but would create a better first impression if these were included. We always go B&B but ate in the hotel in the evening once. The food is perfectly passable, but no option to eat outside,but rather in a big air conditioned dining room...and thats where the negative points stop.
Room - we paid an extra 100 euros to upgrade to a Premium Sea view room , with a large corner balcony. We can't recommend this highly enough. Noted some comments about old carpets in the standard rooms,but these ones have lovely hardwood floors, big balcony, big bathroom. it had the usual 2 twin beds pushed together but obviosuly normal for european hotels
Food - passable for dinner if thats your sort of thing. Breakfast really good. wide selection of everything you could wish for
Staff- all helpful and friendly
Pool- not huge but big enough. We don't spend time lying by the pool but i went for a pre breakfast swim at 9 and then again about 5pm. had the pool pretty much to myself
Bar- lovely terrace with a great view of the sea
Location - could not have been better. Set right on the palm tree lined beach promenade, 10 min from the Marina with loads of bars, shops, restaurants ( plus other restaurants before you get there - try Cabana - tapas for 1.95 a portion and bottle of Cava for 9 euro). if you come out the hotel onto the promenade and turn right (away from the marina) then loads of excellent sea food restaurants and bars ( you reach the first cluster after about 5 mins, and the rest a further 5-10 mins on )
Age in the hotel - relaxing in that no kids, and yes the average age is probably over 50 ( we're 30s ), but not an issue at all. As a result the hotel is quiet and relaxing, and we always head out for "entertainment"
General area - we were really very pleasantly surprised. After being concerned about a tacky resort filled with yobs, what we found was a relaxing, couple and family friendly resort. loads of nice bars and restaurants, and not too expensive. Wiht price of a beer generally a reasonable indicator, in a posh marina front bar then about 4 euros, but bars along the promenade about 2 euros. We also went to neighbouring Torremolinos one night, for a "chav" night, and you know what..it was lovely!!! very nice big promenade, with a long street behind filled with bars/restaurants shops. You can catch a bus from outside the hotel, 10 mins into torremolinos, and then can eat and have a 30-40 minute wander back along the promenade to Benalmadena. We did however make a similar trip to Fuengirola. What a total dump!! It really was Blackpool by the sea...but more run down. A really grim looking place
Stuff to do - if you hired a car within driving distance of Puerto banus, Ronda, Granada. Within Benalmadena itself there is a cable car that takes you to the top of the mountains behind. Well worth it. Bus from outside the hotel to Malaga, lots of winding streets to explore and what looks like a huge castle, the Alcazabra - note closed on Mondays..when we were there
Other hotels - not that many hotels that were right on the sea front. can't fault the Riviera. We looked at the Torrquebrada, but was probabaly a 40 min walk into the Marina area. The Triton hotel is the other one that was next to the Marina

All in all a very pleasant, relaxing and surprising holiday. Walking along the promenade the other thing you'll notice is that the majority of the accents are Spanish rather than British. Felt a mile away from Blackpool!

if you look on the hotel website then the Premium Room does actually look like the website in real life. Also, we found that impossible to guarantee a seaview room when booking through Thomson ( very odd 0. We emailed the hotel riviera@medplaya.com I think and asked for an upgrade before we arrived

Benalmadena is now surprisingly on the list of places we'd consider going back to

Other stuff we've remembered - you need to pay a 20 euro deposit if you want a beach towel, beach literally right in front of the hotel, there about 50 steps down from the hotel to the promenade ( there's a lift that lets you miss these out, but it was broken a few days we were there)

..and thinking about it, we've just upgraded this to 5 stars from 4. the hotel is not the Ritz, and you need to go aware that a 4 star in Spain is closer to a good 3 star over here. However, as a combination of hotel, resort, and importantly price, the overall experience was hard to fault

Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
Thank monkeyelf8472
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,501 - 1,507 of 1,751 reviews

Reviewed 17 August 2011

After readng some of these reviews i think i must have been at a different hotel to them!! I wouldn't say that this is a hotel for people over 60, when i was there there were a lot of young couples and familes with older children (Over 16). Yes there were older people there but i wouldn't say that it was overun with them!! The room i stayed in was 325, a single room with the most space i've ever had in a single room, and with a balcony!!! Yes the carpet needed replaced but to be honest it didn't bother me as it was clean and hoovered daily. The bathroom was also a very good size and very clean, towels were replaced every day even though i hung it up to be reused. I loved the food, i thought there was plenty of choice and it was all very hot and fresh. All in all i had a great holiday at a great hotel and i will definately return.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank Susan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2011

This Hotel should only be a three star not a four. The rooms need refurbishing we had shower curtains of different lengths that didn't even look like proper shower curtains and were shabby, the toilet and wash basin were not cleaned properly. The carpet was stained and in need of vacuuming, which was not done during our ten day stay. The towels were changed when required but on one occasion were replaced with towels smelling strongly of cigarette smoke. When we tried to move the table in the bedroom the top came off and the remote control to the TV didn't work.
The dining was ok but lacked day to day variety, and we noticed several pieces of damaged crockery being used. One evening in the dining room one unfortunate guest nearly lost his meal when the table tipped because it was propped up with a piece of wood under one leg. The hotel bar closed at about 12.30 even though there were people wanting to continue having a drink and a chat, they even turned the lights out on us one night we felt like naughty children being sent to bed.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank DaveStokeonTrent_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2011

As this hotel was listed as both a four star rating and a 4T raing from Thomson, we were expecting something pretty good. The hotel staff were all friendly and helpful, though we had to wait for our room to be made ready for us. The room itself was a disappointment. The carpet was stained and faded, and the furniture in need of renervation. The air-conditioning - much needed at this time of year- was totally inadequate. The bathroom was also in need of a facelift.
The food on Gala Night was disappointing but it did improve as the week went on, and was satisfactory. Having stayed at a 3* Thomson Gold Hotel, we were expecting more from the presentation and choice of foods. Men are required to wear long trousers at dinner, but there are no such rules for women, who some nights arrived for dinner in shorts, T-shirts and sometimes barely-covered swimwear.
Cleanliness was only ok in the bedroom and bathroom. An ominous-looking hair that did not belong to us, remained in the corner of the sink unit for the entire week, as did a sweet wrapper on the floor of the bathroom. We could have moved them ourselves but thought we would see how long it took the maid to spot them!
The pool area was clean, quiet and very pleasant. There was never a shortage of sunbeds, but a waiter service from the bar would have made it even better.
Entertainment was geared towards the older person but was pretty good.
The location of the hotel is good, close to the beach and bars/cafes, but this does mean there is a certain amount of noise at night. On the whole, we enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Riviera, but it really should be refurbished or downgraded to a 3 star.

Room Tip: Go for a room with a pool/sea view. The part overlooking the road is quite noisy at night.
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank stokie111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2011

Just returned after a 11 night stay. We were a bit concerned at what we might find as the holiday was booked in a rush and only read the previous reviews after booking. Happy to report, we found the hotel to be very clean, the food to be great, both breakfast and evening meal, with lots of choice and the staff to be very helpful and friendly.

In previous reviews I noted the comments about the amount of older people to the hotel, but I can confirm that during our stay, there was a good mix of all ages, from the 17/18 years old through to the more elderly

This was our first trip to the Costa Del Sol as a lot of our previous holidays have been spent on the Greek Islands (golden sands and crystal blue water). Therefore, we were a little disappointed with the beach (dark sand) and the murky looking water, but I can confirm the beach is cleaned on a regular basis.

The hotel swimming pool was a little smaller than we imagined (clever photography), but it was truly relaxing all day as there were no young children tearing about. My teenage son enjoyed using the gym on a regular basis, which consisted of a couple of exercise bikes, crosstrainer, treadmill and a multigym.

The evening entertainment was adequate with a different act every night - singers, dancers, magician etc. usually kicking off at 10pm to 11 or 11.30. As this was performed in the indoor lounge, there was no need to be involved if it wasn't your cup of tea.

We took the trip to Gibralta, doing the shopping and rock tour. It was a bit of a rush and a long day, but worth it as a 'one off'. As Gibralta is not in the EU, there are limits as to what you can bring back into Spain, but the savings we made paid for the trip. Also no VAT, so all goods are a lot cheaper than the UK.

Another tip that we found very useful - we travelled with First Choice and took one of their Travel Money Cards (MasterCard) with us. This a a prepaid chip and pin card which you load with dosh before you go and found this great for paying for drinks in the hotel and paying for goods in the supermarkets & restaurants etc. without the bother of changing travellers cheques and paying commission. Furthermore, as the resort if rife with pickpockets and gypsies, who will be happy relieve you of your money, these cards are of no use to them without the pin number and means you don't have to carry a lot of cash if you venture out of the hotel.

Hope you have found this useful - enjoy your holiday

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank Gymcrazy100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2011

Don't take any notice of those poor reviews. My girlfriend and I, stayed at the Riviera between 19th and 29th of July, room 501, the situation is perfect and it is built in a way where every room has a side sea view if not a sea view. The room was very spacious, air con brilliant and not noisy when balcony doors shut, it was cleaned every day and clean towels provided without fail, the maids were very pleasant. The food was excellent, plenty of choice (be warned, there is a dress code in the evening). Yes we had a stain on the carpet, but we didn't waste our time to get the camera out to show you and managed to have a great holiday despite it. Drinks in the hotel are only dear compared to the cheap drinks in the surrounding bars, the prices are the same as in England. Only a couple of things to stop me giving a 5 star review, the upstairs bar was closed during the day if you wanted a drink there you had to get it downstairs and bring it up and at night the balcony lights were switched off at a certain time. A
big thank you to the security man who allowed us out to the vending machine in the early hours for water.

Get out of the room and stop fretting about stains and pigeons and enjoy Benalmedena as we did, the Riviera is a great place to stay.

  • Stayed: July 2011
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5  Thank zippys17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2011

After reading several reviews about the Hotel rooms, I was dreading being in a room overlooking the car park and especially the road noise - I had a lovely room, overlooking the carpark but also had great views out to sea, the traffic noise was NOT as bad as some people were making out, my room number was 614 so I was smack bang in the middle.

Upon arrival, we were greeted at the reception and were told to go straight down for dinner as we got their at roughly 8:30pm.

The room was clean and tidy, carpets weren't all that bad - few stains here and there. I do agree that the Hotel is looking a bit dated, but it wasn't a problem at all.

The food was outstanding; quality wise and choice wise - there was something different on every night and the show cooking meat was to die for, red meats melted in your mouth. Also, a big choice for dessert too! Ice cream, cakes etc. At breakfast there was a massive choice toochoose from - full english, crispy bacon, spanish bacon, sausage, egg, scrambled egg and so on. There was also many different bread buns you could have too and cereal.

I couldn't fault at the Hotel at all, I came here with my girlfriend, mum and dad, brother and sister law and uncle and his girlfriend - a family group. The Hotel does have a lot of 60+ people but they're all lovely, they always spoke - even in the lift when it felt awkward being in there. I think the only thing the 60+ could complain about is how many steps there are, my calfs were burning some days!

Also on one occasion, two cleaners shouted at my girlfriend in Spanish because she'd spilt some nail glue on the bed side table, which ended up upsetting my girlfriend. One of the cleaners was very rude when confronted so Reception was rang, the man who came up was very pleasant and diffused the situation, although I still think she was quite rude towards us.

Overall, a fantastic holiday, lovely weather and lovely views - we will be coming back.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank ashleyowl91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about TUI Sensimar Riviera by MedPlaya

Address: Avda Antonio Machado 49, 29630, Benalmadena, Spain
Phone Number:
Region: Spain > Andalucia > Province of Malaga > Costa del Sol > Benalmadena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Benalmadena
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Benalmadena
#4 Luxury Hotel in Benalmadena
Price Range: £97 - £209 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — TUI Sensimar Riviera by MedPlaya 4*
Number of rooms: 189
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Riviera Benalmadena
TUI Sensimar Riviera By MedPlaya Benalmadena, Costa Del Sol

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