My wife and I travelled in late August to the IFA Catarina along with our 6 year old twins. We had a great holiday and I will try to give our views of the good and bad points as we saw it. Don’t forget, this is a four star hotel. I’ve stayed at some better hotels, but an awful lot of worse ones. If you want 5 stars, you won’t get it at this price however, there is a RIU hotel next door which you can book for about 2-3 times the cost.
Cleanliness / upkeep
The hotel is in a decent state of repair. There are some areas of threadbare carpets in the corridors etc and a few very minor issues with peeling paint in our room, but the maids do a really good job for Lopespan and the rooms and communal areas are immaculately cleaned. Towels are changed regularly, as is the bed linen, all soaps and toilet rolls are replaced efficiently. Getting up early in the morning, its impressive how many staff are tending the gardens and pool areas.
As mentioned before, the mattresses are quite firm, however the settee bed however is well sprung so we demoted the kids to the double bed. Ha Ha.
The hotel is set in lovely grounds with a main pool, Jacuzzi pool and small pool although to be honest, they are all part of the same pool (quite well designed). There is a separate child’s pool with water slide about 20 meters from the main area. My only gripe with the main pool is that it is only 1.2-1.4 meters deep. Nice and safe for the kids but too shallow to dive into. The rest of the grounds include a very picturesque pond complete with impressive Coi carp, an aviary with some parakeets, and some quite secluded areas for quiet sunbathing. There is also a kiddie’s playground with soft rubber flooring, a decent gym, tennis courts, shuffleboard areas, and indoor play area.
You pay extra for Wi-Fi access, but honestly, if you just want to check your e-mails / facebook / BBC news once a day, use the internet cafe. (One Euro gets you 20 minutes)
A couple of top tips already mentioned in other reviews:
Leave a Tesco / AA / ID card in the slot by your door to keep the air con running.
The fridge is enclosed in a small cupboard which means it doesn’t work, pull it out about 6 inches to let the air circulate and you’ll have cold water (the fridge holds about 6 bottle btw).
Invest in a ‘double’ travel plug. We could only find 2 sockets in our room.
The Catarina is right next door to the RIU hotel which gives access to the sand dunes through a public access roadway. It took us about 15 minutes to walk across the dunes to the beach, but beware, the first area you come across has acres of naked flesh (it’s a nudist beach). Turn left here and you will soon find yourself in a more typical beach area! Turning left out of the Catarina, the CITA centre is a easy 5 minute walk, and the Yumbo centre about 15 minutes. There are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area, but it’s not as busy as the main area of Playa del Ingles.
It was actually quite good. Attentive staff serving drinks, chefs cooking fresh grilled meats etc, chefs making fresh smoothies, a good selection of salads, cheeses and cold meats. There’s something for everyone really. If you want chips and steak every night, you can. Like most all inclusive holidays, you feel the cuisine becomes a bit ‘samey’ and it gets hard to motivate yourself to eat (especially when hot), but be a bit adventurous and try the continental salads and breads. Lunch can be taken in the same restaurant, but a lot of people ate at the poolside (chicken nuggets, hotdogs, and very nice sandwiches) with cake and ice cream from the ‘slushy’ bar after 3pm. Waitress service at the poolside tables is good in proper glasses and plastic if you are taking drinks back to your sun bed. I must admit, I like a nice drop of wine but the house wine was nothing of the sort. The beer was very drinkable, but as I don’t drink a lot of beer, I spent the fortnight demoted to spirits (it’s a hard life) and the wife was quite happy with whatever (hic).
The animation team done their very best keeping the little kids and big kids entertained.(Thanks to Monica, Monica, Noami, Jeffrey and Inca) Throughout the day there were opportunities to compete against other holidaymakers in various (non-energetic) games such as shuffleboard and darts, or aqua-aerobics and dancing for the ladies. Many people chose not to, and the staff were by no means pushy. Kids club was enjoyed by my two, and it’s amazing how relaxing those two hours were for us each day. The animation for the children after dinner was pretty much the same every night, but the kids seemed to enjoy it, (they like routine I reckon).
We were a little disappointed with the evening entertainment, a couple of the nights were OK, but some (bloke on a keyboard, bloke on a computer playing songs from an I-Tunes list, bloke singing) were a little lacking in imagination. Ah well, early nights beckoned on occasion.
Yes! There were lots of Germans at the hotel. And quite a few of them are on our Christmas card list now (or Facebook friends). Honestly, just play a game or two with them, start smiling in the morning, say ‘Hallo’ and pretty soon you’ll discover they’re just the same as us. We had a great time with our German friends and the war wasn’t mentioned once. Guten Tag to Frank, Sasha, Messi, Thomas, Rudiger, Stephan et al.
They say that any organisation’s greatest asset is its staff. Well the Catarina has some great assets. From the very friendly general manager, the various middle managers down to the restaurant and bar staff and housekeepers. I got the impression of a whole group of people happy in their jobs who wanted to make your holiday experience a happy one. I’m rubbish at names, so wrote a few down. I’m also rubbish at remembering things so left my list in a draw in my room. However, Mira stands out as one of the loveliest barmaids it’s been my pleasure to meet, as was Amid. Samira was a star in the dining room along with another young lady whose name escapes me (but she did tell me her name was Greek), and our cleaners? Well I wanted to take them home with me, they were so friendly. (I can’t remember their names, but room 176 from the 22nd August should give the management a clue and maybe a bonus for the girls involved?)
I’ve tried to be honest with this review as a guide to others thinking of going here and reading it through, it might seem that I’ve been unnecessarily picky, however, don’t let this distract you from the good points of this hotel, and there are many. Nearly every place we’ve visited have had some things that could be improved, but the Catarina is one of the few hotels that I would have no hesitation in visiting again. A big thank you to all the staff for a very enjoyable holiday.
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- Also Known As:
- Ifa Catarina Hotel Playa Del Ingles
- Ifa Catarina Playa Del Ingles
- IFA Catarina Hotel Gran Canaria/Playa Del Ingles