Hi everyone. I'm using subtitles here, to make it easier to follow.
The Ifa Catarina consists of five or six blocks, (not certain of the number) all joining each other....in a long row, with the reception in the middle. They are five stories high and the higher you are, the better the view. We paid extra for Garden View rooms and it really is lovely...looking out onto villas with beautifully kept gardens and the sand dunes. The sea is to the left and from the balcony, it was so pretty. We were on the 5th floor, so although we overlooked the restaurant below, it was exceptionally quiet and there aren't any noisy bars or clubs nearby, so that was a big plus. Entertainment stopped at 11pm and by 12pm most people were bedded down and it was silent. We arrived at 9pm, to the friendliest of greetings and were able to literally drop our cases and go straight into the restaurant. Evening dinner finishes at 9.30, so we just got in, in time. There isn't a wow factor when you approach the hotel but once inside, it's super-clean and has a wonderful atmosphere. A member of our party is disabled and we had no problems on that score. This hotel caters well for people with reduced mobililty.
There is a bar to the left of reception where you simply click onto the network and this gives you free wi-fi. I thought that this was great, as so many hotels charge for the internet nowadays.
You wear a wristband for all inclusive, but you also need to show room keys, when dining.
There is a dress code to dinner, no shorts above the knee and no vests, which I liked, as this is a 4* hotel. Those who thought that they were at Butlins, were turned away to dress more appropriately, so bear that in mind when packing. The food was lovely, with a varied choice of hot and cold dishes and you are served drinks at the table. The waiters list all drinks on a card and I can only assume that this is for stock-taking purposes. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and I will now be dieting for the next year! We took our own tea bags down to breakfast and filled a jug with a little cold milk from the cereal bar. They provide milk from the machines but its hot milk. Oh....just in case you like tomato sauce with your breakfast and to save you hunting like I did....there are sachets to the left of the hot food counter.
Outside there is an ice-cream bar next the pool, that opens mid afternoon. You can get cornets or tubs of ice cream and they serve little cakes too. Everything is included in the all-inclusive. The caramel ice-cream is lovely! Then, as if you're not already about to explode...for those of you who sleep through breakfast, there is another eating area, next to the outside bar, where they serve hot-dogs, lasagne, garlic bread, pizza etc. This opens later, so its ideal if you've missed breakfast and fancy brunch instead.
We ordered a litre of Rose wine each night at dinner and the females all enjoyed it. The beer is good but be warned...they don't hold back on the spirits. I had a vodka and coke one night on an empty stomach and and was talking pure rubbish after that. :-) There is an outside bar and further along, near the stage, a small bar opens later, just for cocktails. When its really busy, an over-spill bar opens in the centre of the pools, so you're never queuing long for drinks. Water is NOT in your room and the outside bar doesn't open until 11am, so make certain that you get a bottle of water to see you through the night before you bed down. There is a fridge in every room (the old mini bar), so you can keep water chilled easily.
The rooms are really spacious with twin beds. I've stayed in some nice hotels and I can honestly say that I've never seen rooms as clean as this. They clean them every day and even the wardrobes are spotless. There are plenty of clothes hangers but no iron. I'm sure reception would have one though however. There is a hairdryer in the bathroom and for those of you who need a good make up mirror...there is a large magnified retracting mirror in the bathroom. Perfect!! The shower is great and adjusts in height, perfect for petite people like me...and don't bother packing shower gel. The dispenser on the wall has the nicest smelling body gel/shampoo and I used that all the time. There are no tea making facilities, so we took a portable kettle. However, when we tried to take a small glass of milk to the room for this, we were stopped. They don't allow anything to be taken from the restaurant and I'm not a lover of powdered milk :-(
The beds are really firm but I'm used to a firm mattress, so I slept well on them. The main power point is in the bathroom and we didn't need one anywhere else, so that was fine for us. Just don't forget your travel plug.
The balcony is clean, with table and chairs but boy, does it get hot out there! The air conditioning in the room was a blessing. I couldn't sit out there for long. All in all....no negatives whatsoever about the rooms. Spacious, clean and very comfortable. What more do you need?
The area outside the hotel isn't particularly wide but it is very cleverly designed. It's set on different levels....the grassed areas being higher than the pool area. There are three pools...a child pool, the main pool....and the small pool where I would sit for hours, reading my kindle. You can lie down...press the buttons...and wait for the whirlpool action. So invigorating. Most of the children were around the pool-side obviously, so we walked up the path to the left. Its a lot quieter up there...nicely kept grass and pretty flowers and although not as breezy as around the pool, a lot more peaceful. We took it in turns at going down around 8am to get decent sunbeds up there but only because there were six of us. There are plenty of sunbeds all day, scattered about and I doubt that you'd ever not get one at all. We did Aqua fit at lunch time. Such fun but it almost killed us! There is plenty of entertainment going on, if you need to stay occupied but we were there to relax. It's a personal choice of course.
I would say that the entertainment was of good standard. The parrot show was brilliant on the Friday night. It is mainly outside, around the pool each night and it's nice to sit outside on a lovely evening.
We walked to the Yumbo centre one night and it was brilliant. Its a shopping centre, with lots of market type stalls and lined with bars. It's a gay area and quite an eye opener but be open minded and try it. We had the best night out that we'd had in years. We went to Rickys Cabaret Bar and I laughed till I cried. My stomach hurt. Its an open air bar, no charge...and I would recommend it to anyone. Not suitable for children however but that's my personal opinion. Turn left out of the hotel...walk straight on to the third roundabout and turn right. It's a ten minute walk.
THE NUDIST SOLARIUM
Now this is my only gripe with this hotel. On the roof, is a nudist solarium. If it was private, it wouldn't be an issue but three times, we looked up from our sun beds and someone was standing, looking out at the view, showing his assets to the world. If he'd been a Chippendale, it might not have seemed so bad, but he definitely wasn't. About a handful of people use it and we went up there on the Friday evening, as they have a "chill party"....nice music and drinks (no nudism). Well what a waste! There is room for so many sun beds...it has a beautiful view...a gorgeous breeze and it would be perfect for an adult only sunbathing terrace. This a family friendly hotel and there were lots of children. It would be nice if they gave people an option to have some quiet time. Considering how many people use this facility, I am amazed that it hasn't been to better use by now.
OUTSIDE THE HOTEL.
We turned left and walked to the next roundabout. Turn right and just on the left is a huge shopping centre (clothes, shoes etc). There is a supermarket across the road from the hotel too. There are plenty of eating places close by but as we were all inclusive, we didn't need to venture far. We were perfectly entertained inside the hotel and rarely needed to leave. I think that says everything about the hotel really...if you're quite happy to stay inside.
All in all, a lovely, relaxing holiday in a hotel with good food, good service and friendly staff.
Thank you to the Management and staff, for a wonderful 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