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“Queuing for food just like a soup kitchen”

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ClubHotel Riu Chiclana
Ranked #6 of 12 Hotels in Novo Sancti Petri
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Queuing for food just like a soup kitchen”
Reviewed 7 September 2013

Just back from the above hotel. Lovely and clean everywhere including rooms. Air conditioning was silent and so were the fans and both were certainly needed in that heat in order to sleep.
Far too many people. Instead of just going into the restaurants and sitting down you had to queue because they had closed one of the 3 restaurants (the Grill). and so therefore the other two restaurants had to bear the brunt. Tables had to be to booked every night. Breakfast and lunch had to be queued for. This is an all inclusive hotel. There was nothing to see outside of the complex, no bars or restaurants outside of the hotel, not even a courtesy bus to the beach, although we realize this is Thomsons first year here so hopefully this will improve next year. This a a perfect hotel for young couples with children because of the entertainment and swimming pools etc. but not quite so good for the over 60's.
Along with a courtesy bus it would be a good idea to have a taxi tank just outside the hotel.
Apart from the amount of people there scurrying around like ants we enjoyed ourselves but would not go back again. It was a very small airport so once in the departure lounge you could not buy a newspaper or book, there was just the usual shop selling alcohol cigarettes and refreshments. Please take note a newspaper or books cannot be purchased in the departure lounge. This has to be done before you enter there.

Room Tip: We were in Block 20 which seemed quiet of a night away from activities. No lift but it wasn't ne...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Yvonne P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (190)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 September 2013

This is a very nice family hotel. We, a family of two adults and a two year old daughter, booked directly via Riu website, in this case the deal was much better than using booking.com or any other booking website. The hotel is very nice, well located with a fantastic team of entertainers and a great kids club. However, it is very much focused for German tourists which is fine by me. You don't need to leave the hotel since the beach is within walking distance, the pools available are plenty and really nice and the entertainment is also varied throughout the day. The only negative aspects were the A/C in our room did not work well.

Room Tip: Block 25 is a very nice location with great views and very close to the pool area and kids clubs.
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ferreirapt2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 September 2013

We travelled with friends (who had children) for a two week all inclusive stay.

Firstly, rooms - there are loads over 800 with 2 up to 5 people in each. This meant there were a lot of people around! Rooms were a little tired and not well insulated from noise. Obviously when on a holiday like this you expect some noise but not to hear every word your Spanish neighbour says at 2am. The hotel tried to help but as this person had the do not disturb sign on, they couldn't do anything. We moved rooms twice due to loud and late Spanish holiday makers, and barely slept until we left to go to the wedding in a boutique hotel. Not sure about avoiding English crowds - I think I would have preferred them compared to the Spanish crowds - loud, rude and constantly invading your personal space.

Secondly, Food and drink. You really can't fault the drinks, bar facilities and the bar staff - all excellent. However, the restaurants and food its a different story. 4 restaurants, all claiming to be different, served almost exactly the same foods and they were in a buffet style - not covered from flies in some cases. Some things were done well like fish and desserts, but the rest was a bit bland, same everyday and by the end, you really wanted to go out for dinner even though you had paid to eat there already. Lots of chips, burgers (but not nice), pasta, rice (no paella in sight!) eat early if you don't want to fight over the food and eat in a relaxed atmosphere as the Spanish all eat at 9-11pm

Thirdly, Entertainment. You couldn't fault the Kids club and the child we travelled with had a brilliant time. However that's where it ended. The adult (or so called) entertainment was shocking, apart from one Flamenco Dance show who had been brought in. We had a comedy show which consisted of toilet humour sketches, a magic show which consisted of a guy making shadow animals in front of and overhead projector to noises and the rest really was the entertainment team dancing to records! Again it made you want to go out for the evening even though you had paid up front. Even worse one night a week they put on the kids show for adults! great if your kid is in it! Not so much if they're not.

Finally, Staff. On the whole the staff were lovely if not a little ill informed about when things opened. I needed a doctor while there and they were wrong about his cost and wrong about the opening time of the pharmacy! they didn't seem to know much. However, when we had trouble with loud neighbours they seemed unwilling to do much and even worse, when a comfort blanket/bunny thing went missing from one of our rooms, we were told 'it's only a toy', fact is nothing should go missing from a room and if it does they need to locate it. Eventually it was located but only after we stated that child couldn't sleep without it and it was a family heirloom. It turns out the maids had taken with laundry rather than moving with the pyjamas - strange as both were together and the PJs didn't go missing. During this occasion, the staff were abrupt to the point of rude - 'what do you want us to do about it?' I said to find it and basically went to ensure they checked all laundry.

Room Tip: There is no quiet room as all rooms are in blocks with apartment - pack em in!
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank hgille
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Billericay
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 August 2013

We were a family of 4 made up of 2 adults and 2 girls aged 11 and 7 we stayed 26th July – 9th August.

We booked as a package via Thompson it was a very early flight but took advantage of the day before check in so all we had to do was walk through security at 5am ! Flight was on time and as others have mentioned pretty much the whole flight were going to the same hotel. This was our first visit tip to Spain in a number of years after spending our last holidays in Turkey and Mexico.

Location

There isn’t anything around the hotel you can really walk to but not sure what people are expecting, the holiday brochure tells you this so not sure why people then complain, we took the public bus to Cadiz which was fantastic and we enjoyed a lovely day there. There didn’t seem to be much to do in Chiclana itself. The hotel shop seemed reasonable as they could really rip you off due to hotel location.

Check-In

Bearing in mind there were 5 coaches of people it was actually very quick, reception staff explained where restaurants, bars and rooms were located and how to operate the gate to the beach. Our room wasn’t quite ready so had to wait 30minutes which wasn’t an issue as we used the time to explore the hotel grounds, I actually thought we would have to wait longer, especially as the previous occupants would only have left 4 hours before.

Grounds

Hotel grounds are immaculate, gardens are worked on every day they even rake the earth every single day, showers round the pool are cleaned every day and there are plenty of sunbeds round the pool, the pool where the kids slides are gets very crowded but the upper pool was easy to get sun beds, never had to get up early to reserve and got the beds we wanted everyday on the way into breakfast at 8.30am (we get up early) Swimming pool was also extremely clean.

Food and Drink

Very good standard and plenty of choice, the variety did get a bit boring near the end of our 2 weeks and if I’m honest I didn’t see the point of the Italian restaurant as it just seemed to be what they had in the main restaurant but with only the pasta and pizza bits, however the extra restaurants did keep the main restaurant fairly free of people.

The wine was okay and if I’m honest I would prefer it from a bottle rather than tap (seems to be the difference between Turkey all inclusive and Spain), I tended to do what the Spanish do and add ice, lemon and some sprite. You could get all drinks so no complaints there.

Room

We booked a family room and were glad we did, plenty of room for the 4 of us with kids in one room and us in the other, again extremely clean and well maintained. Family rooms are all ground level and on the sides of the complex, we were in block 29 which was a very good location little noise other than the waves. Someone mentioned bugs etc and other than the odd ant we never had a problem. The aircon leaked one day but a quick phone call saw a it fixed very quickly.

Beach

The beach is accessed by a coded gate and is a short walk along a well maintained path, there are 80 steps down to the beach.

The beach is fantastic miles and mile of perfect sand, the sea is choppy with lots of big waves so lots of fun however if you have small kids or people who are not confident swimmers it may be a problem, although you can paddle around on the shoreline.

There are no hotel beds or facilities on the beach so it’s a long walk to get a drink, would be a nice addition to have a hotel bar there (Im being really picky now) if you walk down the beach the Iberostar hotel has a bar.

Entertainment / Staff

The crew worked really hard in the day with lots of events running and some fun pool events which people enjoyed doing, my kids have no interest in kids club so I can’t comment on that. With regards to the evening shows we didn’t go to these either as we tended to come off the beach or pool late and have a late dinner, there was an excellent area for sitting and having a drink / play cards as you watched the sun set and we tended to do this most nights (sunset is one of the best I have seen)

Staff were all really friendly and polite from reception to gardeners.

Overall a fantastic holiday, we all came back feeling relaxed and would highly recommend the hotel, there are some comments on here about other nationalities in the hotel being rude but I did not see any of this, if anything the loud obnoxious people were the English.

Room Tip: Block 29 was good for Family Rooms
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jason B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ipswich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 August 2013

Pretty much agree with the positive reviews below. We stayed for 2 weeks mid August and the place was very busy (as expected). This is a large hotel with c800 rooms and is geared up for families with young children, so it is not the most tranquil of places. However for a medium priced holiday away with the kids it works very well.
There was a meet and greet where we were served orange juice on arrival which was most welcomed after the long journey and a nice touch. The bags are taken to your room for you so all you need to do is unpack and relax. The welcome meeting was good and heads of all depts were there so you know who to go to if required. The senior management seem to really care about their guest experience and he could be seen daily in various areas of the hotel so was always available should you need to speak to him.
The food was good, excellent when you consider the numbers being served and although busy there was never a long queue and tables were always available.
Rooms were fine, very clean, entertainment on the whole was good mostly the hotel's staff who did a fantastic job with bags of enthusiasm and a strong element of fun.
We booked through Thomsons who did a good job the rep Sandra was very good and helped us with all our needs.
The trips were well organised but expensive. You could rent a car for a couple of days and explore yourself for the cost of one of the more expensive trips.
Talking of car rental the hotel provided details on Europcar who promised to pick us up and didn't, so we used Sixt who were excellent and cheaper like for like. Most of their fleet are German cars so you get a much better car than Europcar. They are also just a 7 min walk from the hotel but you do need to book in advance.
As the hotel isn't near shops etc you need to get a bus (bus stop outside hotel) or rent a car. Once we had a car (and rented a sat-nav - called a NAVVY in Spain) we found getting around very easy indeed and we visited Jerez a few times, Cadiz and Seville. Do your research before going so you know what to visit and you'll make the most of your days out.
In summary, for families with young children or families that don't mind young children it's great.
For me I'd prefer somewhere a bit quieter next time less children (and the Spanish guests are noisy too). Oh yes and on to the subject of reserving sun beds. People are out early putting towels on the best sun beds and don't actually use them during the day. I got sick of this over the two weeks as you couldn't get a decent sun bed - it's pathetic! So........... just go down with your stuff and find one you like, fold the towels up, move the sun bed to your chosen location, and put the towels which reserved the sun bed back on ground where the sun bed was. Not only do you get a great sun bed but watching the absolute panic and confusion through sun glasses and from a distance is very funny.

Room Tip: I think they are all the same. As all travellers should do - Take earplugs with you - just in case!
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank M4rty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
berkshire uk
Level Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2013

Stayed at the Riu mid July for 1 week as family of four adults.
I generally agree with the majority of the reviews and summarise as follows
Hotel has good beachfront location.Beach good and clean but as expected does get crowded with locals and tourists.Beach not run by hotel and as such sun loungers etc payable locally.
Hotel is remote from local shops or towns so a local bus is needed or taxi to visit these.Shops are available at the hotel to cater for most things at what i thought reasonable prices considering their location.Did miss walking out at night after dinner to local area/shops though.
Hotel rooms not the largest but perfectly adequate.
Hotel pools look large in the photographs of the hotel but in reality only average in size and do get crowded.Indoor pool closed during our stay which would have been nice to have the use of as the outdoor pools were cold in the mornings.
Food at drink at the hotel of a very good standard with lots of meal choices.Hotel has main restaurant and 3 other themed restaurants which can be booked on the morning before.
The hotel entertainment in the evening was disappointing as of limited duration after the childrens section and held in a club house type building which is no where near big enough to cater for a full hotel.This we found on several occasions and in particular at weekends(locals visiting) when we could not get a seat or even get a standing space with a view.
Did not attend the night club but as this is very small would expect to get very crowded.
All staff found to be most helpful and friendly.Hotel and resort reletaively new to us Brits and as such main visitors appear to be German or Spanish.This i think a good thing and a welcome change.Hotel very family focused with masses for kids to do all day and into the night.
Did a morning visit to Cadiz via local bus which was worth the visit.
To conclude a good hotel in a rather remote location.Hotel busy during peak summer and not for people looking for total rest and relaxation.If you have kids then this resort would be well suited but if you are adults looking for piece and tranquility then this may not be your ideal place.

Room Tip: Rooms higher floors and away from pool areas quieter and some have partial sea views
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mattwill69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alsager
Level Contributor
35 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2013

This was our 7th Riu holiday, but our first in one of the all-inclusive club hotels. We have wanted to come to this area in order to visit Cadiz and Jerez de la Frontera for a few years now, so we were delighted when the direct flights were made available this year. (I understand, from the management of the hotel, that if the number of British visitors continues to grow that there may be flights from other 'regional' airports; this would be great from those of us from north of the 'Watford Gap'!)

We, like everyone that I spoke to, were checked in really quickly. This is a testament to the efficiency of the reception staff who had to deal with the contents of an entire 737-800 arriving at the same time. It did take a couple of hours for the porters to bring our bags to the room, but this is understandable given the sheer volume of visitors. (If you are not weighed down by an assortment of Louis Vitton cabin trunks, but simply have roller luggage as most people do these days then you are probably better of taking your own bags, especially if the kids want to get straight in the pool.)

We were given a room in a block near the perimeter of the hotel. This was a little smaller than the room we stayed in last year, but that was a Riu Palace so I guess that it is not fair to compare the two. If you have stayed in a Riu before, you will know what to expect in terms of the room layout, but if not the rooms are comfortable without being overly luxurious, all have air-con and a ceiling fan and are excellent for a good nights sleep even when daytime temperatures hit the high 30's. Bathrooms have hair dryer and a plug for razor/straighteners etc.

The hotel has 4 restaurants, the Restaurante Principal, (for which there is no need to book), the Andaluz, (offering local dishes), the Italian and The Grill. We enjoyed the Adaluz most, as our 10yr old is very adventurous and enjoyed trying Ox Tail, Tripe and Rabbit! However, even here there is a 'plain with chips' option if you or your kids are more fussy. Keep a look out however, (especially if you have a sweet tooth),for the nights that the 'Principal' is doing 'show puddings' such as flambé pancakes or Baked Alaska. The Italian offers what it says on the tin, and the Grill, (especially at lunchtime), is more of a 'fast-food option. It is also somewhere that if you get hungry between your lunch and dinner you can grab burgers, hot dogs or Pizza up to 5:30!

On our first evening when we went for dinner at 7:15pm we really got a feeling for just how many people were in the hotel; going up the ramp to the restaurant was like walking up Trinity Road on match day and was a little of putting as we are normally used to something much quieter. However, I don't know if it was because so many people were eating at the same time on that first night, or whether we simply got used to the amount of people, we didn't get that feeling of being part of the herd again.

All in all the food was fantastic.

The general level of service from the staff is superb and the 'Animacion' staff in particular work exceptionally hard to make sure that you have a good time. Again, you could be negative here and say that this makes it a bit like a 'posh Butlin's', but I think if you are coming to a Club Hotel you should expect it to be a little more, 'in your face' than at a regular Riu and especially a Riu Palace.

I did read a negative comment about the kids club from one reviewer, I can't comment personally on this as our boy has never been interested in clubs and prefers just to swim or chill with a book or his ipad. However, I can say that every member of the animacion team that I spoke to was fluent in English.

The location of the hotel is great if you want to enjoy the beach only 2 minutes walk through a little nature reserve from the back of the hotel. However, if you want to see anything else of the region you do need to make the effort to travel. We went on an organised excursion to Jerez and made our own way on the bus to Cadiz and 3 times to Chiclana. Buses stop directly outside the hotel and run every 20 minutes or so. Both Jerez and Cadiz are fantastic cities and worth making the effort to get there. Chiclana does not boast any real gems apart from the Church and tower in the main square, but it has some good shops and cafes, and for us provided a nice break from the eat, pool, sleep, eat, pool, beach, eat routine! At only 1.40 Euros it is also cheap enough to get the bus on a regular basis.

We did have one negative experience, but to be fair this was not the fault of the hotel and even so they made every effort to deal with it: on our first night we were awoken at about 03:00 by shouting and loud music. This was coming from the public car park that was across the gardens from our room and went on for about 90 minutes during which time it was impossible to sleep. (We live on a busy road and are used to traffic and other noise and are not 'light sleepers'.) We complained to the reception in the morning and they admitted that they had received other complaints from guests. Even though this disturbance wasn't on the hotel premises they contacted the Police who upped their presence and patrols and most of the problem was eradicated. However, a couple of days later it happened again and this time we heard bottles being smashed and my wife was quite scarred. We spoke to reception again who offered to move us the following day and we had no further problems.

All in all this situation was dealt with sympathetically and efficiently, even though it was something that was outside of their remit.

A great holiday, an opportunity to try lots of new activities, brilliant food, great service and a brilliant beach location. If you are looking for a good value all inclusive family package in this region then I think it would be difficult to do better.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank DandMCheshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about ClubHotel Riu Chiclana

Property: ClubHotel Riu Chiclana
Address: Urbanizacion Loma del Puerco, 11130 Novo Sancti Petri, Chiclana de la Frontera, Spain
Phone Number:
Region: Spain > Andalucia > Costa de la Luz > Chiclana de la Frontera > Novo Sancti Petri
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Novo Sancti Petri
#5 Romantic Hotel in Novo Sancti Petri
#6 Luxury Hotel in Novo Sancti Petri
#6 Family Hotel in Novo Sancti Petri
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — ClubHotel Riu Chiclana 4*
Number of rooms: 832
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located near Chiclana in Costa de la Luz * 1-story main building and 1 and 3-story annexes * 40,000 m2 garden * 200 m from the beach (several steps lead to the beach) * 8 km from downtown Chiclana * 2 km from various shops * 60 km from Jerez airport * 30 m from a bus stop * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa, Diners ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Chiclana Hotel
Hotel Riu Chiclana
ClubHotel Riu Chiclana Novo Sancti Petri, Spain - Costa De La Luz

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