Holiday Village Tenerife is part of the Be Live Hotel; Costa Los Gigantes, situated near Playa de la Arena – the quieter, calmer little sister of Playa de las Americas which is half an hour down the road. Dave stayed in Playa de las Americas for a stag do last year and said it is like Blackpool – make of that what you will!
We actually saw very little of Playa de la Arena, only leaving our hotel for a day out at Siam Park. This felt extremely lazy but in reality is testimony to how well looked after we were at Holiday Village Tenerife. Usually we would have explored local beaches & markets but the time just slipped away from us. I think if we’d been staying for another week we might have planned to explore more but we just really didn’t feel the need. Dave described this as a “take your brain out” holiday – you just don’t need to think about anything. Your meals are organised, the kids are entertained, your bed made. This is a far cry from the self catering holidays we would usually book and our heads have been well and truly turned – Dave actually started looking at booking our next Holiday Village break before we’d even got home!
With that in mind, here’s
Twenty reasons why we think you should book a family holiday at Holiday Village Tenerife:
1. Beautiful, spacious rooms – I don’t mind sharing a hotel room with the kids for a night or two but for a week or more you really need separate sleeping spaces! At Hotel Costa Los Gigantes we were spoilt for space with a double room and a suite with an interconnecting door. This meant that the kids had their own bathroom and balcony, Ben slept on a pull out bed in the living room and the girls had a twin bedroom whilst Dave and I had our own double room with it’s own bathroom and balcony. Being able to put the kids to bed, shut the door and retire to our own room in peace was fantastic – especially as it meant we didn’t all have to go to bed at the same time (though in all honesty most nights we weren’t far behind the kids!). The rooms were bright, clean and spacious and had everything we could have needed.
2. Incredible views – Because Hotel Costa Los Giagnates is sat on a hill side, the views are amazing. We had a beautiful sea view from our private balconies, but if I’m honest the view was gorgeous from just about anywhere both during the day and at sunset! I think my favourite view was from the Balinese beds.
3. Swimming pools – Holiday Village Tenerife has three pools as well as some super shallow pools for tiny tots – it’s worth mentioning that these are salt water pools rather than chlorine which we found took a little getting used to. I found it made my eyes sting but the kids weren’t bothered at all! The “Main Activity Pool” – better known by my children as “the party pool” was a bit of a culture shock when we first arrived – I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it before. It’s noisy and full of fun – there’s a fairly steady stream of entertainment going on, with a daily poolside quiz and a pool party every lunch time where you can join in with a string of Holiday Village dance routines (the HV Bounce, Live + Loud and Let’s Get Ridiculous were firm favourites and ones which Chloe is still making me play in the car on a regular basis!) This pool was always busy and the kids absolutely loved it. Tucked away in a corner was a single slide, it wasn’t the biggest and best slide I’ve ever seen but the kids enjoyed it, though to be honest we only went right down there a few times, they were so well entertained in the pools themselves that they weren’t that bothered by the slide pool – and that’s saying something for my three! At the opposite end of the hotel site was another, smaller pool which the kids referred to as the “Y pool” – this was much quieter in that there was no music or entertainment and no inflatables or balls allowed. We found ourselves mixing it up and spending time at both pools during the course of the day which really seemed to suit us all.
4. Kids’ clubs – Kids’ Clubs were a new experience for us – and one we were looking forward to! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to take my kids on holiday and then not see them all day but knowing that for a couple of hours at a time, they could be entertained at an age appropriate level in professionally run Kids’ Clubs whilst Dave and I took the chance to relax really took our holiday to a different level. Don’t for one second think we were pushing the kids into clubs so we could have time to ourselves either, Amy was choosing to go to Kids’ Clubs up to three times a day even over a bit of Mummy and Amy time! That was me told! Dave had the Kids’ Club timetable on his phone so we could just sit and look through the options and let the kids pick out what they fancied. The Kids’ Clubs are organised by age group which meant Amy was in the youngest group and the big two were in the next group up together. I had worried that Amy might be bothered that she was on her own but she honestly couldn’t have cared less. Ben was only two weeks off moving up to the next age group which was a bit of a shame as I think it would have been quite nice to separate them all and give them a break from one another!
5. Evening entertainment – Although there was a full programme of evening entertainment including live music in the bar, we found ourselves at the Holiday Village outdoor stage almost every single night. The kids absolutely loved it – from the nightly Live + Loud show (which was basically like watching Saturday morning television on stage), to a pantomime or pop show – they were thoroughly entertained from about 6pm through to 10pm every night – we were hard pushed to get them away for tea some nights! The entertainments team really did give 100% at all times – and we have to give a special mention to Aron, I’m fairly sure this guy is made of springs he has so much bounce and energy!
6. Balinese beds – There are nine private Balinese beds with stunning sea views which can be pre-booked and accessed with a key. They are set behind privacy glass panels to the side of one of the swimming pools, which means you can hear a gentle buzz of activity in the background but not so that it disturbs you, in fact Dave said it he quite liked it as it made him feel quite separate from everything. A platter of fresh fruit and a bottle of cava is delivered to your bed each lunchtime – just to add to the feeling of decadence. Although families are welcome to use the Balinese beds, Dave and I preferred to go there on our own whilst the kids were in clubs and enjoy the opportunity to sunbathe in peace or read a book. We did take our team to the beds one morning but found we spent more time worrying about them disturbing other people than we did enjoying the experience!
7. Gym – Now it will come as no surprise to you to know that I didn’t go anywhere near the gym . . . however, Dave was in training for #RideLondon and I think we all know that an all inclusive holiday in the sun is rarely the best training for a 100 mile bike ride! He hit the gym a couple of times while Ben was at Football Academy, and whilst he said he struggled for the lack of air conditioning, the view was amazing. It certainly served his purpose of getting a few miles under his belt.
8. Spa – Although we had free access to the Spa, I chose not to use it. I love a good spa day but it just didn’t feel like something I wanted to do when I could lie on a Balinese bed in peace and read – I guess I just didn’t feel the need to escape and, when I was already super warm, the idea of a steam room wasn’t so appealing! We did visit the spa to get washed up ahead of leaving and I must admit at that point I regretted not popping in sooner!
9. Awesome Reps – Every single member of Holiday Village Tenerife staff we came into contact with was friendly, enthusiastic and ready to help with anything we needed but at no point did we feel pressured to sign up to anything or join in with things if we didn’t want to. From the lovely girls who met us at 2am after a slightly stressful transfer (which involved our taxi driver accidentally dropping us off at the wrong hotel!), to the Kids’ Club staff or the gang dancing energetically at the pool side every day – these guys are loving their jobs and their banter and enthusiasm is infectious.
10. Food – You really won’t go hungry at Holiday Village Tenerife, there’s lots of options of places to eat around the site with several restaurants open at different times of the day serving a wide variety of buffet options, a daily BBQ and an à la carte restaurant which you are welcome to dine at once per week. Initially we found the buffet a little overwhelming, if you arrive at a restaurant at peak time it can be trickier to find a table for a family of five and guiding three children through the buffet options when it’s busy really isn’t fun – in fact I nicknamed in the Buffet Bum Shuffle! However, we soon figured out when the quieter times were to go and found it much easier to sort the children out first then once they were settled Dave and I would go back to choose our own meals. When it was quiet Ben and Chloe were able to go and serve themselves fairly independently. The buffets offered up a huge choice of familiar foods (yes all the chips, pasta, roast chicken, a full English breakfast) as well as more adventurous local dishes or themed evenings, a children’s area (though they are more than welcome to choose from the main buffet), healthier options and plenty of fruit and veg. We particularly liked the freshly cooked options each day which were served at a counter – Dave enjoyed an omelette made to order most mornings for breakfast. As I have mentioned, the all-inclusive package includes one à la carte meal per week – this is something you need to pre-book and I recommend doing this fairly early on in your stay as it quickly books up. There are two menus available and these alternate – so if you are staying for two weeks you might want to try and time your à la carte visits so you get to try both menus, particularly as the menus are limited to a few choices for each course. To enable us to review this option fully we were invited to eat at the à la carte restaurant several times which meant we tried out both menus during our week’s stay. For Dave and I, we found it felt like a real treat to sit down, choose our meal from a menu and have it brought to us after a few days of negotiating the buffet! The children’s menu in the à la carte restaurant is very limited so our three much preferred the choice of the buffet restaurant. With hindsight it would have worked well to feed the kids at the buffet first then have our à la carte meal in peace while they were at a Kids’ Club!
11. Drink – You certainly won’t go thirsty at Holiday Village Tenerife either! There’s plenty of options for keeping your glass (or coffee cup) topped up throughout the day. Both the main activity pool and the quieter pool have bars serving a range of soft drinks and slush as well as beer, wine and sangria on tap which you can help yourself to. The bar area in the main hotel building, which has both indoor and outdoor seating, is open all day with machines to serve yourself hot drinks, milk shake and soft drinks as well as all the usual alcoholic suspects served at the bar. In addition, there’s a bar at the Holiday Village stage on an evening. I think the kids and I were probably about 50% slush at all times – I actually drank very little during our holiday but Dave definitely enjoyed a beer or two with his meals and in the evenings. In addition to the standard all-inclusive drinks available, there is an optional drinks package charged at 10 euros per person, per day, which includes premium branded drinks.
12. Lots of comfortable sun beds – Row upon row of sunbeds flank the pools at both ends of the hotel but, as I’m sure you can imagine, these get taken up very quickly. Whilst you’re not strictly allowed to save your sunbeds, people absolutely were, which we found frustrating and tried not to get involved with! If you want a bed right next to the poolside so you can keep an eye on the kids, you’re going to have to get there first thing. We soon discovered that if you hadn’t made it to the main activity pool by mid morning you weren’t going to be lying anywhere whereas the quieter pool at the other end of the site often had beds available. The sunbeds were comfortable and most had a parasol for some necessary shade. We didn’t really spend all that much time on them preferring the peace of the Balinese beds if the kids were in Kid’s Clubs for any length of time or more often we just tended to be in the pool with them or at least sat at the side.
13. Towels are provided – There’s no need to take your own beach towels on holiday with you, these are provided by the hotel. You are given a token which allows you to change them on a daily basis for fresh ones.
14. Onsite shops – There are a number of onsite shops. The first selling gifts and clothing – we picked up some new flip flops for Chloe after realising her Crocs were too small. The second shop was all about the sweets and chocolate – miraculously we managed not to set foot inside it all week! And the third and final shop stocked more practical items like sun cream and shampoo as well as inflatables for the pool. Of course you do pay a premium for the convenience of buying these things on site, I paid over 6 euros for a box of tampons.
15. Splash park – The onsite splash park, whilst small, was a whole world of fun! Packed with sprinklers, a small slide and an enormous bucket of water which tipped a huge quantity of water over the park on a regular basis, the splash park provided plenty of entertainment for our children – and for Dave and I as we watched them! It provides a welcome break from the pool whilst still offering up the fun and refreshment that comes with playing in sprinklers!
16. Ariel adventure – The Ariel adventure is a free activity but it must be booked in advance. You have to be over six for this high up assault course – and as Chloe isn’t a fan of heights she gave this a miss but it was right up Ben’s street. Safely harnessed up, he had a great time climbing around the course – and despite his confidence, there was actually one section which scared him – just enough to still be fun of course! There’s no sense of achievement if it’s all easy is there?
17. Swim Academy – Swim Academy lessons are lead by ASA-qualified teachers and can be booked in groups or individually from ages 3 right through to adults. We chose to book an individual lesson each for Ben and Chloe at a cost of 21 euros for half an hour. They have both been having lessons at home since they were 3yrs old but we thought it would do them both good to have a really focused lesson. Edward quickly assessed their swimming ability before setting to work on teaching them – he showed Ben that his arms do all the work and that he needs to concentrate on harnessing the power in his legs. At the end of the sessions Edward gave us a quick overview of what he’d worked on with them and what they needed to do next. I’d have loved to have been able to book more sessions for them but as a result of the lessons being super popular we just didn’t have the time. If you do want to book private Swim Academy lessons I recommend you make this a priority on your first day so you can get your places confirmed as soon as possible!
18. Football Academy – Ben had two Football Academy sessions – these were two hours at a time and cost 20 euros each (this also included a Football Academy football shirt to play in). Football isn’t really Ben’s thing but he knows that he needs to be able to hold his own in the playground, particularly as his best friend is obsessed! Dave and I decided that a couple of sessions with qualified coaches was worth the investment for him, luckily Ben didn’t need convincing and was really enthusiastic about going. I had been a little worried that the Football Academy session would be too much for Ben, that the other children would be too good and it would knock his confidence but I needn’t have worried. The sessions are organised by age group and are tailored to children of all abilities and he absolutely loved it. In Ben’s words, “It was the first football thing I’ve ever enjoyed!”
19. All inclusive – Booking an all inclusive break means that there’s no budgeting worries. From your food, to your towels to the kids’ clubs – everything is included in the price and you could easily not spend a single penny from arriving to leaving. Of course there are plenty of places you can spend extra money – the spa, Swim Academy lessons, Football Academy, the games room – and these would soon add up, but it really isn’t necessary if you are keen to keep a control on costs. What money we did spend, was on Swim Academy and Football Academy, a few arcade games, steak supplements and a three hour kids’ party which frankly was worth every penny!)
20. Check out arrangements – Although check out is 12pm, you are not expected to sit in Reception with your cases all day if you have a later transfer booked. We weren’t due to be picked up till 8pm so we packed up and checked out whilst the kids were at a Kids’ Club and put our bags into the storage room (you can pay a couple of euros for a locker which we chose to do for our hand luggage as it had my laptop, cameras and all our tablets in). Once we’d done that we were free to enjoy the rest of our last day at Holiday Village Tenerife – which meant more Kids’ Clubs, Swim Academy sessions and generally lazing about by the pool. Rather than having to travel home straight from the pool, we were able to book half an hour per room in the Spa to make use of the showers to get washed and changed.
Phew, so there’s just twenty of the reasons why we think you should book a holiday with First Choice at Holiday Village Tenerife . . . if you’ve still got any questions after reading that little lot then leave me a comment or shout me on twitter and I’ll do my best to answer!
Thanks so much to First Choice for inviting us and to all the team at Holiday Village Tenerife for ensuring that we all had such an amazing holiday – you guys are doing a great job and Chloe has the worst case of holiday blues ever to show for it!
*We stayed at Holiday Village Tenerife as guests for the purpose of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*