There comes a point when sitting in the sunshine, hearing waves crash against the shore with a huge stack of books next to you is the only thing that occupies my mind. I was lucky enough to fly out to Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, this July to experience to beauty of this volcanic land. Our favourite trick when it comes to summer breaks is to browse the package holiday sites as they often have great last minute deals, even during peak season. We found the relatively new hotel, Royal Palm on the Thomson website at a great price and it gave us exactly what we wanted, sun, sea and sand!
The Royal Palm is a vast hotel, with immense space in all the communal areas. You’ll never struggle to find a pair of sun loungers or somewhere quiet in the shade during the day, and there’s a variety of bars, gallery areas and shops to keep you entertained in the evenings. At times, as you wander through the hotel, the huge areas of empty space seem bizarre and a waste. As the hotel hasn’t been open two years yet, I imagine they’re planning how to fill the space and in future more amenities will be on offer. It doesn’t have the same charm and character as a smaller hotel or villa would offer, but the staff are all very welcoming and friendly and having so much space means you and your fellow guests are rarely bumping into each other which only adds to the peaceful atmosphere around the complex.
The Royal Palm is advertised as a high end hotel, with clean lines, air conditioning, free wifi and an enormous buffet restaurant. Buffet food is sometimes a risky business, particularly at dinner time, you can rarely go wrong with a breakfast buffet. However, the Royal Palm buffet offerings for dinner were always varied, delicious and things a little different than you’d find at home. A couple of themed nights a week, including a Director’s Gala Dinner featuring some of the most spectacular seafood I have ever seen. On occasional nights there is a glass of complimentary bubbles as you enter the dining room, and if you’re really lucky there’s a bucks fizz or something stronger at breakfast! The main dining hall is lovely, with classic white table cloths and not too rammed with tables, however you can never help but feel like you’re in a school canteen when surrounded by the crashing of crockery and the gentle ping of stainless steel cutlery. So, in order to combat this, try getting one of the two dozen or so tables on the outside terrace area. You might have to wait five minutes for a table (rarely any longer than that, a benefit of a buffet!) but the view, the breeze and the serenity of looking out over the Atlantic Ocean is definitely worth it.
After your delicious dinner, the hotel bar offers a variety of entertainment options. Sometimes this is a low budget disco and other times an impressive flamenco or dance display. A glass of sangria in hand, and a gorgeous sunset out the window, it’s definitely a fun way to while away your time into the wee small hours.
The rooms at the Royal Palm contain some of the largest beds I have ever seen – huge and covered in pristine white sheets, perfect for relaxing after a hard day lying on the beach reading a romantic novel. The bathrooms are again large, much larger than I’m used to in a European hotel, with a bath, powerful shower, wide sink and separate loo area. All very civilised and neutrally decorated. The rooms almost all face out to sea, but some towards the upper levels of the hotel, by nature of its step design, are considerably further away from the waves than those on the lower levels. It is somewhat of a maze to navigate your way through various staircases or lifts to your room, but as with any hotel, once you’ve mastered the routes you need to know then you’re sorted. A complimentary bottle of water, a small fridge and some yummy chocolates all top off the rooms to be very comfortable and inviting.
The Royal Palm sits on the outskirts of the southern resort Jandia. A gentle walk along the shore will get you to the resort centre in about fifteen minutes, but watch when you go as high tide can cut you off at the cliffs. The beaches around Royal Palm are quiet and unimpeded by sun beds and parasols. The cliffs are home to hundreds of lizards and little chipmunk-esque squirrels (I am assured they are actually a variety of squirrel). The seas are invitingly cool, and the breeze of the Atlantic offers plenty of wind based sports such as windsurfing or surfing.
Being about a 90 minute drive from the airport, the Thomson included transfer and rep makes the trip a whole lot easier, and being a higher end hotel the luggage allowance is a generous 20kgs which is plenty for a week in the sun. A handful of books, swimwear and some loose clothing and you’re done! The ideal spot for a sunny break, and being the in Canaries, there’s sun all year round!