After a pretty draining year we decided a week in the sun would be a good idea. With an 18 month old in tow we didn’t really fancy contending with major time differences or a long haul flight, especially when we were only going for a week. So, if we wanted sun, The Canary Islands were the obvious choice. I should confess at this point that I’ve never been a huge fan of the Canaries…. I thought I knew what they were like because of stereotypes I’d seen or heard, which put me off. However, the reality was, a four hour flight, no time difference and some sun meant Fuerteventura was a sensible choice.
Due to the early flight we decided to stay at Gatwick the night before – we picked Sofitel Gatwick as it was connected to the North Terminal and we could simply walk from the hotel to check in within minutes.
The hotel was lovely – we ate room service on the floor, from the light of the bathroom (the joys of sharing a hotel room with a sleeping toddler) but the restaurants and bars we saw from the main atrium of the hotel looked great – I was only a little jealous……
Anyway, the alarm got us up at 5am and we were able to lift the sleeping toddler (well done wife for thinking about the travel GroBag), nip along the covered walkway from the hotel and get checked in before he woke. A little research had told us about the family lanes at Gatwick, which made going through security so much easier. Before we knew it we’d had breakfast in Starbucks and were heading to the boarding gate.
We’d been told about Barceló Castillo Beach Resort by friends and it seemed to tick a lot of boxes – a short drive from the airport, branded drinks, a number of restaurants and bars to choose from and, if you chose Royal Level, a gated pool area so nice and safe with a toddler. We weren’t disappointed. We went straight to a separate check in area (very handy with a restless toddler), and were taken to the block we would be staying in.
Somehow the Barceló Castillo have managed to make a huge hotel and apartment complex feel like a small town. It’s located at the end of a peninsula so there’s not much traffic and the hotel complex is cleverly split up into areas, punctuated with bars, cafes, ice cream bars, main dining area, pool area, kids play ground on the beach, theatre, hotel reception and small shop. As a result, wandering around feels like you’re walking around an area of the island rather than a hotel complex. The grounds are stunning and the whole area spotlessly clean. My perceptions were beginning to change….
The Royal Level has a beach side area and a gated pool area. We had requested the pool area and got a great room (ground floor – easy with the pushchair) which looked over the pool and the sea beyond. There’s two pools, loads of loungers, a bar and the staff would come around offering fruit kebabs and drinks on a regular basis.
Our days generally followed the same pattern: breakfast; walk; lunch for the boy (beer for the adults); walk to get the boy to sleep; lunch for us; pool in the afternoon; shower and change; tea for the boy; dinner for us. With little to think about other than food, drinks and strolls around the harbour it was pretty easy to relax.
Now, I should give full disclosure here, if you wander out of the hotel complex, there are elements of the local town that are a little ‘Brits abroad’…. fine if you like or want that, one to be aware of if you don’t. On our morning walks we’d head up to the local town and the first things that you see are an Irish bar and a string of English cafes and restaurants. There’s also a small supermarket and a kids play area which are very handy so you can’t knock it too much!
We somehow managed to spend a whole week eating, drinking and wandering around. It was a very relaxing holiday and so easy with a toddler. I’d definitely recommend for a quick break whether that’s with kids or as a couple. My views of the Canaries are definitely changing and I’d definitely look to the Barceló chain again if I was heading that way again.