We started looking for an Easter sunshine getaway at the start of the year. It’s always the best time isn’t it? After the excitement of Christmas and the anti climax of New Year (in my opinion) the only way to try and beat the January blues is to set your sights on sunshine at the end of what can appear a very long tunnel. That was before we knew that that tunnel in particular would contain ‘Beast From the East’ and then for some, the ‘Beast of the East’s Son.’ When it literally is -10, you can only dream of a crystal clear blue pool that overlooks the sea that eventually merges into the sky.
After (lots) of searching on my part, we looked at Gran Canaria where we had been before – Maspalomas, where we had stayed in a real budget hotel but one that pleasantly surprised us. We had been keen to return but there’s always an element of me that wants to try somewhere different. One thing we did know was that we wanted sunshine and so unless we were wanting to travel further afield like the Caribbean, we knew we had to look more around the Canary Islands.
Our good friends recommended the TUI La Palma Hotel (it actually has a much longer name) on the canary island of La Palma, somewhere were most people haven’t actually heard of. It’s not far from Tenerife and is much smaller in comparison to other Canary Islands.
The hotel was a four star platinum and we were told via our friends what a lovely place it was. Good food, lots of swimming pools, good rooms and an all inclusive package available. We appreciate all inclusive doesn’t appeal to all but in some cases I think they work really well. We wanted (needed) a flop and drop and the idea that it was a decent hotel where we didn’t have to worry about money etc sounded like the perfect scenario. So we booked it.
Previously I have booked us on city breaks and done the flights and accommodation separately. I thought that TUI wouldn’t be competitive regards price but in reality, when I compared it to our budget Gran Canaria holiday a few years back it was a no brainier. There was about £200 per person in it each and we wanted a more luxury break.
The flights to La Palma are limited. If you don’t go with TUI I am not sure how you would get there as no other major tour operator appears to do so (I could be wrong but when I searched La Palma flights, I just kept getting the TUI one offered to me).
There is a Gatwick flight as well as a Manchester one. In high season they operate on a Thursday and a Sunday, off peak I believe it’s just once a week.
We departed Manchester at about 3pm on the Thursday and it took about 4 and a half hours to get to our destination.
Virtually everyone on our flight was staying at the Princess hotel. We heard lots of stories on route, ‘it’s massive – never overcrowded’ or ‘there’s a walk around the outside of the hotel and it takes 40 minutes to complete the circuit’ and mainly, ‘this is our third/fourth/fifth’ time here’ which is always promising.
The drive from the airport to resort is about 50minutes and whilst breathtaking, it’s absolutely terrifying as the coach travels through windy roads that appear to dangerously hang over the volcanic sides of the island. Rumours that La Palma is an active volcano and partially sunken I believe to be slightly exaggerated, although not completely untrue.
From the coach we could see the sprawl of La Palma Princess and it looked both magical and absolutely huge and we weren’t wrong. Upon arrival staff could not do enough for you to try and check you in but in reality there were three coaches full of guests and there was a big queue. We were offered to go straight to dinner and our bags would be taken to our rooms, free of charge.
You literally need a map to get around this place but the advantage of having somewhere so big is that you are not on top of each other. There are 11 swimming pools (including one dedicated to a nudist area – not that I looked 🤪) and therefore plenty of beds and space. Each pool is absolutely massive. I swam 10 laps of one each day and according to the reliable iWatch, it claimed I had done nearly 500 meters. None were overly deep and there were some dedicated to young children.
You could be at a lively part of the hotel if you wanted to or in a really quiet area. There is something for everyone. I could see ourselves coming on this holiday with our friends, yet at the same time I could see us returning as a family or with our parents.
The food choice was vast, especially in the main restaurant. There was an a la Carter on site but you had to pay extra for that and quite frankly, I didn’t see the point. On Spanish night I had more chorizo than I knew what to do with and I didn’t see how that could be out done.
Each morning we opted to eat at La Chozo, a beautiful breakfast area overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The food here was limited in comparison to the main area but the views more than made up for it. A chef was on hand to cook you an omelette or fried eggs and you could help yourself to cereals, fresh fruit, bread, yoghurt and coffee.
My one complaint about La Chozo was that it was only open for breakfast. It would have been fantastic to see it open at lunch or the evening. I understand they do open it during peak season but I felt any school holidays should really be a key time.
La Palma has world heritage status for its night sky and therefore there are limits in terms of light pollution. There is a sky map and it tells you how many light years specific stars are away. It’s a beautiful sky to look up at night.
The rooms are big and cleaned every day. There was a TV in the room that at first I thought the only English Channel would be Russia Today but thankfully I discovered the BBC World Service.
English football is shown on a Saturday and also champions league matches. We watched Liverpool take on and beat Man City which was good because we were mainly surrounded by devoted Liverpool supporters!
All in all it’s a great hotel to stay in. If you are after a time where you can wander Spanish or Canarian streets then this place is not for you. Around the hotel is nothing but a steep walk although TUI offered day trips to the capital and the observatory.
#tui #lapalma #lapalmaprincess