The cliff-top setting, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is energising, and once inside this hulking hotel, I am no longer fixated by its white elephant appearance. The Vistamar is set in the south, between bustling Puerto Rico and quieter Playa Amadores. Amadores is a newer, less attention-seeking resort than fun-loving Puerto Rico, its better-known neighbour. Amadores is the satellite resort to Puerto Rico in much the same way that Meloneras is to Playa del Ingles. While Puerto Rico is party central, and heavily built up, Amadores is far enough away to keep its distance and special character.
Although both Playa Amadores and Puerto Rico are nearby, the hotel has no easy access on foot. Unlike the two rival Gloria Palace hotels, the Vistamar is not connected to the gorgeous cliff-top promenade that takes you to sandy beaches or nightlife in either direction.
Views available can be of Puerto Rico, Amadores or the pools. For the best sea views, request a room on the upper floors, especially the fifth floor. Rooms on the lower floors might have slightly impeded views, given the protective netting that guards against rock-falls. Bathrooms, which are designed in neutral tones, come with beige bathrooms that tend to be rather dated (clinging shower curtains, anyone?) and on the small side, as are the rooms, with room 1469 as a case in point. The three-bedded family rooms are a good-value option.
The outdoor spaces are one of the best things about this cliff-top cream monolith. If I’m honest, the Vistamar never pulls my heartstrings but it has a huge number of fans. If you can get over the nine-storey, concrete-jungle look, the Vistamar has much to offer. The terraces are cleverly designed to allow privacy and secluded sunbathing areas, and several pools, but there is a distinct lack of greenery and landscaping, apart from a pleasant waterfall area. From different terraces there are good views of the cliffs and Playa Amadores beach.
Eating and drinking
The cuisine is generally good, and justifies the popularity of this all-inclusive resort. The rooftop, buffet-style pool restaurant is well-run, with surprisingly tasty dishes, including enticing salads, pasta, squid, or grilled tuna steaks cooked to order. You can eat pretty much when you want, cruise-style, but reservations are required for the dinner grills or Andalusian feasts. Instead, in the main restaurant, Spanish-themed supper buffets are particularly popular.
Children are spoilt for choice, with a compact playground, a dedicated pool, and a kids’ club catering to four to seven-year-olds or eight to twelve-year-olds. There’s also a full activity programme ranging from pool and beach games to table tennis, football, tennis, basketball and volleyball. Adult entertainment includes water aerobics, tennis, billiards, card games, the gym and two adult-oriented swimming pools. An 18-hole golf course is a short, ten-kilometre drive from the Vistamar.
Family-friendly evening entertainment features shows, live music and films. Partying bars and boat trips abound in Puerto Rico, but Playa Amadores offers a quieter beach with a mixture of chic bars and cheap-and-cheerful eateries. If you want the beach, the Vistamar is a short (free) shuttle ride from the golden sands of Playa Amadores.
Friendly, personable, but highly professional, as in most Riu Spanish resorts.
Who stays there
Families who are looking for a no-fuss, all-inclusive holiday, with plenty to occupy the children.nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
As in most of Gran Canaria, winter season rates (October-April) are higher. A buffet breakfast is included, as are a raft of activities, but WiFi in the lobby comes with an extra charge, as does computer hire in the bedrooms.ssmmmmmmmmmmm
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Families with teenagers
- Families with younger children
- First-time travellers
- Mature travellers
- Live entertainment
- No fuss
- Chilling out
Pros & Cons
- For families, everything you want is on tap, apart from the beach
- The cuisine, which is surprisingly good for an all-inclusive
- The winning all-inclusive formula, which suits those on a budget
- No access to the cliff-side path between Puerto Rico and Playa Amadores
- The Vistamar is a (free) shuttle-ride away from the beach
- The all-inclusive nature of the resort discourages guests from exploring