At its eastern extent the busy resort of Playa Blanca gives way to the pleasant Rubicon Marina. The Iberostar Papagayo lies half a kilometre beyond that, on the rocky coastline of the Las Coloradas bay. The hotel was built in 2002, and has dated quite well. There is a sandy beach just beyond the marina, though it isn’t particularly pretty – much better to walk east around the coast to the succession of gorgeous beaches around the point. A 10-minute drive takes you into the heart of Playa Blanca, and there is a courtesy bus for those who want to save on taxis.
I found little to recommend the junior suites over the perfectly acceptable standard double rooms. The family suites have an air of spaciousness about them, and come with a useful kitchenette. All rooms have balconies or terraces, some with better views than others – don’t be afraid to ask for a change when you arrive. Staff are as accommodating as they can manage.
I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the general standard of décor and design here, given that this is not a flagship location, but in fact everything seemed well tended and clean, not too brash, not too drab. If there’s any complaint, it’s that the hotel lacks a distinctive character – it could be anywhere.
Eating and drinking
The buffet breakfast runs between 7.30am and 10.30am. I think it could be extended for an hour, because it was almost too busy to enjoy a relaxing breakfast. The same room hosts the buffet lunch, before taking a break until dinner. Eating in the same room all the time can begin to feel like a chore, especially if you’re here for more than a week, at which point the food would also feel repetitive. On the other hand, the familiarity and routine appealed to many of the people I chatted with.
The main part of the hotel, on the seafront, is separated from the family apartment complex by a road. Each half has its own pool – that on the family side is without a pool bar, which will appeal if you want a quiet time. Tennis is on offer, there is a great spa with hot tub, Jacuzzi and sauna and a squash court. The hotel also has an arrangement with the Lanzarote Golf resort, allowing preferable rates on their 18-hole course at Puerto del Carmen.
Jolly, helpful bar and restaurant staff go a long way in an all-inclusive, since you will be seeing a lot of them. Happily, this hotel has got it right, and I saw no downtrodden, disgruntled faces among the workers.
Who stays there
Quite a few families with teenagers, as this hotel has more for older children than many all-inclusives. Also couples who don’t quite want to be in the thick of it in Playa Blanca, but want the option of the odd night in the bars, and savvy beach lovers who love the easy access to Punta del Papagayo.
Skip the junior suites, unless you absolutely must have a separate living room.
- Families with teenagers
- Families with younger children
- No fuss
Pros & Cons
- Good quality food
- Staff a rare delight
- Quiet beaches nearby
- Buffets can be overcrowded