As winter begins to lose it’s hold on us and the days start getting longer, this is when I start dreaming of the sun. Spring still seems so far away and the odd bright sunny day still can’t disguise the chill in the air and that’s when the year’s travel planning begins in earnest.
In Autumn last year, we took a little jaunt over to a sunshiney oasis, Lanzarote. Only 4 hours away from London, it remains warm and tropical and it’s what makes this little island such a huge British favourite. As this was our first holiday with the sprog we needed somewhere child friendly, but still somewhere us adults could relax and enjoy.
Princesa Yaiza was recommended by many, right on the southernmost tip of the island, it’s located right on Playa Blanca and it’s an easy walk to lots of shops and restaurants and a lovely little sheltered beach popular with sunseekers and swimmers alike.
We were unprepared by the sheer size of Princesa Yaiza, it’s huuuuge. 5 swimming pools, 8 restaurants, a spa, soft play, a gym (clearly somewhere I didn’t bother going to) and numerous bars, you can spend an entire morning simply exploring. What I did appreciate about this sprawl is that nowhere feels very crowded, there must have been a fair number of folk there but there were enough sun beds for everyone and none of that passive aggressive lounger reserving angst that you can sometimes come across!
I really liked that hotel staff pointed us towards a nearby shop for odds and sods, most hotels would never suggest that you buy from anywhere other than themselves (Quelle horreure) but clearly they know that you’re never going to buy their overpriced rubbish and very efficiently point you to what you need to know!
There are lots of small little details that make you realise how child friendly this hotel is but my favourite thing was the children’s jacuzzi, warmed to exactly the right temperature so we could take the Sprog for his first swim. It must be said that I was a great deal more excited than he was, he seemed to just view it as a larger version of his usual bath.
There’s a family wing located across the road from the main hotel, connected by an internal walkway lined with aquariums which inevitably makes the 5 minute connection a lot longer as adults and children alike linger to admire the brightly coloured fish. The family wing has its’ own pool and serves breakfast here too, so it actually feels like a whole separate private hotel right on your doorstep just for you.
The suites come with a balcony, kitchenette and are amply large enough for four adults and so with our baby in tow, we have plenty of space to spread out with all the mammoth volume of stuff that small babies seem to require.
The sprog was only 3 months old and so a little small for the charms of Kikoland, a large playground dedicated entirely to the kids. Kiko the duck, he who Kikoland is named for, comes visiting all the kids every morning at breakfast and does the rounds by the pools and I found myself almost wishing the years away, just thinking how much fun he’d be having had he been a little older.
But it’s not just all baby pools and cuddly mascots. For a foodie like me, the dining options are crucial and I was not disappointed. Breakfast buffets are basically the best part about hotel stays and it did not disappoint. It’s served up at 2 of the restaurants in the main hotel – La Hacienda and Yaiza but also in the family annexe so there isn’t far to go.
There’s absolutely everything you could imagine and so it is entirely possible that you would never need to eat again if you were to go to town but this is Spain, land of tapas so we keep room for long lazy lunches by the beach.
Half board at Princesa Yaiza means that lunch isn’t included at the hotel but Marina Rubicon or the Playa Blanca seafront are no more than a 15 minute walk and are home to a number of little tapas hotspots. For dinner, there are 3 restaurants included within your half board stay, Italian, Mexican and International buffets and a further 4 à la carte options that you can receive a €25 credit per person on your bill. First of all, we opted to do the rounds of the buffets and found that while all of them had some similar elements, namely vast quantities of food, they all came with a twist.
The Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda, did a mean outdoor BBQ and the International restaurant Yaiza had a different theme of cuisine every night, alongside its vast array of foods, guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest eater. The Italian restaurant won the husband’s heart with it’s range of pizzas and pastas but I couldn’t stop myself from numerous repeat visits to the dessert counters, horrible for my waistline! My favourite buffet restaurant, Yaiza, had their show cooking dessert one evening of banana rum caramel pancakes and my heart was won forever.
The staff took all the children in their strides, even in the restaurants when the kiddly winks didn’t behave quite as they should, nobody batted an eyelid and I felt like it meant the kids behaved themselves even more knowing that they weren’t raising any eyebrows and it meant that all concerned could have a relaxing evening enjoying lovely food in fabulous surroundings.
I don’t often think about returning to a holiday location, much less returning to a hotel, but in this instance I think I may just make an exception.
A version of this review first appeared on Flush the Fashion. I received a complimentary stay for 2 nights and a media rate for the remaining 5 nights, however as always, all opinions are my own.