When it comes to holidays, we always, always go for something that suits our needs perfectly. It’s usually at least two weeks, which might include anything from one to a few different Airbnbs, and will definitely include a list of places to eat, see, photograph, shop and enjoy. Not that I’m a micro planner, at all, but let’s just say these trips are always full. Sometimes to the point where I feel like I need a holiday, after the holiday. But this past month or so, I was craving sunshine and waves, nothing more. For the first time ever, I got tempted by all those package holiday offers making their way into my inbox, and, last week, we found ourselves in Fuerteventura, Spain, via Tui holidays.
A little about Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura is one of the Canary Islands and is the second largest - there are seven in total, including the more popular Lanzarote and Tenerife. Invaded and exploited by various ‘explorers’ and pirates from the 1400s onwards, today it is home to a wealth of hotels, some aimed at keeping families happy; others focused on ‘adults only’ holidays.
What we booked
Seven nights at the Tui Sensimar Royal Palm Resort & Spa, half board (breakfast and dinner), flights and transfers included, cost us around £845. We booked our holiday on a Wednesday and were on our way the following Saturday. On top of this we chose to fly from Birmingham International Airport, meaning no train and tube journeys to a major London airport – this made a massive difference to the experience, and actually saved us around £100 too.
To be honest, despite the very positive TripAdvisor scores – a solid 4.5 from across 900 reviews – I was nervous that we might have made a huge mistake. We love to eat and as we are both vegetarians, I was concerned that both breakfast and dinner would be a carnivore’s dream, leaving us with stale salad leaves each night. However, we were pleasantly surprised. Dinner was different every single night, consisting of a huge array of options – and if you love dessert, you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice. Breakfast was super fresh and included a variety of smoothies, juices and all the cheese you could want. On three out of the seven nights we were greeted with a pre-dinner drink, which we never said ‘no’ to. There's also a decent gym if you feel the need to work off the desserts...
The staff were polite and pretty much left you to enjoy your surroundings. When we arrived we were upgraded from a ‘partial sea view’ to a full one, and it definitely made a difference. Every morning we would open the doors to hear the waves crashing down below, and even on days when we didn’t fancy being by the pool or in the sea (rare), it was comforting to see the blue skies and beautiful sea surrounding us.
Throughout the week the weather was around 21 to 23 degrees with a nice breeze. There were a couple of days that were quite windy, but still plenty of sun that made it worth staying out for. If you love to swim, the sea is fine but I wouldn’t describe it as warm.
The hotel is super clean – perhaps things might be different at busier periods, but we were very happy with the conditions.
As mentioned, this was a holiday in which we wanted to do nothing, so I can't really tell you if there is much to do there, but I did see a few surf schools. The one day we did decide to go for a walk, we basically had to walk along the highway - not the safest option, admittedly - for half an hour to get to the nearest shops. If you need any toiletries or snacks, head straight to the Spar - the other stores are way over-priced when it comes to essentials! We did hear that if you walk for another half an hour there are more stores, a lighthouse and other things to see. On the way back, if you judge the tides right, you can walk along the beach, rather than the road.
As for the ‘adults only’ part, which I was a tad wary of, it basically just meant there were zero kids around, which also meant that plenty of women were happy to go topless in order to get an all-over tan by the pool. Below, on the beach, both sexes sunbathed completely naked, jumping in and out of the sea to cool down. Nothing sordid or seedy; just people being totally chilled out.
Room for improvement
This is a tough one, because we were definitely happy with our trip, but if I had to choose something that could be improved or added, it would be a poolside drinks and food service. You can purchase a small selection of cocktails at the bar, or you can choose from a larger selection if you go into the restaurant. I don’t know about you, but when I want to be lazy, I want to do absolutely nothing, so I would have loved it if there was a waiter service where we could order without moving, and also order food. Also, you cannot order room service, which kind of sucks on those lazy mornings. You can book breakfast in your room, but it must be in advance.
All that said, I would 100 percent book with Tui again – it’s well worth checking out their last minute deals if you’re in need of some me-time. It took a while to get used to doing nothing – I didn’t even bring my laptop, which is something I haven’t done throughout seven years worth of holidays – but I realise now that it was exactly what I needed. I’ve come back with tons of ideas for my blog, my photography and also a podcast. I just need to plan the next trip now…
What do you think of package deals? Are you a bit of a travel snob who wouldn’t dream of it, or is it something you regularly prefer to do due to having a family? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!