Tucked away in the quiet and luxurious resort of Melonaras in the south of Gran Canaria, after 25 minutes in the taxi I had arrived. If first impressions are anything to go by, this enormous hotel was definitely going to be different than anywhere else I’d stayed before.I’d read a lot of reviews when researching the right hotel, and those on TripAdvisor for this place were all better than positive, they were absolutely glowing. Despite the high expectations this had given me, I was still absolutely blown away when I arrived.
Stepping through the doors in the impressive glass fronted-facade, I was greeted with the sounds of the jungle, bamboo covered walls and a suspended walkway over pools below. Yep, first impressions were very good! Turning to find the reception, I was again wowed when I stepped through the doors. Something mentioned in many reviews was the fragrance of the reception. I was instantly hit with a pleasant, musky smell that, at a push, reminded me of Lynx Africa. The African theme of the hotel was definitely evident with the uniform of the lovely staff at reception, who greeted us with a glass of bubbly and a quick overview of the hotel facilities. Thankfully we were also given a map, which came in handy about 10 minutes later as we tried to find our room. Bags were delivered to our room shortly after, which left us free to explore the stunning walkways on our way to the room.
Checking in to the room, I was very pleasantly surprised to walk into a spacious and modern room that is larger than some studio apartments I’ve stayed in. I couldn’t decide which was my favourite bit – the huge bath, rain shower or large balcony with a great view of the pool and sea in the distance. Having a good look around the African-themed room, I found the TV tucked away behind sliding doors, bathrobes hanging up for us and pool towels in the cupboard with a beach bag for us to use.
The only problem with having such an amazing room is that I was super tempted to just sit in the massive bath all day. But, armed with the map, I had to explore the huge complex of the hotel. And wow, is this a place worth exploring! Not only are there 7 – yes, 7! – pools to spend the day lounging by, one of those is actually a lazy river with a beach area. With over 650 rooms in the hotel, you could be forgiven for expecting it to be cramped and a fight for sunbeds. In fact, I never had a problem finding a sunbed and didn’t even have to get up at the crack of dawn to put my towels down. The standard rule of ‘no reserving sunbeds with towels’ was actually enforced here – very fair, and very much appreciated as it meant sunbeds were only taken up by people using them.
Mealtimes at Lopesan Baobab are, essentially, a twice daily party in your mouth. With two buffet restaurants on offer, you can opt for the family-friendly place housed in a building inspired by African huts, or the restaurant recommended for couples with an outdoor area surrounded by water. I ate mainly on the outdoor terrace because it’s such a novelty for me to enjoy a meal outside, but I saw couples of all ages and families of all ages, so although they’ll recommend a certain restaurant, you’re free to eat where you please.
With so much food on offer, freshly cooked and frequently replenished, you will definitely not go hungry. Although I stayed for just a week, we never had dishes repeated and there was always something new to try, with all diets catered for. This sounds like a plus, but I wish they’d repeated some dishes because they were just so delicious I’d have happily eaten it every single night. Turkey in mustard sauce and Chicken Yassas…I’m looking at you!
While the two main buffet restaurants are included in the Half Board option, there’s also an á la carte restaurant if you’d like a fancier option for an additional cost. The restaurant looked great but I was so busy checking out all the dishes in the buffet restaurant I didn’t try this place out. Lunch is an á la carte affair too, in the poolside restaurant Pili Pili. If you’d rather tuck into something from the pool bar, there are waiters frequently doing the rounds by the pool and you can order food and drinks from the comfort of your sun lounger.
While the pool bar is on hand to keep you refreshed throughout the day, there are a few other bars that really come to life in the evenings. Quiet drinks in the reception area sounds a bit impersonal and unwelcoming, but when you check out the vast reception area you’ll soon happily opt for a few drinks while you connect with the free Wi-Fi – only free in reception. In the heart of the hotel complex is the most amazing building, surrounded by yet more water, animal figures, and is the favourite haunt of the hotel cats. Two bars take pride of place here: upstairs is a relaxed bar full of character, amazing ambience and live music most evenings. Downstairs is home to the evening entertainment, pool tables, computers and general chill out area. Service in all bars is prompt, friendly and with a smile.
I’ve never stayed anywhere with such an amazing entertainment schedule. The days are filled with activities for those who can’t just sit around all day, and we frequently saw staff moving equipment or holding a yoga session or pilates in the shade. It’s not forced upon you as it can be in smaller hotels, but is there for anyone who wishes to take part. Evenings were more relaxed, allowing you to sit and soak up the show with a drink or two. Of the shows I saw, my favourite was the Jersey Boys tribute act, who had me singing and dancing away, much to the embarrassment of my boyfriend.
Although I didn’t travel with kids, I did see a number of families during my stay. The staff everywhere were brilliant with children, from the kids’ club that would sometimes pass by the pool, to the waiters giving them a high five when passing them in the restaurant. Evening shows are also held nightly on the outdoor stage for little ones, and always sounded full of life and fun. Although there were a lot of families staying in the hotel at the same time as me, I found they often used the same areas/pools to relax during the day, meaning I often didn’t hear a peep from any kids unless they floated past me on the lazy river. I was actually really impressed that the hotel manages to cater for such a variety of holiday needs.
It was extremely difficult to leave this luxurious hotel and come home, and in fact I’m not sure how I’ll go back to staying in the normal three and four star hotels I’m used to. Another thing that has to be mentioned is that the customer service in this hotel is so amazing, that since returning to the UK I’ve been baffled that we don’t have even a fraction of the same service standards. After experiencing such luxury, I will always be comparing future experiences and am not sure they’ll be able to live up to this hotel! I could not recommend this hotel highly enough, and will be trying to find dates that it’s not sold out to get myself back to the Lopesan Baobab asap!
The Important Stuff
Hotel website: www.lopesan.com
Official rating: 5 star
Trip Advisor rating: 4.5 out of 5
Travel saving tip: I found this hotel on an amazing deal by booking last minute through a package holiday company, and found a discount code to use too.