Hotel reviews in the travel sections of magazines and newspapers tend to focus on the luxurious and the quirky. Although we all love to have a nosey at these types of places, the truth is that the majority of holidaymakers don’t stay in a hotel that costs €300 a night or is made entirely of glass and is located at the top of a baobab tree.
In The Heart of Tenerife’s First Tourist Town
It’s one of those perfect Tenerife winter days. On Tenerife you sometimes only know it’s winter because the adverts on television tell you so. The sky is a sea of blue, the temperatures are in the mid 20s and from the rooftop pool and sun terrace, the views of the Orotava Valley send a tingle of joy skipping down the spine. The Tigaiga Mountain range to the west slopes down to an invitingly blue sea. To the east there are views all along the north coast to a horizon where a few fluffy white clouds break up the blue canvas. The crowning glory on this voluptuous vista is of course the great Mount Teide, watching over the valley like a benevolent father.
As I walk from one side of the roof terrace to another, I peel a banana (Canarian clearly) from the complimentary fruit bowl in my room/apartment and allow at least a couple of my senses to savour the essences of north Tenerife.
Who’d have thought that here in the concrete centre of the main tourist resort in the north of Tenerife, I’d be overwhelmed by nature’s palette?
Review of the Hotel Noelia Playa: The Essentials
Location: Whether you’re a beach bum or culture vulture, the Noelia Playa is conveniently located. Playa JardÃn, the town’s main beach, is 10 minutes walk away. Similarly, head in the other direction and a 10 minute stroll will lead you to the heart of Puerto’s old town at Plaza Charco with its restaurants and bars. In between are more restaurants, so the teasing aroma of grilled meats and fried fish may prevent you from actually reaching the plaza. For anyone arriving in Puerto by bus, it would be difficult to be any closer; the Noelia Playa is situated beside the bus station.
Rooms: Being an aparthotel, the rooms are a good size and smartly laid out; the lounge area is in an alcove so it feels separate from the bed. The kitchen (with all the necessary essential tools for holiday cooking…and drinking) lies in another alcove with doors that, when shut, lend it the appearance of a cupboard, which is pretty neat. The décor is bright and there are loads of big mirrors throughout which can make things ‘interesting’. The bathroom is on the ‘bijou’ side but fine as long as only one person uses it at a time. One of the best features is the balcony ““ ideally placed for relaxing with a glass of local vino to watch the sun set on Mount Teide.
Service: The Noelia Playa isn’t a massive hotel which means that you soon get to know staff members. All work very hard to keep the food replenished in the buffet and the drinks flowing in the bar. It was extremely busy when we stayed and the staff, although working long hours, remained friendly and efficient throughout.
Food: The Noelia Playa is a budget hotel, therefore don’t expect gourmet food at the buffet. Breakfast is mainly continental with some hot food choices as well. The selection of dishes at lunch and dinner probably wouldn’t satisfy foodies, but seemed appropriate for most of the clientÃ¨le. When the restaurant held a theme Canarian cuisine night, the quality went up a notch… I confess to having a second helping of conejo en salmorejo (rabbit in a sauce). Ultimately, the Noelia Playa is an aparthotel, so if food is important to you I’d recommend making full use of the apartment facilities (there’s a supermarket with reasonable prices attached to the hotel that is open until 11pm) or eating out.
Entertainment: Although the main client group, at this time of year at least, seemed to be mature Northern Europeans and Spanish, there were some younger families as well and the hotel has wifi and video games in the lounge. There’s also a games lounge with a pool table, table football and air hockey. The evening entertainment is fascinating. It consists of a guy at a keyboard singing old Spanish pop songs. It might sound a bit cheesy, but the place is heaving with the local Canarian population at the weekend. It might not be what British visitors are familiar with, but it’s a winning formula.
Overall: For a budget hotel, the Noelia Playa does what it does well. The rooms are generous sized and, being apartments, offer a range of options regarding eating in, eating out or opting for the hotel buffet. It’s in a prime position for exploring Puerto de la Cruz and has superb views from its rooftop pool. It’s not chic, it’s not trendy but what it is, is damn good value for money.