The Thomson website will show you all the gloss to entice you in, as will the official Timanfaya website, and Timanfaya on TripAdvisor will give you the highlights and the lowlights but what I realized is that none of these told me exactly what I needed to be aware of.
So during our ten day stay, I made a list of everything you need to know about staying at the Timanfaya hotel, Lanzarote. It includes things that are useful, advice on what to avoid, and advice on what to do. This isn’t a review, nor a complaint, just some observations which I hope you’ll find it useful, if you’re ever thinking of staying at the Timanfaya, Lanzarote.
Where it’s available – Internet access is only available on certain floors. The official statement from the front desk is that it lives on the 4th floor (where reception is) and the 1st floor (by the pool side café and in the coffee shop). However, this is, in fact, incorrect. You can also get it on the 2nd floor (in the dining area) and there are some rooms that you can get it from too (even if you’re not a Privilege customer where you get wi-fi in your room automatically).
What it’s like – If you’re uploading things (I was trying to upload Blurb book) or downloading large files, then your positioning at the Timanfaya is important. There is only one floor that you can really effectively do tasks like this. The wifi at the Timanfaya can also be a little bit patchy. In the sense that a lot of times it cuts out. Or won’t let you connect. But persevere and it’s fine. I was out here for work and considering a lot of my work involves the need for internet, it only made me want to tear my hair out once.
How to access the internet – there were so many people asking this question that it really pissed me off that a) the majority of the reception staff couldn’t (or wouldn’t) help and b) they didn’t have a hand-out explaining how to connect.
So here’s what you do in 3 easy steps (if you’re on an Apple device – Android users didn’t seem to have the same issues):
- Go to reception and ask for the internet code. This lasts for 7 days.
- On your device, connect to H10 Internet. It will show as full bars, but this is a lie. You’re not connected yet.
- Open a browser window and type in ‘google.es’. This should force your device to direct you to a T’s & C’s gateway page. Follow the instructions and you should be connected.
Good news is, it’s free.
Where are the best places to work from? If you’re here to jump onto bits of work and you need internet, there’s 3 large wooden tables to the right of reception (if you’re looking at it). One of these is taken up by Thomson, the other is for car rentals and the middle one is often taken up by a rather grumpy Belgian representative for some kind of travel agency. She may, of course, have been grumpy because we kept sitting in her spot. If you can get the middle table, then this place is best for internet access. There’s also a handy power plug and a giant lamp. If you can’t nab this spot, then the low sofa opposite it is just as good if you don’t mind working off your knees.
The coffee shop on the 1st floor is also pretty good. It has comfy seats, is generally fairly quiet and a good selection of snacks and drinks. The dim lighting lets it down.
The Coffee Shop – what should I have?
The Coffee Shop on the 1st floor at the Timanfaya is the only place in the building to get decent coffee. They serve all the usual, as well as many hot and cold coffee cocktails. For the sweet-toothed, they have a range of milkshakes (they call them smoothies) and hot chocolates. Beware, the cream they use is 100% fake. It’s the whippy kind, but the only resemblance it has to the proper spray can stuff is the colour.
The cakes are tempting and there are some regulars – a giant, cream laden carrot cake, a cheesecake, chocolate cake, cookies, an apple cake and a couple more. For those whose eyes are larger than their stomachs, the portions will leave your stomach TTT (tummy touching table), yet the carrot cake and apple pie are the only ones worth having. Don’t touch the muffins – they had the same problems as the cheesecake; whilst they look great, ours was a little stale and even when it was replaced by a fresh one, it had a strange metallic taste as though it was either rancid or had been situated in a smelly, stale fridge.
If you’re an all-inclusive customer, drinks are ‘free’, cakes are not.
The All You Can Eat Buffet
The dining room is a very dangerous place. Temptation is everywhere and you can go up as many times as you want. In the evenings, the food is decided by theme. So for example, Thursdays are Indian, Saturday is Italian, Sunday may be Mexican, and so on. Every evening, there is paella. This is to be much applauded (apart from the vegetarian one).
Head straight to the back of the room for all the freshly-cooked food. Here you can get fresh fish or meats or different specialities (e.g. make your own pasta dishes), omlettes at breakfast. It also gets really busy which is why its best to head there as soon as you can.
Espressos at breakfast – we just discovered (on our last day) that you can also order espressos rather than the large pots of coffee. These come in a normal cup and take a little like they’ve just poured it from a coffee pot, but it is marginally less offensive than what they usually serve.
The 1st floor bar
This is a lovely place to sit, but whatever you do, don’t get any of the non-alcoholic cocktails, especially if you’re not all-inclusive. It’s over €5 for what is essentially an Umbongo in a fancy glass.
The room is lovely – there are no complaints here. I’m not sure if it’s the same for all rooms, but there aren’t any windows, only large floor to ceiling sliding doors. Keep these open during and after your shower otherwise it can get a bit damp in there.
Pillows – The hotel obviously thinks their guests are giants. The pillows are giant-sized, really puffy and about 3 foot long. You get 4 of these in your bed. Each night I woke up with a stiff neck from the awkward angle.
The TV – UK channels are from 18 – 23. There’s only a couple worth watching as the majority are ancient American series featuring over-dramatic, badly acted ugly actors. And there aren’t any films.
The gym – it has everything you need here, although be aware of the deadlift racked weights. We almost had a nasty incident here where it tipped over and had the gym not had a middle support in the window, the user and the machine would have crashed straight through. There’s also a decent sauna.
Crazy Golf – I loved this. There’s only 6 courses (some with more than 1 hole) and it’s basic but fun. It literally takes about 15 minutes to get round so I recommend you do it several times.
Day Trips – absolutely excellent if you want an easy way to see some of the best sights. The pace can be slow and the beginning and end is always a bit boring, especially if you’re the first hotel to be picked up and the last to be dropped off. Yes, it’s probably cheaper to hire taxis and jump on buses, but the guide is really what you pay for and we learnt a lot more about Lanzarote and the sights than we would have done otherwise.
If food isn’t included, I bet you a thousand pounds that there’s be a recommended place. If you do end up in a little village for lunch, however, it is definitely worth exploring. We strayed from the crowd in Haria, discovered a beautiful little market (much better than the one in Playa Blanca) that was brimming with local-made food and gifts, ate lunch in a park and then chilled out with a beer surrounded by locals.
As I said before, isn’t meant to be a complaint or a moan, by any means. I rate the Timanfaya highly and I would gladly stay there again. It is merely a personal view but one that I hope will be useful to some. Especially those trying to get onto the internet. I could have earnt a lot of money doling out advice to stressed out holiday-makers trying to work it out.
The Timanfaya H10 Hotel, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
C/ Gran Canaria, 1. Montaña Roja
E-35580 – Playa Blanca. Yaiza – Lanzarote