ALUN RHYS GRIFFITHS

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Gran Canaria :

Dunas Suites & Villas Resort

INTRODUCTION

Gran Canaria is just one of the Canaries Archipelago - a small group of Spanish islands to be found far from mainland Spain, but close to the continent of Africa. Gran Canaria itself is about 250 kilometres from the Western Sahara. As a part of Spanish territory in the sub-tropics, these islands offer pretty much everything that the majority of holiday-makers on an annual vacation require - sunshine and warmth, sandy beaches, and a stable political administration. As a result, tourists flock here, particularly from the north of Europe, and even more so during the winter months - the Canary Islands is just a four hour flight away from London, England, and they offer the closest possible vacation destination with guaranteed winter warmth.

Gran Canaria is certainly one of the most popular of the islands for tourists to visit. And most who come here will stay at a hotel on the south coast. But which of many hotel options to choose? This review focuses on one of the most attractive yet affordable hotel complexes to be found here - the Dunas Suites & Villas, a holiday resort in the town of Maspalomas, in the extreme south of the island of Gran Canaria.

Several photographs were taken by the author in November 2014. Others are credited to the Resort Website.

The Dunas Suites &  Villas Resort

The Author's Experience

The author of this article has visited many countries and stayed in many hotels, villas, chalets and camp sites of all kinds during the course of these visits. The Dunas Suites & Villas Resort is the first such accommodation which has both the visual appeal and the value for money appeal, to encourage me to write a photographic review - It may not be my last such review, but I feel that this particular resort complex is worthy of recommendation and promotion.

Dunas Hotels and Resorts

The reception and foyer of the resort

Why stay at the Dunas Suites & Villas Resort, or indeed at any other resort in this part of Gran Canaria? One powerful reason must be the amazing Dunes of Maspalomas - almost literally on the doorstep of the Suites & Villas Resort

THE KEY APPEAL OF THE SUITES & VILLAS RESORT

This is my personal review, and the requirements of accommodation whilst on vacation are personal. I say this because first and foremost for me, the appeal of the Dunas Suites & Villas is made plain in the title name of the resort; this is not an impersonal skyscraper hotel like so many that tourists inhabit on beach holidays, and which so often look almost identical and become indistinguishable from each other in the memory. The appeal of the Dunas Suites & Villas Resort is the attractive distinctiveness of the accommodation.

The resort is a landscaped environment of suites and villas of varying sizes and designs, set around swimming pools, bars and gardens covering an area of approximately 75.000m².

THE RESORT LOCATION

The Dunas Suites & Villas Resort is set in a very favourable location in the quiet neighbourhood of Meloneras, a district of the main southern tourist town of Maspalomas. The resort is within walking distance of the beach and the extensive Maspalomas sand dunes and the local Maspalomas golf course. The Oasis and Varadero shopping centres are about 1.5 km away, and the airport of Gran Canaria is about 35 km distant. A wide variety of tourist attractions are within easy reach wither by car or local transport, including Palmitos Park (a theme park with a dolphinarium, an aquarium and bird shows), Aqualand (a water park) and Sioux City (a Wild West show).

How to get around? Walking is fine for most people who want to use the beach, the local shopping centres or the golf course, but a shuttle bus service to the beach is also provided by the resort. Local buses also make regular stops close to the resort giving acccess to the rest of Maspalomas and nearby Playa del Inglés - a more lively tourist centre than Meloneras, with a very colourful nightlife. Taxis can of course also be called from the resort. Finally there is a car rental service in reception, recommended for all who wish to make good use of their time here to explore the island.

The suites and villas - more like a small, temporary home than a hotel room

Swimming pools surrounded by villas, rather than overlooked by towering hotel blocks, give this resort a friendly, more homely appeal

THE SUITES & VILLAS RESORT ACCOMODATION

The Suites & Villas Resort comprises three types of accommodation.

Most typical are 192 air-conditioned 'junior suites' which all comprise a bedroom, a small 'lounge' area (a table and a few chairs and a sofa/bed) and a bathroom. These are considered suitable by resort staff for a maximum of 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 children. Total area of the suites is 48 m2.

In addition there are 34 larger 'senior suites' (58-82 m2). These all have a larger lounge area and two bedrooms, to house up to 5 adults.

Finally there are 76 'villas', which are between 44 and 55 m2 in area. Most are single bedroom residences but 10 have two separate bedrooms. The distinguishing feature of the villas is that they all possess a self-catering kitchenette with a fridge, microwave, cooker, toaster and coffee maker.

Apart from the kichenette units, free amenities within the suites and villas are limited to a phone, a hair dryer, and a large satellite TV. (Unfortunately in many European hotels it seems that the reception for English language channels is very poor. In my suite, just one such channel, which carries world news, was accessible.) If the TV is unsatisfactory from an entertainment point of view, then wi-fi connection is free for all who have their laptops or their tablets with them. There is also a charged or 'Premium' high speed connection available if required. Internet access is also available in other public areas of the Suites & Villas Resort, for example by the lobby bar and pool bars. Finally in your accomodation, one can also have a personal safety deposit box, though again like many European hotels one has to pay a nominal fee for the privilege - that is quite irritating as in some parts of the world, there is no charge for keeping your valuables safe. My accommodation was the junior suite which was more than adequate for a single occupant and rather more pleasant with more of a homely feel than the average, comparable hotel room. And leave the door of the suite or villa and you don't find yourself in a barren, characterless corridor. Instead there's a little outside terrace with table and chairs surrounded by exotic tropical plants.

The terrace area outside one of the junior suites

The junior suite bedroom, with views through to the lounge and bathroom

The senior suite bedroom

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The villa lounge and terrace beyond, also showing the villa kitchenette facility

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The senior suite lounge

BUNGALOWS DUNAS

There are actually two resorts here under the same management, and each has its own reception area and lobby. I stayed at the 4* Dunas Suites & Villas to the south, and this is the resort which I focus on in this review. However, adjacent to and just north of the Suites & Villas, there is also the 3* Bungalows Dunas Maspalomas.

Apart from separate administration, the only significant difference is the accommodation. Bungalows Dunas consists of 207 dwellings which are more family orientated than those in the Suites and Villas Resort. Most (162) are actually single bedroom bungalows but these are considered large enough for a maximum of two adults and two small children. A smaller number have two bedrooms whilst ten more spacious bungalows have three bedrooms, as well as a second bathroom. And all also have a lounge area and a kitchenette for a true family atmosphere, and a terrace area outside the front door.

There are no other great differences between the bungalows and suites & villas sections, because all facilities in both resorts are available for use by guests. There is easy passage between the two, and indeed one could spend time here without even realising that these are two separate resorts.

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A bungalow bedroom

Dunas Hotels and Resorts

A bungalow lounge

Attractive plantings in the Dunas Bungalow Resort make this a pleasant place to live for a few days of your life whilst on vacation on the Island of Gran Canaria

One of the swimming pools and surrounding terraces in the Suites & Villas Resort

FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT AND YOUR RECREATION

The grounds of the Suites & Villas Resort include three main swimming pools, plus three more for children. Two further adult pools and two more for children are in the Bungalows Dunas Resort. Paved areas around the pools are lined with sun loungers and sun umbrellas. And small pool bars provide refreshments. Swimming pools may be a staple attraction of any hotel resort like this, but these are particularly attractive pools with plenty to choose from.

But there is more to be experienced at the Dunas Suites & Villas besides swimming pools. There are billiard and table tennis tables for the guests, and just next to the Bungalows Dumas Resort are two floodlit tennis courts. And for those with children there is a 'mini-club' and playground with organised activities. Children's discos are also held in the lobby bar near the reception foyer.

Also in the lobby bar area, the resort offers a variety of entertainments and shows for the adult guests. Shows including quizzes and other audience participation events are most days conducted by the resort staff, but there are also visiting professional entertainers twice a week. Usually the evenings will end with music and dancing.

Dunas Hotels and Resorts

Organised children's activities are available

WINING AND DINING

A very spacious restaurant serves the Suites & Villas Resort and is located close to the reception.

The restaurant is open for breakfast between 8.00 am and 10.30 am, and for lunch between 1.00 and 3.00 in the afternoon.

In summer, the restaurant is open for a buffet-style dinner between 6.30 pm and 10.00 pm. In winter there are two sittings with a breathing space between them to presumably enable the staff to replenish the buffet and tidy up. The staff do prefer that you arrive for the early sitting between 6.00 and 7.30 pm or the late sitting between 8.00 and 9.30 pm (although they probably won't kick you out if you arrive between sittings!) The menu includes a good range of local and international foods, but most nights also offers a themed selection of dishes. There is a dress code for the evening meal, but it is only what one would expect - no beachwear, but casual and informal.

Poolside bars are open from 10.00 in the morning to 6.00 in the evening, and during the day provide cold snacks such as sandwiches as well as drinks and ice cream. In the hotel reception area there is also a small bar in addition to the main bar where evening entertainments are held.

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The mini-club

The Reception bar on the left and the Canary Food Experience shop on the right

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The restaurant buffet at Suites & Villas Resort

Dunas Hotels and Resorts

Massage services in the Wellness Centre

OTHER FACILITIES

The Dunas Suites & Villas offers most of the amenities one would expect in a resort of this kind.

In the hotel reception area there is a shop called the Canary Food Experience, which promotes local Canary Island produce. And at the northern entrance to Bungalows Dunas Maspalomas there is also a small grocery shop for all your needs when spending the day on the beach or out in the countryside, and particularly of course to serve those who choose the self-catering facilities of the bungalows and villas.

In addition to car rental, bicycle rental is also provided. There is a laundry service, medical centre, and a baby sitting service available, and there is also a fitness centre for keep-fit enthusuasts.

And if massage and cosmetic treatments are your thing, the Wellness Centre offers a variety of services to cater for you including a sauna and massaging with heated volcanic stones, facials, pedicures and manicures.

Dunas Hotels and Resorts

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

Why stay in the Gran Canarian south coast town of Maspalomas? Or indeed why stay anywhere at all on the island of Gran Canaria? All year round guaranteed sunshine, great beaches, spectacular scenery and a whole economy geared towards tourism are all good reasons. As for Maspalomas - what really sets this resort town aside from others on the island is the safe and wonderfully extensive safe beach front and the extraordinary dune system which lays behind the beach - the subject of another page on this site. This town is a good place to be.

So having come to Maspalomas, why stay at the Dunas Suites & Villas?  This complex and its sister resort the Bungalows Dunas Maspalomas, are not luxury hotels. There are hotels within the town of Maspalomas which offer a full range of services with rooms of greater comfort and restaurants with finer dining. Some who can afford to do so, may prefer such accommodation.

But for the majority of us, the choice of vacation hotel accommodation is dictated by price constraints, and what we really want for our money is basic domestic comforts, entertainments during the day and evening, a decent catering service, and a few other conveniences to make the time we spend at the hotel as pleasurable as possible. And of establishments which offer these facilities in Maspalomas, the Dunas Suites & Villas Resort and the Bungalows Dunas, are unique.

What is it that makes them unique? For me it is two things. Firstly, the rooms. A hotel room is just a hotel room, one of many which lay behind identical doors which line a long and impersonal corridor, perhaps on the tenth or eleventh identical floor of a concrete tower block. But at Dunas Suites & Villas, even if the room amenities are no different to other hotels, one can feel that the accommodation is not just a room, but your own self-contained little home for the brief duration of your vacation.

Secondly there is the sheer attractiveness of the environment. Enclosed plaster wall corridors and metal box elevators are replaced by landscaped and vegetation lined pathways in the sunshine. Walking around the Suites & Villas Resort is a pleasure, and one could easily spend all of their days on the terrace of the suite or villa, lounging by the pools, or walking in the gardens. One might think it's a pity there's so much else to see in Gran Canaria that takes you away from the resort!

 

For myself, I hope to have the opportunity to return one day. For anyone else contemplating visiting Gran Canaria and the town of Maspalomas, I can certainly recommend the Dunas Suites & Villas Resort.

My Other Pages About Gran Canaria

 

The Maspalomas Dunes

The extensive sand dunes of Maspalomas are a beautiful natural environment in the tourist resort of Maspalomas, easily accessible to guests at the Dunas Suites & Villas, and well worth exploring

The Mountains of Gran Canaria

The mountains of Gran Canaria offer a satisfying contrast to the beaches which attract tourists to this Canary Island. This page investigates the beautiful landscapes and cultural history to be found in these mountains

The Location of The Dunas Suites and Villas Resort on the south coast of Gran Canaria

Using the satellite image mode and zooming in will show the extensive Maspalomas Dunes system - surely a major reason for choosing to vacation here

A hedge of Bougainvillea helps create an attractive facade to the Dunas Suites & Villas resort reception

I'd Love to Hear Your Comments. Thanks, Alun