MELIA TAMARINDOS – The secrets of under promising and over delivering

All-inclusive resorts sell the ultimate dream a 6+ day cheap and worry-free travel vacation to a destination where all you do is relax, eat, drink and do some extracurricular activities. In the last couple of years, all-inclusive’s have been under fire, particularly due to how bad the food is, their hidden “extra” fees and the fact that there is little to no contact with life outside the resort. attracted to the hassle-free aspect of all-inclusive vacations. Once you arrive, you can store the wallet and relax. But along the way, all-inclusive resorts have since gotten a lot of stigma — earning a reputation for being tacky, comprising dated rooms and sub-par food. While this is sometimes true, in some cases it’s certainly not. Be advised, all resorts are not created as equals. There are some very nice resorts that offer all-inclusive packages that are a good deal for those who want a managed vacation experience. However, there are other resorts that are below the quality standards that most expect while on vacation (just check my review of Iberostar in Cuba)

Generally speaking, all-inclusive’s are really not my thing but this time the situation was different. OK, here is the setup: typical English October (cold, wet and grey), a limited budget and kind of last minute booking; so Bora Bora is not possible and I hate flying more than 5 hours. So, there are only two options, Canary Islands or northern Africa. Since Egypt or Tunisia still ring the security bell, I chose Las Palmas. And immediately Melia Tamarindos in San Agostin caught my attention.

melia

Founded in 1956 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Meliá Hotels International is one of the largest hotel companies in the world and the largest hotel chain in Spain in both resort and city hotels, operating now more than 370 hotels in 43 countries and 4 continents under its brands.

As I already experience two of their brands: Gran Melia in Genoa and Melia Costa del Sol in Torremolinos, my next move was to check if their high standards apply in a resort where the affluence of tourists and the “all-inclusive” concept can create an environment with different expectations and challenges.

Since the moment of booking, Melia Tamarindos proved not only that they have the guest as the centre of it universe but more than that, so rare, unfortunately this days that they know how to under promise and over deliver.

Before our arrival in San Agustin the team of the hotel send us very useful information related to check-in, all-inclusive package details and interesting suggestions for the time we intended to spend there. This charming but not intrusive care and concern continued after our arrival with phone calls and letter from both Reception and Concierge, all focused in creating the conditions for a perfect stay.

Located right on the spectacular San Agustín beach and very close to Playa del Inglés and the commercial centre of San Agustín, the Meliá Tamarindos is the perfect option for your trip to the island, thanks to its excellent location in one of the main tourist resorts on Gran Canaria. What I do like about the hotel, is the fact that you are away from the over-crowded touristic areas, far enough to don’t feel the cheap package holiday “taste” of Playa del Ingles but close enough (7 Euro by taxi) if you want to party all night long in Yumbo. Actually, you are somewhere in the middle between the airport and areas like Maspalomas or Meloneras. Is like you have the best seats for a rock concert: close enough to feel the vibe but not so close to need earplugs.  Love the fact that the location close to the beautiful and quite beach gave me the chance of a perfect mix: sunbathing by the pool and listening to decent background music and swimming in the crystal clear Ocean only 2 minutes away from my sunbed.

The hotel is quite impressive. Built in 1974, the venue was following the trend in the late ‘70 and early ’80 hotels: big lobby, vast open spaces, luxurious garden which guide the guests to an immaculate big swimming pool. The local Spanish Colonial–style with the wooden back façade was kept after 2000 renovation and now the hotel has 2 outdoor pools for adults (one of them heated) and 1 children’s pool, a mini golf course, a tennis court and a squash court with balls and rackets free of charge plus a real observatory with telescope and professional astronomer.

More recently the introduction of new “The Level” found here the perfect grounds for the exclusive commitment by Meliá to offer a unique range of superior services and facilities. Checking in at Melia Tamarindos makes you feel special very easy, when every detail has been designed and created for their guests.

For my stay at Melia Tamarindos I decided to o “full option”: a suite, all-inclusive and The Level. And, believe me, it was the best decision!

My room was a magnificent suite THE LEVEL VISTA MAR; located in the central nave of the building, at the 6th floor the room provided a wonderful view of the hotel gardens and the Atlantic Ocean. Never had for breakfast so many amazing sunrises anywhere else in the world. The suite measuring approximately 57m², offers three clearly defined spaces: bedroom, lounge and bathroom. Once again, the layout of the space was incredible: the interior designer took some elements for the “LEVEL” framework (minimalist, modern, sleek, smooth and glossy with champagne and beige tones creating a relaxing ambience) but, at the same time he kept the “old” hotel look with couple of pieces of furniture in strong colours which made the entire mix an extremely pleasant space. The leaving room lead onto a wooden colonial styled balcony with stunning views and enough space to soak up the energies of the tropical garden or clear and calm Ocean.

The large elegantly decorated independent lounge measures over 28 m² and is designed to offer the perfect space for relaxation, on the comfy sofa including a working space for those who cannot stay to long away from the office.

The bedroom dominated by a comfy queen size bed was the perfect environment for a relaxing and deep sleep, while the impressive walking in wardrobe would made happy make envy even the most serious luggage orientated traveller. Don’t remember a holiday resort with a walking in wardrobe with a vanity table, mirror and 3 double full-size wardrobes.

The bathroom was large with 2 sinks a separate space for bath/shower and toilet and of course has the decadent LOEWE amenities, replaced twice a day by the housekeeping.

Talking about housekeeping that’s a point where a special mention is needed. The room was pristine with a daily cleaning and an evening turn-down service with an immense attention to details; everything was spick and span with every items placed in the same position like was never moved. Having a conversation with the Jiske Jager, the Guest Experience Manager I was not surprised to find that the longest serving employee is Mrs. Elia Rosa Padilla, who started in the housekeeping department when Meliá Tamarindos opened its doors in 1974, made her way up to manager of the housekeeping department and will retire next year. Is a very good example of walking the talk in accordance with the very high standards of Melia.

Those who have stayed in one of Melia Hotels before recognise the high quality standards and know that  “Everything is Possible” is not just a marketing slogan, but daily reality. The LEVEL experience concept brings indeed the customer service experience to a completely different … level! At Melia Tamarindos the attention to details was exquisite: everything is created for and around the guest and everybody is working hard to create the perfect holiday experience. And, being honest, every moment spent in the hotel was a memorable one: from the friendly and efficient approach of the reception team to the personalised bathrobes in our room, from the constant genuine care of the LEVEL team to the impeccable service in the restaurants and bars. Every day at my return from the beach I found placed in the room a little surprise: sometimes some sweets, delicious cakes or a small selection of traditional tapas. Amazing! But to take this magic moment to a different level, every day the Guest Experience team, lead brilliantly by Jiske, a Dutch moved in Canarias more than 7 years ago, left a genuine message, making me to crave for the next surprise in my room, like a child waiting for Christmas day.

“THE LEVEL” is the best option if you choose Melia Tamarindos for your holiday. A series of exclusive services are provided for those lucky to get a “black car” and enter THE LEVEL: daily newspaper of your choice in the room, exclusive access to The Level Lounge where you can enjoy a range of snacks and a hot and cold drinks in an elegant and relaxed setting, a modern business centre from 10am to 6pm in The Level Lounge, 30 minutes of sauna every day at SPA IN plus a  5% discount off treatments, 1 hour free tennis and squash every day and of course access to an exclusive solarium place closer to the beach with Jacuzzi, fruit, cava, coffee, juices and water perfect area to relax for guests over 16s. And of course, everything continues in your room:  a welcome gift, the Level high quality bathrobe and slippers, a free late check-out, an Nespresso coffee maker (like home!!!), the excellent Loewe bathroom amenities, a pillow menu and of course the Turn-down service. Is like being in Paradise!

One of the reasons why I always avoid resorts for my beach holiday is the animation team. Nothing can be more annoying if you want to relax on the beach or by the pool, than a group of youngsters screaming their heads off to make you join their daily activities. I still remember the pain in a resort in Hurghada where the word “aqua gym” started to be a twice a day nightmare when I was on the beach. At Melia Tamaridos the story is completely different. The hotel provides a range of daily activities but, everything is done with an impressive respect for the guest’s privacy and a very good taste. Yoga, stretching, aqua-gym classes are all done in areas which are not interfering with those who will just want a relaxing day at the pool. Actually, the trainers were quite good and, even I am an anti-gym type of tourist, I got caught in the mood. And in two days the team organised for the guests other surprises: an entertaining cocktail making demonstration and an unexpected good fashion show by the pool.

 

For the evening the entertainment is the expected one for a resort hotel. You don’t go to Canary Island to watch in your hotel a Parisian cabaret show or something like that. The evening entertainment was decent, tailored on the audience expectations and complemented by the trendy atmosphere of Jameo Bar where the service was always aiming high standards. Of course for a more relaxed evening the other option was TARA BY NIGHT BAR, an open-air area next to the main pool with a wide variety of drinks, cocktails, long drinks, gin and tonics complemented with a chilled, friendly atmosphere and every night live music.

As I said earlier I always tried to avoid the “all-inclusive resorts” for my holiday just because the universal question “All-inclusive? Aren’t those resorts where the drinks are watered down, the restaurants are crowded and the food is pretty minimal and mass produced?”. And if you read my experience in Cuba you will see that the scary stories with all-inclusive buffets can be truth. When you take your vacation you surely don’t want to end up at some resort that has serious issues with quality. And in Melia Tamarindos when is a meal time QUALITY is part of the daily routine.

Roque Nublo buffet restaurant was the main choice for breakfast lunch and dinner and doesn’t matter how fussy you are about your food it was hard to find something wrong there! The buffet offering international and regional cuisine having large, magnificent areas was never busy and the service was spot-on. The elegant space with show cooking was serving salads, vegetables, fish and meat dishes, and a wide selection of chesses and cold meats, fruit and delicious desserts, Italian corner (pastas, pizzas) and had always a local cuisine corner.

For my mornings in Melia Tamarindos, I loved the large outdoor terrace with lovely views of the gardens and the sea and the breakfast was tailored to satisfy all taste and expectations from a huge hearty choice to more healthy options.

Our lunch was normally in Tara snack bar, a charming terrace overlooking the sea and the pool. The bar was ideal for informal lunches as you enjoy a pleasant day by the pool choosing from a wide choice of hot and cold snacks (hamburgers, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, ice creams) or from a buffet or a la carte menu. Once or twice I tried the main restaurant where the breakfast’s experience was repeated with an amazing choice of international and local dishes, fresh fish, great salad bar and mouth-watering deserts.

The icing on the cake? Of course, the dinner. Roque Nublo was open from 6.30 to 10PM which match perfectly the eating habits of the multi-national crowd and made the restaurant pretty quiet for a buffet style venue and create space for a very efficient and elegant service. I loved the idea that a “smart dress code required for dinner” was not only recommended but respected in the restaurant; no more flipflops, t-shirt and shorts around us! The dinner buffet was one of the best buffet I have ever had, and I’m a person who lives to eat. Fantastic variety, no skimping, something for everyone. Everything from a cheese and fruit board, to salads, prawns, local specialities, mains, side dishes, veggies, and dessert. In addition, every evening a special cooking station was present to order specials such as pizza, steak, paella, or pasta and even sushi. A bit of room left for desserts which were too many to try even half, but a good selection of sweet and savoury again meant there was something for everyone. And add to all this a reasonable wine list and a great service to get the clear image of a perfect dinner.

And once again the titanic work and genuine passion was revealed by our host Jiske Jager, Guest Experience Manager: “We only work with fresh products that arrives to our hotel daily from the Canary Islands and from Spain mainland. We exclusively work with suppliers of great prestige and experience, based on these products we elaborate our different menus. Daily we cook for around 500 guests distributed in the main buffet restaurant ¨Roque Nublo¨ for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The level areas, ¨Tara¨ restaurant, ¨TBN¨ a la carte restaurant and our tapas & cocktail bar ¨Le Pool¨

During my 7 days stay at Melia Tamarindos I was continuously amazed about the high level of customer service and customer care in all departments. And of course, I was trying to find the secret behind the genuine 24h smile of everybody there from Jiske. The answer was the perfect explanation for the high standards everywhere in Melia Tamarindos: “Our guests are our reason for being. We just love to make their stay in Meliá Tamarindos an unforgettable experience, which is our main goal. I personally believe that our colleagues only can transmit this to our guests if they feel passionate about what they do, not just ¨working for a company¨. Meliá Tamarindos is their home and we are all one family. When employees are in the loop what is going on and feel that they are a part of something rather than just working for a company, things will really progress. Employees appreciate when you ask their opinion and let them know that it counts. They feel happy knowing that you think they have the talent, knowledge, and skill to contribute. In return you’ll get some great ideas. For example, once a month the direction team invites employees from every department for a sit down in a relaxing environment to hear their ideas and opinions. From those sit downs came a lot of great ideas which we directly apply in our day to day. It creates team spirit and motivates them to improve every day. Another example is our private Facebook group where everybody can share, for example, when we receive a compliment of one of our guests, we share that on the page and congratulate them for the good work as well as our colleagues congratulate and motivate each other.”

IMG_1313

With Jiske Jager, Guest Experience Manager

I had the chance to speak with other guests in the hotel from Germany, France and Norway and I realised that my feeling after spending some time in Melia Tamarindos you just want to go back wasn’t singular: a lot of guests return to visit the hotel. Mainly because they feel at home and enjoy the quality service and the “obsession” of taking care of every single detail. Mrs. Jager, the Guest Experience Manager, was proud of the return business: “Our returning guest love that we recognize them when they come back. For example, small gestures like a attention in their room upon arrival and remembering their preference of previous stays and apply them without they have to ask for them again. We let them know that we care and that we appreciate their loyalty a lot. We make them feel like home. I believe that quality is our best guarantee of customer loyalty, our strongest defence against competitors and the only road to growth”. In addition, Meliá hotels International has a loyalty program which provides private rates at melia.com, Get points for each booking and Redeem your points for MeliáRewards emotions, a free program with personalized customer services. MeliáRewards has benefits for members such as MORE VALUE (Points, surprises, discounts) MORE POSSIBILITIES (Flexible use of your points) and MORE TIME (You are always our priority). There are 4 levels; MeliáRewards white, MeliáRewards silver, MeliáRewards gold and MeliáRewards Platinum (https://www.melia.com/en/meliarewards/ventajas/home.htm)

I can spend another good hour writing about my recent experience and I am sure that I forgot so many experiences and names, but I have something better to do: to book my next stay in Melia Tamarindos in February.

Why ?

Because at Melia Tamarindos the guest is their reason for being

Because at Melia Tamarindos they do things right: with professionalism, efficiency and agility

Because at Melia Tamarindos they anticipate and evolve to be better every day

Because at Melia Tamarindos they love to share, listen… feel

Because at Melia Tamarindos they do what we say

Because …

 

~ by leonard69 on November 21, 2017.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: