The Hotel Riu Chiclana doesn't scrimp on facilities. This lively hotel teams access to the beach with great pool and dining scenes, and a packed entertainment schedule.
The Hotel Riu Chiclana is a grand-looking whitewashed property, spread out among manicured lawns and palm-lined walkways. It’s got peaceful surroundings, but is only a 10-minute walk from the beach. There's plenty in the way of activities here, too.
This hotel does family-friendly with a deluxe twist – the pool area has a faux lighthouse and a children's splash park, the buffet restaurant is all dark wood furniture and linen, and you can upgrade to a roomy family suite.
Average monthly temperature and rainfall for the Chiclana de la Frontera location.
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I was slightly nervous about this holiday having read the reviews published this summer, in particular the many that said 'if you don't like noisy children, this hotel isn't for you'. As it happens I don't like noisy children but seeing as I have a 15 year old daughter who was once a noisy child herself and who still wants to go on holiday somewhere with a bit of life we needed to pick a hotel which suited all of us. Normally a tough ask but I think on this occasion we managed to keep everyone happy at the RIU Chiclana (and there are ways to avoid the noisy children if you wish and have a pretty peaceful holiday).
To begin at the beginning the transfer from the airport was pretty swift (just 50 minutes) and because Thomson UK only seems to use this one hotel there wasn't all the tideous trailing around dropping people at other hotels. The check-in was slick and efficent as other reviewers have said. You're met off the bus by a team of people who give you your wrist bands, then more people with glasses of orange juice while you queue to check in. We didn't queue for long and I was thrilled because I'd emailed the hotel to ask for a room in specific block and floor and got exactly what I'd asked for.
You then leave your bags (they give you stickers with your room number on to put on them) and the bags are brought to your room. However, if like us, you are keen to get into your bikini and in the water I'd take your own bags to the room as ours took over an hour to arrive.
I'd asked for a top floor, quiet room, preferably in block 38 and we got an end room on the top floor of that block. This meant we had only neighbours on one side, no one above us making a racket on the tiled floors and a beautiful, peaceful sea view. Block 34 would also be a good choice. Ask for top floor not 1st floor as (a) some blocks are 3 storey and (b) in Spain the 1st floor is the ground floor.
The gardens/grounds of the hotel are beautiful and immaculately kept. In fact the whole hotel is extremely well kept and clean. Additionally all the staff that we met were extremely helpful and friendly - so much so that it was like a breath of fresh air.
The food at all the restaurants was excellent, extremely fresh with lots of variety including plenty of seafood. We would have like more typically Spanish food but the choice wasn't bad, particularly in the Andalusian. The only thing we didn't like was that all the restaurants could be very busy and noisy if you go at certain times. We quickly established (and had also taken note of the reviews) the following guidelines:-
We liked the outside terrace at the Andalusian for breakfast. It didn't seem to matter how long the queue was for this restaurant (and it was normally much shorter than the main restaurant) if you asked to sit outside this area was practically empty. Unless you asked to be sat outside then the staff don't offer it (not a criticism) which meant we got to breakfast in peace.
The Spanish (who probably make up 80% of the guests in this hotel) like to eat lunch from about 2pm onwards so if you lunch at 1pm you'll virtually have the restaurant to yourself. We liked the main restaurant for lunch, particularly outside on the covered terrace which was out of the sun and took advantage of the lovely cooling breeze on this coast and has a super sea view.
Again the Spanish don't come to dinner until late, usually at least 9pm and do bring all their young children with them so at that hour they are pretty tired and crotchety and noisy. However, we are more than happy to eat at around 7.30 and again, if we asked to sit outside, enjoyed some lovely peaceful mealtimes.
We found the beer and the wine (all local) pretty drinkable but the cocktails less so - a bit watery in our opinion but there were plenty of other choices.
The only part of the hotel that just wasn't our scene was the pool. This was for two reasons, (a) we'd rather be on the beach anyway and (b) in our opinion there just isn't enough pool nor poolside space for the amount of guests in the hotel. The upshot is that the pool is heaving and the sun loungers are too crowded together. However, we realise that it suits many and we were happy to go to the beach and what a lovely beach it is. Miles and miles of powdery sand and, even on the weekend, it wasn't remotely crowded.
We hired sunbeds down there (the hotel doesn't have any sunbeds on the beach). These cost 5 Euros a day each. We love the surf beaches in Devon and Cornwall so we were delighted to find that this beach was like Woolacombe or Perranporth complete with waves and sunshine! I bought a bodyboard in the hotel shop (45 euros which was a bit steep but there were none for sale down on the beach so they have a monopoly) and spent many a happy hour riding the waves.
Some people have mentioned the 80 steps down to the beach. Don't let that put you off, it really wasn't that arduous unless you're really unfit.
We did two trips through Thomson to Seville and Gibralta. Both times our tour guide was Patrick who was absolutely brilliant. The most helpful and informative guide we've ever had. Seville is beautiful and well worth a visit. Gibralta was also pretty interesting although less picturesque.
All in all we had a lovely, relaxing holiday at the RiU Chiclana and all the staff were extremely helpful and friendly.More
Amanda W, Andover, United Kingdom
Outstanding in every respect
We took two of our children and our four grandchildren for a week mid August. Having read some of the reviews I was a little worried. My husband and I had not long returned from Turks and Caicos where we had stayed at Beaches, a 5 star all inclusive. This hotel was as good if not better and a fraction of the price.
The management of this hotel is what makes it work. They are a team enjoying their work and this creates a happy place to work. Everything is good, the food, the rooms, the pools, the cleanliness, the staff (especially in the main restaurant).
There are 2 pools and a kids pool with a huge pirate ship with slides, a dragon with a slide and a bucket which keeps filling up and tipping over delighted children and adults.
The beach is beautiful but the sea is cold. The Atlantic ocean breeze keeps you comfortable even at mid day and the sunsets are spectacular.
The kids club staff are superb and managed to entertain our 4 crazy grandchildren 8, 8, 7 and 5 for hours. The entertainment staff are absolutely fabulous.....they work tirelessly all day and night and make everyone feel special. Their shows are hilarious and they are obviously enjoying themselves
We shall be returning next year and thank you to everyone who made our holiday so wonderful.More
JudithKaye, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
The best all inclusive hotel I have been to. Food plentiful and fresh with huge choice of various dishes. Lovely swimming pools for all ages and ability and never a problem to get sun beds or a parasol. Bars dotted around the hotel my favourite was the main terrace bar in the late afternoon and the upper terrace in the evening. Barossa beach is stunning and great fun. Final word about the hotel is that it has absolutely brilliant staff from cleaners to management. Bar staff and restaurant staff work so hard to make the customer happy thank you to you all. Booked through Thomson whose airport experience is horrendous and their standards have dropped such a long way since I last used them basically total disorganisation at check in in both directions.More
Visited this hotel from 12-19/8 with my husband and two sons aged 19 and 14. 3 coaches arrived at once but check in was one of the most efficient I have had. Wristbands were issued as you got off the coach and you were given some fresh orange whilst waiting in the queue which I was in for all of five minutes. Room details given and you are given stickers to put on your cases with your room numbers. We then went for lunch and when we got back to our rooms our cases were there. I had emailed ahead and asked for a 1st floor room with a sea view and that's exactly what we got - 2 lovely rooms in block 34 with lovely views and only a 30 second walk to pool and grill bar.
Food was gorgeous, plentiful and of great variety and I struggle to see how anyone can moan. Drinks were fabulous and I was over the moon to discover they had prosseco!. Watching the sunsets every evening on the terrace with a glass or 6 was wonderful.
Pools were lovely and we never struggled to get a sunbed - my husband is used to getting up at 6 when we go away to get the ones we want but even at 10am there were plenty to choose from.
We didn't get involved with the entertainment really but there seemed to be plenty going on if you wanted it.
Beach is accessed by around 60 steps but it's worth it. We took the bus to Chiclana and then on to Cadiz which was lovely and cost around 28 euros for all 4 of us return but if you do the organised trip they charge 29 euros per person. If you do go to Cadiz try to avoid the bars in the main square as prices are higher. We had beer and tapas in one of the many cafes on the side streets and it was only 10 euros for all 4 of us.
Staff at this hotel are so friendly and lovely from the maids (who make some lovely towel animals) to senior management and everyone is treated the same wherever you come from. I'd like to say a big thank you to all the staff for making our holiday so lovely and making us feel so welcome.
We will be back. More
Madmolly67, Sheerness, United Kingdom
Nice hotel, Nice food, Nice people
Went to this resort with my two boys for a week at the start of August. Staff were really nice and friendly. Good food was on offer although I did not see that much difference between the different restaurants but as I say, we all enjoyed the food.
Rooms were tidy and clean, I think we had a fairly good location.
Generally we did not have an issue getting a sunbed but that was because we put towels down on the way to breakfast at about 8:15(I've been at hotels where people got up at 6am to get a sunbed, madness!)
Pools are very nice, we personally preferred the bottom pool. It's only a 5 min walk down to the beach where both my sons and I had a great time with the waves.
Check in and out was painless really, the trip to and from the airport(quite a small airport) is about 50mins.
We did find the hotel quite busy with a lot of noise but overall we enjoyed ourselves.
I give this hotel a tattoo rating of 2/10, which is quite positive, only a few of the sheep had unpleasant looking tattoos, for me this is always a good sign as that means they've all gone to Magaluf this year.
I did note someone mentioned about there being too many Spanish people there, I mean how dare they go on holiday in their own country, right?!? I personally like to be among others from other countries when on holiday.
The only negative for me was that there is not much around the hotel, to go anywhere different you'll need to catch a bus/taxi or walk for a bit. Not a major issue.More