Our Site

Go to content

Fuerteventura - Costa Calma September 2019


We had been looking forward, immensely, to this trip to Fuerteventura - staying at the H10 Playa Esmeralda, which had been recommended to us as an excellent "Adults Only" location. The day started well, leaving our car at our son's house and being driven to Gatwick Airport. We had Premium check in and fast track security, which enabled us to get through the formalities very speedily and we were soon sitting in the "Flying Horse" for an all-day brunch! Our flight was called, almost on time, and we were quickly settling in to seats 1A and 1B for a very good flight to Fuerteventura, with quite a reasonable meal en-route. On arrival, it took quite a while for our "Priority" bags to appear on the carousel, but never mind - we had a private transfer booked!

Hmm, this is where it all started to go downhill! We queued to get our transfer instructions from the Thomas Cook staff and then were sent to the normal taxi queue, where there were approximately 140 people before us. The longest wait imaginable followed. Thank goodness that we were unaware of what awaited us.

"Private ??" Transfer
Well Attended Privilege Priority Ceck in

2019 Fuerteventura - Only about 140 people
before us for a "Private" transfer!!

2019 Fuerteventura - Well attended
Privilege Priority check In

Arriving at the H0 Playa Esmeralda, our priority "Privilege" check in desk was unattended. As there were no other people checking in, we were attended to immediately at the reception desk, but not offered the normal "welcome" drink. People who arrived after us, however, were! Things do go wrong, but being H10 Class members, we had e-mailed our membership details and requirements beforehand, so all should be well. On being checked in however, we were informed that our requirements had not been noted. I pointed out the response that had been sent to my e-mail - whereupon the rather aggressive male receptionist immediately blamed a "colleague".

I had retained their confirmation e-mail and when I pointed to his name badge and to the signature on their-mail (same guy!), he foolishly informed me that he did remember, but that I had supplied my membership number incorrectly. Oh dear - I once again showed my copy of the confirmation e-mail and compared the number with that on my membership card - naturally they tallied. We agreed to differ over this complete breakdown in customer service.

In my e-mail, I had requested a high floor, as Jan is allergic to many insect bites, but were shown to a ground floor room which unfortunately had grass immediately in front of the veranda - the worst possible scenario. Neither the membership gift nor the bottle of Cava, to which we were entitled, were in our room. We were promised a change of room the following day (it was by now getting late). We should go to reception in the morning for allocation. We were tired and saw no point in arguing and therefore agreed......

Privilege Bedroom

2019 Fuereventura - Privilege Breakfast

2019 Fuerteventura - 1st Floor Privilege Room

The following morning we took breakfast early - eager to get to reception for a change of room. The breakfast menu was not of the H10 Timanfaya Palace or H10 Ocean Maya Royale (see hotels visited earlier this year) standard. The eggs were poorly cooked and “rubbery and the bacon poorly cooked and stone cold (unfortunately the quality of cooking did not improve). I went off to reception, whilst Jan went to the room to remove valuables from the safe.

Wow - such great customer service. I was told to pack our cases and bring them to reception (2 walks uphill, 2 lifts and 7 floors above our room). No carts nor staff were available, and we would not be allocated a room until 3pm! Needing a high floor we had no real choice! We stored our cases near reception for six hours and had to keep our hand luggage and valuables with us - ruining almost the whole of that day.

At 3pm we returned to reception only to discover a long queue and the Privilege desk, once more, unmanned. We were allocated a room on the dizzying heights of the first floor - less than ideal but at least no grass. They had managed to wear us down, however. We decided not to make a fuss and took our own cases back down to where we had started, but one floor higher. Needless to say, once again there was no Members gift nor sparkling wine in our room!

Inedible Beef Cheek
Where are all the desserts

2019 Fuerteventura - Inedible Beef Cheeks

2019 Fuerteventura - Dessert Selection at 8:34 pm

Things must improve - or so we believed! Having settled in our room, we showered, changed and went for a drink in the lobby bar. The drinks were fine, the view from the lobby terrace was heaven - things were looking up. A bit of a shame about the mould adorning the glass on some tables, but this was an open-air area. We had booked the "a la carte" Privilege restaurant for the first available slot on our first night, at 7:45 pm and looked forward to dinner - The a la carte restaurant at the Timanfaya Palace was excellent and the ones at the Ocean Maya Royale had been exceptional.

Oh dear! The food was poorly presented, usually poorly cooked (including almost raw pork) and frequently almost inedible at this restaurant. Despite the valiant efforts of the waiting staff, eating here was never pleasant. Frequently the desserts ran short or disappeared - as some diners had several to make up for the inedible main courses. Whilst we did not stoop to eating several desserts - many did! Surely this holiday could not go downhill from here. We suffered this poor food - even trying the standard buffet, where at least you could select the "best" looking of the poor food. In fact, we preferred to take breakfast there.

The lobby bar and the other guests were, in the main, fine! The bar staff did their best, we made friends with several other guests from many European countries. The shows in the show bar were pretty good - OK we could manage.

Then Thomas Cook went bust. We had several very unpleasant and worrying days. Initially the hotel demanded money from the guests. Despite calls to and from the CAA, the reception staff were extremely rude, aggressive and seemed to put their own interpretation on things. Senior management were conspicuous by their absence - seemingly unwilling to get a grip and blaming everything on "Head Office".

Eventually we noticed, on the CAA website, that a re-arranged flight was departing some 2 hours earlier than our original flight, on our final day. We arranged our own Taxi for the trip to the airport and by now the hotel had been persuaded that ATOL cover would pay for our bill. Whilst it cannot be claimed that a 28 year old 747-400 with broken seats and tables was a luxurious flight, the CAA, logistically, did a good job. We were even provided with hot toasted sandwiches and non-alcoholic drinks on the flight home.

This is certainly a holiday that will be remembered for a long time - for the wrong reasons. We are top tier H10 Club members but now very uncertain of their commitment to any kind of customer focus and service!

View from Bar Veranda
2019 Fuerteventura - "privilege" Sun terrace - Shaded???

2019 Fuerteventura - View from Bar Veranda

Mouldy table top glass

2019 Fuerteventura - Privilege "Sun" loungers - in the shade?

Flying Home - at last

Mouldy table glass
Flying Home - at last!

Back to content | Back to main menu