Caleta de Fuste, Caleta Dorada Review

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Sandy Cates's review of Caleta de Fuste, Caleta Dorada

★★☆☆☆

“I'll try to be objective about most of the All...”

Written on: 08/09/2006 by Sandy Cates (1 review written)

Good Points
Entertainment team.
Kids Club & reps.

Bad Points
Pool C gave children rashes.
No chlorine & poor pool maintenance.
Food hygiene is very poor.
First Choice Reps are unhelpful but possibly aren't allowed to help sometimes.
Ants and cockroaches in apartments.
Thefts and burglaries are a real problem.
Very few sun umbrellas
Snacks are not 24 hour as advertised
Lots of Health & Safety hazards too numerous to mention

General Comments
I'll try to be objective about most of the All Inclusive fortnight spent in Club Caleta Dorada, but there will be certain aspects where that's just not possible.



Arrival, transfer and check-in were all handled very well and quickly by First Choice and the hotel staff and we were in our accommodation within 30 minutes of the coach pulling up outside. We were located in the B section of the complex, which although quieter is less modern than the newer C section. Consequently, our chalet could best be described as tired looking and in need of some real TLC. Patched up floor tiles, broken kitchen cupboard doors, tatty (but working) fridge, paint peeling in the bathroom - but it was clean. We also had a brand new microwave delivered on the third day. There is no air-con and each chalet only gets one fan for the two rooms, so either ask nicely at reception for another or you can hire one for 12 Euros a week, which we did as it aided a decent night's sleep. We decided that we were only going to be in the room to sleep, so the broken bits weren't really a problem and so there was no point kicking up a fuss about a tatty looking fridge.



FC say that some aircraft noise "may" be experienced. The complex is directly underneath the flight path and close enough to the airport that the planes are very low, so noise is inevitable. Flights seemed to start around 07:30 and finished around 23:00. We didn't really find this a problem; although there were a few days when the frequency of flights increased, so do be aware of this before you book. Also the complex is quite spread out and parts are divided by public roads, so it's worth drumming road safety into your kids.



Choice of food has been mentioned on other reviews, but the menu hardly ever varies. Toast takes forever, especially at the busier times of the morning. Glasses at the bar are at a premium, but drinking from a paper cup is hardly the end of the world although it would be nice if the British could pick up after themselves.



By far the best part (for us and the kids) was the entertainment - or more specifically, the entertainment staff. They worked extremely hard and seemed to have a real passion for what they were doing, and did it really well. Daytime events are there if you can be bothered, the mini-disco was always a laugh for the younger ones, games kept everyone amused and even if bingo isn't your thing - it lasts less than 15 minutes and the prize money is very good (€40 - €200) for a €1 ticket. The evening shows, either in house or those by local acts were varied and very well presented.



Unfortunately, this is where the positive and objective comments finish.



Our main problem during our stay was the C Pool. After only one day on site, both our children came up in a very nasty rash in the more delicate areas of their anatomy, which we initially put down to new swimwear, the sun cream or the heat. However, after a couple of days and various conversations around the pool, it seemed it was widespread, and a large number of children and some adults were affected. FC and the hotel would not admit that there was a problem, even after a large number of families complained, and to be honest went out of their way to blame anything other than the pool water. After more pressure and an independent test of the water, the hotel called out a local doctor, who quite honestly seemed annoyed that he was there. Creams and lotions were prescribed and I spent the next day either at the doctor's surgery or hospital with my seven year old daughter getting second opinions and more creams.



Ultimately, the hospital's opinion was that the pool water was to blame, and we should keep her out of the pool - easier said than done. Despite seeing the pool records that suggested the chlorine and pH levels were fine, a further test conducted in front of a group of parents proved that the main pool had virtually no chlorine - although FC would still not admit that this was dangerous or even a problem! More chlorine was added in the evening, so the next day the pool was better, but by the following day the problem was back. Also, be wary of the C paddling pool as this bleached a number of baby's swimsuits from blue to pink, or pink to white whilst we were there.



Whilst we were there, both my wife and I had throat infections; there were numerous ear infections and one hospitalization for a chest infection - none of which were helped by the pool or the poor cleanliness outside of the chalets. For example, throughout the 2 weeks the ladies toilet at the C Pool had no soap (despite many comments to hotel and FC staff), and this was replicated in many of the communal toilets around the complex.



Food hygiene is also suspect to say the least, all meals are buffet style (with the exception of the Mediterranean in the evening) but left uncovered, so that flies are a real problem inside and out. Lunchtime BBQ meat should be avoided unless they've persuaded the chef to use different utensils for the raw and cooked meat and to also keep the raw meat covered before transfer to the BBQ.



The menu seems to run in three day cycles, so you'll know what you're getting before you get to the restaurant, and the left over food from the evening appears to be heated over and served again at lunchtime. Drinks are mostly self-service, but a large proportion of the crockery, glasses and cutlery are either badly chipped or are still dirty when put out for use again.



All of which may have contributed to why the majority of the people there during the second of our two weeks were violently ill (S & D), including my two children. Which is why we requested, and got, a refund on our All Inclusive basis and started to eat outside of the complex - and we then had the best food of the two weeks. If you're having problems with the food, I would definitely suggest you ask for this as an option. Alternatively, you could do what approximately 20 families did and refuse to stay on the complex and get FC to move you elsewhere on the island.



This brings me onto the FC front office reps. They are either not bothered or they just have no clue about what they're doing. One prime example is being left outside reception with 30 other people waiting for a coach to take us to Baku (the water park) only to be informed that the trip had been cancelled without any of us being told. No apology, no words of consolation - even the supervisor was unconcerned about how amateur this made FC look.



Overall the site has some very fundamental problems which FC need to address if they're to continue to market this as a 3 star complex. I didn't expect the Ritz, but for the money we paid I certainly expected better than we got - and that basic hygiene measures would be observed.



Health & Safety really needs to be improved - there were various store rooms and cupboards (including the plant room where the pool chemicals were stored) left open and easily accessed by children, smoking in the bar cooking areas, wet floors at the top of stone/marble staircases, hand rails on steps were very loose and the steps on C pool were so loose they nearly came away in my hands. There was also what appeared to be an earth wire (possibly for the pool lights) which should have been connected to the pool steps, but had come away as they were so loose.



Others had more problems than us - and more illness - whilst some were completely spared. There were also reports of a few break-ins plus the police were called at a least once to a couple of Spanish blokes who appeared to be showing too much interest in the kids playing in the splash zone. Possibly innocent - but again not something you want to have to deal with on holiday.



Ask my kids and they would go back, mostly because of the friends they made and the kids clubs/entertainment - personally, my two week break was at times more stressful and problematic than being at work.

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