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Guest Report

Posted: Tue May 01, 2007 3:58 pm
by Ann Ball
We spent the first 5 nights of a two week holiday at Arnos Vale. Well, what to say..........??? Lets start with the good - the bird watching is great!!!. I arrived not knowing any, but armed with my bird book. I listed about 35 different species either at the feeders or from our balcony during our stay and found it a great way to learn lots of new birds. The Humming birds were just all humming birds to start with, never having seen any before, but because you see them so close and can study them I had worked out the different species by the end of our stay. Early morning watching from the balcony also was very productive. The grounds are colourful and full of plants. If you do decide to risk a stay here, and you will probably only do so if you are interested in birds, book a hillside room - they not only have great views but you will see far more birds than the poolside rooms which have a rather boring outlook in comparison ( but less climbing!)

Whilst on the subject of birds they have a lovely tame Orange winged Parrot who roams the grounds and causes havoc at meal times - we adored him!!!

Snorkelling - another reason we booked this hotel - is great - calm, clear water, more fish than we saw anywhere else, very worthwhile.

However................ the hotel itself leaves much to be desired!!! The situation is wonderful but sadly it seems to lack so much else. The whole place looks a little unkempt and needs money spent on it. The evening meals lacked choice (only two main courses ever offered) and were not cheap, although sometimes very good, other times poor. Breakfast was a buffet, with fruit, toast, juices, pastries etc - not too bad really, and you can marvel at the birds whilst eating your breakfast - very enjoyable! The whole place though seems to lack any real organisation, we never could find out what was available for lunches, (although they claim do to them somewhere!!!), one or two staff members were good but others very unfriendly. Their wine cellar consisted of 3 bottles!! Another couple that were there whilst we were relocated as they did not fancy all 12 nights of their holiday there. The bar is in a stunning location but totally lacked atmosphere - no one around, either drinking or serving! By the time we left the place was like a morgue - only about 2 other couples were left. Reading other reports I am not suprised and we wondered how the hotel seemed to keep going at all.

It seems a great shame - this is a prime spot with some great bird watching and snorkelling, but desperately needs someone to spend some time and money on it. Go if you are keen on birds, you will love it - maybe just go for a short time, not the whole holiday!!! By the time we left England I had read various bad reports about this place so was not too upset by our actual findings, and the bird watching really is great!!