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Review: Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa and Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa

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Lanzarote, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, is a dream destination for travellers seeking a mix of relaxation, adventure and natural beauty. There’s really nothing quite like it – volcanic cores, white sand beaches and plenty of interesting sights and day trips for families, couples and solo travellers alike.

In the 90s, the Island was more associated with sunburned Brits and tacky shops but the Lanzarote of today, which has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, has undergone a total image change. Holidaymakers seeking a luxury travel experience are well catered for by many hotels on the Island – and in fact, interest and demand for all-inclusive holidays on Lanzarote keeps on growing.

A new name in the luxury all-inclusive arena, hotel group Hyatt is enjoying success with their Inclusive Collection – a global portfolio of all-inclusive resorts, two of which are located on Lanzarote. I was invited to check out the family-friendly Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa and the adults-only Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa to experience it first-hand.

Do you have your doubts about all-inclusive holidays? If you have a mental image of wristbands and basic options with limited variety when you think of what it means to go on an all-inclusive break, then believe me, this review will soon change your mind.

Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa

Dreams Lanzarote Hotel entrance
Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa entrance

Location

Once you leave the hotel gardens and step onto the promenade, you’re only a five-minute walk from the stylish waterfront shops and eateries of the Marina Rubicon. You also have the Island’s most famous beach, Playa Dorada, on your doorstep as well as the Papagayo beaches 20 minutes drive away. The famous Timanfaya National Park and the impressive La Geria wineries are also a short car trip away. The resort itself is only a 30-minute road trip from the airport. In terms of location, you can’t get much better!

Style and Character

Outwardly deceiving, the resort as we approached by bus gave the impression of a typical 90s-style hotel. But step inside – to be greeted by smiling staff with cool towels and a glass of cava – and the stylish lobby, dotted with natural stone, wood and cacti, told a different story, setting the scene perfectly. A staircase sweeps down from the reception area to a lovely light-filled atrium and the colour scheme – neutral earthy tones and occasional pops of colour  – extends to the tastefully-decorated rooms and dining areas.

Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa features 453 luxury rooms and suites
Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa features 453 luxury rooms and suites

Rooms

Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa features 453 luxury rooms and suites – either suited to families or couples. All rooms are non-smoking. We were given a Preferred Club double room, which had a good-sized terrace and an impressive view over the turquoise waters of the swimming pool and the sea beyond. The neighbouring Islands of Lobos and Fuerteventura were also clearly visible.

All rooms come with central air conditioning, an in-room safe and a 65-inch LED 4K Ultra HDMI TV. There’s also a kettle, comfy bathrobes and slippers, and in the bathroom, there’s a rain shower and a powerful hairdryer. There’s high-speed wifi available throughout the hotel and also 24-hour room service on offer. Beach and pool towels are also provided.

There are also 14 accessible rooms, with larger bathrooms, adapted ground-level showers and railings and handrails.

Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa Coco Cafe
Guests at Dreams can choose between six gourmet restaurants, including the Coco Cafe

Dining

As well as 24-hour room service, guests can choose between six different restaurants in Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa. There’s the World Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as an International buffet of Mediterranean-style cuisine with local products. There’s also Sabor, which serves dinner – buffet, paellas and more. Fans of Asian cuisine will love Himitsu – that was a particular favourite of mine – the sushi and the Peking duck was out of this world. Other dinner options include Portofino, which serves up Italian Cuisine, The Bluewater Grill, an a la carte restaurant specialising in Mediterranean cuisine and the Barefoot Grill. Fans of American-style burgers, salads, hot dogs and wraps will love this one. All in all, there was plenty of variety and wide choices – even if you stayed ten days you’d be hard-pressed to sample everything that is on offer.

Guests wanting to enjoy a cocktail can choose between six different bars throughout the resort, the last of which shuts at 1am. Preferred Club guests have the exclusive use of the super fun Sea Legs swim-up bar and the Preferred Club Lounge, which offers continental breakfast in the morning until 11am and snacks and drinks in the afternoon until 7pm.

Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa Sea legs pool
One of the eight pools, which are open 9am to 7pm in the summer, available for guests at Dreams

Service and Facilities

Staff were helpful, polite and always with a smile – I was impressed with both the service and facilities throughout the resort. There are eight pools – open from 9am to 7pm (6pm in the winter season) to choose from, and an impressive, indoor semi-Olympic pool for serious swimmers. When we visited at the start of June, the water temperature was perfect – refreshing, but not cold.

There are enough daytime and nighttime activities to keep guests entertained for at least a fortnight – Activities are almost too many to list but include pilates and yoga classes, dance and archery lessons, wine and paella tasting and live musical performances in the evenings. We also got to see a casino night in action, which was brilliant fun.

Although we didn’t make use of it, there’s also a fully equipped, 24-hour gym with top-of-the-range treadmills, cross trainers, stationary bikes and weights.

Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa Spa
The Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa Spa is home to a semi-Olympic pool

Dreams Spa

The jewel in the crown for me, undoubtedly was the Dreams Spa, home to the aforementioned 25-metre heated pool, as well as a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, seven treatment rooms for body, facial and massage treatments, cold and hot water biothermic and nebulised showers and an ice fountain. I also got to try out a Vitamin C facial treatment in the resort’s Natura Bisse ‘bubble’ which is located at the bottom of the resort’s central staircase – an unforgettable experience. All treatments use products by Natura Bisse – a Barcelona-based, multiple award-winning luxury skincare brand known for their superior products and anti-ageing treatments.

The spa service isn’t included in the reservation, but is well worth the price – you can get a day pass for 30 euros (around £25) and treatments start from 72 euros (that’s about £61.)

Family Friendly?

Absolutley! There’s a great kids’ pool, complete with water slides and a play area and a full programme of entertainment for kids in the hotel’s supervised Explorer Club for little ones aged four to 12. Teens also have their own hang-out space – the Core Zone, which features top-of-the-range VR machines as well as computers and board games and daily activities.

There is an adults-only section of the pool too, for guests seeking a bit of peace and quiet.

Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa hotel room
Many of the rooms at Dreams feature stunning ocean views

Value for money

Guests choosing the Unlimited Luxury option get breakfast, lunch and dinner, a selection of unlimited alcoholic beverages, 24-hour room service and concierge, poolside waiting service, daytime activities and live evening entertainment, plus their in-room mini bar restocked every day with soft drinks, bottled water and beer. Half-board and breakfast-only options are also available.

For a little more, there’s the choice to upgrade to the Preferred Club tier for extra benefits, including access to VIP lounges and an exclusive breakfast area, accommodation in the most exclusive areas of the hotel and more perks in the rooms, like a coffee maker, pillow menu and superior toiletries.

Rooms at Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa start from 195 euros (£166) per night.

Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa

Secrets Lanzarote Hotel and Spa drone view
The 335-room hotel is one of the first Secrets Resort & Spa to open in Europe

Location

The second stop on our trip, the adults-only Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa is located a convenient 15-minute drive from the airport, and about a ten-minute walk from the Island’s Puerto Calero marina, which has plenty of noteworthy bars and restaurants. Staff at the hotel are also on hand to help plan excursions to any local points of interest, like the aforementioned Timanfaya National Park and the La Geria wineries, which are only 7.4 miles away. 

We managed to see the latter, and when we arrived, I was surprised to be greeted by a series of ground-level vine plantations, nestled in hollows, or gerias, in the ground – there wasn’t a tree in sight! It feels like a miracle that the wine can be cultivated in such barren-looking land. The way it works is the funnel-shaped hollow, dug into the thick layers of picón—or volcanic ash—allows the plant to reach fertile soil, and retain the moisture from the dew. These deep hollows and dry stone walls that enclose them shelter the vines from the island’s constant trade winds and allow the moisture to seep down, where it can stay for one-and-a-half years. It was well worth a visit.

Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa
The oceanfront pool at Secrets has stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean

Style and Character

The same feeling of peace and tranquillity is reflected in the interior design of Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa – sinuous shapes, earth tones and shades of the North Atlantic Ocean all adding to the sense of calm. The hotel entrance leads into a stunning light-filled centre space then the hotel extends from there, pools and rooms on different levels, leading down to the beach. Specialist hotel interior designers Room 1804 were tasked with helping with the makeover of the resort in an extensive €10 million renovation for its grand opening in 2019, and their design concept was ‘Region and Climate’.

What I really loved about Secrets is their focus on local art. Decorating the lobby is a wonderful mural by local painter Rufina Santana. She was on hand to meet us and talked us through the beautiful work of art, which takes the viewer on a journey through local myths and legends.

Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa
The spacious suite bathrooms at Secrets feature a walk-in rain shower and whirlpool bath

Rooms

Secrets has 335 luxury rooms and suites with impressive views, most overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The walk down to our Swim-up Preferred Club suite was long, but totally worth it. It was equipped with a separate lounge area, which could be separated from the bedroom by a sliding wooden panel, and the spacious bathroom included a walk-in rain shower and jacuzzi-style whirlpool bathtub. Opening the doors to the terrace revealed a pair of sun loungers and the biggest surprise – our own private pool we could access directly from our room! The amount of cupboard space available was impressive, and the 35cm bed mattress was extra comfy.

All of the rooms are again non-smoking and each room comes with the same amenities we found in Dreams.

Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa
The swim-up suites at Secrets have their own private pool area

Dining

Like Dreams, Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa offers six gourmet dining options. The World Cafe, Barefoot Grill, Bluewater Grill and Portofino restaurants which we saw in Dreams also have their own version in Secrets. In addition, guests can also have dinner at the Gohan Sushi Bar, which offers a wide range of sushi, and the Oceana Seafood restaurant – an International buffet served on a beautiful terrace with endless quality options and skilful show cooking. The variety was again impressive, and the Prefered Club continental breakfast was a definite high point for me – the eggs benedict was so good I ordered another, and whenever I see torrijas – the Spanish answer to French toast – on a breakfast menu I just have to try it. It was one of the best I can remember trying in a long time!

There are six bars in the resort for guests to partake in soft drinks and cocktails, the last of which closes at 1am, and they include a piano bar with live music. Preferred club members also have use of an exclusive lounge.

Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa Piano Bar
Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa Piano Bar – where guests can sip on cocktails and enjoy live music

Service and Facilities

The level of attentiveness and politeness of staff that we noted at Dreams is consistent at Secrets – everyone, down to the garden workers, has a (seemingly genuine) smile and “good morning” for you. Facilities and activities are equally good.

There are four heatable outdoor swimming pools on different levels that are open from 9am to 8pm. Those looking to do more than lounge by the pool can take advantage of the activities on offer, which include pool spinning, aqua yoga, pool scuba diving as well as regular pilates and yoga. Boat trips, diving and bike hire can also be organised for an additional cost. Like Dreams, there is also the fitness centre – open 24 hours and accessible with your key card.

Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa Tibetan bown treatment
Tibetan Bowl sound therapy is one of the relaxing treatments on offer at the Secrets Spa

Secrets Spa

The Secrets Spa (open 10am to 8pm) should definitely be a port of call. Hailed as the most prestigious spa on the Island, it features ten cabins for treatments and massages, and their special Tibetan bowl sound treatments are really a unique experience. I tried out the amazing full-body massage which included the calming sound therapy – and visited the indoor pool and sauna and steam rooms after stopping for a glass of cava in the spa’s tea room. The spa’s indoor pool features a series of massage jets, multiple jacuzzis and a water circuit, hydrotherapy showers as well as the sauna and steam room. There’s also an outdoor terrace with sun beds for anyone wanting to top up their tan mid-pampering session. I honestly could have stayed in the spa all day, it’s well worth a visit. Treatments start from €72 (£61) and if you want to visit the indoor pool and steam room on a day pass, it’s €62 / £53 (although you can get an hour pass for €10 / £8.50, just as you can at Dreams.)

Family Friendly?

Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa is a perfect destination for couples looking for a romantic break alone – it’s not the place for a family holiday. This is an adults-only resort. If you’re planning for a luxury all-inclusive family break then Dreams is the one you want.

Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa
The Secrets Spa also features a heated indoor pool with multiple hydrotherapy jets

Dogs are welcome!

As a dog owner myself, I was delighted to find out that in both Secrets and Dreams resorts, small dogs (up to 10kg) are welcome in some of the room categories! Guests can bring one dog per room for an extra charge of 50€ per night. The hotel provides a dog bed, food and water bowls and poop bags. They’re not allowed in every area of the hotel though – just the dog-friendly parts, which include the terraces of some of the restaurants. If they’re outside your room they need to be on a leash or in a pet carrier. You can’t leave them alone overnight, or unsupervised for more than two hours, so you need to bear that in mind.

Value for money

The Unlimited Luxury and Preferred Club options are both key features of the Secrets Lanzarote resort and Spa, with the Preferred Club giving you extra perks for a little extra, including the use of the Preferred Club lounge. Although I’ve never done an all-inclusive holiday before, after visiting the two resorts, I can totally see the appeal of doing a luxury all-inclusive trip. You’ve paid upfront for your food and drink, and you’re free to choose from a wide range of options to your heart’s content. No need to worry about spending money running out.

Rooms at Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa start at £210 per night.

Why you should trust me

As well as being a lifelong travel enthusiast, I’ve been reviewing hotels and travel experiences for HELLO! Online for the past decade. Having stayed in hundreds of different hotels across the globe, from boutique hotels on the clifftops of Iceland to overwater cabins in French Polynesia, I’ve seen every type of hotel imaginable, and I know what’s fab and what’s drab, and I’ll always tell you the truth. 

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