Well-liked buffet restaurant and four bars in high season
Themed outdoor pool and heated indoor pool
Activities include mini-golf, shuffleboard, water games, and beach volleyball
Kids's and teen clubs plus themed entertainment
Basic fitness room with a couple older machines
Wi-Fi is available
Removed from Benalmadena and its attractions
Rooms are dated, with older features like tube TVs
Only one hour of free Wi-Fi daily
Pool area is small given the hotel's size
Indoor pool is closed during high season
The 331-room Playabonita Hotel is a two-and-a-half-pearl property on the beach, about a 15-minute drive from the shops and restaurants of Benalmadena. There's not much near the hotel save for more hotels and some restaurants, but there are lots of activities and entertainment on-site, and all-inclusive rates are available. Rooms are dated, and while they include air-conditioning and most have mini-fridges, we spotted plenty of tube TVs. Some feature lovely sea views from balconies. The well-liked restaurant serves buffets for all meals, and there are bars plus kids' and teens' clubs. However, limited free Wi-Fi and the often crowded pool are underwhelming. Travelers who'd prefer being closer to Benalmadena's action could check out the MedPlaya Hotel Bali, though it's not right on the beach.
Large, mostly all-inclusive hotel with weathered Mediterranean style geared toward families with children
The hotel is housed in a sunny yellow building with a fountain splashing along one side and palm trees above. It's a pleasant enough welcome, though things are decidedly more budget upon stepping inside this mostly all-inclusive hotel. The look is a combination of Mediterranean villa and budget motel, with lots of pink, peach, and tan everywhere. Charming details do make things marginally more pleasant. The lobby is a wide-open space with a checkerboard tile floor, and a reception desk with lovely painted Spanish tiling across the front. A skylight above brightens the space with natural light, and a fountain off to the side is flanked by two large potted plants. Wicker sofas and chairs in the back provide places for guests to hang out, but some of the cushions have seen better days -- a theme throughout much of hotel. The property can get quite busy at times, with lots of children running around and a main pool that's often crowded. With all manner of entertainment throughout the day and night, it's best for those who prefer a moderately active getaway. The hotel is mostly geared toward families with children, but couples and groups also pass through.
Seaside hotel, about a 15-minute drive from Benalmadena
This seaside hotel is located in the residential area of Torremuelle. In the immediate area are houses and other hotels. The Torremuelle train station is a 10-minute walk from the hotel, and there are a few casual restaurants and cafes within a five-minute walk for those wanting to break away from the buffet meals at the hotel. Arroyo de la Miel, the touristy part of Benalmadena with a nice selection of restaurants and bars, is about a 15-minute drive from the hotel, while the compact old town is 10 minutes away by car. Tivoli World amusement park also is about 15 minutes away, and Crocodile Park in Torremolinos will take 20 minutes to reach by car. The Malaga Airport is a 25-minute drive, with the city of Malaga just a bit farther.
Bright, but dated rooms, some with balconies and nice sea views
Despite an abundance of bright, Mediterranean colors like sunny yellow, blue, and red, the rooms here won't win any style awards and are quite dated. We spotted striped bedspreads, old wood-veneer furniture, and lots of wicker accents in the rooms that we visited. This is to say nothing of the old tube TVs that don't do much to upgrade the experience in many rooms. Most rooms have mini-fridges and ceiling fans, plus air-conditioning. Wi-Fi is only free for an hour every day. Balconies are furnished with a wicker table and chairs, and sea views are beautiful in some rooms. Junior Suites are bit nicer and have flat-screen TVs, electric kettles, and mini-fridges, plus painted Spanish tiling throughout, though they aren't really suites and the sink and soaking tubs are in the main body of the room. These units have showers and toilets in a separate room. Junior Suite balconies are larger, and have two lounge chairs in addition to a table and chairs.
Buffet dining and all-inclusive plans available, pools and activities, plus kid and teen features
While the hotel itself has seen better days, there are a number of features that make this a decent value for families. Dining takes place at Buena Vista restaurant, which serves buffets for all meals. Food gets positive marks from most previous guests, and all-inclusive plans are a popular option at the hotel. There are also four bars: one in the lobby, one in the theater, a pool bar, and beach club that's open in high season. The lobby bar has indoor and outdoor seating, as well as foosball and pool tables. Views of the sea from the terrace are beautiful.
The themed outdoor pool has slides, a tunnel through rocks, and a whirlpool tub. Lounge chairs are lined up on the deck, and umbrellas and palm trees provide shade. Kids have their own little pool. There's also a small indoor pool with a hot tub, though it's only open outside of high season. The pool area can be a little small when compared to the size of the hotel. While the hotel sits directly on the beach, there is a fee to use beach chairs.
Activities include beach volleyball, water games, darts, and ballroom dancing. A games area offers a giant chess board, shuffleboard, archery, mini-golf, and ping-pong. An indoor arcade room has another foosball table and a few other games, and there's a convenience store sells souvenirs, toys, and travel essentials. Themes for entertainment include Caribbean, Medieval, Latin, and flower power nights.
Club Delphin is for children ages 4 to 11, and has an outdoor playground; there's also a club for teens. The fitness center offers a few cardio and weight training machines, but they are all past their prime, as is the room itself. The hotel does offer fitness classes, though, such as Zumba, yoga, stretching, and aerobics. Two computers are set up in the lobby for guests to use, and while Wi-Fi is available, it's only free for one hour per day.
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