Award-winning travel blogger Zoë Dawes, her teenage son and his best friend escaped to Sol Amadores as guests of Holiday Club Resorts for a taste of the timeshare lifestyle recently.
Here’s Zoë’s review of their sun-soaked, sightseeing and scuba-diving filled week on Gran Canaria:
"The journey from Gran Canaria airport to the south is via a drab, grey volcanic landscape, interspersed with occasional prickly pear plants. Not the most prepossessing of starts to a holiday, so we were delighted when we arrived at the luxurious timeshare Holiday Club resort of Sol Amadores. Our huge, two-bedroom, two bathroom apartment with its modern open-plan kitchen lounge area, had all mod-cons; I needn’t have brought the portable kettle. The boys jumped around with excitement when they saw our large terrace with the big blue Jacuzzi. It was their favourite place to chill out at all times of the day and night …
My 15 year old son, his best mate and I had escaped England for a week’s holiday in Amadores in the south of Gran Canaria, one of the Spanish Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa. I wanted somewhere with guaranteed sunshine and the boys wanted a pool with some activities to keep them occupied. The view from the terrace was very impressive – down the valley (fifteen minute walk but the resort has a courtesy bus – much needed in the heat) to the curvaceous sweep of palm-bedecked Amadores beach.
It’s got gloriously golden sand, jumbled ranks of beach brollies, sunbeds and the Aqua Park – a green play area of inflatable trampolines and slides that kept the boys happy most days – at €5 for 40 minutes well worth it. Spread out along the edge of the beach was the usual collection of tourist restaurants serving up reasonably priced meals with cheap beer and a few local delicacies to tempt the more adventurous palates. We spent one very pleasant evening at Ciao Ciao, an Italian restaurant serving the boys’ favourite pizzas. Sunsets are stunning here.
We had a really memorable meal at Memsaab Fusion. The smell of Indian cooking wafted across the road, past the palms and cacti, onto the long, curving sandy beach and drifted out over the Atlantic Ocean. We were delighted to discover this classy restaurant, with its mix of Asian, Mexican and European food, right on our holiday doorstep.
The pool area at Sol Amadores was a welcome escape from the busy beach. People of all ages enjoyed the sunshine, from babies in the paddling pool, children laughing happily during the organised activities, teenagers playing pool and darts, mums reading Kindles, dads swapping stories in the bar and older holidaymakers simply relaxing in the sun. Belinda and other bar staff served us freshly made baguettes, tasty meals, ice cream and drinks – my favourite tipple was a tall glass of rum & coke with lots of ice …
Although predominantly British, there were also French, Dutch and Germans staying here. It seems that timeshare is not only really popular with all ages and nationalities but has a lot more variety than I had realised. People staying in the apartment next to us had recently exchanged one of their weeks for a stay in a villa in Finland and another family were looking forward to a break on a houseboat in Venice. Everyone we spoke to really enjoyed the flexibility and standard of accommodation and local people said it benefitted the economy as visitors spent more in the shops and restaurants than the ‘all-inclusive’ package deals.
As well as our time by the beach and the pool, we visited nearby tourist hot spot Puerto Rico, very popular with families and younger people on Gran Canaria.
The highlight of the holiday for the boys was a scuba diving session with the excellent team at Top Diving Puerto Rico; really well-organised and lots to see in the clear blue Atlantic. We went on a fascinating VIP tour of the mountainous interior of Gran Canaria and I overcame my fear of heights to drive our hire car over along the very windy, cliff road to the pretty fishing village of Puerto de Mogan.
It’s known as Little Venice because of the tiny canals that link the harbours. Luxury yachts look down imperiously onto little fishing crafts and during the day there’s a steady stream of tourist boats from all around the island. Bougainvillea drapes colourfully from all the buildings. Souvenir shops and restaurants line the quaint quay. Eating out in Spain is always a pleasure and the boys loved the tasty tapas we had for lunch; grilled octopus, baby squid, mussels and canarian potatoes.
On our last night on Gran Canaria, Isabel, one of the trio of incredibly helpful and friendly reception staff, took us all out to see the silky soft sand dunes at Maspalomas and then on to chic Meloneras to see the lighthouse and artisan market. We heard a lively performance of traditional songs and music and bought some lovely craftwork from the little stalls. As we ate our ice creams and watched the sun setting across the ocean, my son said, “This is the best holiday I’ve ever been on …”
Many thanks to everyone at Holiday Club Sol Amadores for making our stay so special. They are members of the timeshare trade body Resort Development Organisation www.RDO.org and their owners can stay in a wide variety of different properties around the world. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Gran Canaria – watch out for more articles on this popular Spanish island."
About Zoë’ Dawes
“It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see …”
This quote by Henry David Thoreau sums up Zoë’s philosophy of travel and life. Originally an English teacher, she escaped one day to discover her inner Mamma Mia in Greece, spending many happy and fun-filled years living in Athens, exploring the Greek Isles and surrounding area. She then worked in SE Asia for four years, during which time she travelled to many beautiful and intriguing places including Nepal, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Borneo.
In 2009 she started writing www.thequirkytraveller.com, sharing with others her love of the majestic Lake District, Cumbria and the world beyond. With a quirky take on life and travel, she also writes articles and blogs regularly for various travel organisations in the UK, USA and around the world, including Visit Britain and LateRooms.com. She has appeared on TV & radio and gives talks on her travels both locally and nationally, aiming to be entertaining, informative and fun. She runs Travel Writing & Blogging workshops throughout the UK.