Naturally I was posting on social media during the trip – my husband was running the Half Marathon Des Sables so was away for four days and this left me with time on my hands!
Following my posts I received a lot of questions as to which resort I thought was better. I added a story to my instagram asking which people thought I preferred and the result was quite heavily weighted to Playitas Resort. I then added a post to my story with the voting result and a note to say my favourite was Club La Santa. Here I will explain why.
I have been to Club La Santa three times now with my tri club, Havering Tri. I have been to Playitas just this once and it was booked as part of the HMDS package when my husband signed up.
On every trip to Club La Santa I have stayed in the villas so I cannot comment on the apartments. However, the villas are great – always clean, toiletries in the bathrooms, clean towels and bedding with spare pillows and blankets, loads of storage in all rooms. As a group the majority travel with bikes and we tend to leave the bike boxes on the outside patio and this has never been an issue. I have never been in the same villa but they have always been easy to find when we arrive.
For our trip to Playitas Resort we stayed in the hotel and it took us over 30 minutes to find it. This was our first encounter with the cable car/funicular. We were advised to go to the 3rd floor in the funicular and our block was right there, only after waiting for over 15 minutes for the thing we got out and there were no signs just a corridor to another lift for block 7 (we were block 6) and another set of stairs. We ended up going round in circles until we finally found it. The room was dated but clean, toiletries in the bathroom with clean towels.
At Club La Santa they have a ‘green team’ who are the staff that take the classes and who you will see around the resort. These guys are super helpful and always encouraging, asking if you are ok and helpful when needed.
I can’t say the same for some of the staff at Playitas Resort and after talking with some of the other guests they had experienced the same rudeness. The reception staff were very blunt, the staff in the buffet restaurant were always lovely but in the restaurants were often rude with one waiter telling a guest that he just needs to wait and then repeating for him to wait and on another occasion after the event telling some participants they couldn’t eat in the restaurant with the post event food even though their family was eating in there and the restaurant were providing the other food anyway!
I have never hired a bike at Club La Santa though I have been down to ask for help when I had a mechanical and they could not have been more helpful. Some of my tri club have hired bikes and always been happy with them.
I hired a bike at Playitas Resort and was emailing in advance corresponding with some of the staff there who were really helpful. On arrival we went to see them and again they were more than happy to run through all options including loading a route to my bike computer. Again on the day of the hire although it was different staff they couldn’t have done more for me. I had taken my own helmet, shoes and bike computer though forgot my computer mount and they found one that fit and set it all up for me. The bike was really comfortable too. I had a BMC SLR 2 Di2 and it was 45 Euros for a day hire with an additional (optional) 3 Euros for insurance for the day. The prices differ depending on the duration of the hire. There are also sessions for guided bike rides though these are not free and range from 25 to 35 Euros.
When we go to La Santa we are self catering and have the option of cooking in the villa, using the restaurants or the buffet. The buffet is generally our last option and our preference is the restaurant. You only need to be there a few days for the waiters to remember your drink and they are always cheerful.
At Playitas Resort we were half board so had our breakfast and dinner in the buffet and the food was always great. Fish and meats cooked in front of you with loads of choice including protein and carb corner, loads of fresh breads and deserts although they all tended to taste the same. Staff here were very friendly also as well as in the main bar near the buffet restaurant.
Classes and the gym:
Classes are included when staying at Club La Santa – you are allocated a certain amount of points to use to book classes. I have used both the classes and gym and like the outdoor area for large classes and never had an issue getting on any equipment in the gym.
I was disappointed that the majority of classes were charged at Playitas Resort and although most are only 4 Euros this soon adds up and some sessions like stand up paddle board yoga in the pool was 25 Euros. I also found the classes of a lesser quality – they were less professional and more fun is the best way I can describe them.
Both resorts offer runs that are free of charge and something as a tri club we make use of is the mini tri at Club La Santa that is again free of charge and always popular with guests. Both also have apps though the main difference is that you can book on for classes on the Club La Santa app but on the Playitas Resort app it is more for viewing and you need to go to Sports Booking to actually book on.
There are three 50 metre pools at Club La Santa and lanes can be booked in advance though I have never had an issue getting a free lane. There is a timetable by the poolside which shows who has what lanes for the week you are there. The resort also has a lagoon that can be used for open water swimming. There is also a leisure pool on the resort.
Something else our triathlon club make use of at Club La Santa is the 400 metre running track and the run around the resort and lagoon is a nice loop with the option of a trail path off the lagoon also. I have also used the spa on every trip.
There is no 400 metre runing track at Playitas Resort but the resort is right next to a mountain for hiking or running trails (this is actually the final descent on the HMDS). There is also an golf course, climbing wall and obstacle course on site though I only saw a handful of obstacles myself. There is also a spa on site though I didn’t use this so cannot comment.
There will be a guest blog post from my husband with his race report of the HMDS.