The crowd, dressed in swimwear and sunglasses, begins counting down. Then a cheer goes up as a torrent of white soapy suds is fired into the air, cascading all over them. The weekly foam party at the main pool at the Hotel Riu Chiclana, on Spain’s Costa de la Luz, is under way.
Before I know it, I’m scooping up armfuls of the stuff and splatting it on my kids’ heads. Then I’m re-bounding the giant beach balls flying around the pool and tagging on the end of the reps’ conga through the sunbeds. This super-cool beachfront resort certainly knows how to party – and this was just the start of things to come.
Another day, we joined an al fresco aqua-aerobics session. Hugely popular with the hotel guests, it was led by one of the resort’s team of entertaining reps who arrived on the side dressed as Bruno Mars. He managed to get a pool full of folks, who had 24-hour access to allinclusive food and drink, to jig about, make animal noises and pull funny faces, before jumping in at the end, fully-clothed.
At night time, there were further opportunities to be entertained – from a nightly outdoor mini disco and party games for kids, handily situated next door to a cocktail bar, to the latenight reps’ shows of songs from musicals and themed jukebox-style music productions on the main stage, sandwiched between another two cocktail bars.
Did I mention the bars? There’s a swim-up bar called Liquid, serving multi-coloured booze-loaded creations, another two poolside bars, a roundthe-clock piano bar, plus serve-yourself beer, wine and juice stations dotted all around the resort. Feeling peckish? Impossible in a lavish hotel like this!
The main buffet offers paella, pizzas, showcooking stations, roast dinners, curries, fried fish, cheeses, freshly-squeezed juices and row upon row of cakes for dessert. Plus there’s a brand new swanky Italian restaurant, an Andalusian restaurant, and a snack bar serving burgers and toasties.
Recently refurbished, there’s a definite air of luxury about this hotel, with its five beautifullyfitted out swimming pools, pristine gardens dotted with palm tree, and swept, illuminated walkways.
The rooms, bungalows and apartments have been re-styled with sea-blue tones, dark wood, trendy wall art and huge walk-in shower rooms. Operating as a genuine all-inclusive resort, there are no hidden charges for the use of inroom safes, pool towels, bottled water or wifi.
It’s a great place for kids too, who get their own shallow pool with pirate ship and slides, a splash pad, kids’ club with organised games and activities, soft play, amusement arcade and art classes.
Pop out of the hotel’s rear gates, down a set of wooden steps, and you’ll find yourself on the gorgeous Playa de la Barossa beach. Often appearing at the top of Spain’s best beach list, it stretches 8km and, being west-facing, is the most spectacular spot for watching the sun set.
Getting to the Riu Chiclana was easy – we took a two-hour flight from Stansted to Seville, then picked up a hire car from holidayautos.com. The hour-long drive was easy to navigate on traffi cfree dual carriageways.
This area of the Costa de la Luz, or “coast of light”, is packed with history and picturesque towns, ideal for day trips and sightseeing.
We spent one day hanging out in Cadiz, the oldest inhabited city in Europe Packed with grand architecture, pretty plazas full of orange trees, tobacconists, watchtowers, museums and tapas bars, it’s a wonderfully relaxed strolling city, with narrow streets and hidden alleyways.
We also took a day trip to the Moorish hilltop town of Vejer de la Frontera, around a 20-minute drive away.
Wander the dazzlingly white tiny streets, and peer through the open doorways to the beautiful inner patios abundant with flowers.
But, after all our exploring, it was always a pleasure going back to the Riu Chiclana – the ideal Spanish resort for families looking for luxury all-inclusive with maximum fun-factor.
Getting there: Fly from Stansted to Seville with Ryanair from £16.99. See Ryanair.com
Where to stay: Double rooms at the four-star Hotel Riu Chiclana on Spain’s Costa de la Luz cost from £80 per person, per night, on an all-inclusive basis, during September. All-inclusive stays in October from £47 per person, per night. Book at riu.com
Airport parking: Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) offers a wide range of parking at all major airports in the UK. One week of Meet & Greet parking at Stansted costs from £72. Price is based on travel in November 2018. Book at www.aph.com
Car hire: With HolidayAutos.com from Seville Airport from £2.81 per day, based on a one-week trip.
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