I recently stayed at the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro by the beach in Lanzarote. It was such a brilliant all-inclusive experience, I wanted to share it with you. It ended up being the perfect choice for a holiday for my 13 month old son, me and my friend, here’s why…
I spent hours looking for the perfect hotel for my upcoming holiday with my friend Mel, and my at the time 13-month-old son. We wanted sun in early March, we wanted a baby friendly hotel but with a separate adult section if it all got too much for Mel, we wanted good food, a great pool and to be by the beach. I also wanted a baby club I could trust, a decent size room for the three of us, and not to be too far from the airport.
I didn’t realise what a tall order it was, until I was hours deep in research trawling every hotel in the Canaries to see what strangers on Trip Advisor thought of their baby clubs, and their bathrooms.
Eventually, I came across the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro in Lanzarote.
After much deliberation and thought (on my part), we booked the first week of March for some sun and fun for the three of us.
The Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro ticked all the boxes online, but how would it fair in reality?
Review of Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
Just as a spoiler, which may be pretty obvious if you followed along with my trip on Instagram, we had a brilliant time. So good in fact, I’ve thought about it a lot in the six weeks that have passed since.
It’s difficult to find a hotel that suits the range of needs between the three of us, so I want to share my thoughts as to why the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro was perfect – and why I’d definitely go back.
To start with, it was just the welcome we needed after the long journey to get there (see ‘getting there’ below). The staff were really welcoming, and had a glass of Prosecco on check in. Now that’s the kind of service I like. They were super friendly to my son, and helped us with our bags to our room.
The first night we checked in, went for dinner, and went to bed.
The rooms at Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
We went for the Family Superior room, as it had the divider. My thinking was that if we had separate rooms it would obviously cost a lot more, we wouldn’t have much time to chat, and we’d be on different schedules. So, we went for a better standard of room instead, with a balcony and an adjoining lounge. The lounge had a sofa bed in so if I did need to co sleep with Reggie, or even just sleep next to him with his in his cot, there was space.
Mel and I went to school together, we can share a room with ease and were very cosy just here.
That door you see to the side led to what became ‘Reggie’s room’ but was also the lounge with a TV which we never even turned on, and a balcony.
Reggie slept better than he had in weeks in this room. It was amazing.
On the plane Mel and I talked about what we wanted from the holiday, and for all of us – Reggie included – it came down to one thing, to relax. It’d been a crazy few weeks with family and work, and I just needed to have relaxing fun by day, and get some sleep in overnight.
This room, and great cot, meant I got to do just that. I was asleep by 9:30 every night. I know, how much fun am I?!
The bathroom was great too. It was on the other side of our room to Reggie’s room, so we could shower and flush without the worry of waking him up. Great to have a sink each for Mel and I, and a bath for Reg too. The bathroom really was everything I could’ve wanted in a hotel!
Check out the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro on Booking.com
The Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro facilities
So the bedroom and bathroom get 5/5, how about the rest of the review of Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro?
Baby club at the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
One of the main reasons for choosing the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro was the highly rated baby club. They’d take babies from 6 months for two separate hours a day. Reggie did a total of six hours over the week we were there, which was just what I needed to recharge and regroup and feel like I’d had a holiday too.
You can’t book in advance, but instead have to book the day before, or the morning of. Cue a line of desperate parents eager for their precious hour off queuing at the door as soon as it opened.
Reggie would do around 10-11 and then 2-3, which I made fit in with his nap.
The baby club at Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro was right by the kids pool, and a bar. I would drop him off, go and get a (small) beer and then lie on the sun loungers there to enjoy my hour. The pool there wasn’t heated for some reason, so it was quieter than the others – and perfect for me. I mean, I go in the sea at Southsea Beach in England most of the year, so a chill in the Lanzarote sun was a joy. Especially with the pool to myself and access to the all inclusive food and drink.
I was literally steps from where Reggie was enjoying being in an air conditioned room, playing with the toys and having other baby company around. I didn’t worry or feel guilty, but knew he was having fun.
Evening activities at the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
They did have an evening programme for the kids, but it wasn’t quite right for us.
It started after 8, by which time we were either eating or wanting Reggie to relax for sleep. We did go on one night, but it was just too much for all of us. Loud European music, screaming 6-10 year olds, and just far too hectic for us adults, never mind Reggie. We lasted about 10 minutes.
One for the older kids!
They had lots of music options though, and even a market one night too.
The pools at the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
As I’ve said there’s a pool in the kids area that isn’t heated – which will be fine in the hot hot summer, but a bit too chilly for babies in March – but there’s also one just a few steps away that is. And, it has slides and water jets and all sorts.
I was actually really excited to take Reggie in it, and then I realised how confident he was in the water, and decided it would probably be a nightmare with him thinking he can swim and do it all – at 13 months.
It looked great for any babies and kids just a little bit older.
Playgrounds at the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
There was a great little playground at the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro, which was perfect for Reggie’s age – with a tunnel and some swings. He loved it in there and it was a good spot to take him before breakfast to burn off some energy.
Also, just outside there was an even bigger park, on black sand. It was great to have the choice of the two.
In my experience of all-inclusive hotels, it’s also really nice to be able to get out of the resort easily towards the end of the trip. Even if it’s to step out of the front door. This second park was really close and just gave us another option for entertainment.
The spa at the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
Another of the big reasons why we chose the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro was because of the spa, and the over 18s area. Mainly for my friend to get a break from the families, rather than for me. When we checked in they told us we had access, thanks to a deal when we booked, but then as the week went on they weren’t so sure if we did.
The spa looks great from the pictures, but as the week went on we didn’t really have time to do it around Reggie, so we weren’t bothered.
If you do want to use the spa, make sure to book it in when you arrive.
In the area at the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
Also just outside the hotel was a useful essentials shop, a bar, a cafe and a few souvenir shops. So good having these close, especially if you’re half board at Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro, rather than all-inclusive like we were.
One of the best things about the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro was how easy it was to walk into Playa Blanca. You could exit the back of the hotel, in front of the beach, and walk along the path into the town. I did this a few times over the week, firstly to get Reggie some new shoes after he lost a shoe on the flight. Secondly to go when the shop was actually open, and thirdly and fourthly to get Reggie to snooze outside so I could enjoy the sun.
It was such a gorgeous walk. It took about 20 minutes to get to Playa Blanca, and a few more into the centre for the pretty marina, the shops and the bars.
The food at Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
Every day there was a different theme in the food at the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro. One night, the best night, we had Mexican. Reggie was loving all that guacamole.
Another night it was local specialities, another it was Italian, and we also had a BBQ night too. There was always something for Reggie to eat, for my vegetarian friend to eat, and for me to enjoy too.
Breakfast had everything you could ever want, with freshly made juices, lots of fruits, all you need for a full English, and for a continental too.
The waiting staff came round to take drinks orders, and you could help yourself to coffee. All was well.
We ate in the main buffet restaurant every day for breakfast and dinner.
For lunch, we ate at the pool bar most days, although the buffet was open. The pool bar had sandwiches, salads, chips, wraps, burgers and chicken nuggets.
There are two other restaurants on site, which unfortunately we didn’t get to try. You could only book into the a la carte Portofino Restaurant two days in advance, and we weren’t quick enough to get the earlier times. There was no way we could eat after 8:30 with Reggie, and we’d be too tired by then too.
Then there was a really cute looking restaurant almost on the beach, which was only open on Fridays (the one night we weren’t there on our 6 day holiday), and looked like it only had about 10 tables anyway. This was such a shame as it looked like it would have been a meal to remember, even just for the location.
Getting to the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
I made the terrible choice to get a transfer bus from the airport to the hotel. Thinking it would be better for Reggie as we didn’t have a car seat, and it’d be cheaper. It was cheaper, at €25 return for the three of us, but it took FOREVER.
I kept thinking our hotel would be next, but no. We were last. About two hours after getting on the bus. After travelling to the airport, being in the airport, the flight which was delayed and then waiting for the transfer bus to go, it was not what we needed.
On the way back we got a taxi which was €50 and took about 40 minutes. The driver had a seat for Reggie and it was a MUCH better idea. I strongly recommend either booking a private transfer through the hotel, or just grabbing a taxi for ease.
Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro Review: Improvements
At the time I thought all the food was great, but looking back it would’ve been good to have been able to visit the other restaurants, or just have something different. Lunch was very samey.
I want to point out that although we had a beach on our doorstep, which was great, it was all black sand and rocks. It wasn’t the kind of gorgeous beach you might associate with a holiday in the Canary Islands. We didn’t go in the sea there, even for a paddle.
The evening entertainment that we saw was definitely a bit mad. Am I just not yet initiated into this level of the world of child entertainment? Maybe.
Other holidaymakers reserving beds was really annoying. We were up early with Reggie and people were coming down and spreading their towels and going back to their rooms – as I know happens at a lot of resorts. If you complained to the lifeguards they would go and turf them off, in their defence. I saw a few people doing this. I cut out the middle man and just did it myself.
Although the reception staff were lovely, they weren’t very coherent in what they told us. Could we get car hire there? What time would we need to leave on our last day? How much was the taxi? Where was the kids club? Do we have access to the spa? It was a different (and wrong) answer every time I swear.
The Wi-Fi in our room was non-existent. Fine for me as I really wanted a cut off from the online world, but my friend was trying to keep up with her work and had to go to the reception to sit and do her video calls.
Apart from that, the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro was perfect for us!
Tips for staying at the Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro
1. Book yourself into the Portofino Restaurant before you go. It’s only open in the evenings, and the sitting times can be difficult for little ones. Book Portofino the day before you arrive, on this link. That way, you’re done and you know you’re in.
2. The kids club is on level 3 not 4 like all the signs say. It took us a day and three times of asking the reception staff to work this out. You’ll see what I mean.
3. Take an all inclusive to the beach for a beach dinner one night. We took some pasta and pizza down and it was a really nice way to escape the dining hall, and still get food.
4. If you’re travelling with kids and babies, you can buy all the essentials at the shopping centre out the front instead of lugging nappies overseas.
5. You can order car rental from Sixt from the machine at the front desk, or walk into Playa Blanca and get it locally for a discount.
Hotel Gran Castillo Tagoro Review
I fully expect to go back to this hotel one day, in fact, I’m weighing it up against trying the TUI Flamingo Beach Hotel next year. But for two weeks next time!
CHECK THE PRICES OF THE HOTEL GRAN CASTILLO TAGORO HERE