CASA BONITA VILLA REVIEW, FARO PARK, LANZAROTE
I’ve often looked on as friends headed off abroad in May half term and thought how civilised that would be, so when Practically Perfect Mums was asked to review a James Villa Holidays we realised this was our perfect chance for a luxurious Spring holiday.
Where to go?
Like many parents, the husband and I both juggle working hard alongside catering for the needs of young children. His busy accountancy practice means his time off is limited so at this stage in our lives our ideal holiday is all about warmth, relaxation and somewhere for the boys to swim. A nearby beach and beautiful scenery are welcome additions too.
We discover quite quickly that the prospect of virtually “guaranteed sunshine” along with a relatively short four hour flight makes the Canaries an attractive choice. Add to that perfect flight times from our local Bristol Airport and we decide to head to Lanzarote.
Choosing a Villa
Having chosen our destination we get to the fun part of selecting accommodation. We decide to opt for an independent villa with its own pool rather than a resort holiday. The James Villa website makes it easy to narrow down our search with filters like how far the villa is from the nearest shop, bar or beach. You can then shortlist any which take your fancy. We consider the option of bringing my parents too if we can find suitable accommodation and are lucky enough to discover Casa Bonita, a two bedroom villa sleeping five people plus a separate one bedroom annexe which sleeps a further two people. Initially we envisage my parents using the annexe but my Mother’s bad knees would never cope with the 18 marble steps which we discover lead up to the annexe bedroom, so the husband and I decided we’re happy to sacrifice the ensuite master bedroom in the main villa in favour of a peaceful pad for two!
Casa Bonita Villa
We’ve seen a few pictures of the villa on James Villa website but when we see it for real I’m wowed by how spacious and luxurious it is. The boys are very excited to be staying in the big house with Grandma and Grandpa and the grandparents seem both impressed and a little guilty that we’ve given up the master bedroom and ensuite for them. You’ll see soon enough why they really didn’t need to worry about us!
The children’s bedroom has bunk beds with a double bed at the bottom so the three of them take turns to sleep on the all important top bunk.
Although it’s only a two bed property, the living spaces are big enough for seven. In the living area there’s a TV box providing a full Sky TV package, including sports and movies channels. A big leather corner sofa offers plenty of seating. There’s also a large selection of DVDs and a Wii with a few games (although the boys have brought some of their own to be on the safe side!).
The dining room features a big marble table and seating for six.
A large laundry room has a washing machine etc plus a selection of games and lego. There’s an additional shower, loo and basin in the family bathroom and we find liquid soap provided in all three bathrooms.
The kitchen has all the essentials you’d expect like a kettle, toaster, cooker, hob and fridge freezer, plus plenty of cupboard space, a dishwasher and a filter coffee maker. We find washing up liquid and a few dishwasher tablets under the sink but we’re not sure if these are normally supplied or if we’ve just been lucky. We’re pleased about these little extras as we’ve opted to bring cabin luggage only so have stripped our packing back to the bare minimum.
A few steps across the pool area leads to a separate entrance to the one bedroom annexe where the husband and I will be laying our heads for the week. I think our boys feel a bit sorry for us as our house isn’t as big as theirs, but the husband and I are quick to appreciate the benefits of a peaceful, tidy home, even taking advantage of the odd clandestine visit to a local bar, thanks to our built in babysitters next door!
The living room in the annexe is plenty big enough for us two with extra seating for visitors. Unlike in the main house, TV in here is limited to the odd news channel. There’s a selection of DVDs and a player so we watch a film on one occasion, but as we go out to eat most evenings we’re barely interested in watching television.
The kitchen which leads off the living room is small and would be perfectly adequate if we wanted to partake in any actual cooking – which we don’t. We use the fridge for important things like chilling various drinks and keeping our chocolate cold. In the absence of a coffee maker, we use the microwave to make milky coffees in the morning and then later on pop round next door to be willing guineau pigs as Daddy trials various quantities of local filter coffee in his quest to make the perfect strength cuppa in their villa’s machine!
As with the main villa, marble and granite abound. Our bathroom has a bath with shower above – and wins brownie points for having a set of towel hooks behind the door – hurrah! If you’ve really settled into the holiday mood, you can even leave the door open and watch the lounge telly from the comfort of your bubble bath!
The whole of the upstairs is taken up by the spacious gallery style bedroom which has a railing overlooking the lounge below.
There’s lots of storage throughout both the properties and this bedroom is no exception with large built in wardrobes and a chest of drawers.
Pool and Garden
The pool is the central feature of the garden with an outdoor dining area and built in barbecue to one side. Another table and plenty of additional seating and loungers mean we can choose our favourite spots to sit outside. Part of the week is quite windy and other days are very sunny so we rearrange seating to find sun, shelter or shade accordingly.
The garden area is a really good size and beautifully maintained, although much of it is for aesthetics rather than functionality. Trademark black gravel keeps the garden looking neat and tidy but doesn’t lend itself to being walked or played on as it can spill out easily onto the patio or even worse, into the pool. A beautiful range of plants including exotic, colourful cacti and palm trees surround the large patio area where the children play ballgames.
The pool’s cleaned while we’re here and we understand this is done twice a week.
We experience a minor problem on our arrival evening when there’s no power to the TV or Wii system so I phone our rep, Kate, who promises to send someone around asap to have a look. The problem turns out to be minor and I’m very impressed that it’s is resolved within about thirty minutes of my initial phone call.
A meeting with Kate the following morning gives us chance to find out about attractions, beaches, markets, transport options and arrange our return transfer back to the airport. Our-check out will be at 10am so we take up the option of storing our bags at nearby Hotel Corbetta and use their facilities for the day all for the princely sum of ten euros between the seven of us.
Despite being heated, the pool doesn’t feel overly warm but we’re advised that replacing the cover each time the pool’s not in use will retain more heat.
Plenty of hand and bath towels are provided but guests need to bring their own towels for the pool.
Hair dryers are provided in both the villa and annexe so we don’t need to pack these.
Wi-fi is virtually non-existent in the annexe, yet in the house it’s surprisingly good, with just occasional moments of non-connectivity.
The property exceeds my expectations. Both inside and out it’s large, well maintained, very clean and the spec is high. The layout of the two adjoining, but separate living areas, works really well for our extended family dynamic.
The private pool is the main attraction and we enjoy having a relaxing dip, watching the children have fun or joining in with competitive games of seriously competitive water polo! A lot of fun is had here.
The rep service is good and takes away the hassle of things like working out what time to book airport taxis for the return flight as Kate works this out and makes the necessary arrangements on our behalf.
A huge thank you to James Villas for offering us the opportunity to review Casa Bonita. This is our first experience of staying at a James Villa property and based on this week’s experience, our family wouldn’t hesitate to use them again and recommend their services to others.
You can find out more or book a James Villa Holiday here (affiliate link)
VIDEO GUIDED TOUR OF THE VILLA NOW ADDED
DISCLOSURE: WE RECEIVED A ONE WEEK STAY IN A JAMES VILLA FOR THE PURPOSES OF WRITING THIS REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE OUR OWN. CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS