Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Grim Benalmadena Apartment!!

Friends and Acquaintances,

As a few of you already know we recently had a 'Holiday's from Hell' experience in an apartment we rented in Benalmadena on the Costa Del Sol.

I wanted to share the details - largely in order to make sure none of you make the same mistake in either booking the same apartment - or a similarly bad apartment or villa.

So firstly the link to the 'Luxury apartment' we booked - at the not insubstantial cost of 2,800 euros.
Hopefully you will agree I'm not a complete mug - no comments please - that it looks good - good location and my imagination was of late night drinks enjoying the view from the roof terrace with the kids in bed.

We arrived there on Sunday the 5th of August full of expectation - which was sadly squashed within about 3 minutes due to the state of the place - you can pick through the long list of issues below but in short I wouldn't have kept a dog in there - although the place did smell like the previous tenant had. Something that the property manager explained was down to them using a dirty mop to clean the place :-)

The BBQ looked as if said dog had been cooked on it about 2 hours previous, filthy to say the least. The broken hot tub which dominated the roof terrace was probably the dog's bath - the dog was also clearly a chain smoker who was unable to dispose of it's cigarette butts as they were spread over the terraces of the apartment.

On a more serious note the cleanliness of the place was far from the only concern!!

With 2 families with 4 children between us security is pretty important - unfortunately the glass doors leading to the terraces from three of the bedrooms could not be locked - one had been taped closed with sellotape - this hadn't worked so it had a set of drawers pushed against it to keep it closed.

There were also a number of plug sockets and light fittings with exposed wires and also some exposed wires hanging out of a wall.

The words tell a story but a picture is worth a thousand words - see more sorry pictures here!

Having spent half a day traveling after a 3am start to be honest myself and Mr Storey were pretty polite - if firm - in the explanation of our issues - listed below - to the property manager.
They would not accept that there was a problem which was even more frustrating. The only option was to vote with our feet and we luckily managed to find a great villa on La Cala golf resort thanks to Steve Margetts from Marlin Global and Jacqueline Watt from Lets Buy In Spain

Both of these guys were amazingly helpful and I would not hesitate to recommend them for rental or purchase requirements on the Costa del Sol. 

Having rechecked the apartment details on the Home and Away website the pictures look at least a couple of years old. The two reviews of the apartment which gave us some comfort that we were booking somewhere nice were written in September 2010 - so yes we should have wondered why they were old - but on deeper digging it seems more than a coincidence that both the users - Lone and David have been members on the site since the same date - 6th November 2011

Writing about our experience seems somewhat cathartic as was raising a complaint with both the Home and Away web site and the property manager - who has refused to give me the owners details.

However what I am truly hoping for is that a large number of people read this blog and take some time and care while booking a holiday so as not to make the same mistake as we did -so please forward the details to your friends and family.

We all live our lives on the Internet these days - whether it is for work, banking, paying bills, shopping or entertainment. So it no longer seems like a leap of faith to spend a large lump of your hard earned cash to rent a villa from someone you have never met in a place you have never been - so after this bad experience what will I do differently next time?

Top 5 Lessons Learnt

1) Look at the reviews more closely - 2 reviews is not enough to build a real impression, they were also from 2010!!
2) Speak to the property owner directly - not a property manager like we did - if they are based in the UK and you have a UK address and number they are more likely to be genuine.
3) Ask the owners to email some recent pictures of the property from a recent trip - if they are reluctant give it a miss.
4) Book well in advance - there will be plenty of choice and you can take your time selecting the perfect property for your needs.
5) Recommendations - worth their weight in gold - ask friends where they have been and what it was like.

Overall take care and take your time - if it is too cheap then there is probably a reason for it!

Good luck and happy holidays
Oh and the list - more than just one or two things!!!


  • Roof terrace door does not lock properly and is flimsy
  • Lounge sliding glass does does not lock at all
  • Front door - security chain fixing to door frame not secure - door frame only pinned to wall with a few small pins
  • Door to terrace in bedroom to the right at bottom of stairs - does not lock - the chest of drawers is pushed against it to keep it closed - it has clearly been kept closed with sellotape in the past as was evident from sellotape marks

  • Apartment was not cleaned to an appropriate standard
  • There was a smell of dogs, which we were told was caused by use of a dirty mop
  • Lounge terrace flower areas in walls were full of cigarette butts
  • Cigarette butts on terrace
  • Crumbs and dirt under coffee table in lounge
  • Cushions on sofa in lounge were badly stained
  • Curtains in lounge dirty
  • Rubbish including a beer can was left on terrace outside bedroom on right at bottom of stairs
  • Pieces of rice in microwave
  • Worktops in kitchen dirty
  • Dirty hand prints over interior walls
  • Dirty marks on downstairs terrace walls
General Maintenance

  • Plug socket in lounge was exposed and live
  • Exposed cables and electric fittings on downstairs terrace
  • Broken furniture on both lounge and roof terraces
  • Old satellite dish discarded on lounge terrace
  • Milldew/damp in downstairs hall
  • Ripped awning on roof terrace
  • Light switch in downstairs bedroom broken
  • Air conditioning unit was clearly blocked/dirty and not been serviced for a long time
  • Both curtain rails in lounge and dining room were hanging off the wall
  • Bottom of the kitchen door frame was wet to the touch - clearly caused by some sort of leak
  • Hot tub (apartment was not advertised with a hot tub) on roof terrace was not working - was an eyesore, had also had the side taken off and left off presumably as an attempt to repair, was dirty inside. The main issue was that it looks unsightly and takes up a huge amount of space on the terrace - the hot tub is not shown in the pictures on the website
  • Weeds growing in the roof terrace
  • White trellis barriers on roof terrace broken - and left lying on terrace - both unsightly and unsafe 
  • Towel rail in family bathroom hanging off the wall
  • Light fitting in bedroom on the right at the bottom of the stairs hanging off the ceiling - with exposed wires, the light didn't work and the light shade was ripped and hanging off
  • BBQ was broken/unusable and still had old food on it

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