“It’s all burnt down that end,” the guy has a face like fizz as he storms past his wife.
I’m standing ‘down that end’ looking at a rather succulent looking joint and a wok filled with smoky pork which looks pretty good to me. I have some and guess what, it is good. In fact the buffet is above par for a four star hotel. I don’t know what the grumpy man’s… err… beef is.
Next morning at breakfast his face still looks as though someone’s forced a lemon into his mouth. I know because he’s at the table right beside us and I can hear the conversation (if I lean back in my chair a bit). It’s a prime window spot. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, we’re sitting in an annexe with views out to sea and to the eastern end of the Orotava Valley. Outside the window a Canary bird sits in a flower on a tulip tree, pecking at the seeds. He doesn’t look up to see any of this.
“It’s very nice,” his wife says.
“Hmmph,” he replies.
It’s quite obvious he doesn’t want to be here in Puerto de la Cruz. So why is he?
“I bet the weather’s better over there,” he mutters.
I look at the sky and shift uncomfortably in my chair because the sun is roasting me through the window. The man is clearly deranged.
Then the penny drops. He really doesn’t want to be on Tenerife at all, he wants to be enjoying the holiday they’d originally planned in Sharm el Sheikh.
It’s the time of year when we’ve been researching Tenerife hotels in order to pick ones to review for various publications. This research includes checking out reviews on Tripadvisor. During this we’ve noticed a recurring theme running through some recent reviews. Some Tenerife hotels are being marked down by people who had originally planned to visit Sharm el Sheikh but, for reasons we all know, had to have their winter sun break changed to an alternative destination.
It’s not the first time Tenerife and the Canary Islands have benefited from problems in North Africa. As a result of the Arab Spring tourist figures were bumped up by over 300,000. On the face of it, it looked like Tenerife was seeing the silver lining of another destination’s cloud. But after what I’ve read in the last couple of weeks I’m not so sure.
People are understandably disappointed not to be lying in the sun in the destination of their choice, but some are taking that disappointment out on the hotel which has in a way saved their holiday.
One Sharm defector who stayed in a 5 star hotel on the south west coast complained it wasn’t 5 star at all because there wasn’t a golden beach in front of it – not like in Sharm.
Another moaned about the fact there was no free bottled water in their hotel room for them to wash their teeth with. Obviously they hadn’t mentioned this to the hotel otherwise they’d have been told what we all know – WE DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BRUSHING OUR TEETH WITH THE TAP WATER HERE.
Yet another couldn’t find a place in an adults only hotel in the south of Tenerife, so what did they do? They booked into a hotel which has ‘family hotel’ in its name and then bitched about the amount of children there were. Plus they booked in during half term. That, I have to say, goes beyond dumb.
And so the complaints go on. They’re annoying for sure because many are simply unjust, people lashing out due to disappointment. But the fact they drive us mad isn’t the problem.
The problem is each of these people gave negative reviews to the hotels they stayed in. Those reviews are potentially damaging from a business viewpoint. They damage the reputation of the hotel and they also damage the reputation of the island for no real reason other than Tenerife isn’t Sharm el Sheikh.
Not all Sharm defectors have been disappointed by having to change their holiday, one honeymooning couple were overjoyed with their hotel and holiday on the island. But as far as online reviews are concerned, they seem to be in the minority.
Tenerife might mop up thousands of people who would normally have gone to Sharm el Sheikh but if all that a lot of them are going to do is complain, it might be a case of with new friends like these, who needs enemies?
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+