Thinking about taking one of the many bargain holidays to Tenerife offered on the internet? The following guest post from Holiday Insider will make that decision a whole lot easier!
Holiday Insider writes
“After trying to get away for a week in April and consequently being thwarted by the ash cloud, our quick week away to get some sunshine ended up being last week in Tenerife! We stayed at the Bareclo Santiago, booked by a lovely travel agent who advertises on holidayholiday.co.uk (if you’d like her details please email me, a good travel agent is worth their weight in gold!). The holiday was booked via Thomson/First Choice.
The Hotel Barcelo Santiago is situated in Puerto Santiago in the South West of Tenerife. We flew into Tenerife South Airport which is located on the South of the island. The hotel itself is built on the cliff face overlooking the sea and has a beautiful view of Los Gigantes Cliffs and you can also see La Gomera island from the hotel. There’s a mixture of Double rooms, Suites, Junior Suites and Deluxe Junior Suites. We booked a sea view double balcony room. The hotel was refurbished recently (according to its website) and its of a relatively good standard throughout, although when I was there some parts of the spa were out of use due to improvements still. The nearest beach is 200metres away, although I wouldn’t go to this hotel for the beach, it’s very small and Tenerife’s beaches are volcanic sand. However, it does make up for this in scenic views and lovely swimming pools overlooking the cliffs.
The restaurant here is buffet style plus a pool bar , plus also a spanish restaurant serving tapas and other meals which I have to be honest I didn’t see open apart from to show the football on a big screen. The majority of holidaymakers here are on the All Inclusive option, which is good value for money as it includes local wines, spirits and beers, all meals plus snacks, there’s also a self service drinks bar at the poolside. The food itself was ok, a variety of things to choose from each night although mainly unadventurous, plus the usual snacks at the pool bar. It does get a bit monotonous at times, but then I guess that’s usual when it’s all inclusive and catering for the masses. I think breakfast was my favourite as there was a lot of choice.
The pools are lovely, very clean and well kept, very refreshing on hot days!! The entertainment is your usual class of hotel entertainment, a bit like Butlins but marginally better and in French, German, Spanish and English. We did have one night of good entertainment that consisted of an Eagles tribute band who were good. I have to say the entertainment staff worked extremely hard, I don’t know where they got their energy from. There was a different show on every night, plus kids clubs for those with children. I didn’t use the spa in the end, but did use the gym which was moderately equipped and of an ample size considering there was no-one else using it!
Walking around and about near the hotel there are a few bars, restaurants and shops. They’re mainly catered to tourists and most of the bars are English bars and serve English food or holiday food like Pizza. We visited during the World Cup so inevitably there were football games being shown in nearly every bar. We started off the holiday as half board and then decided after two nights to upgrade to All Inclusive, partly because we had decided this was a rare ’do-nothing’ holiday and also because I didn’t feel that the restaurants around the hotel offered anything extra than the hotel already supplied and at a very competitive rate. This may not suit everyone, but it worked for us on this occasion. One thing to note if booking this hotel, the area is very hilly and there are steep stairs down to the promenade and to the beach. If you have any problems with walking and are planning on seeing the surrounding area by foot I would advise not to book this hotel.
1) Beautiful scenery and views out over the sea here, the Los Gigantes cliffs and La Gomera Island. Had we been more active we would have taken a trip to the neighbouring island or hired jetskis.
2) Helpful staff – the Restaurant manager, waiters and waitresses in particular are very helpful, friendly and very busy! The hotel was very full when we stayed and they rushed around the place at every meal.
3) The All Inclusive package here is very good value for money especially if you drink alcohol and are happy to choose from the buffet menu or snack bar.
… and the Bad:
1) Veggie meal booked on the flight, didn’t get it, although the air hostess did find me an alternative. Unfortunately this has been my experience every time I’ve booked a package holiday with Thomson!!
2) Paid for a sea view balcony room, but on arrival we were placed in a sea view ground floor room. I complained and we were finally moved to the 5th floor two days after arrival. What a difference! Even the cleaning of the room on the 5th floor is better, which is lovely but disappointing for those on the 2nd floor!
3) Unhelpful staff – the Gym manager particularly. As I was the sole person using the gym for an hour’s run I asked to turn the TV over to watch something other than Football. The girls on the desk stated they were unable to do this as they had been told by their manager that the TV must show Football at all times regardless of what the clients requested.
4) Sunbeds – Oh wow it is amazing the dedication I experienced to sunbathing at this hotel. After spending 4 days unsuccessfully getting a sunbed, I actually got up one morning at 7am to reserve two with towels. I’m embarressed to admit it but if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em!! Be prepared to get up by 8am latest if you want a good spot. The hotel has a policy of not reserving sunbeds but I didn’t see this in force at any point.
Overall, did I enjoy my holiday at the Barcelo Santiago? I would say yes, but…. it’s not really my type of holiday. All inclusive package holidays are a new thing to me and not something I would repeat quickly. I enjoy adventure type holidays in general, but this is personal choice and I recognise that. I think if you are a family with kids its ideal for a relaxing week away. It was very busy while we were there so perhaps our original plan of going in April may have been better suited to us. I imagine it gets very booked up during the height of the Summer months so be prepared for it to be busy if you go during this time. I enjoyed it, and despite the enforced relaxation I did come back home feeling like I’d had a proper break in the sunshine. In my opinion and based on previous experience, it’s a good 3* hotel with an exceptionally lovely view…. as opposed to a 4*.”