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A few years back Tenerife had a marketing campaign in which it promoted itself as “Tenerife Amable” (friendly Tenerife). Little stickers appeared on buses and taxis and posters popped up on motorway billboards and bus stops.
For the most part since moving here I have generally found the Tenerife amable label to be justified and the vast majority of Tinerfeños to be very pleasant people. But every now and again, you experience something that stands out from the crowd and a couple of weeks ago, I found something that did just that.

We’d arranged to spend an evening with Chris Clarkson and Alan Gilmour of tenerife.co.uk who were on a short business trip to the island from the UK. With dinner booked at the Watermelon in Los Cristianos and the prospect of a nice drop of vino, the option of driving back to Puerto de la Cruz was looking distinctly like a member of the Killjoy Club. So we booked a room at the Pearly Grey Ocean Club Resort in Callao Salvaje and arranged to share a taxi with John Beckley.

Pearly Grey Ocean Club Resort

Having checked into our fabulous, ocean front room, we headed to Los Cristianos for a night of gastronomic and vinicultural delights served up with a healthy dose of lively conversation and good laughs. The night slipped away and it was near 2am when we arrived back at Pearly Grey.

Finding the gate which led to our room locked, we went to reception but no-one was there so we popped our heads around the door of the bar/restaurant where we could hear voices chatting.
“Is there anyone manning reception?” I asked.
“He’s probably just doing his security round”, came the cheery response from the guy who was finishing clearing up for the night. “He should be back in a couple of minutes.”

So we went back to reception and waited.
A few minutes later the guy we’d spoken to in the bar emerged to lock up.
“He’s not back yet then?” he asked. “Come on, I think I know a back way to get you to your room.”
And he led us off around the swimming pool area and down a ramp behind the main building emerging eventually outside what all three of us hoped was indeed our room.
“ Brilliant. Thanks very much indeed.” I said. “By the way, what’s your name?”
Laughing he said “ If this is your room, the name’s Paul. If it isn’t, I’ve never seen you before in my life!” And he disappeared back up the ramp.

Restaurant at Pearly Grey

The next morning we went to the restaurant, ordered coffee from a smiling, friendly waitress behind the counter and sat at a patio table overlooking the pool while we took advantage of the free Wi-Fi zone to do some work.
In the hour or so that we were there, there must have been 20 or 30 guests coming and going through the restaurant area and around the pool and every one of them was greeted and chatted to as if they were members of the family.

Mums and dads stretched out on sun loungers while the kids used the Internet zone, or played table tennis and table football. The place had such a laid back, friendly and safe atmosphere that we felt as if we were guests at a huge house party where they just happened to have a beautiful swimming pool, uninterrupted ocean views and oodles of sunbathing terraces.

Unfortunately, we had places to go and people to see, otherwise we would very happily have stayed there all day and probably booked another night.
Last weekend, back in Puerto de la Cruz, we went to our local bar, The Beehive, to watch the Manchester United versus Blackburn match. We hadn’t even taken our seats or ordered our drinks when an elderly Brit sitting at the bar started aggressively verbally abusing the Man United club.
“They’re a bunch of dirty, cheating, lying b****ards!” he bellowed. “They make me sick!”
We’re no strangers to Man Utd haters; jealousy is a very common trait (!) and we happily participate in friendly banter with rival club fans, but this man didn’t want to talk about football, he just continued to bellow his abuse throughout the first half of the game and quite frankly, made it quite unpleasant to be there.

The contrast between our experience over that 24 hours couldn’t have been more marked.

I guess the guy in The Beehive didn’t catch the “Tenerife Amable” campaign.

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