I have just returned from this hotel, staying from April 3rd to April 13th flying from Manchester.
I booked this hotel for a 10 day family holiday last October 2012 on the internet, on an all inclusive deal for about £460 a person for a party of five in two rooms.
I then made the mistake of reading the reviews of this hotel on this site which were frankly not very encouraging, and for six months continued reading negative reports which worried us as to wether we had made the right choice.
We flew in on a full Ryanair Boeing 737-800 aircraft from a freezing UK stepping off the plane to a nice warm afternoon, we got our coach to our hotel with A2B transfers, they dropped us off "first" after a trip along the motorway (autopisto) of only 20 minutes at the back of the hotel. You go through an electric sliding gate after first ringing the bell, and proceed a short way to the front of the hotel and onto reception. Where we were met by the excellent (English speaking) Miquel who quickly and efficently booked us in and explained everything, put on our all inclusive wristbands.
Up in one of the two lifts to our rooms located on the eigth and ninth floor, at first the room had a bit of a musty smell but after opening the shutters in the bedroom and the sliding door onto the balcony to let some fresh air in it was gone after a short while. After an inspection of the room, where I found everything to my satisfaction, with clean bed sheets and towels in the bathroom, there was only one extra pillow, so we asked the maid for another one and there was no problem. The maid came and cleaned the room every other day, and changed the bed sheets twice during our stay. Regarding the towels and bath mat if you want them changing you just leave them in the bath and fresh ones were there after the maid cleaned the room. The bedroom was bright and airy and had extra blankets in the wardrobe, which were not needed. There was a safe located in the bottom of the wardrobe, which we did not bother with after reading that it cost 27 euros for a week to hire it.
On the question of sleep, our front door was at the back of the hotel and so the bedroom was at the back as well, the problem is that there is a bus station located just across the road. There is also a main road running along the back of the hotel, and the islands only motorway called the autopisto runs parallel to that and all this combined does lead to one thing noise. But thats not the only thing to keep you awake, the floors in the rooms which consists of a bedroom, corridor, bathroom, lounge and balcony are all tiled floors and the number of times we had furniture being scraped/dragged along the floor or in the room above children constantly running up and down. Then next door we had a couple of young girls who liked to play loud music, talked in very loud voices and came in from the clubs on the nearby Veronicas strip very late.
On the plus side on the ninth floor the view from the balcony over towards the Atlantic Ocean was spectacular with the deep blue colour of the water, the huge Atlantic rollers breaking on the beach. The next island of La Gomera was quite a site on the days when the mist lifted which was most days.
Now the temperatures in the English papers back home before our trip out were saying and a regular basis that it was 70f / 20c, but as we soon found out it was indeed a lot hotter than that for most of our stay it was in the eighties most afternoons and sun worshippers were still out sunbathing by the pool at 7pm.
The mix of guests included at the start of our stay English and Scots folk who got along great a good mix of ages, then we had an influx of Polish Russian and Lithuanian guests (with lots of children) which was interesting, and I thought the English and Scots could drink?
The restaurant was quite big and clean and got quite full towards the end of our stay and people struggled to get a table, the food was adequate I say this because it got a bit repetative there was always soup a bit watery, fresh cob rolls and butter, salad and mixed meats and cheese which was fine, there was plenty of fish, chicken, pork, beef stew, pasta with sauces, chips, rice, vegetables but it all tasted a bit bland the meat needed to be cooked in some sauce to perk it up. There were no little handwritten signs to say what the dishes were you are supposed to guess, quite a few people asked me what it was I was putting on my plate I told them I didn't know until I had tasted it.
The chef was struggling on his budget I think, he was to be seen out from the kitchen checking the food and making sure everything was OK on a regular basis, he did not speak English though.
Breakfast was the usual not very well cooked thin sliced streaky bacon swimming in fat, the sausages were always overcooked hard and tasteless, the eggs selection, scrambled were cold, hard boiled, and freshly fried with runny yolks but lots of uncooked whites around the yolks, beanz well what can you say beanz are beanz, cooked tomato's, the cold selection was the usual cheese slices, salami, ham, the cereals were cheap and nasty, the toaster was the usual hotel type that is on a roller mechanism it needed two trips through it to get some colour onto the white or brown tiny slices of bread, but the queue meant it was not polite to try for a third run through, the butter was in those little hard to open annoying containers, no jam or honey though, there was fruit bananas apple oranges, the fruit juice out the machines tasted like water most mornings, the coffee machine produced small cups of frothy stuff that looked a little brown, I'm told the tea bags were OK though. The waiters were efficient and cleared the tables quickly and at lunch and dinner served drinks at table, the jug of red or white wine for two was quite drinkable. The thing I did notice was that most of the food not eaten at lunch was reappearing in other dishes at dinner it was waste not want not especially with the sausages.
The entertainment...firstly the stage was very small and for most of the time there was music blaring out of the two speakers which was awful and painful on the ears. The nightly shows consisted of the usual round of parrot, snake, eagle, owls, shows these come in with a great loud fanfare and are on for only fifteen minutes, then the animals are hawked around the room as the guys try to get you to have your photo taken with them for ONLY ten euros. A professional dance show with two girls and a boy, were not to bad, they tried hard and were appreciated. Then it was a nice old guy who came from Essex on his motor bike to give us his kareoke show three times a week, at the end of each of his sessions he told the guests your holiday is only as good as you make it, so true. This is typical of the type of entertainment on offer at most hotels of this grade today I'm afraid and one I have witnessed all to often at many hotels over the years, that don't employ an entertainment director. There are three pool tables one in the bar and two outside, a football/basketball pitch at the front of the hotel.
The drinks bar...one drink per person a notice says. Well in the main the waiters did a great job especially the girls all very hard working with a smile. But wait till Abdullah (small guy you can't miss him he only smiles at young ladies, everyone else gets scowls) serves you with his cry of 'wha you wan' an annoying little man. Don't let him get the better of you, treat him with the same contempt that he treats you with. The beer is the Tropical brand in plastic cups to save the washing up methinks, there are pint glasses around if you ask for them. Don't ask for cocktails they don't do cocktails. Service is from 10am to 11am and then you have to buy the drinks until 11.30pm when everyone has to vacate to sit outside, someone told me of a guest who bought a round of five drinks and it cost 27 euros.
The two pools were quite small but OK I guess, although the water temperature was a bit cold for swimming but some brave souls managed to get in. A notice says don't put towels on sun loungers until after 9.30am, not many people bothered and put them on before breakfast, I also noted quite a few people putting the hotels bath towels on the sun loungers too.
The hotel name is up in lights on top of the building Hotel A. Ponderosa, it is a three star grade, and by todays standards you get what you pay for. We saw some lovely four and five star hotels as we walked around the resorts of Playa de Americas and Los Christianos, you pays your money folks.
The whole experience of our holiday was totally ruined though by the sheer number of so called 'PR' ladies and men who stand outside their businesses, bars restaurants shops etc imploring you to visit their establishment, you can't walk more than three or four steps without being harassed and keep having to say no thanks! When you do stop and sit down for a drink, you then get the so called "LUCKY LUCKY MEN" invariably black in colour (who I'm told are boat people from Africa, employed by the local mafia) trying to sell you cheap sunglasses, watches, bracelets and won't take NO for an answer. Then there are wandering minstrels offering to sing you a song for any small change.
My take on all this is that since the All Inclusive board came in, it has killed off a lot of local businesses, you can see lots closed down, the ones that survive are just about holding on, but there are lots of empty seats in bars and restaurants as guests retreat back to their hotels for their paid for meals and all you can drink.
Enjoy your stay, the weather certainly helps you to forget any small problems you may encounter.
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- Also Known As:
- Ocean Ponderosa Hotel
- Hotel Ocean Ponderosa Tenerife/Playa De Las Americas