Or any hotel reviews on TripAdvisor for that matter? Having spent the weekend at the Family Hotel Isabel in Costa Adeje I was interested to compare notes with reviews on TripAdvisor.

261 people had reviewed Family Hotel Isabel awarding it an overall 4 out of 5 stars rating. Nearly 80% rated it as being very good or excellent. But 10% felt that it was below average.

Curious about the disgruntled 10%, I decided to have a look at some recent poor reviews to see what made their experience of staying in Hotel Isabel so terrible.

Main Walkway at Hotel Isabel

The first came from British guests staying at the hotel this month.

‘Not alot of english at this hotel, def catered for the germans and spanish.’

Yes, it was definitely mostly Spanish guests when I was there, but then Tenerife is a part of Spain and the island receives a lot of mainland Spanish visitors during summer months.

There were a number of different nationalities at Hotel Isabel, it gave the place a cosmopolitan feel and I didn’t feel that it catered for any group in particular. I was treated exactly the same as everyone else. But maybe that was the problem for that reviewer.

The next poor review was from a Dutch visitor who gave Hotel Isabel 1 star saying:

‘The staff were incompetent and had no foreign language capabilities. The all inclusive food wasn’t edible.’

Ouch! I heard staff speaking Spanish, English and German; maybe all weren’t fluent in other languages but that’s not the same as having ‘no foreign language capabilities’. I witnessed friendly, helpful staff at all levels from managers to receptionists to chambermaids. I was especially impressed by the way the dining and kitchen staff kept a capacity dining room moving incredibly smoothly. As for inedible food –balderdash; buffets are never going to match à la carte meals but Hotel Isabel’s buffet was about as good as any 4* I’ve tried on my travels.

I could partly understand the next 2 star review as it came from guests forced to stay an extra night on Tenerife due to an air traffic controllers’ strike who had swapped the 5* Marylanza Spa for the Hotel Isabel. However, comparing a 5* with a 4* isn’t comparing like with like, especially when you don’t want to be there.  But the comment that caught my eye was this:

‘We gave up trying to get a cup of tea it was disgusting.’

There was a selection of loose teas at breakfast – but I can’t remember seeing teabags, so maybe that was the issue.

Main swimming pool at Hotel Isabel

Finally, there was this scathing 2 star review:

‘I would’nt the serve the food to my dogs. There was enough of it but very cheap quality food. If you like coco pops, watery orange juice beans and sweetcorn mixed with tomatoes and left over veg from the night before you will be ok.’

As a starter at the buffet I could have chosen from two tables of salads which included mussels, marinated fish, prawns and rice, pastas, crispy lettuces, a selection of olives, cheeses, beets, potato salad, chicken and sweetcorn etc, etc, etc. It all looked and tasted fresh.

For a main there was a choice of roasted chicken, trout, hake, lamb, pork fillets, papas arrugadas, chipped potatoes, scalloped potatoes, chips, lasagne, croquettes, pasta and sauces and a pizza corner with garlic bread.

And for dessert there was fresh fruit, pastries, cakes and ice creams (with bottles of rum and liqueurs to add that extra dash of sinfulness).

As buffets go, it was a damned decent one. But I suspect that sometimes when people strongly criticise food in hotels when the majority feel the opposite, it’s because they aren’t either familiar with or don’t like the food in front of them.

TripAdvisor is an extremely valuable source of information, but its greatest strength, first hand views and opinions from real people, can also be its weakness. People can be terribly subjective – if someone’s a fussy unadventurous eater that’s not a fault with a hotel. Neither is it a fault if a hotel isn’t full of people of the same nationality as the reviewer. To give it a bad review on a worldwide stage for either is unfair…worse it’s unhelpful to others.

For that reason I always treat negative reviews on TA with a degree of caution – It’s usually easy to spot the ones that are an outlet for personal preferences rather than valid observations. The other thing is that listening to the majority is usually a safer bet.

In this case 204 people out of 261 really, really liked the hotel. Make that 205.

  1. nice to see a well structured and genuine travel review for a change.

  2. I also find it strange why so many people enjoy, going back year on year, a particular hotel and a minority seem to hate it. The hotel can only do its best and the old slogan “You will never please all the people all of the time” comes to mind. I think the best way to form an opinion about a particular hotel is go with the majority opinion and you wont go far wrong …

    • dragojac says:

      Too true. It seems common sense to me, but then one person puts on a bad review about a hotel and even if there’s a million glowing reviews, some people respond as though a great white shark has just surfaced in their swimming pool. Oy Vey… there’s nought so queer as folk.

  3. John says:

    I agree I’m currently looking for a hotel and it’s not easy. My wife and now young son have arthritis and I’m looking for a nice hotel close to the beach that doesn’t have a lot of steps or has a lift but it’s not easy as my requirements are

    a) nice hotel with good quality food (all inclusive)
    b) lift to rooms
    c) no steps so not built into a hill
    d) close to the beach.

    So far i’m looking at the H10 Gran Tinerife as the safest option however my son is 5 and can swim a bit so I’m looking for a heated pool that has a shallow end 1m for him to splash about in.

    Too much to ask?

  4. valerie says:

    Gran tinerfe is certainly close to the beach, but I think you may have to negotiate a small hill or steps to get to the beach. Although it looks as if it is really on the beach, it is set a little above it.

    Hope you find what you are looking for.

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