Archive for January 29th, 2010
Writers raise their glasses to Tenerife

Take one of the poshest hotels in Tenerife, add over 100 journalists, sprinkle liberally with flowing wine, stock up with top nosh, and throw in a few dancing girls wearing little more than a bit of cheese wire to cover their modesty. Sounds good, and it certainly was last night at the gala dinner for the British Guild of Travel Writers at Bahia del Duque.

I was so excited by my invite that I squeezed myself into a jacket and tie (my CD Tenerife shirt and garish shorts looked very forlorn draped over my sofa) I even had a wash – yep it was that serious. John Beckley from Sorted Sites gave me a lift in, I have never been inside Bahia del Duque before, and from the uniformed gateman onwards, it oozed opulence. We headed down to the beachside plaza where an advance guard selection from the 107 visiting journalists were waiting to give interviews. Getting there was a bit of a trek through huge lounges, up stairs and down lifts, greeted at every turn by very polite and bustling staff.

The plaza area had a large bar and terrace looking down onto the dining area where staff in Canaraian costume were being drilled in their duties for the night. The theme of the evening was Carnaval, the tables were brightly decorated with flowers and assorted masks and the forest of glasses hinted at the wine to come. A large stage promised plenty of music and a big screen flashed images of Tenerife to underline the purpose of this visit, selling the island to those who will then sell it to the public.

I mingled with a the guests, I like a quick mingle, and found out a bit about the trips they had already been on, Teide, Puerto de la Cruz, whale watching, Siam Park etc. It was clear they were impressed by the organisation of the 4 day visit, several were first time visitors and those returning seemed suitably impressed by the improvements. I was introduced to John Carter, a familiar face from the BBC Holiday programme and later Wish You Were Here, he still looks sprightly and says that Judith Chalmers is also going strong.

A quick announcement from the stage and we were led down to our tables, the waiting staff had full listings for the seating arrangements so I was able to find my way to my alloted spot, each table seated 10 guests. My bottom had barely touched the seat before the wine was being poured, mmmm yes please, and I got to know some of my fellow diners. There was Robert Savage covering the more adventurous type of holidays, for back packers and walkers, Alastair McKenzie, a freelancer well up on the electronic media, a regular podcaster and web editor for the Guild, and Tina Ediss, another freelancer who can count The Mirror among her outlets. We swapped stories as the singer belted out some Barry White classics on stage, and made sure we gave the wine a good tasting.

The food was excellent, I won’t make you hungry by listing it all, maybe I will just drop in the words beef medallions and rum savarin to tease you though. As the last drops of ice cream slipped into place, smoke filled the air and drummers took to the stage as laser lighting cut through the haze. Then the dancing girls appeared, very cheeky, they danced between the tables and led a few of the gentlemen by the hand up to the front to dance, none of the chaps put up much resistance. It was a nice informal end to a well staged evening, some hardy souls went on to Las Americas to strut their stuff, the bulk of the party were flying home today. Keep scanning the media over the next few months, hopefully Tenerife will be appearing quite often as the travel writers share their experiences and entice a few more visitors to our very special island.