Hello and welcome to the Hotel Solano. Not its real name but so close in its appearance, mindset and collection of residents that I shall refer to it from now own in deference to its TV counterpart in Benidorm.
In actuality we are in the resort of Ca’n Picafort on the north east coast of Majorca. We had little choice in our destination, having booked only 2 weeks ago. Due to various troubles in Turkey and France at the moment, demand for holidays in Spain and her islands is at an all time high.
After an incident free flight from Luton to Palma, on an ageing Boeing 757 with Thomson Airways, and after waiting an age for our luggage, we were met by Pedro our 70 year old taxi driver. A fascinating gentlemen who gave us a running commentary for the entire 50 minutes of our journey. Starting in 190BC with the Romans all the way to the economic climate of the current day. So enthralling was he that Mrs CT fell asleep half way through.
What neither of us had noticed was the tear in the space/time continuum that transported us back to the 1980’s as we passed through Inca. Not the Peruvian type but the third largest town in Majorca famed for its leather factories.
At the end of the trip, there we were in front of the butlinesq, Hotel Solano, straight out of 1983. Crissy the receptionist, with her broad Scottish accent, promising us tons of fun, hot chips and burgers and plenty of beer on tap (isn’t that usually where it comes from?). Horrified already at the intricately shit appearance of the reception lobby, we held our breath. “You are in room 307 cell block H” Crissy announced. This is getting worse and we have been here 4 minutes and 23 seconds. Cell block H, please help me now.
Sure enough, cell block H it was. Joining its counterparts A through G, they sat around a central pool in grounds of palm trees and firs on the piss. You will just have to pay attention to the pictures to follow during the week. Room 307 located at the top of 3 flights of stairs, no lift please note and door opened. OMG – just who in their right mind decided this was suitable design for an adults only “luxury” hotel. Mrs CT started to wail forth on “what have we done” and “we deserve better than this” whilst generally indicating that a good portion of the blame should lay with me.
No pool towels located nor a key to the safe, we wandered back to reception to enquire. Well that’s when it really kicked off. Crissy told Mrs CT that she needed to pay a deposit of €20 for the towels and and further €23 for the safe key. ” This is meant to be all inclusive, I suppose you want me to pay for the air that I breathe next” retorted Mrs CT. Oooh this is going to get good. “And we want it in cash not credit card or room charge” replied Crissy. Jeez Armageddon was upon us.
Just before a full blown handbag fight broke out, the second of our little cast of players entered stage left. “I can tell you where the nearest ATM is”. This was Hev, resplendent in her light blue polo shirt proudly declaring that she was Miss TUI the friendly local rep. Flipping eck, never pre-judge a shark in sheeps clothing. (Yes I know Hev is not in Benidorm but was actually in Eastenders, but due to shape and manners her name will stick).
“Come and tell me about all your concerns and worries” Hev beckoned to Mrs CT. She may as well said “Come and sit in my lair whilst I tell you how it is and generally beat the crap out of you”. After 10 minutes of being told that TUI owned the hotel and that nothing happens without her say so, and that includes room changes, hotel changes, complaints etc etc, she eventually told us where the ATM was and that we better behave from now on.
“We have made improvements to the rooms during the last year. We have replaced the balcony fronts with modern glass and taken the marble away”. “You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig” was Mrs CT’s parting reply. I presume that this comment was aimed at the appearance of the hotel and not Hev’s personal face maintainence.
Hour later we are at lunch in the WWll designed canteen, sorry Mediterranean restaurant. Having kept my calm all day I finally lost it when the bottle of beer came to the table – no draught beer in such a restaurant as this please note. “Can I have a glass for my beer” I enquired of the small school aged waiter. “It’s on the table sir” he replied. Please see picture.
“I am not drinking beer out of an undersized wine glass” was my retort. Unlike the rest of the residents we had encountered so far my bladder is capable of holding more than two mouthfuls of liquid. ” Bring me a proper glass, please”. “We don’t have any”. Right that’s it, gloves off you peasants. TUI you are from now on going to get both barrels. You are no longer trusted with my travel arrangements. Crissy and Hev be aware, you have now officially
fucked me right off annoyed me. As you are the self proclaimed management of this sad little establishment, you have brought forth a week of complete annoying Brit abroad git. You are going to need a bigger complaints pad, trust me.
Tired, run down and uncared for. Gold this certainly not.