July 3, 2010 in Spain | Comments (21)

Sitting here with a view of a glistening streams among Swedish hills, I have finally put my notes of Tenerife hotels in writing.

Some 30 representatives of luxury tour operators were invited on a familiarization trip this June to see that the Canaries island of Tenerife has much more to offer than mass tourism…


The glorious year-round warmth of Tenerife has not just nurtured charter beach holidays. It has proved fertile sunny ground for luxury too. There are 20 five star hotels on Tenerife – more than there are in Barcelona.

Self taking note from the presidential at Abama

We viewed the following properties, dining or lunching at some, and stayed at the Sheraton. I give some bare facts and a few personal impressions of each property.

Hotel Villa Cortes

Playa del Camison, Costa Adeje – 5 stars, 129 rooms and 22 suites, heated seawater pool, 5 restaurants, 3 bars, beach club, kid’s pool area and miniclub, tennis court.

Comment: The group’s favourite, until we saw Abama. I loved Villa Cortes for its sunny joyful colours daringly splashed in sienna, burnt sienna, terracotta and purple. I was thrilled with its exciting objets d’art, carved wooden furniture and the feel of a Mexican hacienda. I fell for its multilevel Canarian rooftops, and its courtyard using lustrous ceramic tiles and sizzling mixes of siennas and violet. The architect is the very one who designed Abama and Sheraton La Caleta. He creates magic environments playfully inspired by ethnic villages or colonial past, by dreams and fictions…

The only negative I can name is spotted wall to wall carpets all over. The space I dream of occupying is the Presidential suite’s Jacuzzi (as usual).

The pool area is pleasant and different (surrounded by the colourful village style hotel skyline). That is where the guests were, not at the beach club with its own manmade beach of soft sand, just off the path along the rocky shore. Surfers walk past quietly bearing boards. The rocks offer a tidal pool that looked less inviting. Near the hotel is millionaire’s mile – a palm lined road with mighty brown mountain filling the skyline. Here there are are designer shops.

Presidential jacuzzi with view, Villa Cortes

Hotel Jardines de Nivaria

Playa de Fanabe beach, Costa Adeje – 5 stars, 175 rooms and 91 suites, 2 pools, kid’s pool and playground, 3 restaurants, 3 bars, spa, lift to the beach.

Comments: Extraordinary glass cupola over the lobby with grand stairs lined by sculptures bearing lights. The promised garden of the hotel name blossoms in the lobby area with greenery and another beautiful glass cupola over a bar. The rooms we were shown (superior suite) and double room (with sitting area) were of modern design – newly renovated. In a hotel with such magnificent art nouveau features, the minimalism of these rooms, fringed with Thai, did not work. The hotel has apparently realized it, and plans to renovate in more fitting style in future.

Living up to its name with gardens and art nouveau

Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque Resort

Playa del Duque, 2km to Adeje, Costa Adeje – 5 stars, 356 rooms including 47 suites and 40 villas

Comments: This is a vast property running down the hill to the beachfront promenade, full of charm and surprises. Bahia del Duque brought a feeling of déjà vu, a dreamlike sense, with its conical witch-hat towers scattered here and there, and its vast lobby like a film set full of props set for different scenes. In fact I kept puzzling: where have I seen it before? In a movie? In a dream? The resort paths wind around bringing sudden views of blue sea, ornate garden balustrades, swimming pools and restaurants. The vast spa seems miles away, and so do the villas … but every step you take is a pleasure. The two bedroom villa invited one to luxuriate in its outdoor living area and its own infinity pool (with mountain view). In the main hotel area the standard double room sea view, with pleasant café latte tiles and a couple of bright cushions, was restful in hues but rather small. I think a special kind of person will like Bahia del Duque – not your orderly person who wants straight lines – but someone who finds adventure in irrationality. Direct access to the promenade, and two beaches.

Garden of dreams and discovery at Bahia Del Duque

Iberostar Grand Hotel El Mirador

Playa del Duque and Playa del Bobo, Costa Adeje – 5 stars, 120 sea view rooms including 70 superior junior suites, 3 restaurants, bar, gym, access to spa at Anthelia 5 min. walk

Comments: A truly interesting Spanish hotel – with the feel of a medieval castle. The outer walls and towers are in a mixture of grey and faded terracotta. The lobby is entered through a tunnel like arch into an austere atrium with a round pool, fountain and clear symmetry. The deluxe junior suites and higher categories got far away from austerity to romance or spring-like frivolity, with four poster beds draped in gauzy white fabrics. The deluxe junior suites open into the VIP area, where 11 suites share a pool, a pagoda or two and an appealing view of the sea and the non-VIP pool area below. A wedding was to take place that night costing quite modest sums for 66 people to occupy that pagoda to enjoy disco and food. Obvious place for the wedding couple is the Royal suite, which offers amazing views from its plunge pool on the terrace surrounded by sun-loving flowers. It was more romantic and open in feel than the Presidential suite. The hotel stressed that the Presidential is the most private with a 136 sqm terrace among the rooftops, dining table, kitchenette, plunge pool, view of the sea.

Deluxe suite opens onto Mirador VIP area

Grand Hotel Anthelia

Fanabe Beach, Costa Adeje, Tenerife South – 5 stars, 391 rooms, spa

Comments: The feeling was not five star. The hotel was brutally empty as Amway was in town for a conference, and all the guests were away at the congress centre. So the huge size and long corridors were somehow echoing with silence and emptiness. However, one of our party, from a Belgian luxury tour operator, said she had just spent a week at Anthelia with her family and enthused that it was a marvelous family hotel, with a nice kid’s area. One pool area was right at the beach with a pleasant backdrop of blue sea. There is a special VIP area with its own restaurant – but one structure there did look a bit time worn – metal rusts by the sea.

Pool by the beach at Anthelia

Hotel Botanico

Puerto de la Cruz – 5 stars, 252 rooms and suites, 3 heated pools, 3 restaurants, bar, tennis courts, putting green.

Comment: Traditional city hotel, cross-dressed with Thai features, uplifted by gardens full of glistening gold fish and extensive secluded spa area. Our lunch went on and on…with a degustation ice-cream between the main courses, and again desert at the end. We saw the ambassador suite with maroon “poshness” comfortably worn in.

Senator or ambassador suite

Hotel La Plantacion del Sur

Costa Adeje, 5 freshwater pools, 3 restaurants, 3 bars, disco/jazz, kid’s club, 500m from beach with free transfer

Comments: Beautiful blue views from the terraces, looking over a built-up area to the sea. Very nice standard rooms with sea view made this hotel memorable (affordable luxury?). The spacious and tasteful room has a seating area, terracotta tiles, rich mellow wood, orange touches. However, the lateral sea view rooms were disappointing as on one side they look over the road and the sound does rumble and float upwards. The Junior Suites had bigger bathroom and lounge with sofa and easy chairs, balcony with sunbed. The villas (for couples) were really romantic with a terrace on the roof with Jacuzzi and view. Finally the spa was superb with a terrace opening out to a pool with view, and a big bubble pool opening onto the terrace too. The interior of the spa was created as a volcanic cave, with all the thermal features surrounding a cold plunge pool and candles burning. A really nice place for someone who wants a sunny break and a beautiful spa but is not mad about lying on the beach.

Spa terrace by pool and bubble pool

Villa romance for couples at Plantacion

Hotel Sheraton La Caleta Resort & Spa

Near Caleta, quiet end of Costa Adeje – 5 stars, 284 rooms including 20 suites, 3 outdoor pools, kid’s club, minigolf, 4 restaurants, 2 bars, spa/health club, set on the sea shore 5 to 10 minutes walk from a beach (Playa del Duque and another).

Comments: I have written lots in my earlier blog posts. A beautiful hotel with a playful design in desert village forms and colour (my interpretation) plus marvelous glossy marble spaces, attractive gardens with pools and palms against backdrop of sea. The superior rooms are spacious with plenty more marble stretching across floors and bathrooms, warm colour and delightful private balconies embraced by the intense ginger or terracotta walls (an indescribable colour). I liked the pool restaurant, admired the Japanese restaurant, but was disappointed (being vegetarian) in the Spanish restaurant. My pasty paella was given some very stringy beans in lieu of the missing meats. The hotel is five star but not top luxury – some kind of lag in the otherwise pleasant service.

My spacious room at Sheraton

Quaint lookout on the terrace of premium suite

Abama Golf & Spa Resort

Guia de Isora, Southern coast – Top luxury, 476 rooms (328 in the Citadel and 148 in villas), 7 open air swimming pools, secluded beach, 10 restaurants, 4 bars, kids club spa, gym club, 18-hole golf course, tennis academy

Comments: We were shown Abama last as a grand finale and had dinner there on the final night. All the luxury tour operators were blown away by this Ritz-Carlton hotel. It’s by the same architect who created the Sheraton La Caleta and Villa Cortes, evoking fantasies of a village that is somehow an oasis in North Africa, or a lush futuristic biosphere on a desert planet in outer space, with its domes, wide terraces, terracotta walls, and exuberant glossy green gardens. Part of the surrounding beauty is its very own golf course.

The rooms were rather plain yet they felt luxurious, uplifted by the cream marble floors, the terracotta balconies and terraces, and small things that count. The 1-bed room suite in the Citadel, with a big breath of light whiteness, was embraced by an L-shaped balcony with a marvelous view of the lush “Abama village” and the sea. I would be happy with that little suite – but then how about the presidential with big lounge and dining room, 2 bedrooms (the master bedroom like a Junior suite) and a wrap-round balcony that opens to all rooms, bearing a sofa under canopy. Ok even the standard double is gorgeous in its whiteness and balcony. Over now to the villas. We saw a deluxe room which connects with a 1-bedroom suite in a villa, by now our heads brimming with so many impressions they mixed together in places…

Enjoying the 1-bedroom suite terrace at Abama

The spa, as everything else in this vast property, seemed far away – in fact we were happy to get a ride there.

Some might find Abama a little far from everything – but there are 10 restaurants – with dollops of romance, style and tropical well-being. It is not far from a white fishing resort called San Juan. Abama is surrounded by banana plantations which can sometimes bring insects (I heard this unverified complaint from another operator). The truth is lush tropical areas always have some insects – wherever you go.

The beach is wedged between two cliffs bearing banana plantations; one of them was covered for agricultural reasons, creating a flat box. You can reach the beach on a funicular if you choose to walk way down to the bottom of the Abama property, or you can drive down. The sand has been brought all the way from the Sahara desert (which is actually not so far away just a few hundred kilometers). On this pale desert sand the waters glisten turquoise and peace reigns.

This is top luxury, far from the madding crowds…

We ate in a balmy subtropical atmosphere with a  table laid for romance.

For a worldwide collection of luxury resorts see  Select Collection


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  19. Comment by Day 4 – Discovery tour of Tenerife « OrbitJuly 5, 2010 at 9:34 am  

    […] See my later post. […]

  20. Comment by Day 3 – Luxury hotels in Tenerife « OrbitJuly 5, 2010 at 9:31 am  

    […] I sum up these impressions in a later post. […]

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