Sunday, 3 November 2013

Luxury Hotel crawl in Tenerife...

I don't know much about the luxury hotel scene in Spain and the Canaries.  My stomping ground is the South of France and St Barths where there is an egalitarian approach to luxury hotels, everyone is welcome everywhere for lunches, dinner, coffee, cocktails or any other reason.  The hotels tend to be on the small side and the residents probably get bored of each other and are quite keen to see new blood.
From what I could see the 5* places in Tenerife are not quite as welcoming. 

We got into everywhere that we went, but there seemed to be a degree of persuasion and Spanish speaking to get past the guard posts at the entrances.

The first destination from the El Duq Bahia in Adeje, I checked it out and I have to confess, online it doesn't look like my kind of thing. Who wants to stay at a hotel where, if you find you have left your book in your room it is a 15 minute walk away?!
We spent the day around the pool, the weather was lovely, the staff friendly and the children entertained, but I felt wary, I think it was the 10 minute haggling to get in, made me feel that we could be unceremoniously ejected at any point. But it was all just too big, it didn't offer any of the intimate, exquisite perfection that you get with smaller hotels.

This was our group of deckchairs, we spent a lot of time in the salt water pool, swimming through the fountains and under the stone tunnel.
Our lunch breaks were from 2 until 5 so we had plenty of time to get to various destinations around the island.

The next day we went to lunch at the Sir Anthony, which was the first 5 star hotel on the island, it used to be frequented by the politicians and the King of Spain and his family. It was flamingo pink with statues and white wrought iron and in its heyday had something of the Beverley Hill Hotel about it.
Now they have done this to it...
...Added bright pink plastic covers to all the balconies, I think the idea was 'Miami', but the result is just naff confusion. The food was average, but reasonably priced (for a luxury hotel).  The staff weren't really friendly, but disinterested enough to not feel uncomfortable that we were spending the afternoon there.  It is also surrounded by two other huge hotels that sort of swallow it up as a little afterthought.

The last place that we went was the Jardin Tropical, this was my favourite for the 'experience'.  It used to be a five star, but is now four, but it by far the most interesting architecturally with its Baba Papa, Moorish style.  It has an outside yoga deck overlooking the sea and manages to be both large and intimate at the same time.  I loved the restaurant that was under the waterfall.

There was also a second restaurant built into the cliffs that I didn't get down to visit, but I can see why it is one of the most romantic places to go on the island, not least because you don't see the urban sprawl which blights most of the developed coastline.

We also went to the Sandos San Blas, which is a very new resort, originally built as a luxury resort and quickly changed management to become an all-inclusive.  It is truly awful and not worth a visit (or any pictures!).  It is the worst of all worlds, tatty and full of people but with the prices of a more expensive destination.  We spent all of ten minutes there and escaped as quickly as possible to the nearby Los Abrigos that has lovely little restaurants and a tiny stretch of sea front for swimming. 

Do you  have any favourite hotels where you feel instinctively at home? Are there others which should be luxurious and an incredible treat that are just not for you?


  1. After many years spent holidaying there, I would have to say the H10 Andulcia Plaza in Puerto Banus, Marbella until they made it adult only - bastards! Now we stay in apartments nearby as we know the area well. We joined some friends staying at another hotel in the area called the Coral Beach last year and we got told we couldn't go in the pool as we weren't staying in the hotel, our friends were really embarrassed, needless to say we didn't stay long as it was scorching!

  2. That's awful, I just can't imagine it, for both you and your friends. I just don't get the mentality at all. In France they have this 'Welcome come and spend money and have a good time whoever you are' mentality, but the Spanish (Tenerife) approach seems to be to create some kind of prison set up that you can't get in or out of! The big difference I guess is the prices, in France in the better places you can go for a cappuccino and no one will care if you use the pool, but the drink will probably cost about 12 quid, where as in Tenerife, they didn't really take the mickey with coffees etc at 3-4 euros each so I guess they would be flooded with people if they let in everyone. I get so bored staying in one place though, for me, the best bit of the holiday is exploring and checking out all of the 'in' places. I think it is why St Barths is my number one, as there, everyone does it, it is expected that you come back having lunched or dined at pretty much every hotel on the island (although they are within 10 miles of each other so it is no hardship!) I am quite taken with the 'chic' Spanish set that I met, they all recommended Seville, which I know nothing about. It looks beautiful, but is about an hour from the coast, may be it is an Autumn destination.

  3. Just reading they comments above, if you do go to Spain at Easter like you said you MUST go to Seville it is beautiful, true Spain. Our favourite hotel is the Carlyle in New York, old school, I like that in a hotel classy and old school but not stuffy plus sharing a lift with Mick Jagger will never be forgotten!! If you tip well in NYC they will let you return each time x

    1. That is the best tip, I am sure the same is true pretty much anywhere! Next time, I'll just have a quick coffee, pay with a huge tip and then relax for the rest of the day.
      I am actually checking out Seville for a cheeky xmas shopping trip in December.


I would love to hear from you and quite happy for some lively debate so feel free to say what you think! ....