As a native British traveller, born and bred in the south and having spent the last 24 years of being exposed to the same climates year in, year out, there would be a sense of immunity to the cold? Certainly not, in my case anyway. I always tell my parents that I was definitely born in the wrong country and seek the sun whenever possible. Being greeted by the December chill was the last straw for me. Especially after spending all of last December jaunting through India, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I wasn’t quite ready for the cold bitter festive period at home in England. Instead, I needed my fix of vitamin D and a good sun-kissed glow — it’s all about swinging roundabouts.
Searching for the sun in December is like trying to find water in a desert drought, rather disappointing. However, within a few clicks, I found that Tenerife was just what I was looking for. Temperatures of 25 degrees and above and just over a four hour flight, as opposed to eight hours plus to other destinations of a similar temperature. Right,
After scrolling through a few “unsuitable” five-star hotels, I came across the Ritz-Carlton Abama. “YES”, I exclaimed so hard, I almost jumped out of my seat. Nothing beats the deluxe luxury of a Ritz-Carlton property, away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy areas, providing some tranquil peace. Within a few more clicks, we were all booked and on our way to Tenerife! Let’s go!
As we descended over the hills, coming down, our taxi driver pointed out, “That’s your hotel, over there. The one with the gorgeous, chalky red brick coloured building.”, completely mesmerised and in awe, we squealed as we approached
Pulling up into the hotel, its grand facade was like no other. We were quickly helped out of the taxi from both sides of the car, greeted with a sincere “Hola! Buenos Dias. Good flight, sir, madam?” before we were guided to the check-in desk and while the Ritz-Carlton Abama team reassuring us that our luggage will be taken care of.
We received another warm greeting from the front desk staff, with their authentic Spanish charm coming through, you can’t help but feel utter glee, while mesmerising the interiors of the property too. The hotel was all geared up for Christmas, with festive decor running throughout and a gorgeous, large tree that stood tall in the centre of the lobby.
As we had arrived rather early and check-in wasn’t for another few hours, we were kindly offered a courtesy room to have a shower, change or rest in whilst we waited. We quickly ran up to our room, stepped out onto the balcony, admiring the stunning views before a rapid change into our poolside wear. Adding our sunglasses and summer shoes into the mix, we departed to explore the massive, yet stunning resort.
Swinging open the door of our room, we were greeted by plenty of natural light from the floor to ceiling windows that lit up the room nicely. The ocean view room was perfect, with a balcony that overlooked the rest of the hotel and the ocean in the distance. The first thing that came to my mind was “imagine the sunsets from here!!” and I was right, there were plenty of gorgeous private sunset viewings right from our private balcony.
The room was one of the biggest twin rooms I’ve ever stayed in. It could have easily passed off as a junior suite with its size, including two good size beds, with a mini lounge area, flatscreen TV and plenty of storage space to unpack into. The mini-bar was extensively stocked with everything you could need, from sparkling water to champagne. Below it there was a Nespresso machine, with china cups and saucers. Perfect for people like me who needs a morning coffee straight away!
The decor in the room was simple with a true
The bathroom was just as large as the rest of the room, with a fitted tub, modern standalone shower, separate toilet and double sink, you could easily have a slumber party in the bathroom alone. I was keen to check out the bathroom amenities that the Ritz-Carlton Abama stocked, and to my delight they were the Asprey Purple Water range, just like in Four Seasons Hampshire.
The spa facilities are exceptional, but are charged at 25 euros per day, unless you take out a treatment with the hotel. It isn’t something I have ever had to pay for at any other five-star hotels I have stayed at. However, it was the first day at the hotel and the sky had become rather overcast that afternoon, so we decided to make the most of the facilities available. I also booked a treatment, to make the most of our pampering afternoon. With so many treatments to choose from, it was hard to pick just one!
The spa kitted out with modern interiors in the changing rooms, before you enter into a large space that houses the hydrotherapy pools in the centre, and around the
If spa treatments and swimming isn’t your thing, there are various other fitness options, such as making use of the 24 hours a day gym, with weights and spin bikes, allowing you to keep fit whilst you’re away. There morning and evening classes to enjoy early yoga sessions and even HIT classes, or evening stretching sessions on the beach.
Outdoor and Other Facilities
The hotel 400-acre grounds are extensive enough to offer an oasis to all those that need it. You can find everything you need, with seven pools, ten restaurants, exclusive private beach access and home to Europe’s most challenging 18-hole golf — there is something for everyone.
Each of the pools had Cabana boys, that are ready to assist you with anything you need, including offering a range of complimentary suntan lotions and refreshing snacks of fruit. My preferred pool, the adults-only infinity pool had bar service, serving your favourite concoctions, from true classics to innovative mixologist specials. If you’re hungry, there is the option to dine at their restaurant, El Mirador or alternative have a browse of the poolside menu, which was our choice on many of our pool days.
There is direct access down to the Ritz-Carlton
Golden sand, refreshing waters with utter peace & serenity, what more could you want?
Dining: From Dusk to Dawn
Dining at the hotel is like no other, with a range of cuisines across ten restaurants that span the hotel grounds. You have a choice of one and two Michelin starred restaurants, classic Spanish food at Txoko, Italian at Verona, delicious Argentian steak at 20/20 Steakhouse and so much more!
Breakfast is the most important part of the day and they take it very seriously at La Veranda! A buffet filled with over 150 specialities including Spanish cured beats, omelettes made fresh in front of you with the toppings you want, warm waffles & pancakes, fresh juices, yoghurts, pastries, sweet, ripe fruits and so much more!
El Mirador is inspired by North-African architecture, with a thatched roof and panoramic views to die for. Twinning as a restaurant and viewpoint (hence the name) as it overlooks the stealthy waters of the Atlantic Ocean and La Gomera island, it is the perfect spot for lunch. The restaurant is inspired by the local produce, including fresh seafood and many other tasty treats.
We stopped for lunch there on our first day, having not eaten for many hours, I was keen to have something that would instantly fill me up. While I stuck to something familiar, a divine beef burger with just the right amount of cheese, Lizzy went for something a little sweeter, a chocolate sundae. After all, it is a holiday – there are no rules!
Taking in the fresh sea air, admiring the views of our home for the next few days, we knew we were going to settle in just fine.
Verona is a beautiful Italian restaurant that encourages smart-casual wear. Serving some of Italy’s finest flavours, but with an innovative, you know you will leave feeling full and completely satisfied. Using fresh ingredients, Verona prides itself in a menu of hand-crafted pasta’s, artisanal pizzas and a generous collection of Italian wines.
Lizzy and I were so mesmerised by the selection of pasta dishes, we decided to skip the starters and move straight to the good stuff. In hindsight, we were glad we did too, as the portion sizes are extremely generous.
I had ordered the Tagliatelle alla Puttanesca that was made with rich tomato sauce, crushed garlic, taggiasca olives, capers, parsley, chilli and white wine. It normally comes with anchovies too, but I had mine without.
Lizzy ordered the Rigatoni
When dining, I would recommend getting a table by the edge of the terrace, as with it’s gorgeous tropical plant backdrop and flowing water down below, it makes for the perfect spot for dinner.
Txoko brings the Spanish flavours of the past and combines them with the present. Classic Spanish gastronomy meets an evolution of flavours to meet the standards of the modern diner.
You can find an array of Spanish tapas that is perfect for sharing, or there are some fantastic single plated dishes that will have your taste buds tingling for more.
Lizzy and I decided to mix and match the two concepts, by sharing a tapas style dish for our starter and moving onto a single plated main course, before going back to the traditional sharing style for dessert. I can totally see chef Martín Berasategui’s vision for Txoko.
To start, Lizzy and I shared the beef stuffed red pepper, which was utterly divine. The tomato glaze over the dish sealed all the flavours together, bringing out the spice in the marinated beef and the subtle sweetness from the red pepper. Divine!
Moving onto our mains, I went for the veal cheeks in red wine that was served with a creamy, potato foam and mushrooms. Lizzy went for the chicken supreme that was chargrilled chicken with a side salad.
We were too tempted by the dessert menu to skip. Lizzy and I shared the hazelnut brownie and the “chocolate” dessert, both equally divine and worth trying.
We dined at 20/20 Steakhouse for our penultimate night at Ritz-Carlton Abama. The name comes from its finest selection of 20 meats and 20 wine categories, with that in mind, we decided to go all out, as we felt the post-holiday blues coming on.
Kicking our meal off with cocktails. I went for one of my favourites, an amaretto sour and Lizzy went for a berry mojito.
We were served up a yellow tomato and garlic gazpacho as a palette cleanser before we began our meal. If this was anything to go by, we were going to be in a real culinary treat for the rest of our meal.
Lizzy and I both started with the creamy onion and parmesan soup, served with a parmesan crisp and garnished with chives. The soup was delicious.
Following suit, Lizzy and I ordered the same main too, a 250g centre cut tenderloin, cooked medium well, which came highly recommended by our brilliant waitress Estelle. Our order mirrored each other’s, with green peppercorn sauce, woodfire roasted seasonal vegetables and herb fries to share. We paired our steak with a 2016 limited edition Sauvignon Blanc, just perfect.
Finishing with something sweet, I couldn’t resist my favourite dessert, crème brûlée.
Lizzy went for a chocolate molten cake served with almond ice-cream. Mmmmm!
What a meal! I would highly recommend anyone staying at Ritz-Carlton
Overall Experience at Ritz-Carlton Abama
If I could sum up my stay at Ritz-Carlton
From all the facilities, the food offering, the service and the genuine excitement to see you every morning and serve you, is nothing like I’ve ever experienced in London or abroad for that matter. I would come back to Ritz-Carlton
Until next time…