Hotel review: Ritz Carlton Abama, Tenerife
I like to think of myself as a finely honed hunter of hotels, and a wanderlust predator keen to experience all the world has to offer whilst maximising my limited and precious time away from the 9-5 grind. So, in my continual quest to absorb the offerings of our beautiful planet, few places captivate me enough to continually return to year after year. As I frequently tell my husband “It’s a big world…I need to see it!”. In spite of this familiar mantra, the 5* Ritz Carlton Abama in Tenerife keeps pulling me back and I am more than happy to oblige!
Getting to the Ritz Carlton Abama
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands located off the coast of West Africa. The Canary Islands enjoy almost glorious sunshine all year round. Year-round sunshine has made the Canaries a premier destination for holidaymakers for some time. Flights operate regularly from London airports to Tenerife South with carriers like British Airways, Easy Jet and Jet2. If you are looking to stay at the Abama then you should fly into Tenerife South rather than the northern airport. Be sure to confirm this as it will affect your transfer time.
The average flight time from London airports to Tenerife South is four hours, plenty of time to relax with a drink and a good book. We have always opted for a private transfer from the airport to the Abama. If you contact the hotel prior to arrival, they are happy to organise a transfer for you or I use www.suntransfers.com, who have consistently provided an excellent service. Transfer time from the airport is approximately twenty-five minutes. Alternatively, if you want to wing it on arrival taxis are in plentiful supply at the airport.
Having travelled to the Abama many times I would say the ideal arrival time is late afternoon. Arriving around 5 pm gives you plenty of time to wash up, grab a drink and enjoy a proper dinner on your first night.
The hotel rises up out of the hillside like a glorious pink Kasbah, nestled amongst lush vegetation and tumbling down in sweeping terraces towards the sea. On first sight it is breath-taking. Yes, this term is a cliché but trust me on this one, it’s like nothing else when you first catch a glimpse. Nothing blows the cobwebs away than the juxtaposition between pink and cloudless azure sky to get you in the holiday mood…cue the cocktails!
Clean lines and cool marble make up the entrance and your eyes are drawn to the intricate and striking floral displays presented for your arrival. Check-in has always been quick and efficient and a cold drink or a glass of fizz is always on offer to help get you in the holiday spirit.
As a guest at the Abama, you have the luxury of choice, no more so than with the impressive array of rooms you can opt for. I have stayed in some spectacular rooms at the Abama and have a firm favourite with the Tagor Villas.
Tagor Villas: An adult-only escape
The Tagor Villas are situated slightly further down the hillside away from the main citadel making them a blissful couples retreat. The villas have their own concierge service, pool area and some even come with their own golf cart, making travel around the luxury resort a piece of cake. I have to say a private golf cart is a real perk and super fun to drive!
Our deluxe room in the villas was immaculately clean, well-furnished and complete with a welcome fruit plate and bottle of wine. Our room looked out on to the tranquil ocean and manicured gardens. We also had direct access to the Tagor Villa private pool.
Another bonus of the Tagor Villas is the option to breakfast at the El Mirador restaurant. The El Mirador serves an adult-only breakfast, so, if you are looking for a peaceful child-free retreat then this calm breakfast option is perfect.
Nothing beats a warm peppermint tea, omelette, the gentle lull of continuous waves lapping the mighty cliffs below and stillness in the air only punctuated by birdsong. In my opinion, there are few more pleasant ways to begin your day than this one.
Deluxe Ocean View – Citadel
I always feel that an ocean view room is the only way forward as they often tend to have more natural light compared to a garden view. The Deluxe Ocean View rooms in the citadel are bright, airy and well-appointed. The clean, sleek feel of the lobby extends to the rooms lending a tranquil and calming feel, which is often just what’s needed to help you unwind. The Deluxe Ocean View rooms all have large comfortable beds, balconies with chairs for catching those late afternoon rays and shower and bath facilities.
This last one might seem odd to note but my lovely husband and I differ considerably when it comes to washing! He is an ardent shower fan, however; I love to wallow in warm bubbly waters until I am sufficiently pruned and will only venture to the shower when I need to wash my hair. The option of both and being separate bathroom entities is a real plus for the rooms at the Abama. Finally, on the topic of luxurious bathrooms, the Abama generously provides a gorgeous range of toiletries courtesy of Asprey: Purple Water collection.
Suite – Citadel
During our stay in 2016, we were given a gorgeous suite in the Citadel. The suit occupied the top floor of one section of the Citadel and boasted unparalleled views of the sea and the Persian Garden. To put into context how special this room was is a remarkable testament to the Abama team and the splendid service they offer. Our stay in 2016 was for the purpose of our wedding. I had requested that some of our pictures be taken in the Persian Garden as it had always captured me and was visually gorgeous. The fabulous reservations team had taken this on board and made sure that our room overlooked something I found so special.
The suite itself opened into a large sitting room with a balcony. We had a table and chairs for in-room dining and plenty of entertainment options with TV and internet access. The bedroom also had a substantial balcony as well as a gloriously comfy bed. As with all the rooms at the Abama the housekeeping team keep them spotless and their attention is detail is excellent.
We found the space perfect for hosting a drinks party with family and friends who had stayed after the wedding.
The Abama resort complex is extensive, with a championship golf course, tennis courts, private villas, fitness centre and spa, the main Citadel and pool areas down to the Tagor Villas and the beach. Despite the sprawling expanse of the resort, it is remarkable how unique and secluded each area is.
The resort has become increasingly busy with families during school holidays however as a teacher I would nonetheless choose to visit with my husband as there are so many areas where we do not have to around children. The Abama is extremely good at catering for adults only and family needs.
The spa is worth a mention as the treatments are excellent and the use of the water circuit is well worth an afternoon of your time. There have definitely been a few occasions where I’ve snuggled down on a warm stone bed listening to the gentle trickle of water creeping stealthily over the edge of the infinity pool only to fall sound asleep. As with all good things booking ahead is advised.
I wouldn’t say I’m a golfer by any stretch of the imagination however I like playing and can just about hack my way around a course. My family however including the hubby are pretty proficient when it comes to accurately swinging a club at a small ball and getting it into an even tinier hole 400 yards away. The Abama has always provided a spectacular golfing experience. The course is a tricky 72 par 18-hole course with water, sand, trees and vastly varied terrain; a day spent tackling this beast is well worth it. I would recommend a post-round beer and burger at the clubhouse with views over the complex and the sea it’s a pleasant way to dissect your round and reflect on the game.
Pools & Beach
As guests of the Abama, you can freely use the beach and sun loungers. Views from the beach particularly at sunset are stunning.
The large hotel complex makes it possible to have multiple pools. If you are travelling as a family then the main pool is where you should head. It does get busy, and it is very much a family area so if you are without children, I would recommend seeking out the adult-only pool. To the left of the main pool, a smaller pool area can be found, often popular with families with smaller children. This area has lots of shady spots and a lovely shallow igloo area perfect for small ones to splash about.As a resident of the Tagor Villas then you needn’t look further than your own private pool area. This area is just for residents of the villas so make the most it! The beds are well separated, so you don’t feel crammed in and due to the length of the pool, there is plenty of space for all. The Tagor Villa pool is well attended. The staff are always on hand to help out regardless if it is a new towel, cold drink or even helping you make dinner reservations from your sun lounger.
Wide cabanas, infinity pool, expansive ocean views, another adult-only paradise. The adult pool is located by the El Mirador restaurant and provides spacious seating for around eighty guests. The loungers and private cabanas are large and comfortable and all are positioned to make the most of the panoramic views of the sea or the hillside and banana plantations which surround the resort. The adult pool has a bar and lunch area available, meaning you don’t have to stray too far from your lounger to procure a cold beverage.
Regardless of where you choose to park yourself for a day in the sun, the pool staff at all locations are keen to ensure your experience is as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.
Food & Drink
If you travel with the British Airways deal that includes bed and breakfast it means that lunch and dinner are additional costs. The Abama boasts two Michelin starred restaurants Kabuki & MB and a host of other fabulous eateries. You don’t want to have your dinner reservations defined by the package you booked; meaning you miss out on the culinary experiences on offer.
The Abama has worked hard over the years to update and ensure the utmost quality of the restaurants they provide. With such high-quality food offered at the hotel, booking is imperative. Regardless if your trip coincides with a school holiday or you are blissfully unconstrained by term dates; book your dinner ahead of schedule! I would recommend making your dinner reservations before your trip and the reservations teams are incredibly helpful via email and phone. You can, of course, visit the concierge when you arrive however your ideal dining time may be unavailable. I have been stung with this one too many times and have ended up eating far too late in the evening.
If it’s culinary theatre you are after then take an evening to enjoy the tasting menu of the MB. It is a true gastronomic experience. The food pushes your senses to redefine your preconceptions of traditional flavours and unique textures. Absolute genius.
Kabuki is my all-time favourite restaurant in the world. I love Asian food, in particular sushi. Kabuki offers Japanese fusion cuisine and with every visit to the Abama, I make sure I snag a reservation here. I have found the best option for ordering is to go with the chef’s recommendations. Let the experts provide you with a worthy feast. I have never been disappointed.
The Abama restaurants cater for every taste with the 20/20 steakhouse serving succulent cuts of meat and perfectly paired wines. Verona offers Italian cuisine. El Mirador serves up freshly caught fish and Txoko presents a modern take on traditional Spanish gastronomy. But if it’s a low-key night with a burger and beer then the sports bar is great for a chilled evening.
It is safe to say I am an Abama regular with around nine visits and counting! The Abama offers everything I need for a holiday; whether I am with my husband and we need an adult-only escape or I am travelling with family and young children. Fabulous food, drink, service, amenities and a host of additional extras. This is a truly special place and one which I will continue to return to.