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Spotlight on Tenerife

Tired and jaded after a long, cold winter, and despite credit crunch caution, a few days of sunshine at Easter felt like an absolute must-have. In previous years we’d tried and enjoyed Cyprus, Lanzarote and Morocco – but decided this time to give Tenerife a whirl, and to stay at 2 different hotels – a great value 4 star option in the busy (yet exclusive) Costa Adeje area, and a 5 star resort further up the same coast, in a much quieter area.

Jardin Tropical Costa Adeje

We had a very easy and stress free flight from Gatwick with Easyjet – we booked speedy boarding and had a queue-free dedicated check in at Gatwick and were first to board the plane. 4 hrs later we were stepping into the warm, balmy Tenerife air.

The well-established 4 star Jardin Tropical is a quick 10 min drive from the airport, at the southern end of the Costa Adeje – the more exclusive area of the developed south coast. We arrived to a very warm welcome around 10pm and were soon settled in our interconnecting garden view rooms, which were painted in warm terracotta colours and simply decorated, yet comfortable. There are also sea facing rooms along with

We awoke to blue skies and sunshine, and after an excellent buffet breakfast (very wide choice including churros with chocolate which was a huge hit with the kids), set off to explore the rest of the hotel.

Spectacular setting

The hotel is interesting architecturally, with a moorish feel. The exterior is very impressive - white with lots of curved edges and towers – and surrounded by tropical foliage - as you’d expect from the name! The main pool is very large, heated and freeform – with a large waterfall area which was very popular with the children. The terraces surrounding it were spacious, and the whole feel was very relaxed. Below the main pool we discovered a series of terraces, where the ‘beach club’ is set – this offers interlinking pools (not heated) which run along the cliff edge. Set in pretty terraced gardens and with spectacular seaviews, this is a lovely area to relax in. There is a renowned seafood restaurant perched on the edge of the cliff with the same stunning views – a very romantic spot to eat. It’s then a short walk to the closest beach which has watersports, parasols/loungers for hire and plenty of shops cafes, restaurants etc.

Eating options

There are 3 restaurants (plus a poolside snack bar for light meals) at the hotel and we ate mainly in the main buffet restaurant – which was excellent. It’s traditionally decorated but the choice and standard of food was consistently good. Aside from the various pre-cooked dishes, there was always fresh meat/fish or pasta which was prepared there and then. The children really enjoyed the freedom of being able to go and choose their own food (plenty of child-friendly options), and the environment was very relaxed.

For children

Monte Da Quinta playground The kids club is one large room, and there was a good daily schedule and plenty of equipment, and friendly staff . It works on an informal drop-in basis, so there was no problem with the children popping in for a couple of hours when they felt like spending some time out of the sun. Right next to the kids club is a games room for older children, with air hockey, computer games, internet access, pool etc. Both of these areas were very close to the main pool area and easy to access (just a case of round the corner basically) - which means that the hotel offers a degree of freedom and independence to slightly older children which they really enjoy.

An animation team also organised events for children around the main pool area. When we were there, they organised a ‘mini olympics’event for the children around the pool area, which was a huge success. The kids made lots of friends of various nationalities and enjoyed every minute.

Lots to explore nearby

the beach Once we could tear ourselves away from the pool, there was plenty to see round and about without a car. You can walk right along the Costa Adeje beside the sea, stopping at cafes etc along the way. And the new Siam Park water park is just a 5 min cab ride from the Jardin Tropical. The Thai themed park has a wide variety of very exciting rides for the brave, a gentle lazy river for the less courageous, a really extensive fun area for the under 5’s, and a huge pool/beach area with waves and surf school.

There’s plenty in the area to keep children amused – including zoos and aquatic parks, not to mention the natural attractions of the beaches, forests and mountain.

Overall we had a great time at the Jardin Tropical. It makes no concessions to contemporary styling – and there are some interesting colour combinations – but it’s an unpretentious, very endearing, relaxed and friendly resort with a great pool, good food, friendly staff and a good mix of nationalities and ages amongst the guests. For a good value break in the sun – with plenty to amuse both children and adults, it’s hard to beat.

Next stop: The Abama

The Abama is about a 30 min drive from the airport. Within 15 mins or so, you leave behind the bustle of the Costa Adeje and head towards the village of Isora. Turning left towards the coast, there is nothing but azure sea, spectacular cliff coastline, and the greenery of acres of banana plantations. It already felt very different.

Individual service

Guests receive a very personal welcome at the Abama – tired toddlers are scooped up and carried to reception, excited children are engaged in conversation and given a Abama backpack (and cookies and milk with their names iced on the plates in the room), and fraught parents are soothed with a glass of chilled champagne. This very welcome attention to individual needs was to characterise the service throughout our stay – and made our time here very special.

Suites with a view


The lobby at the Abama is a vast, modern, calm space – lots of glass and tasteful sofas, and leads to a more traditionally styled tea room/lounge bar, where delicious teas and cakes are on offer throughout the day, along with sweets and treats for children. We made our way through these temptations to our 2 bedroom suite, which is actually a one bedroom suite inter-connecting with a deluxe room.

We’ve been lucky enough to stay in some fantastic 5 star accommodation over recent years, but this suite was special. The lounge area was enormous – with comfortable sofas, huge plasma TV and CD player, desk area, eating area - and lead via a wooden sliding door to a very spacious bedroom. Décor is light, airy and contemporary – the beds are huge with luxurious mattress toppers, incredibly silky Egyptian cotton bedlinen and a whole host of pillows of different kinds – possibly the most comfortable beds we’d ever slept in. Both bedrooms and lounge had floor to ceiling glass windows facing the sea, and billowing muslins at the windows let in lots of natural light and gave the whole suite a very calm, luxurious feel. The bathroom was enormous too - bath and separate shower, toiletries were Bulgari, and the bathrobes a cut above the normal towelling versions. (As you can probably tell, within 10 minutes we were ready to up sticks, move in and live here for the forseeable future).

the beach The terrace runs the length of the suite, and is furnished with loungers and dining chairs/table – the seaviews are amazing – especially at sunset. The interconnecting room was also very spacious with its own sofa and seating area. All in all this makes an extremely spacious 2 bedroom suite for families or friends – and can accommodate up to 6 easily.

There are plenty of room types to choose from at the Abama however. They are divided into rooms in the ‘citadel’ ie the main building (like ours) or rooms in the ‘villas’ which are set in the gardens leading down towards the sea. These are set in 2 storey buildings and have their own shared pool. There is a maximum of 25 guests sharing the pool. There’s even a space to park your own golf buggy.

Both areas have their own advantages. With the Citadel rooms or suites (can be garden or sea-facing) you are closer to the main facilities, but with the villa rooms you have only to step outside your room to swim in the pool: ideal for those with older children or non-moving babies. There are interconnecting rooms or suites in both areas.

Facilities for all ages

the beach Exploring the rest of the Abama required more of a sense of direction than the Jardin Tropical – as it’s much larger and more spread out. From the lobby, you wander down past the main restaurant area and then past the lovely pond with koi carp (children are encouraged to watch when the fish are fed) and then out to the main pool.

It’s an attractive, large pool with beach type entry – which is ideal for small children who can just run in and out without worrying about steps. And at Easter there were plenty of small children doing exactly this and having a ball – this is a luxury hotel which definitely attracts and welcomes rather than ‘puts up with’ families. It helps that there’s a pool just around the corner which is reserved for adults – so there are no dirty looks to suffer when the children are shrieking with excitement. The pool is heated, fluffy towels are plentiful, there’s an old fashioned ice cream trolley dispending cones with various topping throughout the day and a very good poolside restaurant with a dedicated children’s buffet.

Just along from the main pool is a grassy area where there is a gazebo and informal games for children such as table tennis and football etc. The kids club and new crèche are great. The kids club was set (when we were there) in a large room close to reception – with good arts materials and other equipment, dedicated, friendly staff and a well-planned schedule of activities. It’s complimentary and you can drop children off on an ad hoc basis- and there were evening sessions too which. It was extremely popular when we were there, both night and day. The crèche was set in 2 ground floor rooms, leading out onto plenty of grassy space and there’s a local charge for this. Staff in both clubs were professional and friendly.

We were also pleasantly surprised to see that there was quite a good schedule of activities for grown ups too… There were regular classes in the gym – pilates, yoga dance etc and plenty of cultural options too such as cooking lessons, and wine tasting. Not to mention the fantastic tennis and golf facilities, regular film nights and truly superb spa. There was regular evening entertainment and a nightclub for grown ups with any energy left after all that activity.

Stunning beach

the beach The black sand beaches in Tenerife are often listed as a minus – not so at the Abama. This is a truly spectacular beach. You either stroll down past the ‘Villas’ rooms, or hop in a little buggy at reception and get whisked down to the cliff edge. The view of the beach from here is fantastic – golden sand, emerald/blue sea, black cliffs. You are then transported down to sea level in a little funicular – very quiet and very quick. The whole buggy/funicular combo makes quite an exciting excursion for children in itself. Once on the beach, there is the same excellent service as poolside, and a very good restaurant where we had some delicious barbecued fish lunches overlooking the sea.

The sand is soft and golden (imported from Fuerteventura),and there’s a helpful little chest full of childrens beach paraphernalia – rubber rings, buckets & spades and so on.

the beach But the beach area has something a bit extra at the Abama – just around the corner from the restaurant are a series of natural pools formed by the rocks – into which the hotel has added little ladders for easy entry. This is a fantastic place for adults and children to take a dip: crystal clear, calm water - but surrounded by pounding surf. A dip here was one of the highlights of the trip for our children. In between these natural swimming pools are lots of rock pools - and hours can be spent just pottering around these with a fishing net and a bucket.

A wide choice of eating options
After all that activity on the boys’ part and the exhausting inactivity on ours, we were all always ready for dinner. There are plenty of eating options at the Abama. There are 3 restaurants in the Citadel area – all serving slightly different menus – but all interlinked. We ate here regularly and the food was excellent with a wide choice (not buffet style). The children’s menu is available in all the restaurants and was extensive – and more inventive than the usual hotel children’s menus, but still offering all the favourites. As an alternative to the childrens menu, there was also a children’s buffet in one of the restaurants each night – which was very popular.

Close by is a tapas restaurant which is informal and again – the tapas were inventive – a mix of traditional and modern, and delicious – we found it was a good choice with children who loved the croquetas, chiprones and patatas bravas. There is also a Michelin-starred restaurant, a Japanese restaurant and a seafood restaurant with stunning seaviews. This also has a swimming pool just behind it – so it’s a good spot for lunch and a swim as well as dinner. We didn’t have time to try these – but had we stayed longer definitely would have done so - and are planning to return. It’s important to book at all the restaurants however – especially if you want to eat early.

Booking our return!

the beach We loved our stay here. The hotel is in such a lovely unspoiled area, and has a very chilled, calm ambiance despite all the facilities – it’s a place to really unwind in modern, contemporary yet genuinely child-friendly luxury, and suits all ages. There was so much to do both for adults and children, yet more’quiet’ corners for relaxation and contemplation that most other hotels we’ve stayed in. The accommodation was exceptional and food and service was top notch. There is plenty more of unspoilt Tenerife to explore all around, such as the lovely towns of Orotava and Garachico. It was ideal for an Easter break, but also ideal for summer (when the natural pools would really come into their own), autumn and definitely Christmas - and for any duration: there’s enough to do to keep you busy for 2 weeks, but it also works really well as a long weekend. The Abama has definitely earned its place on our Top 10 luxury European family-friendly hotels list – and we’ll be certain to return.

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