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  5 Star Chic at the Ritz-Carlton Abama, Tenerife
– A Flashpacker Favourite for Pleasure, Food & Fun
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There’s Tenerife all-sorts from cheap package hotels to five star lux establishments – and there’s the Ritz-Carlton Abama. Literally a stand-alone: enthroned high on a cliff top in splendid isolation, overlooking its 160 hectare private estate on the tranquil south west coast of the island in Guía de Isora.

This year so many of our friends with or without offspring enjoyed the fruits of this uber glamorous destination resort, escaping blighty’s cold winter bluster. The Canaries enjoy a temperate climate averaging 23°C year round and with a relatively short four and a half hours flight from the UK, we decided that it was high time for us Flashpackers to see if the rave reviews are true.

Breakfast is at the Veranda restaurant in the main citadel. Whilst waiting for an omelette at the egg station, Richard, a visiting guest from Newcastle, who happens to be an hotelier, marvels at the warm service and effortless grace of the staff creating a harmonious atmosphere. “Never a sullen face” he says.

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Panoramic view, Ritz-Carlton Abama
Panoramic view, Ritz-Carlton Abama
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It’s a good marriage between guests and staff! RC motto, “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”.

Post the extensive international buffet we are ready for solar supine pursuits. The Maître d’ advises us to go to the adult’s only pool, El Mirador, one of nine; including a huge family pool at the hotel’s epicenter, 3 private pools exclusive to the Ritz Carlton villas and two natural sea water pools down by the beach.

El Mirador Aduilts-only pool

We commandeer a golf buggy courtesy of the porter, chauffeured by a lively and charming intern who sails past the 4 exclusive rows of villas of which the Tagor accommodation reigns supreme: adults only, butler service, complimentary poolside snacks and a personal buggy at the guests disposal.

At the El Mirador’s exquisite infinity pool with views of the island Gomera, we meet Lucy from Holland.

“Nothing is too much trouble for the staff,” she says. ‘This is my fifth visit in two years with my husband Ewald and we’re coming again in October. The guests are also lovely – everyone is so friendly.”

The pool proves to be a perfect hub for discovering what culinary delight to indulge in next. With ten restaurants it’s not surprising that food dominates the conversation.

“Have you been to the El Mirador restaurant?” she asks. I tell her we’re planning to go that evening. “It’s one of our favourites,” she continues. “The fish is perfect and it’s such a romantic spot, eating on the terrace overlooking the ocean. And the Kabuki restaurant, it has a Michelin star. It’s the best Japanese food I have ever tasted!”

Hearing the word Kabuki, Ewald looks up from his thriller. “Ach, you have to taste the “Wagyu” beef with Ponzu sauce and baby burgers with sticky rice. And the sushi, beautiful…beautiful!”

Ritz-Carlton Abama Photo Gallery
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The 2 Star Michelin MB, orchestrated by celebrated chef Martin Berasategui is by all accounts a very pukka affair too, with innovative dishes reflecting his renowned gastronomic gifts – Italian Verona, Argentian La Pampa, Tapas & Wine Bar, Los Chozos next to the family pool, the Abama Beach club restaurant and the Golf Club House La Casa Club, all have their fans. It’s really a question of taste not quality.

We hop aboard the RC’s green open train back to the main house and our lovely Moorish inspired sea-view room with expansive TV and enormous comfortable bed. There are 469 rooms, suites and villas including the new Club Level accommodation on the top floor, offering a dedicated private lounge with spectacular views of Mount Tiede, serving complimentary freshly made snacks and alcohol all day.


Ritz-Carlton Abama Golf Course

Don’t think that kids are persona non grata. It’s famously family-friendly here. When the young ones are not playing on the beach they have their very own Ritz Kids club where life certainly looks fun. It’s an enchanting place with a spacious lawn where junior guests from 4 to 12 enjoy creative play, learning about the environment, sporting activities and can lunch and dine together if parents want to extend their quality playtime.

Ritz-Carlton Abama Kids Club Gallery
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On the adult menu: a challenging 72-par 18 hole golf course, 7 tennis and 4 paddle courts, daily keep-fit classes including Pilates and yoga and an award-winning spa which offers all sorts of exotic treatments.

Returning to culinary delights. Dinner at El Mirador – Tender and delectable Scallops, a fruity Gazpacho full of ripe summer flavours, followed by a succulent and delicate Wild Sea Bass coupled with a crisp, white Verdejo wine. And to share, a zingy Pineapple Carpaccio tempered by the honeyed orange blossom jelly – superb! Lucy was right.

We are very happy to stay in the domain of the hotel, switching off and enjoying the daily grind of pleasurable activities with a brief nod to cultural attractions to relieve the stress of relaxing.

Whale and Dolphin watching is on the agenda for us. Guests can book the trip at the hotel’s excursion desk.

A smart black limo transfers us from the hotel to the busy Porto Colon, 20 minutes away in Costa Adeje. We step aboard a small sailboat with nine other excited passengers.

It’s an edgy experience – The adventure starts with negotiating the choppy waters whilst walking along the narrow deck to the helm – not for the feint hearted. But when the Skipper, Alvaro shouts “Over there!’’ pointing to the front of the boat, it’s worth taking the risk. A large pod of Pilot Whales is sighted. We’re so near to the glistening fins, one of the advantages of being in a smaller vessel, that everyone is ecstatic including Alvaro, who announces that he hasn’t seen a sighting like this in 2 years. And then, the dolphins; schools of them, skip and skim around the boat their little ones in tow. The woman next to us is crying. To be sure she would have jumped in to join the glorious creatures had she not been restrained.

The return journey holds other fascinations of a human kind. The skipper indicates a hippy commune ensconced in makeshift dwellings on the rock face, which he tells us, has been there for 20 years and further on it’s back to nature, sailing past a nudist colony on the coastline.

Back at the hotel, time for a cocktail and a terrific Salsa class at the “Cubanika Rum & Cigar Bar,” a sexy little nook that hosts a Cuban band every evening in the high season.

We switch from Cuba to Japan feasting at ‘star’ restaurant Kabuki. The menu created by Daniel Franco is a revelation – a procession of sublime plates including silky oysters and razor clams, fried quail egg with white truffles and for Sashimi lovers – Usuzukuri; heavenly morsels of sweet, tender Alfonsiño (local fish) – the angels have landed! A standing ovation for a veritable theatre of superlative Japanese cuisine.

Next day, an early morning power walk and Pilates class to counter the excess of Epicurean delights and a buggy down to the perfectly coved sandy beach for a bracing swim and a ‘light’ lunch of Mojitos and Mussels.

Citadel sea view room

For solo luxury travellers, Ritz Carlton Abama has created an intriguing new venture: Me, Myself & I – the ultimate personal pampering experience.

Single guests stay in the luxury Tagor Villas, without a supplement, dipping into a tasting menu which includes: Michelin star-gazing with a gourmet picnic on the beach, spa treatments, private Pilates classes, a dedicated concierge and a beach butler to boot.

Wedding on the beach

The endless enjoyment of this gorgeous pleasure dome is drawing to a close as we prepare tracks to return to the UK as we came, flying in stylish comfort with British Airways.

Like so many guests we’ll be back!

Room rates start from €300 low season inclusive BB for two. The Ritz-Carlton Abama website offers excellent overnight packages without flights. Alternatively book online with a reputable online travel agency for deals with accommodation and flight. Recommended – ITC Luxury Travel on 01244 355527.

N.B. Many thanks to the Tenerife Tourist Board for arranging our Whale & Dolphin safari.


Disclaimer: Prices correct at time of publication


© Philip and Nina Saville, The 2012-15