Imagine a last minute holiday in Tenerife and you probably don’t think of dining with a Michelin star, sharply dressed pool butlers and a private golf cart parked outside your oceanfront suite.
But this is exactly why the Ritz-Carlton, Abama, has become such a hit with well-heeled Brits looking for a more luxurious dose of that reliable winter sun the popular Canary Island is known for.
The 400-acre, five-star golf and spa resort is built in the style of a Moroccan citadel and, in many ways, you’ll have to remind yourself you’re in Europe: think cliff-top infinity pools facing a Spectacular volcanic landscaping, perfectly manicured tropical gardens overlooking banana plantations and year-round sunshine, all within a distinctive terracotta palace with dusty pink buildings. It’s no surprise that the venue draws an upscale crowd. Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Bill Clinton and Stephen Hawking are among the hotel’s A-list guests thus far.
From seven sparkling pools to award-winning fine dining at nine different restaurants, here’s what to expect.
Just 25 minutes by car from Tenerife Sur airport, on the southwest coast of the island. The hotel itself sits on the cliffs and is set amongst banana plantations, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the neighboring island of La Gomera.
Mount Teide and its snow-capped peak are only an hour’s drive away. You can rent cars next to the reception.
Step away from any ‘Brits abroad’ preconceived notions of cheap holidays and think about the kind of opulent and exclusive luxury one would associate with hotels in Dubai or Marrakech. Indeed, the Ritz-Carlton has that look, with distinctive pink terracotta walls and large Moorish references to a Moorish citadel.
The place is huge—400 acres, in fact—so don’t expect a small boutique hotel feel, but come enjoy expansive, perfectly manicured tropical gardens, grand costume dinners, and seven sparkling pools overlooking the Atlantic. The sprawling estate is very well laid out (and steep!) so bring comfortable shoes if you plan to get around on foot, but the bonus is that you never sit on top of other guests and free transfers are available to go from place to place. There is also a miniature train or cable car to take guests to the beach.
All this said, and despite the 400+ rooms, there’s still an exclusive and intimate feel, especially if you stay in the premium seaward ‘villa’ suites, with large, generous balconies, neutral tones and sea views. palm trees and hibiscus plants.
The villa area features its own restaurant, El Mirador, and each row of villas boasts its own semi-private infinity pool overlooking the island of La Gomera—a standout, even by five-star hotel standards. If you don’t believe me, believe a well-traveled PR guy who messaged me on Instagram afterward to tell me he still has a poolside picture of him next to his bed.
Each of Abama’s 459 luxurious rooms has a contemporary design, with a simple style and neutral tones. Of these, 315 are located in the hotel’s main ‘Citadel’ building, while the remaining 144 are located in the Villa Club, Abama’s premium boutique-style area that stretches across four village-style streets. next to the sea, surrounded by large subtropical gardens. gardens
All rooms feature Nespresso coffee machines, luxurious bathtubs, spacious marble bathrooms, and their own terrace or balcony, many with outdoor Jacuzzis overlooking the sea. There are connecting rooms available for families and adult-only and family-friendly options.
Villa Club rooms are particularly luxurious, with his and her bathrooms, sitting areas, and large private balconies (the light switches and their corresponding lights can be confusing in places, but I guess that’s the price to go). pay for size). You will also have the benefit of access to a semi-private pool (with complimentary drinks and canapés), a dedicated team of ‘Villa Ambassadors’, private check-in and check-out, breakfast at the hotel’s exclusive El Mirador restaurant, and access to the El Mirador Club Lounge. Lookout. Expect free poolside cava, beer, wine and snacks, plus a cocktail of the day at 5pm. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘tapas’ when the staff remind you of the selection of tapas featured at El Mirador for Afternoons: It’s more than enough for lunch.
Choose a penthouse, including the 10,000-square-foot Imperial Suite for four, if you’re looking for a truly premium option. Highlights include two spacious king-size bedrooms, a 24/7 personal Ambassador Suite, and a private heated rooftop pool with sweeping views of the Atlantic.
food and drink
Eight-course Mediterranean-Japanese fusion menus with views of the golf course. Locally sourced breakfasts on a spacious terrace on top of a cliff. The only restaurant in the Canary Islands with two Michelin stars.
Abama has an impressive array of dining options (nine restaurants, to be specific), but that quantity doesn’t come at the expense of quality. far from there The food is consistently five-star, whether you’re eating handmade pasta in the hotel’s Italian outpost, Verona, or melt-in-your-mouth ham at contemporary Spanish restaurant Txoko from acclaimed chef Martín Berasategui.
Dinner on the heated terrace at Verde Mar, the hotel’s zero-kilometre restaurant that prioritizes vegetables, is a must. Everything except the truffle is sourced locally from the island (Tenerife has 23 microclimates, so the ingredients are surprisingly varied) and the staff are brilliantly professional yet charmingly down-to-earth. Think homemade rye breads with oil made specifically for the hotel, boat-shaped vegetable crudités starters and sweet potato gnocchi with hazelnut foam and coffee. All the wines are also from the Canary Islands.
The hotel also has not one, but two Michelin-starred restaurants: the elegant Japanese-Mediterranean fusion restaurant, Kabuki, and the elegant, Basque-inspired restaurant MB, which has a total of two Michelin stars to its name. The Bento box at the start of Kabuki’s eight-course tasting menu is a must.
Breakfast is a sprawling and smoothly executed affair, with mountains of fresh fruit, pastries, cereals, yogurts, and juices, plus a fun extra sweet treat (breakfast doughnut, anyone?). Dishes like poached eggs are available to order at your table.
Seven pools. Yoga and hiking trails in the hotel’s Persian gardens. A Roman-inspired spa. It’s no surprise that Abama’s guests tend to be toned, tanned Europeans looking for an active dose of luxury.
Many come for the hotel’s proximity to Abama’s par-72 championship golf course, but regulars certainly go beyond golfers and retirees. Stroll through the gardens and you’ll find everyone from parents and grown children enjoying the Turkish baths on the spa circuit to Lycra-clad cyclists renting bikes for a day’s climb up Teide.
Families are also common at Abama thanks to the hotel’s Ritz Kids club, the largest in Europe, and the variety of pools, from the Cascade pool for kids to the Lake pool, the largest of the seven (there’s one for each row of villas in Villa Club). It’s also popular with spa lovers thanks to the hotel’s ultra-luxurious daylight spa circuit, featuring heated marble loungers, a range of Roman-inspired hot and cold baths, and a range of treatments including a massage 90 minute relaxation with aromatherapy oils – a guaranteed sleep savior.
Gym-goers can expect all the usual fitness equipment, from free weights to spin bikes on an outdoor terrace, and nearby activities include tennis, paddle tennis, scuba diving, whale watching, and water sports. There are also several boutiques and jewelry stores on site.
The hotel is also a short walk from Playa Abama beach, a public beach that feels private half the time thanks to guest access to loungers, umbrellas, and towels and the option of a private train, bus, or cable car from the hotel. The staff offer expertly guided stargazing sessions at various times of the year and sea swimmers should definitely spare an afternoon exploring the natural pools.
Your private golf cart, parked in front of one of the hotel’s seven sparkling pools.
Luxury seekers looking for some winter sun. Multi-generational family vacations are popular here, but the most common guests are active couples. There’s a two-night Valentine’s Day package if you fancy a last-minute romantic getaway (with a couples’ chocolate spa treatment), and there’s a half-term package for families.
how to get there
Flights are just four and a half hours from Heathrow and Gatwick, then it’s a 25 minute taxi at the other end.
When should I go?
Literally whenever, which is why Tenerife is so popular with the British. Temperatures year-round average 22 degrees Celsius, so it’s reliably warm and sunny—even in January, the coldest month, you’ll have a hard time not getting a tan.
Rooms from £285, The Ritz-Carlton, Abama Carretera General, TF-47, km 9 Guía de Isora Tenerife, 38687 Spain, ritzcarlton.com