The Ritz-Carlton Abama

Rating: 

An isolated (but don’t worry, you won’t want to leave anyway), huge resort on a clifftop about a 25-30 minute drive from South Tenerife airport. 

They’ve thought of everything - from a chest full of buckets and spades at the beach, to free fruit for poolside snacks, to sunshade-fitted buggies and a superbly-stocked kids’ club with more games than Toys R Us. Our toddler was kept busy with activities stretching from cookery to football and painting. Busy grown-ups and older kids can have a packed timetable too, with tennis, golf, bikes, gym, and sea activities - but we just flopped at one of the many azure pools.

Information & Facts

Accessibility

All rooms, pools and restaurants are accessible, sometimes the lifts (eg to the Verona half-board restaurant) are hidden down corridors but staff are always very happy to help.

Activities / Excursions Outside the Resort

Mountain biking, boat rental, climbs to Teide, the highest peak of Spain, deep sea fishing, diving, horse riding, paragliding, treks and quad biking; most are arranged via recommended agencies and prices depend on season, availability, etc.

Best Bits for Kids

Our shy little guy was happily coaxed into group play activities by the enthusiastic staff at the brilliant kids club, where the facilities were unsurpassed: slides into a ball pit, all the ride-ons and games a child could want, a large fenced, grassy garden with goals and balls and lots of shade, plus a rich activity list - stone-painting, kids pool swimming, Play Do, sports.. Elsewhere, there’s a dedicated kids’ pool plus the main citadel pool has sea-like rocks and a sloping entry where tots love splashing.

Best Bits for Parents

It’s a family-friendly hotel but you’re not sacrificing anything you’d have looked for in a pre-kids holiday. All the food at the ten restaurants is good, but two have Michelin stars. The golf is stellar, with a course as verdant as the Teletubbies’ hill; there’s a capacious spa, and the thoughtful, Moorish decor plus friendly service ensures that the hotel feels intimate, despite 420 rooms. 

Best Family Beaches

The hotel’s own beach isn't a long distance away, but down a steep cliff so there’s a frequent miniature train down (a huge hit with the toddler) as well as a funicular.

It has imported white sand rather than the darker stuff native to this part of Spain, lots of loungers, endless towels, a full bar and restaurant for food at the table or at the lounger, buckets and spades and a lovely calm sea.

The beach can get a bit busy as it isn’t 'private' so is accessed by locals, but Abama guests have access to loungers and it was never packed during our stay.

Endorsement Quote

Our trip to the Abama has become the benchmark that we keep coming back to on other holidays - ‘is it as good as the Abama?’ The hotel really stands out for its cocktail of kid-focused features (hello: toddler bed guards, baby parasols, free poolside fruit) alongside top food, facilities and spa. The many azure infinity pools are beautiful, and the Insta-perfect adults-only one is definitely worth bartering some ‘me time’ with your partner.

Family Traveller's Recommended Family Rooms

Junior suites are really spacious, with lots of wardrobe room, sliding doors for two different sleeping zones, big balconies/terraces and lovely views.

Food & Drink

Hotel restaurants: are what really make the Abama stand out. Where many remote resorts rely on the fact that guests are ‘trapped’ and will eat whatever buffet chow they are proffered, we enjoyed great quality, beautifully-presented food with a good variety. On half-board, guests are offered three course-meals at three restaurants: the 20-20 steakhouse, an Italian called Verona, and the Spanish Txoko, with tapas, cured meats and more. Be aware that on half-board not drinks, not even water, is included.

The two Michelin-starred, Basque-food specialist M.B. (it’s Martin Berasategui’s signature restaurant) is one of the best restaurants in Spain, and Japanese Kabuki (with one Michelin star) impressed even the serious international foodies we met at the Abama.

Breakfast:

…was my favourite hour of the day! I’m so obsessed with a fab breakfast that I have a constantly-updated ‘top ten hotel breakfasts of the world’ list in my head and the Abama’s is definitely top three. The buffet takes five minutes just to look at all the options, and includes imaginative fresh juices, a vast egg station, more pastries than your average Parisian bakery, waffles, fruit, meats, a huge range of yogurts and cereals. Warm milk would be whisked over for kids, and any random toddler requests would be remembered by the friendly staff.

In the evening:

There are lots of busy, stylish bars, lovely places to sit outside and live music most nights. There’s also a sports bar that filled up for big matches and we found the Abama’s cocktails eminently drinkable.

Kids stuff

The restaurants (bar the adults-only ones) all have kid-friendly plastic cutlery, plates, crayons, colouring and activity sheets (and very clean high-chairs). We would go for dinner with tiny man at 6ish, he’d enjoy his two or three-course (free for under 4s) kids’ menu, then we’d walk to get him to sleep in the buggy before he snoozed table-side during our dinner. Both waiters and fellow guests were happy with this, but lots of other families were all eating later together; everyone was accommodated happily. Be aware that the two Michelin starred restaurants are kid-free zones, and so is seafood specialist Mirabel in the evenings, so you’ll need to book a babysitter or stick to the other eateries.

Getting There

About 25-30 minute drive from South Tenerife airport. 

Hotel Vibe

A stylish and laid-back family haven - luxury without the intimating glitz.

Kids Clubs

Children 4 - 12 can be left at the kids’ club between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m for £5 per child per day or £31 per stay (for a minimum of 7 nights), then kids can stay 6pm-midnight for £7 per hour per child. Under fours can use the facilities but only when parents stay.

Location

Situated in the south of Tenerife, you’ll spot the hilltop, Moroccan-style Abama’s turrets long before you arrive at its amber building. The hotel is surrounded by banana plantations on one side, the Atlantic ocean and La Gomera Island on the other; there are no local shops or restaurants within walking distance, but it’s about a five minute drive to fishing village Playa de San Juan. The whole resort stretches 400 acres, but you’ll mostly hang around the central “citadel” area; where secret swimming pools, juice bars or carp ponds pop up around every corner. It’s both manicured and exotic.

Pools

Seven heated, outdoor pools, including one family/kids pool. My favourite was the beautiful (adults-only) infinity pool by the Mirabel restaurant - my husband and I tag-teamed to each get an hour there every day. Whilst Tenerife is sunny year-round, we travelled in January and whilst the pools were heated, it was only to 26 degrees, so when the weather wasn’t boiling it felt a bit chilly for our little one. 

Rooms

The rooms are really spacious compared to the average hotel. We had oodles of room in our Deluxe Suite, where we liked the sliding doors sectioning off the large lounge, which meant our toddler could sleep in darkness whilst we could still watch TV, read etc after dinner. This room category also has spacious terrace/balconies with loungers, which were brilliant for us to relax on during the toddler’s nap-time.  If you don't want to share a bedroom with your kids, you’ll need to opt for a one-bedroom suite, or two interconnecting rooms.

The Abama’s smallest rooms are just over 500 sq ft, with either a king-size bed or twin beds, the largest suite is a 10, 000 sq ft two-bedroom extravaganza with its own pool.

You can also choose to be based in the Citadel, the main building of the hotel, or surrounding villas, most of which have sea views but are separate from the main reception and breakfast restaurant. The villas do mean lots of golf buggy-driving to and fro (which is always popular in our family), but being in the main building is easier if you have young kids - you can push a pram to most of the restaurants and pools more easily.

Spa & Pampering for Adults

The hotel’s Moorish design really comes to life in the spa - which is huge, stretching 2500 sq m - and booking a treatment gives you access to the Abama’s water experience - saunas, hydrotherapy pool, plunge pools, ice rooms, and more. I was pregnant so couldn’t enjoy a lot of them, but my husband returned from a circuit so relaxed he was semi-asleep.. I had a 60-minute Espa facial which was incredibly relaxing - and effective. I actually looked like I’d had a good sleep this decade, which, pregnant and with a toddler, definitely isn’t true!

Spa & Wellbeing for Kids

Children over six can enjoy some hair and nail treatments, such as mani/pedis, but not facials or massages. Only over 18s can access the relaxation rooms and hydro rooms in the spa. 

Sports

Par-72 championship golf course, designed by former Ryder Cup player Dave Thomas.

Seven, Atlantic Ocean-facing tennis courts and an Annabel Croft academy

24 hour gym

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