In a nutshell: The choice of elegant decor in the Canary Islands, with architecture like an exotic palace, excellent restaurants and enough breathing space for all.
Tenerife is known for its year-round budget holidays, but its wild west coast has stretches of rugged volcanic rock that’s undisturbed by anything but cacti, succulents and the odd banana plantation. It’s here, in Guia de Isora, that you’ll find the Ritz-Carlton, Abama: a group of lavish Moroccan-style buildings in terracotta hues, bordered by serene infinity pools and manicured tropical gardens. It’s less than 30 minutes’ drive from Tenerife South airport, served by several affordable flights a day, but far enough away from the ‘Brits abroad’ scene that many imagine the Canary Islands when they think of the island.
Way too exotic to be Europe, surely. The scorching climate of the Canaries converges with palm trees, banana trees, hibiscus bushes and North African architecture to end up feeling closer to Morocco or Dubai. Being a golf and spa resort, with over 400 rooms, it’s not boutique – but great care has been taken to ensure everyone has enough space to enjoy themselves. That goes for all nine dining venues, including multiple breakfast areas, nine pools, and the hotel’s large beach at the foot of its cliff. The Abama attracts a fit and camera-ready crowd, including golf-loving older couples and many young families, who love the mini motorized train to and from the beach as well as the largest Ritz Kids Club in town. ‘Europe. Sleek restaurants and upscale design mean this is a place to dress up for dinner.
bed and bath
Rooms may play it safe on the decor front — think soothing tones of sand, dove-gray, and cream to offset the building’s bright salmon exterior — but they’re cool and comfortable with generous balconies and living areas . Huge sunken tubs and his and hers sinks will satisfy the luxury crowd in the bathrooms, while soft terrycloth bathrobes and Nespresso coffee machines will delight the business crowd. Nice touches like lighted makeup mirrors, bottled water in glass bottles, and mosaic-tiled balcony tables complete the luxury factor.
Food and drink
It’s not just a pretty face – the RCA has not one but two Michelin star restaurants to check off during your stay. The first MB, two Michelin stars, serves deluxe Basque cuisine dreamed up by Martín Berasategui – think smoked eel and foie gras millefeuille – while the one-star Abama Kabuki, perched at the top of the golf course in the station, makes art Japanese creations with a dazzling view of the sunset. Do not miss the cocktails beforehand in the latter. Elsewhere, food is generous, wholesome, and pan-European — breakfast buffets offer fresh juices, fruit, and homemade yogurts as well as hot entrees, cheeses, and quality meats. In the evening, restaurants like El Mirador serve up grilled fish and expertly simmered Spanish rice under the bright stars.
The sprawling grounds include a par-72 golf course, clubhouse, funicular, mega lobby bar, fashion boutiques, and a koi pond, plus a modest but glamorous spa. Head to the latter to immerse yourself in whirlpools and baths at different temperatures, do yoga in the garden pavilion or get a massage from an Espa expert. The beach is golden and gently stepped with cliffs on either side to shelter it from the wind – descend the many invigorating steps, take the funicular down or wait for the mini-train at the resort’s bus stops. It’s quite a trek around this hillside resort — a struggle for some and a built-in fitness challenge for others — but free car and golf cart shuttles are just a minute away. The outdoor gym machines allow you to work out with a view of the sea in the fresh air – a pleasure.
If you stay in the elite “Villa” rooms rather than the main “Citadel” building, you have access to your own pool shared with a handful of other guests – since these rooms are separated into groups of family rooms and reserved to adults, you can choose between happy chaos and quiet silence with only the turn of a page to disturb you. Guests of the villa also get free cava, beer or wine by the pool, as well as free sunscreen.
Nuts and bolts
Number of pieces : 459
Freebies: Free shuttles around the station; breakfast at La Veranda or El Mirador; welcome cocktail or soft drinks.
Additional costs: N / A
Handicap access : It has accessible rooms, but only two.
Pet Policy: Pets are welcome and even enjoy their very own “pet garden”.
At the end of the line
Best thing: Pure design and space.
Worst thing: Having to plan a substantial walk or book a buggy for trips across the terrain slightly kills spontaneity.
Perfect for: Parents who want some bling with their bucket-and-shovel break; golf enthusiasts; digital nomads (this wifi goes everywhere – even the beach).
Not suitable for: Bargain hunters.
Instagram from: The Kabuki cocktail terrace.
Room price: Doubles from £280 a night, B&B.