( Click here for the published article Abama Tenerife )
Norah Casey revisits the beautiful Abama resort in Tenerife, the perfect escape from the Irish weather.
The Abama is a special place for us as we have been travelling to this little oasis in Tenerife for five years now for mid winter pampering and especially for the sun. It helps to bridge the gap between the long dreary days of January and the milder days of March and brings all the therapeutic benefits of sunshine and sea and a stress-free break from the Irish winters.
We began going to The Abama just after it became a Ritz Carlton and the first General Manager Pep Lozano had joined from Hotel des Arts in Barcelona. His arrival spearheaded a significant step-up in facilities and service at the resort and when we returned one year later we were pleasantly surprised by the many improvements he had introduced. Pep is now in charge of the new Ritz Carlton in Abu Dhabi and undoubtedly he will make a big impact there as well.
What I love about The Abama is that it ticks all the boxes in terms of a relaxing break. Increasingly the whole flying experience is stressful and tiring, so the closest destination with sunshine is always preferable for shorter winter holidays. Tenerife is only a four hours flight away and both Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly from Ireland so, outside of the big school holiday periods, flights are competitively priced. Another big plus is that the sun almost always shines. We have been there in the depths of winter and still enjoyed lovely sunny days. Don’t be put off by preconceived ideas about Tenerife. The Abama is located well away from the hustle and bustle of Tenerife’s crowded beach resorts around Playa de Las Americas and Los Christianos. The resort is situated in Guia de Isora, the quieter west coast of Tenerife. The coastline here is stunning with dramatic cliffs giving way unexpectedly to quiet little inlets and beaches and the Abama is perfectly positioned to capture views of the lovely Island of Gomera.
This is a five star proposition on an island not always known for its fine dining or quality accommodation. At first glance you might be taken aback by the initial appearance of The Abama. I still remember driving towards this large pink Moroccan inspired resort with some trepidation – now we crane our necks to see who will be the first to glimpse the terracotta citadel on the horizon. I have grown to love the quirky irregularity of the ethnic architecture of the Abama. There is a beautiful synchronicity between the earth coloured walls, the rich vegetation and the dramatic sea scapes. It was designed by internationally renowned architect Melvin Villarroel who creates wonderful buildings that work in harmony with their surroundings. Water is a key theme at The Abama with numerous lakes and waterfalls so wherever you are in the resort you are soothed by the sound of water. The gardens are beautiful and showcase the lovely scented and dramatic flowers of the Canaries. There is something almost luxurious about being amongst so many dramatic Bird of Paradise blooms.
Returning this year for the fifth time it felt like a home from home. From the moment you arrive the service is exemplary – having spent many years travel writing I appreciate far more now the importance of arrivals and departures at our destination. A welcome drink and hassle-free check-in at The Abama puts you at ease from the outset. A reservation for dinner is promptly made for us at our restaurant of choice – we always dine at the Italian restaurant Pampa Verona on the first night for its relaxed and casual ambiance.
While the Abama’s striking exterior is evocative of the landscape itself, the beautiful grandeur of the interior space is elegant and muted and always dressed by an amazing floral centrepiece. The Abama also takes the concept of a good night sleep very seriously with feather beds, 300 thread Egyptian cotton sheets and a special pillow menu for you to choose from. If you want to be close to all of the main facilities you can opt to stay in the Citadel deluxe rooms or, if budget allows, the palatial Imperial Penthouse which comes with its own roof-top pool and palm trees.
The resort also has 148 private villas which cascade down from the main hotel area to the sea. We always opt to stay in a villa which is more secluded and perfect for families. Each row of villas enjoys the use of a shared pool area. The Abama recently added a new luxury dimension to the resort with the opening of the Tagor Villas an exclusive all adult villa area with lots of added extras such as the use of a VIP lounge at the airport, personal villa attendant and Bvulgari amenities. The Tagor villas are perfect for honeymooners and those of us who on accession manage to get away without the children! By the way, if you do have the kids with you there is an excellent children’s club.
The Abama has some great dining facilities including the Michelin star M.B. – the signature restaurant of the renowned Basque chef Martin Berasategui. We love the Japanese restaurant Kabuki (which is surely close to receiving its own Michelin star) and El Mirador which is a lovely thatched fish restaurant near the sea. And if you want a break from fine dining there are plenty of casual café style areas in the resort or better still venture out to one of the local establishments where you can chose from an array of fish caught that day.
A typical day for us at The Abama always includes a trip to the gym in the early evening to work off all that wonderful food and Spanish wine. It has an excellent spa, tennis courts and an award winning golf course. I have recommended The Abama to many friends and it has never disappointed. There is truly something for everyone at the resort and if you really want a stress-free break there is really no need to leave the resort at all during your stay.
Telephone Hotel (+34) 922 126 000 – Reservations (+34) 902 105 600