Whether you want walking, sedgeway riding, cycling, driving or just relaxing and taking the occasional coach trip, Tenerife will supply it. It has something for everyone - parks, botanic gardens, beaches, luxury hotels and budget hostels, sea sports, yachting, whale watching, dolphin watching, old towns, cobbled streets, and a carnival to round it all off. Oh, and the food is great, Spanish with some local touches.
Tenerife: Great Hotels Lovely Island
The most popular of the Canary Islands and with an equable climate all year round, Tenerife attracts mostly European tourists especially in winter when the weather is perfect
Extraordinary geological strata in the coastal rocks
What does the island offer
I wondered, as I gazed on the view of sparkling sea and coastal hotels and felt the heat on my back, why I’d neglected the island of Tenerife for so many years. At one time, the Canary Islands - Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Formentara, Fuerteventura, Palma, and Gomera - was a region I visited regularly, for holidays with a difference, each island offering an experience different from the others.
Now I’d made a return to Tenerife, an island in the sun just under 4 hours flying from the UK, winter sunshine guaranteed, and with a selection of hotels, restaurants and attractions to suit all ages and nationalties.
RIU Palace overlooking the sea
Where to Stay: RIU Palace Hotel 5*
I’d chosen as my base the newly refurbished RIU Palace Hotel because I have enjoyed their hotels in other countries, and I wanted to see what the €26 million refurbishment had done for the hotel - apart from gaining it an extra star and elevating it from a four to a five star grade.
RIU Hotels and Resorts is a Spanish chain of over 100 hotels in 19 countries, still owned and run by the third generation of the family who founded the first hotel in Mallorca, Spain, in 1953. My experience of the hotels has enabled me to gauge their commitment to quality, the facilities they offer, the cuisine and personal service and to be able to say with confidence that they are second to none when it comes to guest satisfaction.
I would go so far as to say that RIU’s staff is what distinguishes it from its competitors. For the many returning guests, the familiar faces that greet them in reception, restaurant and pool, is what gets their holiday off to a good start. It also proves that there is little turnover in staff.
The meal basis at the hotel is half board only and it is excellent. A spectacular terrace has been added to the main restaurant allowing clients to enjoy the magnificent views whether they sit under cover or in the open air. The light wood, pillars, starched white tablecloths and designer touches, creates an atmosphere of the sea.
The breakfast buffet has everything one could wish for, from soup to salmon, champagne to cake with all the usual salads, cold meats, cheeses, and dairy products, and a team of chefs on hand to cook your eggs and bacon just as you like them. Evening meals are buffet style, but what a buffet! Seafood, fresh fish, meats, casseroles, Italian dishes, Spanish dishes, breads, salads, you name it, I bet you'll find it there. The wonderful thing about the meal plan at RIU Palace is that there is also an A la Carte restaurant, The Krystal, which serves a fusion cuisine, but unlike most hotels with a la carte menus who add an extra charge for this, RIU has no extra charge.
The outdoor covered restaurants serve lunches if needed, a small but excellent menu, right by the swimming pools so no need to go far when feeling peckish. The pool bar has a Bali-type construction with lacquered white wood which gives it a fresh feel. It has a great cocktail menu which is also available in the upstairs bar. Or, you could walk along the promenade and sample the food at one of the bars or cafes along the front.
The lounge bar faces out to the garden and the sea continuing the idea of being on the deck of a ship. In the evening you can watch the stage show from here, or if you prefer, you can watch it from another aspect inside the bar.
The pool bar has a Bali-type construction with lacquered white wood which gives it a fresh feel. It has a great cocktail menu which is also available in the upstairs bar.
RIU Palace Hotel from the Garden (sea behind)
Tenerife’s attractions grow with the years and it is such a large and varied island that a car is a real asset. However, if you don’t feel like driving, there are plenty of well-organized tours that the hotel can arrange for you, whether it be an expedition to the north of the island to the island’s capital, Puerto de la Cruz with its stylish boardwalks, elegant shops, pretty parks and gardens, and the lush Orotava Valley where the streets of the old town are lined with Renaissance mansions, an excursion up Mount Teide to view the volcano at night and to stargaze, or, my own favourite, whale and dolphin watching from a catamaran or yacht that sails from Puerto Colon. Sightings can’t be guaranteed, of course, but enough time is allowed at anchor in the place where they are known to congregate, to be almost sure of seeing these magnificent animals.
El Teide, Volcano on Teide
Board of Tourism
I'm Very Proud of 'My Whale' that I managed to catch on film
Activities at RIU Palace Hotel
One of the nice things about the RIU Palace is that no outsiders can have appointments in the Spa, or take up the steam room or the gym leaving guests to wait their turn. Most hotels have local Clubs that can use the spa and gym facilities at their hotels, not RIU. These facilities are only for the guests of RIU Palace.
The Wellness Centre & Spa is really terrific with treatments that both male and female can enjoy. I had a facial there and a relaxing massage after my flight and I was so impressed with the therapist and the treatments that I booked straight away for two days hence. AND, the prices are a lot less than I pay my local spa for treatments.
The gym, Turkish Bath, an indoor pool, sun terrace, gym and Turkish baths, indoor pool are all free of charge to guests of the hotel, and the indoor pool includes luxurious loungers on which to relax after a swim.
With all this on hand, it is difficult to tear oneself away from the hotel, but I cannot recommend too highly a coastal trip from one of the many yachts or catamarans that operate from the port at Puerto Colon. I had a wonderful morning with some friends I made at the hotel on the luxury sailing boat Roulette which carries food and drink on board, stops to allow swimming off the boat at a secluded spot (lifebelts on board as well) and with a captain and crew who were very knowledgeable about the marine life around us. Cost was approximately 75 Euros each for the best day of my vacation.
The boat needs at least six passengers to make it viable for cost but it can be hired for one group if desired for 450 Euros for 3 hours, long enough to get out to the whale and dolphin area, stop for a swim, and sail along the coast.
Indoor Pool, RIU Palace Tenerie