Posts Tagged ‘hotels’

Stepping out of the Costa Adeje heat and into the air conditioned lobby of the Costa Adeje Gran Hotel a few weeks ago, one word springs immediately to my mind and lodges itself there – splendid.

The glass-fronted, marble columned lobby stretches as far as the eye can see, its concealed roof lights and golden table lamps reflecting in the highly polished floor like diamonds. Centre stage, a grand staircase is flanked by a marble cascading waterfall which adds a sound track of running water to the lush forest of greenery dripping from surfaces and balconies.
Above my head is a sunken section of turquoise from the rooftop swimming pool and the sunlight is dancing through the water and bouncing around the ceiling.

The vast glass frontage is hemmed with long, low settees and inviting armchairs just begging me to sink into their plush cushions, order a long, cool drink and spend some time watching the busy comings and goings of the lobby.
But there’s a whole lot of hotel to explore first, so I glide above the splendour in the glass bullet lift and am transported to the rooftop swimming pools and memories of the Far East.


Can't you just see yourself here?

Elegant palm trees fan their heads in the gently breeze and admire their reflections in the glass of the Colonial style buildings with their wooden balconies which surround the pools.
Between the palm trees an expanse of electric blue swimming pools curves and wends its way beneath a wooden footbridge and around islands of sunbathing terraces. Sun loungers dot the terraces, their occupants soaking up the sun’s rays or cooling off under the shade of an umbrella and losing themselves in the pages of a novel.

Later that evening I return to the rooftop pools as the sun is turning the faces of the buildings rose pink and throwing black silhouettes of the palm trees into the still surface of the water. I make my way over the footbridge to the La Laja restaurant and with a grandstand view of the pools and the sunset, I enjoy one of the best meals I’ve eaten on Tenerife.

Imagine yourself slipping into the blue paradise of that beautiful swimming pool or sipping a mojito from your sun lounger and feeling the warm sun on your skin.
Now imagine you can do that every day for a whole week without it costing you a penny and you’ll begin to realise what a fabulous opportunity fans of Tenerife Magazine have this month.

GF Hotels are giving away one week half board at the Costa Adeje Gran Hotel to one lucky winner of this month’s competition and all you have to do to enter is to ‘like’ Tenerife Magazine on Facebook. Could it possibly be any easier?

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A well deserved congratulations to the eight great Tenerife hotels that picked up Holly Awards after being voted into TUI’s top 100 leisure hotels.

The Canary Islands fared remarkably well overall with nineteen hotels making the list which was chosen from hotels in sixteen countries around the world.

The Tenerife TUI Holly Award Winners 2010

Aparthotel Atlantis Park, Punta de Hidalgo
Arona Gran Hotel, Los Cristianos
Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque Resort, Costa Adeje
Hotel Botanico The Oriental Spa Garden, Puerto de la Cruz;
Hotel Jardines de Nivaria, Costa Adeje
Hotel RIU Garoe, Puerto de la Cruz
Hotel Tigaiga, Puerto de la Cruz
Roca Nivaria Gran Hotel, Playa Paraiso

Special mention goes to the Aparthotel Atlantis Park, Punta de Hidalgo which made TUI’s Holly Awards top 10 for service.

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A few years back Tenerife had a marketing campaign in which it promoted itself as “Tenerife Amable” (friendly Tenerife). Little stickers appeared on buses and taxis and posters popped up on motorway billboards and bus stops.
For the most part since moving here I have generally found the Tenerife amable label to be justified and the vast majority of Tinerfeños to be very pleasant people. But every now and again, you experience something that stands out from the crowd and a couple of weeks ago, I found something that did just that.

We’d arranged to spend an evening with Chris Clarkson and Alan Gilmour of tenerife.co.uk who were on a short business trip to the island from the UK. With dinner booked at the Watermelon in Los Cristianos and the prospect of a nice drop of vino, the option of driving back to Puerto de la Cruz was looking distinctly like a member of the Killjoy Club. So we booked a room at the Pearly Grey Ocean Club Resort in Callao Salvaje and arranged to share a taxi with John Beckley.

Pearly Grey Ocean Club Resort

Having checked into our fabulous, ocean front room, we headed to Los Cristianos for a night of gastronomic and vinicultural delights served up with a healthy dose of lively conversation and good laughs. The night slipped away and it was near 2am when we arrived back at Pearly Grey.

Finding the gate which led to our room locked, we went to reception but no-one was there so we popped our heads around the door of the bar/restaurant where we could hear voices chatting.
“Is there anyone manning reception?” I asked.
“He’s probably just doing his security round”, came the cheery response from the guy who was finishing clearing up for the night. “He should be back in a couple of minutes.”

So we went back to reception and waited.
A few minutes later the guy we’d spoken to in the bar emerged to lock up.
“He’s not back yet then?” he asked. “Come on, I think I know a back way to get you to your room.”
And he led us off around the swimming pool area and down a ramp behind the main building emerging eventually outside what all three of us hoped was indeed our room.
“ Brilliant. Thanks very much indeed.” I said. “By the way, what’s your name?”
Laughing he said “ If this is your room, the name’s Paul. If it isn’t, I’ve never seen you before in my life!” And he disappeared back up the ramp.

Restaurant at Pearly Grey

The next morning we went to the restaurant, ordered coffee from a smiling, friendly waitress behind the counter and sat at a patio table overlooking the pool while we took advantage of the free Wi-Fi zone to do some work.
In the hour or so that we were there, there must have been 20 or 30 guests coming and going through the restaurant area and around the pool and every one of them was greeted and chatted to as if they were members of the family.

Mums and dads stretched out on sun loungers while the kids used the Internet zone, or played table tennis and table football. The place had such a laid back, friendly and safe atmosphere that we felt as if we were guests at a huge house party where they just happened to have a beautiful swimming pool, uninterrupted ocean views and oodles of sunbathing terraces.

Unfortunately, we had places to go and people to see, otherwise we would very happily have stayed there all day and probably booked another night.
Last weekend, back in Puerto de la Cruz, we went to our local bar, The Beehive, to watch the Manchester United versus Blackburn match. We hadn’t even taken our seats or ordered our drinks when an elderly Brit sitting at the bar started aggressively verbally abusing the Man United club.
“They’re a bunch of dirty, cheating, lying b****ards!” he bellowed. “They make me sick!”
We’re no strangers to Man Utd haters; jealousy is a very common trait (!) and we happily participate in friendly banter with rival club fans, but this man didn’t want to talk about football, he just continued to bellow his abuse throughout the first half of the game and quite frankly, made it quite unpleasant to be there.

The contrast between our experience over that 24 hours couldn’t have been more marked.

I guess the guy in The Beehive didn’t catch the “Tenerife Amable” campaign.

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I love Puerto de la Cruz, that’s why I live here; it’s like living in Party Town.
As far as I’m concerned it’s got everything – a beautiful beach, glorious weather (occasional winter rain and all-year sun), lush tropical vegetation , a picturesque harbour, great restaurants, plazas, bars and a fiesta or several pretty much every month of the year.

But if you were to ask me to name the town’s Achille’s Heel, it would have to be its hotels, most of which fall well below the standard expected by today’s travellers.

  • Facades are old and tired and very few people now welcome high rise anything, even if it’s nice inside.
  • Décor is at best old fashioned and at worst downright depressing. Even hotels which have recently been refurbished are entirely lacking in any kind of character or charm.
  • Food is at best indifferent and at worst disgraceful. The same goes for service.

I can easily name hotels which I consider to be worthy of their place in Puerto (the Tigaiga Hotel and the Botanico Hotel are two which spring to mind) but the fact that there are few enough for me to name them is a sad indictment of the situation.

pool with a view

Then yesterday I met John Beckley at the Las Aguilas Hotel and was impressed to the point of feeling the need to blog.
I look at this place atop the hill every time I drive to La Villa shopping centre but until yesterday, I’d never actually been up to it and that has proved to be an oversight.

The Las Aguilas oozes quality, charm and character. Its décor is modern and eclectic with stylish features and cosycorners giving the place a very intimate atmosphere. The rooms have beautiful balconies with stunning views over Puerto and the Atlantic; the grounds are simply but immaculately landscaped; the food was delicious, plentiful and excellent value for money and the staff were smiling, friendly and efficient.

If, like me, you’ve never been to the Las Aguilas, check it out; it’s a real find.

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