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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

It amazes me why, despite having an absolutely perfect year-round climate, the vast majority of Northern Europeans only vacation on Tenerife during the winter months and it’s ironic that, when the summer arrives and Brits flock instead to Spain and the Balearics – the Spanish head to Tenerife in their droves to escape the heat of the mainland!

It’s a sad fact that flights to Tenerife from the UK are not as cheap in the summer as they are in the winter and it poses the question: are flights more expensive because demand is low, or is demand low because flights are more expensive? Either way, it would appear to buck the trend in market forces which traditionally see prices dropping in line with falling demand, not rising.

There are a few things about summer in Tenerife that are worth mentioning, particularly for those who have a penchant for putting.
Firstly, the temperatures during the summer months average an 18 holes ideal of 25° to 27° C (75° to 80° F) with virtually no rainfall. Even in heat waves, the mercury rarely climbs beyond 35° degrees and is short lived. Contrast that with the likes of Majorca and the Algarve in Portugal where the summer averages are above 30°C and regularly send the thermometer into 40° C plus sweaty, slicing mode.

The second thing to note is that Tenerife has one of the highest concentrations of four and five star hotels in Europe and if you’ve ever enjoyed the exclusivity and luxury of somewhere like the Hotel Las Madrigueras, you’ll already know how tailored their services are towards the needs of golfers. But what you may not know is that unlike hotels in mainland Spain and the Balearics for whom summer represents high season, Tenerife’s hotels drop their prices in line with reduced demand which means that you can get considerably more for your money in summer than you can in winter. Fabulously stylish hotels such as the Hotel Jardín Tropical even include  green fees in their room rates during summer.

But the real birdie in the benefits of summer golfing on Tenerife are the island’s summer green fees which are cropped as closely as the grass, which means you can tee off on some of Spain’s finest golf courses, like Golf Las Américas, Golf Costa Adeje and the Abama, at prices that will put an ace on every golfer’s scorecard.

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Any of my friends will attest to the fact that, for the past three months I’ve been about as much fun as a bout of influenza, virtually all of my waking hours being in front of a screen and a keyboard in order to meet deadlines. So the weekend before Christmas, deadlines finally achieved, Jack and I took ourselves off for a bit of R and R on Tenerife’s sunny south west coast.


The prospect of this mini holiday had been keeping me going through the final pushes of work and I’d envisaged myself lying by a Bond-esque swimming pool, cocktail in hand, soaking up the healing rays of the sun and watching my skin slowly losing its blinding white hue.
So it wasn’t without some concerns that a few days before we were due to go away I began to pick up reports of yellow alerts and first hand accounts of persistent rain in the south of the island.

On Saturday morning we headed out of the blue skies and sunshine of Puerto de la Cruz for the drive to Puerto Santiago. As we climbed higher into the cloud my heart began to sink, but when we reached the mirador above Santiago Del Teide I could see the resort of Playa de la Arena in sunshine on the coast below and we arrived at the Hotel Barceló Santiago in glorious sunshine.


You often hear about the different weather zones on Tenerife and here we were under blue skies and sunshine just a fifteen minute drive along the coast from Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Américas and Costa Adeje where, very unusually, it was raining heavily.

After checking in and getting into the holiday mood with a complimentary glass of chilled cava, we headed to our suite.
We’d stayed in the Hotel Barceló Santiago seven years ago and although completely blown away by its location, we’d been somewhat disappointed with our room. But clearly the hotel hadn’t stood still in those intervening years and refurbishments had transformed it beyond recognition.
As we walked through the door of room 819 it wasn’t disappointment we felt, it was elation.

The first thing we saw was the stylish en suite bathroom and walk in shower constructed in ice blue opaque glass. Beyond the bathroom was a comfortable lounge area and beyond the opaque glass screen lay the elegant, contemporary-styled bedroom which occupied a corner of the hotel’s eighth floor.
Drawing back the floor to ceiling curtains, we had panoramic views over the cliffs of Los Gigantes and the whale and dolphin watching boats which were cutting a white swathe through the shimmering turquoise of the ocean. From the other window, the views were equally impressive over La Gomera and the hotel’s fabulously stylish swimming pools and sun terraces.


After wandering over and back between views on our corner balcony, we unpacked and headed down to the buffet lunch.

I wasn’t really very hungry and so I headed for the salad bar and stacked my plate from the cold meats, salads and dressings. Unfortunately, on the way back to my table on the elegant outside terrace I caught sight of the carvery section where sirloin steaks and plump pork fillets and chops were sizzling on a griddle, then past the sweets tables (okay, admittedly my route back to the table may not have been the most direct…) where small pastries, ice creams and chocolate mousses were whispering “eat me” in seductive tones.


After my salad lunch which morphed into a three course sumptuous affair with red wine and several return trips to the buffet there was only one place to go. I chose a sunbed alongside the infinity pool with views over the Los Gigantes cliffs, applied the factor 15 and let the afternoon drift away in a pleasant doze lulled by soft Jazz melodies drifting from the pool bar, the distant chatter of a couple in the Jacuzzi and the rhythmic ebbing and flowing of the ocean.

As I lay there in the afternoon sun, the stresses and strains of the past three months began to evaporate into the ether and all I had left to worry about was how on earth I was going to be hungry enough for our 7.30 pm reservation at the Sabor Español restaurant. Now that’s what I call R and R.

P.S. If you like the look of the Hotel Barceló Santiago, you could win a  FREE week, half board for 2 persons simply by liking Tenerife Magazine on Facebook – no catch, no hidden ‘sell’, just hit the ‘like’ button and you could be lying by that pool gazing over the Los Gigantes cliffs. I’ve already hit the button several times. Well, you never know…

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As I sit here I can barely hear myself hitting the keys on my keyboard.

Beyond the window that fills one side of the room, the storm rages unabated. Leaves, branches, young avocado fruits, broken tiles and bits of plastic roofing are rushing past in an angry roar that’s filled with dust and dirt.

We got the warnings days ago, it began as a yellow alert for high winds and speculation across the island was rife. “They’re calling it San Andrés”, they said. Presumably as it was being forecast to peak on the 29th November, the Eve of San  Andrés, or Saint Andrew’s day and a day of celebration on the island.
Then on Saturday the alert changed to red.

Yesterday afternoon we removed all the plant pots from the top of the terrace wall and stashed them in corners, huddled together for protection. We dismantled the tarpaulin that acts as a tent for the dogs who usually sleep alongside the wood pile – they were being upgraded to sleeping inside. The patio table was dismantled and placed in the garden shed, the chairs stacked and wedged against the wall.

Then we waited.

The evening was ominously calm and we began to give ourselves false hope that maybe the warning was unnecessary, maybe the storm had switched direction. We’d forgotten that the phrase ‘the calm before the storm’ was rooted in reality.
At midnight we went to bed and still all was calm.

At 12.24am the wind came out of nowhere and ripped through the avocado tree like a nuclear blast.

The storm had arrived.

Gusts tore through the garden, hurling debris across the roof, deafening us with its ferocity and discharging a constant rifle fire of branches and leaves against the patio doors just feet from where we lay.
The gusts raged for 20 or 35 minutes at a time before falling silent into a lull when snatches of sleep were  grabbed, always tempered by the ominous knowledge that this thing wasn’t over.

At around 4 am the storm moved up a gear and with it, our fear factor grew.
Now branches and debris were hitting the roof constantly and the deafening roar joined forces with the rattling of the door to ensure that sleep remained a distant relative.

Around 5 the storm abated to just  strong winds. I could see the shadow of the avocado tree as it took on an almost rhythmic swaying against the prevailing wind. It lulled me finally into sleep.
At 6.45 am an almighty crash woke me with a thump of my heart against my ribs and we were out of bed in an instant. A large branch of the avocado tree had smashed onto the roof just yards above our heads and crashed to the terrace floor in a cascade of roof tiles.

By daybreak the storm had switched again to 5th gear.

We ventured out to check the damage in our garden and in the golf course on which we live.
The driving range had been torn to shreds, its flooring ripped from its fastenings and flapping in the wind.
Trees had fallen all across our neighbour’s garden and across the golf course. The roof of another neighbour’s patio had been ripped from its posts and large sheets of plastic roofing were flying across the golf course.

Swirling dust storms made it almost impossible to open my eyes and the wind roared harder. A bamboo fence was ripped from its anchor and flew past me, uncomfortably close.
We retreated to the house from where I am now typing this.

We’re in a lull right now but the red alert is in place until 3pm.

It’s going to be a long day.

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Invitations for the ball had been despatched and, although we didn’t actually receive one (office admin’ please note), our presence had been requested by Sean Coward, the Director of Living Tenerife magazine for which we’re regular contributors.
It was to be THE party of the year; a red carpet affair with 300 invited guests and double that once the doors of the Buda Bar were opened up to the public. There was going to be champagne, and wine and cocktails and fabulous dresses and music and dancing and oh! I couldn’t wait!

The reports of ‘severe weather’ heading our way first came to our notice about Wednesday. Heavy rain, they said, possibility of floods, and storms, from midnight Friday (well actually they said from 00.00 hours, which probably should have rung a warning bell in the first place as I don’t know in quite which timeless void the met office here work) until midnight Saturday. A deluge of rain, they said, 30 litres per square metre in an hour. I have absolutely no idea what 30 litres an hour looks like but I’m guessing it’s heavy. Avoid road journeys, they said, no camping or walking in areas prone to flooding.

I took in the washing, rang Sean to tell him we couldn’t risk the journey south and, feeling like a latter day Cinderella, sat at my keyboard and worked. And waited.
And waited.

Storm clouds over Mount TeideStorm clouds began to gather as the sun was going down and yet, the sky above Puerto de la Cruz remained obstinately clear, the bright blue of the afternoon giving way to bright stars in a cloudless heaven.
Still we waited.
8.30 pm. The guests would be arriving now, all looking their glamorous best, clutching their ‘welcome’ glass of champagne and looking forward to a night of unbridled fun. No storm.
9.30 pm. The party would be in full swing now, speeches being made, food being nibbled and wine flowing. No storm.
11 pm. They’ll be opening the doors of Buda Bar to the public now so that the regular Friday night groovers can join in the festivities and swell the ranks of people having a REALLY GOOD TIME. No storm.

Midnight came and went without sight nor sound of a carriage turning back into a pumpkin or a single drop of rain on the terrace. At 1.30 am, feeling like a 7 year old who’d just missed her best friend’s birthday party, I went to bed. No storm.

2.30 am. I’m awoken rudely by what seemed like 1000 watts of light across the retinas followed by the sound of the roof falling in. Leaping out of bed we unplugged every electric appliance we could find, given that our eyes were still closed at the time, and went back to bed. Another blinding flash followed by an end-of-the-world thunder clap. Then another. Splashes of rain the size of a child’s paddling pool fell onto the patio, just one, then two, then seven.
“Here we go”, we said. And waited.

I don’t remember what time I drifted back to sleep but I’m pretty certain there wasn’t another flash or another clap of thunder all night. In the morning the few random spots where the giant splashes had fallen looked like Freudian ink spots in the dust on the terrace.

In my book, there’s only one thing less reliable than a weather forecast, and that’s a bloody fairy godmother!

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