JC Stays: The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, Tenerife

Luxury, sunshine and family-friendly: does this five-star escape live up to its promise?


There is a lot of pressure on your first holiday as a young family, even more so as the first since the outbreak of the pandemic. Looking for somewhere relatively close, with sun, sea, swimming pools, top dining and (for my husband) some golf, the Ritz-Carlton, Abama, Tenerife did not disappoint.

Set in the south-west of the island, the sprawling 400-acre estate has 459 rooms and suites — 315 in the main Moorish-style citadel building, plus 144 villas. The Villa Club accommodation, new in 2020, is designed for those looking for more privacy and space, including some reserved for families and overlooking the kids’ clubs.

And for those travelling child-free, you can choose villas near the adult-only infinity pool, one of seven pools at the resort.

Thankfully the Ritz Carlton app helps avoid overwhelm, with a resort map, menus, nearby activities and a comprehensive list of its own offerings including the spa, kids club and facilities, not to mention any recommendations for Covid-safe practices.

Having checked out the facts before check-in, I had chance to appreciate the décor on arrival: from tasselled umbrellas to geometric cushions and oversized hanging lanterns, this modern five-star space is fresh, fun and design-led.

As with the communal areas of the hotel, a lot of thought had gone into our room’s décor too. With Moroccan-style hanging lamps and calming neutral furnishings, our room felt stylish, modern and in keeping with hotel’s Moorish aesthetic.

Beyond that, it was practical as well. There were plenty of sockets, a round dining table for those who chose room service and plenty of wardrobe space, complete with concealed mini-bar, safe and kettle.

The bathroom had both a large bath and separate shower, plus two sinks, and along with a wooden-framed bed (one of the most comfortable we have slept on), there was an L-shaped sofa for relaxing by the large balcony, my own favourite feature with its view of the sea and golf course.

Among the range of restaurants — some around the citadel, others a short shuttle drive away — there’s Michelin-star Japanese fusion at Kabuki, featuring locally sourced fish, while El Mirador restaurant on the cliff’s edge also has a ‘kosher’ menu for options free of shellfish. The shared salt-baked seabass was as memorable as the sunset view.

Or you can find Italian food at Verona and the Spanish Txoco diner by the pool. In all cases, book as far in advance as possible; it’s worth knowing that under-4s eat free at certain places, something we only discovered part-way through our stay.

The private beach, its soft sand surrounded by volcanic rock and banana trees, is another highlight. The hotel operates a regular — and fun — train service down from the resort, a hit with my train-obsessed child, plus a minibus shuttle. Dishes served by the beach deckchairs included salads and snacks, with complimentary beds to lounge and lifeguards in attendance.

To alternate with the beach, the large lagoon pool was equally popular with kids: with shallow areas, artful bridges and artificial rocks, as well as staff to blow up inflatables, it’s a relaxing family-friendly space.

With separate adults-only pools as well, those looking for a peaceful spot to swim and relax have plenty of choice elsewhere.

Venturing further, there’s plenty to discover around the island, from whale-watching to watersports. The nearby Abama Golf & Tennis Academy also works closely with the hotel, as an added bonus for keen golfers with its immaculate 18-hole championship course.

The only downside? While the facilities are five-star, so are the prices — and beyond the WiFi and beach loungers, few things are complimentary. But this isn’t somewhere you visit for a bargain break and after our dose of sun, sea and spectacular food, I’d happily return for another dose.


Rooms at the Ritz-Carlton, Abama start from £322 per night.

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