Tenerife – Travel Review
by Richard Jones
The golden buttery sun was slowly melting into the Atlantic as I cooled my feet in the plunge pool and sipped the last few drops of my Champagne sangria.
The tranquility of the private terrace at Hotel Sir Anthony was a world away from the pandemonium of the past few evenings in Playa de las Americas.
It was also very different to my previous trip to Tenerife 20 years ago when I spent the majority of the days nursing hangovers after necking cheap shots and fishbowls in Busby’s and Bobby’s on the infamous Veronicas strip.
Two decades, a couple of kids and an ever-increasing amount of grey hairs later, I was eager to discover whether Las Americas was as I remembered – the Atlantic version of Med resorts Benidorm, Magaluf and Ayia Napa.
Was it still a concrete desert, crawling with tourists on a diet of all-day English breakfasts and duty free alcohol? Or is there more to Tenerife’s tourist epicentre?
I arrived for a long weekend in the Canaries on a Saturday afternoon, and like the thousands of other sun-starved British holidaymakers in this part of the world, I was looking forward to swapping the gloom and cold for a few days of warmth.
Indeed, the weather is the No.1 reason people flock to Tenerife. You are almost guaranteed sunshine all year round, and as it’s just a four-hour flight away (even less if your easyJet pilot hitches a ride on the tail wind), the island has long been one of our top winter sun destinations.
Las Americas is its holiday hotspot, and attracts everyone from rowdy singles and groups, to chilled-out families and couples. It is sandwiched between Los Cristianos, which suits the more mature visitor, to the south, and upmarket Costa Adeje, with its yachts, five-star hotels and manicured beaches, to the north.
Visitors to Las Americas are becoming increasingly discerning in their tastes and for evidence you need look no further than the five-star Hotel Sir Anthony. The pearl of the sprawling Mare Nostrum Resort is surrounded by lush gardens and framed by swaying palm trees looking out over Playa del Camison.
I stayed in one of Sir Anthony’s newly renovated Superior Rooms, and with 24-hour room service, air-con, mini-bar, safe, pillow selection, Wi-Fi, bath with hydro massage and Molton Brown toiletries, it has everything you’d expect of an upmarket hotel.
However, what really sets these suites apart is the aforementioned rooftop terraces or ‘solariums’, all of which come with a spectacular ocean view and private pool.
The Sir Anthony also houses the impressive Oasis Wellness area. Here, I was treated to a soothing 50-minute Mediterranean Waves massage, which targeted muscle tension and relaxed my back, legs and arms – a Godsend after a couple of heavy nights on the tiles.
The hotel’s Windsor Restaurant is also something special, and its made-to-order breakfasts served in the warm morning air on the patio alongside singing parrots are unrivalled on the island.
Monday was tapas night and around a dozen dishes from all over Spain were brought out, including Andalusian salmorejo, Iberian croquettes and Ajoarriero cod, all washed down with a couple of bottles of Tenerife’s acclaimed wines.
You could happily spend your full holiday cocooned in the Sir Anthony, but as a group of friends were also in Las Americas for a combined stag do and 50th-birthday celebration, I got out and about.
“Myriad of walking routes”
Away from Las Americas, Tenerife is an island of extraordinary diversity. While the majority of theme parks, including Thai-themed aquatic playground Siam Park and Loro Parque zoo are in the south, there are tropical gardens, architecture and historic towns in the north, along with a myriad of walking routes.
Other draws include championship golf courses, diving and, of course, Spain’s tallest mountain, the snow-draped Pico del Teide, complete with cable car.
However, what first attracted me to Las Americas in the late nineties – the varied beach life and night life – is still the main pull for most. As Tenerife is duty-free, the prices are bargain basement, and along the front, that all-day English costs an astonishing €1.50 and you can wash it down with a hair-of-the-dog pint of Dorada beer for €1.
“Something for everyone”
The group of friends I met up with ranged from 18 to 73 years old, and there was something for everyone. The younger portion (of which I just about still belong – arguably!) made a beeline for Veronicas, including the longstanding Linekers, Yates’, O’Neills and Jumping Jack’s.
In this area, the swarms of motormouthed touts can be particularly annoying and persistent, while walking back to your hotel on your own in the early hours should definitely be avoided.
The more seasoned group (which I am rapidly becoming a member) preferred it in the area around Hard Rock Cafe on Avenue Las Americas.
On our final night, we had a few cocktails and snacks on a large table looking out over the setting sun at Sir Anthony’s La Palapa Beach Club. From there, we headed past the upmarket boutiques to Harry’s Bar, where we had a couple more drinks looking out over the fountains, before heading for an Indian at Bombay Blue.
Just around the corner, is the Highland Paddy pub, and when we arrived a white cat-suited Elvis impersonator, the brilliantly named Leslie Presley, had just taken to the stage. He serenaded a gaggle of adoring pensioners for an hour, before heading off into the cool Tenerife night, with a pint of John Smith’s in one hand and an Aldi Bag for Life in the other.
Many things have changed since my last visit to Tenerife, but certain aspects are still the same.
As I enter my 40th year, I’m probably getting a bit too long in the tooth for the chaos of Veronicas. However, for a cheap, fun-filled and relaxing short-haul winter break in warm sunshine, I challenge you to find anywhere better than Las Americas.
To steal a song title from Leslie Presley’s setlist, I’ve always had a ‘Burning Love’ for the island where I spent my first adult holiday and it won’t be another 20 years before my next visit.
Richard Jones flew to Tenerife with easyJet who fly from Bristol, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Luton, Southend, Manchester and Newcastle to Tenerife, up to seven days per week, with prices starting from £33.77 per person (one-way, including taxes). All flights can be booked at easyjet.com.
He stayed at Hotel Sir Anthony who offer Superior Rooms from £310 per night, based on two sharing, including breakfast. Please see siranthonyhotel.com.
Info from the Tenerife Tourism Board from webtenerife.co.uk.