Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Travel: Putting on the Ritz on the enchanted isle of Tenerife

© Press Association ImagesLos Gigantes, Tenerife.
Los Gigantes, Tenerife.

Swooping beneath the low layer of cloud caressing the tips of a dormant volcano, I can already tell that I’m in for something special.

The dramatic contrast of Tenerife’s landscape is breathtaking. The crystal clarity of the ocean set against craggy mountains and thick vegetation make it look almost prehistoric.

I’m on the inaugural British Airways flight from Gatwick to the popular Canary Island, and I’m keen to find out what’s on offer for a luxury weekend away.

My base is the Ritz-Carlton, Abama hotel on the west side of the island, a 459-room property with nine dining venues, seven swimming pools and an 18-hole championship golf course. Like something out of a fairytale, this sprawling coral palace can be distinguished from miles around, and is no less impressive up close.

Entering into the lobby, with its marble-topped bar, velvet sofas and views out to the beach at the fringes of the resort, I’m welcomed with a tart passion fruit cocktail, the first of many taste explosions to come.

© Press Association Images
Scarlett Sangster at the Ritz Carlton.

My room is in the “adults only village”, which comes with its own separate pool (shared between the villas) and a pool-side bar from which I can order wine, cava, beer and soft drinks throughout the day, as part of my Villa Club package.

Of the hotel’s five evening restaurants, two have Michelin stars (Mediterranean restaurant MB has two). Tonight, I’m dining at Mirador, where I’m excited to meet the hotel manager, Gregory De Clerke.

As I tuck into my seasonal starter, a delightfully fresh take on Salmorejo (a traditional Andalusian soup) with local avocados replacing the tomato, I ask Gregory the history of this coral palace. As it turns out, I can be forgiven for my quick judgement of Tenerife as a budget destination. Gregory tells me the island’s true coming of age is a fairly recent development. Until the late 1990s, the whole west side of the island was dedicated not to tourism, but to agriculture. The Ritz-Carlton, Gregory tells me, was once a banana plantation.

But development doesn’t mean the island has lost its natural resources. On the contrary, at dinner I’m served Tenerife tomatoes as part of my delicately presented burrata salad, and local potatoes pureed to accompany a dreamy variety of white fish known as cherne.

After a long sleep, I wake the next morning ready for a pamper. The Ritz-Carlton spa offers a tempting variety of treatments and wellness experiences, with access to the sauna and water bath for just £20 per day. But I am here for yoga in the spa garden.

Lasting over an hour, the session simultaneously provides both intense relaxation and a great workout. Afterwards, I escape for a quick head and shoulder massage and a dip in the thermal pool.

My short time in Tenerife so far has been utterly indulgent. Now, though, it’s time to escape the safe haven of the hotel and discover what secrets are being harboured by the rest of the island. I head to Los Gigantes, literally translated as “The Giants”, where the terrain changes dramatically from sand, sea and bananas, to basalt and cacti. We take a hiking trail high up on the mountainside to discover villages nestled among the prickly pear, agave and almond trees. It’s from this height that I can really begin to appreciate the true beauty of the landscape.

With an appetite worked up, it’s time to head back to the hotel for my second Ritz-Carlton dining experience. Kabuki, Ricardo Sanz’s Michelin-starred restaurant, is famed for its fusion of Japanese and Spanish cuisine. Each dish is presented in the most exquisite and, in some cases, theatrical fashion, from the sushi and sashimi on hand-decorated dishes, to the banana-cake finale. There is not a moment of the three-hour dining experience I do not feel completely absorbed in the magic.

So, is Tenerife a luxury destination? I would have to say yes. Until the very last sip of Sangria in the tropical sunshine, I feel utterly enamoured by this charismatic Spanish island.


Tenerife is Europe’s first named whale heritage site. Private whale watching tours start from £30pp. On my trip, the whales and dolphins are so close I can almost reach out and touch them as they duck and dive beneath the net of the catamaran and leap from the waters on all sides.


British Airways Holidays offers seven nights B&B at the Ritz-Carlton Abama from £799pp, including return flights from London Gatwick. Price based on travel in September. Visit