There is a village on the Spanish island of Tenerife, just over 30 minutes away from the south airport, that transports you to another world, offering a respite from all the doom and gloom of 2020.
This village is almost cordoned off from the rest of the island – you won’t want to leave once you pass through the front gates – and its distinctive terracotta buildings glisten in the distance, luring you in to see how the other half live.
Full disclosure: this is not a village; this is one of Spain’s most luxurious five-star hotels, the Ritz-Carlton Abama.
If you haven’t heard of Tenerife or the Canary Islands, the seven-island archipelago is one of Europe’s best-kept winter secrets.
And when you realise that sunny weather north of 20 degrees in the middle of December is part of the program, the Ritz-Carlton Abama is the perfect winter escape for those rugged up in scarves and beanies, coats and knitwear in London – or anywhere across Europe, for that matter.
With more than 450 rooms and villas spread across an enormous property that extends all the way down to the Atlantic Ocean, seven pools, a championship golf course, a tennis academy and a gym that could almost accommodate the Kansas City Chiefs, the Tenerife destination has become a highly coveted holiday destination.
We have rarely, if ever, had fewer options than we have in 2020. With travel corridors being trimmed on a weekly basis and the Canary Islands requiring a negative COVID-19 test upon entry, visiting Tenerife isn’t as seamless as it was this time last year, but you won’t regret escaping from some of the doom and gloom right now.
The Ritz-Carlton Abama may look like it was designed with Instagram influencers in mind – it won’t be long before you whip out your iPhone – but you won’t encounter them here or a boyfriend of Instagram behind the camera, framing the perfect shot.
The hotel is so big they have a train to drop you off around the resort. Not an actual train, but a miniature one that departs from reception and crawls all the way down the hill, past pools and restaurants hidden by tropical foliage and lush gardens, before creeping down another cliff to a private beach, where all good afternoons should be finished with a cocktail in hand.
If you’re looking for a post-swim burger or smashed avocado for brunch you will be disappointed. But that doesn’t mean the Ritz-Carlton Abama is lacking in the culinary department. Far from it in fact.
The hotel boasts two Michelin starred restaurants on the property. M. B by Martin Berasategui has two stars and offers a bold, Basque-inspired menu that draws people from all over Europe. Then there is Japanese fusion Kabuki which has one-star and is always a tough seat to secure. Book in advance.
There is plenty beyond this village. But you don’t need to venture out beyond these four walls, trust us.