Tuesday 21 January 2020

Rock chick days and nights: What it's like to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tenerife

From dedicated butlers to spectacular views and swim-up bars, Madeleine Keane is wowed by a Costa Adeje rock star

Sunrise over the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tenerife
Sunrise over the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tenerife
Las Teresitas beach on the island of Tenerife

Madeleine Keane

When I tell you the Hard Rock Hotel in Tenerife has its own Wow manager who heads up an actual Wow department, I think you'll get the idea. And staying with the lingo, I have to say, a long weekend there in late September really was Wowtastic! It is, indeed, a place of exclamation marks.

As I now am in my mid-fifties, I had reluctantly accepted that my rock chick days were behind me. But no. Happily. For one blissful weekend in September, I enjoyed a truly rock 'n roll weekend.

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I was a guest at the Hard Rock, which opened in 2016. Located in Playa Paraiso on the Costa Adeje, near the playground of Playas de las America, and a handy 25 mins from the airport, this vast complex is perched right beside the ocean. Two giant towers - Oasis and Nirvana - appear to soar from the waves, the distinctive Hard Rock logos on their rooftops belting out a promise of fun.

We were staying in Nirvana, where the Rock Royalty suites are located. Think of a boutique hotel within a hotel. These suites spread over four floors are the very definition of cool. Decorated in a striking monochrome palette with dashes of silver, there's a pillow and pool towel menu, a massive jacuzzi, your own monogrammed robe and a personal assistant service offered.

You are checked in by your dedicated butler, who hands you a glass of Champagne to soothe the process. Above us, on the 16th floor, the Rock Royalty Lounge offered complimentary morning coffee, afternoon tea and tapas on tap, but the most priceless element was the sensational view of a deep orange sun, setting on to the dazzling peach and azure horizon, beyond the neighbouring island of La Gomera.

Hard Rock was famously started by a couple of American lads who, looking in vain for a decent hamburger when they were living in London, set up their own place on Park Lane. It soon became very popular and when Eric Clapton donated a guitar to lay claim to his favourite table, the collection began. Now the company is global, with more hotels due to open in Amsterdam, Malta, Prague, Madrid, Barcelona and most exciting of all, in Dublin. In Temple Bar obviously.

Planet Hard Rock boasts a collection of over 90,000 pieces of music memorabilia. At every corner of the hotel, we came across items of pop legend - a drum kit owned by Guns N' Roses, one of David Bowie's handwritten contracts from 1972, wonderful black-and-white photographs of the Beatles on the island, looking absurdly young.

They'd even made a special cocktail to celebrate 60 years of the Beatles (apple gin, apricot liqueur and cider), which we enjoyed while a couple of ageing rockers belted out Yesterday and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

The pool at Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife. PA Photo/Hard Rock Hotels.
The pool at Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife. PA Photo/Hard Rock Hotels.

The vibe here - and it nearly goes without saying, there's an actual Vibe department - is hedonism and relaxation. I'm all for that. And sitting in a bubble-filled jacuzzi, enjoying that day's present of chocolates, while watching the latest Brexit lunacy unfold, felt very decadent and fabulous.

A gorgeous morning was spent on a catamaran, dolphin and whale watching. The waters around Tenerife are home to 21 of the world's 79 species of cetaceans, with a permanent colony of pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins.

We set sail from the port of Colon, parking a respectable distance away to watch the frolicking animals, before dropping anchor in a sheltered bay. Refreshed after 20 minutes' splashing about in the water, we wolfed down a lunch of sandwiches and cava before returning to our idyllic beachfront billet for an afternoon's sunbathing.

There are three pools in the resort, one of which is designated for adults only, where you can you swim up to the bar and, in my case, order a Tentation (gin, basil, dill and lemon juice) sit in your bikini on a mosaic-tiled stool, legs dangling in cool waters, talking life and the universe. I adored the retro cliché of it.

Children are well catered for, with clubs aimed at different ages so parents can visit the spa or state-of-the-art gym. Equally you can go horizontal at the cool beach club, down beside the sea, where I had a couple of glorious swims, the water stunning even in late September. This doubles as a concert area, and there's a chic eaterie where we enjoyed a sumptuous lunch of fried sea urchins served on a bed of wakame seaweed and lemon linguine with black tiger prawns.

The complex also has a steakhouse, a Japanese restaurant and Capolavoro, a lovely Italian bistro where we dined, on an outdoor terrace, on antipasti of Italian beef carpaccio and manchego cheese, pumpkin risotto and tiramisu cleverly served in old-fashioned coffee pots.

We were also were treated to In Heaven: a rooftop gastro-show serving up a wacky mix of music and dance - comprising acrobatics, ballet, pole-dancing and flamenco - all accompanied by a series of dishes inspired by Picasso and Frida Kahlo.

Everything about the place was fun and charming, from all the staff whose badges announced both their name and their favourite musician or band, to our host, Bruno, who greeted us every day with a "Good morning, rockers!" and took us shopping in the hotel's trendy boutique. The day we were leaving, he was giving a party for hundreds of bikers for a charity do; up they roared, leather-clad to a bearded man, on their Harley-Davidsons.

Las Teresitas beach on the island of Tenerife
Las Teresitas beach on the island of Tenerife

If you're looking for more than clubbing and sunning, Rock Royalty guests can also avail of a jeep to explore the volcanic island which abounds in national parks, lush tropical forests and picturesque villages.

Certainly you can't beat this Canary Island for a short break. I met several English couples and groups who had flown out on Thursday and were heading back on Monday, their Wow regenerated from a few days' kicking back in Nirvana.

As was mine. Rocktastic it was!

Getting there

Jet2Holidays (jet2holidays.com) offers a seven-night stay at Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife starting from £667/€783 per person based on two adults and two children staying in a Studio Silver Suite on a bed and breakfast basis. The price is based on return flights from Belfast, departing April 16, and includes coach transfers.

For more info, see hardrockhoteltenerife.com.

NB: This feature originally appeared in The Sunday Independent.

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