Hotel Review: Stargazing, a signature scent and Michelin stars at the Ritz-Carlton Abama in Tenerife

The Ritz-Carlton Abama in Tenerife

Kirsty Blake Knox

There is a definite feel of HBO hit series The White Lotus at the Ritz Carlton’s Abama hotel in Tenerife.

Designed by architect Melvin Villarroel, the 200-acre resort looks like a Moorish marshmallow palace.

It’s painted a dusty pink, with a central citadel and various villas and restaurants dotted about like Duplo blocks amid the lush banana plants.

Everything is spotless, the pools are like mirrors and the lobby has a signature fragrance (called “Adorable”) – something only super posh hotels have.

El Mirador swimming pool at Ritz Carlton Abama

You’re almost waiting for Jennifer Coolidge to wander out poolside in a headscarf with a glass of rosé.

The hotel opened in 2005, and was taken over by the Ritz-Carlton group in 2007.

There’s a sense of opulence here; snaking around the resort are nine restaurants, a large luxury spa and a large golf course, which was officially opened by Bill Clinton.

To combat the size of the resort, there are golf buggies and trams to-ing and fro-ing between hotel reception, different villas and the breakfast buffet which has spectacular panoramic views across the ocean. While the hotel can sleep close to 1,000 people at once, the different enclaves mean there is a sense of space throughout.

The rating: 8/10

Arrival and location

The Abama is set in the southern part of the island, a 20-minute drive from the nearest airport.

It is 10 minutes from the nearby fishing village of Playa San Juan and away from more touristy places.

Staying at the Ritz-Carlton Abama

The main reception area is located at the farthest vantage point from the sea – in the citadel of the hotel. The lobby opens up to a terraced area overlooking a carp pool. Rows of graduated villas with their own semi-private pools stagger down to the cliff edge.

Striking out from the hotel could be a little tricky as there is a shortage of taxis on the island, but there are bikes you can rent while here. 8/10

Style and service

The service is incredibly attentive; there are close to 1,000 members of staff working at the resort so the staff-to-guest ratio is exceptionally high. All of the staff were beaming, and everyone who served us came with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the food produced locally.

The view from the Abama Hotel

The hotel has been built to cater for a range of different travellers; families, honeymooners and retirees. There is an adult-only infinity pool serving sundowners, for example – but also the largest Ritz Kids club, which offers a range of activities during the day and has a huge wooden playground.

The spa is split-level with a relaxation area overlooking the golf course and the treatment area downstairs. There is a giant Jacuzzi with a variety of jets and streams to pummel you, a herbal steam bath, Turkish hammam, and a sauna. You’ll also find an enclave of different showers (rainforest downpour and arctic mist). If those don’t take your fancy there is a giant wooden pail full of cold water to douse yourself in if you get too hot.

There is also a beach accessible by steep steps, a funicular or a tram service.

If you are staying at the hotel, loungers and towels here are free. The sand has been imported from Mauritania in North West Africa. But be warned, I found an extremely strong current, so you might want to think about wading out further than knee-deep. 9/10

The rooms

I stayed in one of the villas which stand apart from the hotels in neat rows. The rooms here are split into two levels; the lower levels come with a patio, while the upper ones have secluded and high-walled balconies.

There are 144 villas in total, and if you are staying in them the hotel says you are signing up for “an elevated holiday experience”. In layman's terms, this means each row of villas gets its own semi-private river pool (a swimming pool that twists along a stretch under pagoda bridges) and guests are members of the Villa Club. There is bar service and guests can avail of complimentary beer, cava and soft drinks.

A deluxe villa at the hotel

The temperature of the pool is perfect – not Baltic but not warm. The rooms and bathroom are large with beds so big you get lost in them. The mattresses are supremely comfortable and are even available to buy if you want to bring them home.

I did feel, however, that the rooms lack some personality. There are acres of space and it’s all very tasteful, but there are no unusual design flourishes or features.

That’s not to say all the rooms are like this – we were taken one evening to the Imperial suite which was opulently decorated, had its own rooftop pool, and incredible vistas over the ocean, for example. 7/10

Cochino Negro Canario

Food and drink

There is a huge range of dining options at the hotel – from poolside eats to Michelin-starred event dinners. Basque restaurant M.B. holds two Michelin stars while Japanese restaurant Kabuki, founded by Chef Ricardo Sanz and perched in the middle of the golf course, has one.

Kabuki is a fusion of Spanish and Japanese cuisines. Sanz started working in a Japanese restaurant after the chef had seen how deftly he carved Jamón Ibérico. The setting is dramatic, with spot-lighting and a team of ninja-like waiters standing behind you until they get the nod to serve everything in unison. We were given the eight-course tasting menu, and served seasonal sashimi and sushi that arrived in ornate bento boxes.

The ambience in celebrity chef Martin Berasategui’s M.B. was slightly more relaxed and jovial. The dining room was brighter and it was the most theatrical dinner I have ever eaten, with lots of dry ice, shaved truffles and foods that look like one thing but turn out to be something entirely different when you bite into them.

My favourite place to eat in the resort was the recently opened vegan restaurant, Verde Mar. All the food produced is sourced as close as possible to the hotel and I found the dishes colourful, fresh and packed with flavour. 9/10

Insider tip

At night the hotel offers stargazing sessions on the beach. There is low light pollution in Tenerife and different parts of the island are classified as official dark skies. On my visit, an astronomer pointed out the rings of Saturn and set up a telescope so we could look at Jupiter. The hotel provides flasks of champagne, fleece blankets and petit fours and madeleines to chomp on while you look upwards. It’s a remarkable experience.

There is a huge emphasis on local produce, and it is possible to organise excursions to local farms and cheese producers. We visited the third-generation goat farm, Montesdeoca, which has picked up multiple accolades in World Cheese Awards. They sell smoked soft cheese and garlic goat butter which is divine. They plan on opening a “sexy cheese saxophone bar” which sounds like a lot of fun.

The bottom line

This is a luxurious resort if you fancy treating yourself. It is a deeply relaxing five-star in which you could lose yourself – but breaking outside the boundaries and exploring some of the local food producers is well-advised, too.


Low season lead-in rates for a deluxe double room start from €320 (including breakfast). High season lead-in rates for the same room type start from €375, B&B.

Kirsty was a guest with the hotel.