TRAVEL REVIEW: Tenerife - the perfect place for an idyllic winter escape
As the nights darken and the air grows crisp, a yearning for the heat of the sun becomes something of a British past time.
In Tenerife the temperature barely dips below 20 degrees, even in January, which is the main reason millions of people flock to the island’s shores, with many choosing it as their idyllic winter escape.
In just over four hours, you can find yourself sprawled out on a sunlounger sipping a barraquito - Tenerife’s famous boozy coffee.
It had been more than a decade since my last visit, and I was surprised at how much the island had changed, with the once sleepy resort of Los Christianos now drawing some similarities to its more lively neighbour, Playa de Las Americas, the main tourist centre.
But tucked away below the volcanic cliffs, on the edge of the four-star Sensimar Arona Gran Hotel and Spa, was the perfect retreat from the revelry.
When you step inside the Arona Gran, it is reminiscent of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Greenery cascades from balconies in a palatial lobby. It is unexpected and quite something to behold.
Welcome drinks are always appreciated after a flight, and a complimentary glass of cava served by friendly reception staff was a nice touch.
We stayed in an executive suite, which overlooked the hotel’s two large pools, as well as the beach and seafront promenade. As the sunshine glittered and danced off the waves of the sapphire blue sea, I knew I would while away many hours on the balcony with a fresh coffee from the Nespresso machine in the room - another nice touch. The room also had two big bathrooms - after all who wants to share?
When we finally got hold of a frozen pina colada on the huge pool terrace, my partner told me to listen. When I remarked that I couldn’t hear anything, he said “exactly”. The Arona Gran is adult-only, and as frazzled parents of children staying at granny’s, let's just say we were quite happy about that particular element.
The peace and quiet was bliss, making it the perfect romantic break for couples or just those who want an escape from the chaos that is everyday life.
But the romantic highlight for us was the most spectacular stargazing experience crowned by the volcanic peak of the majestic Mount Teide.
Picture this: You are on top of the world, looking down on pink bilious clouds as the sunset casts an ethereal glow. As you witness nature’s true beauty, you are wrapped in a blanket with a glass of prosecco in hand. You are then wined and dined, before being whisked off to gaze at the stars. It really was magical.
Most days were happy to just chill out by the pool and enjoy everything the hotel had to offer, including an incredible breakfast and dinner buffet featuring every type of food you could imagine, as well as a decadent a la carte option. And with a variety of fitness classes on offer each day, you could work off the extra calories if you were so inclined.
However, we did manage to venture out again for a Premier Catamaran excursion. Although the weather was disappointingly cloudy on this particular day, we still enjoyed sipping cava while watching dolphins and whales gliding alongside the luxurious boat. Those brave enough could also have a swim in the sea.
Then it was back to the hotel for another round of cocktails.
For a relaxing experience away from it all, the Arona Gran truly is the perfect escape.
And with year-round sunshine, this cultured and diverse island really is a magical destination worthy of a visit.
TUI offers seven night holidays to Tenerife staying at the 5T Sensimar Arona Gran and Spa on a half board basis from Â£624 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from Leeds Bradford airport on December 15, 2017 and transfers. To find out more about this holiday or to book visit your local TUI travel shop, tui.co.uk or call 0871 230 2555.
The Teide By Night excursion costs â‚¬85 per person and includes transfers, dinner and drinks. For more information visit www.teidebynight.com
The Freebird Catamaran excursion leaves daily from Puerto Colón, in Costa Adeje, and costs â‚¬40 per person. The price includes transfers, lunch and drinks.