Getting a reputation for something you didn't do is unfair - I hope many of us would agree. In the same essence, reputations are often quick to catch and even harder to shake.
This October I took a four hour flight south of Blighty to a small volcanic island covered head to tail in banana plantations. For three days I ate fresh local fish for breakfast, lunch and supper. I swam in the warm Atlantic Ocean from a golden sandy beach after warming up in temperatures hitting the high twenties. I saw pilot whales so close that if my arms had been a foot longer I could have touched them and later dolphins played in the wake of our boat. Each to their own, but I was in paradise.
Paradise and Tenerife are not two words you often hear hand in hand. Rather, when I attempted to brag about my trip with friends prior to my departure their reaction was less enthusiastic than I would have hoped, one even going so far as to refer to the island as "Tener - grief". Reputations are a cruel thing…
Where to Stay in Style
Standing pretty on a hill, painted pink head to toe is the Ritz Carlton Abama. With over 400 rooms, a golf course, seven pools, a tennis academy and three Michelin stars between their seven restaurants the hotel is by nature a resort, built for everyone. Yet it works like a hotel of parts, take the adult-only row of Tagor Villas where each room is allowed a golf buggy to ease their journey from breakfast with a view to the beach or, bored of salt water, their own pool where charming (and fiendishly good looking may I add) lifeguards keep you fed and watered as a reward for just being there.
Children to amuse in tow? Ritz Kids runs a comprehensive kids club from dawn till dusk. For sporty sprogs, whizz them up to the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy for the morning. The hotel has been built so that even when at full occupancy there is plenty of space to explore but, more importantly, space to relax - you are on holiday after all. It's sophisticated and characterful in the same moment. With their white sand beach made with sand imported from the Sahara you can eradicate your thoughts of the black sand beaches left on the island from previous volcanic explosions from the now dormant Mount Tiede. Just promise me you'll try the ceviche at El Mirador.
Looking for a more low-key destination to overcome your man-made and unjust presumptions of the Canary Island? Drive to the west coast, leave the rolling volcanic plains and wriggle into the hills - lush and full of unrivalled sea views and colourful villages before descending to the San Roque Boutique Hotel. Set on a cobbled street the twenty rooms rise up from the central, open courtyard in the centre of town, a short walk from the naturally made small pools perfect for a swim pre-breakfast or post-exploring. Locals fish from the side or take the ladders down to swim a few lengths, it's particularly charming at sunset. This quant hideaway is a perfect base for exploring the lesser-known and less-populated Isla Baja (Lower Island).
And so, in three short days I busted some old wives tales and completely re-jigged my perception of this small volcanic island in the Atlantic. For year-round warm weather and water, fresh fish and plenty to do, Tenerife genuinely ticks a bounty of boxes - for couples and families alike.