We decided to go to Canary Islands, which are a part of Spain. The city we went to was called Tenerife. We stayed at a hotel called Hollywood Mirage in Tenerife for a week in May 2010. They did not have a shuttle to and from Tenerife airport – it cost us 15-20 Euros to get to the hotel. The staff is friendly and the room that we got was very nice. The kitchen was nice – we had to buy everything though – no salt and pepper shakers either. The appliances are brand new , no dishwasher though.
The maid service was fantastic. They came in everyday to sweep the place, clean the bathrooms. The hotel also has a DVD library – you can borrow a DVD for 3 Euros for 24 hours.
We actually loved the grocery store on the campus – it has everything that you need – all the basic stuff. SPAR (bigger grocery store) is 10 minutes away (walking), but the walk uphill after your shopping experience can be tiring, especially if you have your hands full. Not always easy to get a cab from the grocery store – but you can call a cab if you need.
We traveled with a 10 month old baby – they provided us with a baby cot, a high chair, bottle warmer, diaper disposal bags etc – which was fantastic. However, when it came to traveling – we were recommended boat rides and bus rides by the front desk which were real bad ideas.
Volcano Teide is at quite a high elevation (probably the highest mountain in Spain) and our baby just could not handle it; and waves were so choppy (we were specifically told at the front desk that they were not choppy on that day) that whale and dolphin watching on the boat was a disaster for us. We do not suggest those kind of trips for babies, and the front desk also should not. Couples traveling alone should have no problems whatsoever!
Hollywood Mirage is a nice hotel. They have two lovely pools, and one restaurant in the complex. The restaurant is really great. For 15 Euros a week, you can use the gym, sauna, play squash, get pool towels etc – not a bad deal. The spa offers some great services: Reiki, Thai massage. One Euro per minute kind of charges.
The laundry facilities are expensive. For one round of washing and drying, we paid 8 Euros. We are generally light travelers so we found this price a little on the higher side.
Wines on the other hand are cheap! Try not to get too drunk!
The shuttle to the beach is great. The frequency is wonderful, and the 10- minute ride to the beach is nice. No traffic issues ever 🙂 Alcohol available at the beach is cheap-cheap-cheap! Food is decent too.
The Tenerife landscape is stunning. The soil in many places, including the sand on a few beaches is black. The color comes from volcanic rock – something that many of us may have never seen before. You may have if you have been to Hawaii – but I have never been.
Beware of restaurants that say ‘ the best mexican/chinese/indian (etc)’ restaurant in Tenerife 🙂 We fell for that one and feel quite stupid about it now. The Mexican restaurant we went to was HORRIBLE!
Also, culturally the place is quite different from the USA (which is where we live). We talked about renting a car and we did rent a smaller car. Then we felt it was too small and we want a bigger one, and an automatic and not manual. They would not change it. They would not cancel it. Not much customer service here. Language can be a slight problem if you don’t know Spanish – We talked about going for a boat trip, we handed the credit card to the front desk member and asked for more information before the booking. Before we knew it, booking was already done. Huh! ?? So, there could be some problems like that — but if you are careful, (we were not) you can avoid these issues.
Overall a great stay! Tenerife is a great place to practice your Spanish and get a fantastic tan. Lots of topless people just lying on the beach and enjoying the sun! Have fun 🙂