Friday, October 3, 2014

The low-down: Tenerife

Ah, travel posts. They really are my favourite kind of posts to put together - if only I could spend my life trotting the globe, exploring new and amazing places, eating delicious food along the way. As you might know, me and Rob spent the first couple of weeks in September in Tenerife, so I thought I'd put together a little post of our time there as a guide that could help some of you travelling there in the future!

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We stayed in the Regency Country Club during our first week, which is one of the most beautiful apartments I've had the pleasure of staying in abroad. The whole place is designed to look like Bali - think lots of stone statues and wooden huts, topped off with the most amazing green water pool (complete with pool bar and underwater stools). The staff were all so helpful and their service was amazing from the word go; we were given a  glass of champagne on arrival only to find another bottle waiting chilled in the fridge when we got into our apartment. The beds are all done up with big princess nets around them (hmm, hope it's not only me and Ikea who call them that) as you can see in the photo above and, because the hotel's quite high up on a hill, you can see right down to the seafront from the balcony. The only downside to staying there is that it's quite a bit out of the centre, so if you want to venture into Los Cristianos or Adeje etc (which you do need to do because the on-site supermarket is... not so good) then you have to get a taxi or a bus, but the hotel runs a free service between 10 and 7 so you can plan your Great Escape then.
Hotel Hollywood Mirage Tenerife IMG_1432 IMG_1376

For our second week we moved down to the Hollywood mirage hotel, which was a nice change being much more central than the first. You're about a half an hour walk from the heart of Los Cristianos, but again they run a free bus service straight from the hotel if you don't fancy walking. However, there's also a good number of restaurants and bars in this area so you could easily avoid the centre of town for the week if you didn't fancy it. The rooms are quite basic but well equipped, but what really made our stay was the balcony view... just. look. at. that. All roms are sea-facing as far as I'm aware so you should be able to catch views like this whichever bit you're in. There's loads of things to do in the hotel, from tennis, to a well-equipped gym, to a salon, and there's also two swimming pools so you can choose between the large one or the smaller one (which tends to be much quieter). The only downside is that you have to pay 6 euros a day if you want WiFi - THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY PEOPLE.

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I'm not going to lie, me and Rob spent a lot of our time chilling because we'd both been really busy in the lead up to the holiday, but we did manage to fit in a couple of trips here and there. If you like waterparks then Siam Park is an absolute must, I think it's actually voted the 2nd best in Europe? I didn't get any photos on the rides because my camera's not waterproof and I'm not a maniac, but, I can tell you, they're all incredible and really well maintained (make sure you go on The Dragon and, on that note, make sure you bring a spare pair of pants). What I did get photos of, however, is the wave pool which you NEED to do if you visit. It goes off every hour for half an hour and the waves reach heights of a good few metres (great if you've always wanted to be in Baywatch). For the second part of the hour it's just a lovely, calm pool of the clearest blue water and the water's nice and shallow for a good twenty metres or so; perfect for lying down in to cool off and read a book.

IMG_1539 Dolphin and whale spotting Tenerife

On our last day we took a boat to go dolphin and whale watching, which I was convinced was going to be one of those 'what a shame they didn't come out today, maybe next time' affairs - you'd be pessimistic too if that'd happened to you FOUR times as a child - but the whales came right up to the boat and swam aside us which was incredible. The dolphins stayed a bit further back but it was amazing to see them from afar flipping in and out of the water. One of the things we didn't get to do which I really regret is go up Mount Teide (where films like Planet of the Apes and Clash of the Titans have been filmed), but maybe next time!


Now, I am guilty as charged of not getting ANY photos at all of food. Me and Rob tend to eat late on holiday, about half nine, and because the sun sets quite early in Tenerife and most of the restaurants we ate at were outside it wasn't really the best photo conditions (let's face it, no one likes a flash photos of food). However, I'm also of guilty of indulging in a cocktail (or 20, giggle giggle), so I've put together a guide to the bets cocktail places that I discovered. I've also included a little written bit about restaurants I ate at and loved and I'd say I'm a pretty experienced foodie (Rob's family and their incredible cooking have turned me into a mild food snob) so, despite the lack of photographic evidence, the places are all well worth a visit. 
Beach hut cocktails Tenerife
I don't even think this little beach cafe had a name as it was tiny, but it's on the edge of Los Cristianos beach right in front of the main street. They make the most refreshing frozen daquiris I've ever had, and you can sit and enjoy it with an unspoiled view of the sea. They also serve food, which I didn't try (I'm not an alcoholic, I'd already eaten), but there were some good looking salads on offer, and the lady next to me had a tasty, and actually pretty fancy looking, seafood platter.
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Hey! We do have a restaurant picture. This was at an amazing restaurant in Chayofa called 'La Finca' which is almost entirely outside, with lots of wooden tables surrounded by trees, finished off with rows of fairylights above your head. There's something for everyone on the menu and it was all authentic Canarian food, so make sure and get some tapas-style dishes in (cough, get the calamari, cough cough).
Beach cocktails tenerife

The grand cocktail finale - these were the best we had in the whole two weeks of our time there. Seven years ago, I had the best mojito I've ever had in my whole life and I've literally searched the globe trying to find one that matched it ever since (get your violins out), and - finally - I uncovered such beauty here. Their mojitos were sweet with plenty of rock sugar, minty but not too minty because there's nothing worse than sucking up a mint leaf, not overwhelmingly rummy and refreshingly cold. Their sex on the beach (go on, let that giggle out) is also incredible, and practically the size of a human head. The restaurant's situated right on the edge of the beach in Los Cristianos, so you can enjoy a cocktail or your meal whilst watching the sunset. 


Chayofa (this is the only area in walking distance if  you're staying at Regency CC)

  • La Finca - see above! I could go on, but I won't.
  • The Treehouse - pretty basic food, we had fried Camembert for starters and chicken/beef skewers for mains, but it's worth it alone for the atmosphere because it really does feel like you're eating up in a little treehouse surrounded by fairy lights. They also do pub quizzes/karaoke etc on certain nights if you're into that kinda thiiing. 
  • Handy tip; Don't eat yellow snow. Kidding - avoid the tapas place that's across from La Finca - we were charged 70 euros for 6 plates of tapas that were all straight from the freezer. I don't want to talk about it.

Los Christianos:
  • Main Square - as you might have guessed, this isn't the restaurant name, but if you venture into the main square go UP one street and you'll escape all the touristy places and find a whole row of authentic Spanish restaurants. We ate at three different ones on this row, once for paella, once for meat and once for pasta and each was better than the next.
  • Monkey Bar & Grill/Monkey Italian - Sara recommended this one and I'm so glad she did. We ate at both and there's a really nice, chilled vibe and the food was top notch, they even make their salads burst with flavour. Make sure and try one of the cocktails too as they've won a ridiculous number of awards for them, I'd recommend the Mandarin Passion Killer if you like something fruity!
Costa Adeje:
  • Martini III - We only ventured along to Adeje to eat once, but Martini was lovely; it's right on the seafront so you've got beautiful views and has a really varied menu for both lunch and dinner. I went for the seabass fillet and potatoes which was finger lickin' good (see photo here), and was really well priced too. 

  • Kejarta - I've saved the best for last! This is hands down one of the best restaurants I've ever eaten at. It's a little family-run tapas bar and the owner/chef is the just the loveliest lady in the world. Both nights we went for the special tapas menu of the day - 20 euros for six courses, so you can feed two people for about £15(!) - you've got to try the chorizo in cider and the croquettes, aaaa-mazing! There's a whole host of other meals on offer if you're not a tapas person; my new main regret in life is not trying her paella. 

Oh no, I don't want to stop writing because now that means my holiday's officially over. I could tell you about... the sand quality? How many bins I counted in my two weeks? Which supermarket has the best fluorescent lighting? Maybe next time then. I absolutely love putting together posts like this, so if you liked it please let me know and I'll start doing some more (ie please give me an excuse to travel people).