The most frequent piece of advice I got while pregnant? Go on holiday. “While you can” parents of small children would say, with an ominous nod. Babies, it was implied, are the end of holidays. The mortal enemy of spontaneous city breaks, beach parties and long afternoons sunbathing with a good book. But even if you can’t enjoy all of the above at the drop of a hat post-baby, with a bit of planning, can a holiday with an under-one still be relaxing?
Emerging from the newborn tunnel when my son Robin is 3 months old, I tap up friends with kids for advice. The general consensus is that three things will make your life easier if you decide to take a baby abroad: space, stuff and sleep. One friend learned the hard way that if a hotel has no babysitting service your day will end when the little one goes to bed. Another found the time zone switch meant her baby spent the whole week adjusting to the jet lag - only for them to fly home again. “The sweet spot” texts a friend with two kids under 4, “is an apartment set up, with hotel facilities.” A few replied simply: “Go to Abama.”
Where is it?
The largest of Spain’s Canary Islands might have an uncool reputation, but in recent years Tenerife has started to slough off its old package holiday image with a string of luxury hotel openings. Among these is Las Terrazas de Abama Suites, which was finished in 2019. Found on the popular - and sunny - south side of the island, the hotel and its location tick several boxes on the baby holiday checklist: it’s just 30 minutes from Tenerife South airport (ideal for avoiding a long, screamy car ride), it’s in the same time zone as the UK (no 4am wake-ups, unless the baby does that anyway) and the climate outside of school holiday time (“make the most of that while you can” say friends with older children) sits in the early to mid-twenties - plenty of sunshine for you, but mild enough to keep your baby cool. But the real plus point is…
…or suites, which meet the aforementioned ‘space’ requirement without the normal eye-watering price. Starting at €159 (£135) a night, these range in size from a grand one-bed (82 square metres, the size of a comfortable London flat) to a palatial 4-bed (233 square metres). Each comes with a modern, fully equipped kitchen, living room and outdoor terrace or garden with loungers and a table for al fresco lunch - in other words, all the space of a private apartment but with the perks of a hotel.
Since there is an inverse relationship between the size of a child and the amount of stuff required to keep them running, in the likely event you do forget something, the hotel can supply it for a small extra hiring fee, though cots, high chairs and bed rails come as standard. This service came to the rescue when the airline lost the base of Robin’s pram in transit. We called reception and a rental buggy arrived at our room within three hours. Otherwise our two-bedroom apartment came kitted up with a bath seat, changing table, bottle steriliser, spare nappies, dummies and even a little bear flannel so Robin could wash like a king.
Baby-friendly doesn’t mean a compromise on style. Each suite designed by award-winning Spanish architect Melvin Villaroel is an exercise in Balearic-inspired luxury - cool neutral linens and silks with sleek walnut furniture and marble floors, all orientated towards big sliding glass doors which frame the resort’s hillside views over the Atlantic and across to La Gomera.
If you really fall in love with the place, and you can forgive the slightly cheesy Abama marketing bumf - ‘Enjoy. Feel. Experience. Laugh. Live’ - the wider resort also has residential homes for sale, including Los Jardines de Abama where 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments start at €550,000 (£469,000) and the ultra-modern Las Atalayas de Abama, where glass box luxury villas begin at €1.035 million (£887,000).
Food & drink
The hotel’s signature restaurant Melvin by Martin Berasategui is a draw for more than just resort guests. Spanish chef Berasategui holds 12 Michelin stars and this Canarian wing of his empire, headed up by his protege Diego Dato, blends fine dining with Spanish classics like red shrimp and seafood paella and local fish with piquillo jam. The hotel can book you a babysitter if you want dinner out, though they also deliver (the only takeaway I’ve had which arrived with foam).
For a real treat, the Chef At Home service will even send Dato to your suite for a private dinner, with wine pairings. Breakfast on the hotel terrace - with 180-degree ocean views - is a more casual affair that begins with a plate of jamon and cheeses before you dive into the pastries, fruit and eggs, while the daily pool menu has the usual holiday favourites like club sandwiches, burgers, calamari and (strong) cocktails. If you want to cook up something simple in your kitchen, the hotel shop on site sells delicious local artisanal foods including cheese, honey and wine.
Things to do
You’re unlikely to hike up nearby Mount Teide with a baby in tow (the ideal excuse) but other local activities you can book through reception include wine tasting, shopping expeditions for traditional pottery and a â4x4 tour of Teide National Park. Also, if it’s your thing, the resort borders the best golf course in Tenerife. There is a free 10-minute shuttle service down to the beach where you can have lunch at the Abama Beach Club (you can walk but it’s steep, particularly with a pram) but for a dip closer to home the resort boasts three pools heated to a baby-friendly temperature.
If you fancy a free afternoon you can book childcare in your suite by the hour and head to the pool (or try a one-to-one Pilates or yoga class with Raquel the hotel’s personal trainer, who can even come to your terrace while the baby naps) while Kids Camp for children age 4 - 14 offers arts and crafts and even day trips to local attractions. But life with an under-one means even a two-minute walk to the pool for a dip counts as a big outing, and the appeal of Abama is how easy it is do these little things, with staff on hand everywhere you turn to help whisk a buggy to your door or mix a pina colada to enjoy while the baby sleeps.
While I’m there a friend with two small children texts to wish us a happy holiday: “Make the most of it while you can” he says, “when you’ve got two it’s really game over.”
ââSuites are available from €159 (£135) a night, or for €186 (£158) including breakfast. Receive exclusive discounts and benefits by signing up to myABAMA for free. This includes a 10% discount on your first booking. Las Terrazas de Abama Suites Hotel in Tenerife, Official Website