Whoever said it’s not the destination, but the journey that counts?
This is the first hotel to give me a complimentary map, however, I still got lost twice. The complex is designed like a Moorish fortress, painted terracotta with towers and gables, ponds full of koi and secret gardens and I find it hard to imagine how the architect, Melvin Villarroel, could have begun to plan such an immense place.
The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, has 11 restaurants. There’s the Michelin-starred Kabuki for Japanese food, run by chef Daniel Franco, and M. B., with another two Michelin stars, where chef Erlantz Gorostiza works with Martín Berasategui (MB). They gave us a memorable seven-course tasting menu. The highlight was the truffle gelatin on foie-gras cream, which came with roiling oak and juniper smoke under a glass dome. The number of courses didn’t include our 10 appetisers, such as a cheese and dried-tomato cone stuffed with steak tartare. I didn’t eat anything but a slice of pineapple the next day.
The two Basque chefs also gave a cookery demonstration that involved tweezers and syringes and the simple idea of mixing cooked and smoked salmon with a curry mayonnaise. Sr Gorostiza will do a similar course for visitors.
Just as memorable was the Beach Club restaurant, a buggy’s ride down to a bay of sand brought in from Puerto Ventura. We had fresh grouper and baby squid deep-fried like tempura and watched hopefully for the dolphins and pilot whales that swim between Tenerife and the neighbouring island of La Gomera (where the syrupy palm sugar comes from).
This Ritz-Carlton is an extraordinary place. Tenerife is volcanic with black soil, but thousands of palm trees were planted around the resort before it was built. It looks out over the Atlantic, so I had room service (bellota ham with tomato bread plus manchego cheese with quince jelly) and admired a gory sunset sinking into the ocean. Perfection.
ITC Luxury Travel (01244 355527; www.itcluxurytravel.co.uk) has prices from £885 per person—based on two adults sharing a Citadel Deluxe Resort View Room for seven nights, including daily breakfast, return economy flights from London Gatwick and private car transfers (saving up to £335 per person). Valid for travel completed between May 1 and 31, 2015. Book by March 31, 2015.
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