We are visiting Tenerife for the first time in March, on a bit of an impulse - we saw the flights yesterday for only £88 return and couldn't resist! But now we need to find a hotel, and it's proving more difficult that we thought. I've spent all day online and every one I like the look of seems to have bad reviews. We went to Alicante in 2007 and Menorca last year and had an awful experience both times despite researching our hotels carefully. So we're very keen to get it right this time, or we may never want to go on holiday again! At the moment, the two hotels I've narrowed it down to are the Paradise Park which is in Los Cristianos, and the Bahia Principe Costa Adeje which is in the middle of nowhere apparently! So any input on either of these would be most appreciated.
My in-laws have been visiting Tenerife every year since the 80's, and always stay at the Paradise Park. They think it's wonderful, but the reviews are a bit mixed - in fact, some are downright awful. I'd love to just take my in-laws word for how good it is, but they've never been anywhere else so they don't have anything to compare it to, and their idea of 'wonderful' can be very different to ours! From the reviews I've read, the overall experience seems to depend heavily on the room type you choose. They range from some very basic standard rooms in the basement which sound awful, to the executive suites on the top floor which are apparently beautiful. If we were to stay there, we would book one of the suites, which would solve that problem. But the reviews of the food are also very mixed, some saying it's terrible and others saying it's wonderful - very confusing! The other thing is, the hotel looks slightly like a multi-storey carpark to me. I prefer the sprawling kind of hotel with lots of lush gardens and open space to wander through, whereas this place looks more compact and is in a very built-up area. However, apart from the beautiful suite, the hotel has another very good thing going for it: an adults-only bar and pool area on the roof. From the limited information on the hotel's website and reading reviews, I gather it has a plunge pool, jacuzzi and luxury sun loungers instead of the usual hard plastic type (some of them under gazebos surrounded by curtains if you want some privacy or shade) and beautiful views over the bay. I believe there is also a complex next door which hotel guests can use for free. Again it is adults-only with a bar, pool, jacuzzi and plenty of quality sun loungers where you can spend the day undisturbed by entertainers or noisy neighbours. We intend to spend our days relaxing with a good book, so these peaceful areas are very appealing.
Our other choice is the beautiful Bahia Principe Costa Adeje hotel near Playa Paraiso. To stay here on an All Inclusive basis is the same price as staying in one of the Paradise Park suites on Half Board. I've never been keen on the idea of AI in the past, as I always imagine people abusing the free drink and jostling for space at meal times. Also, we are both tee-total so it's never seemed particularly good value. But I have to admit it seems a bit crazy to turn it down when it's the same price as HB. It would be an easy choice if the hotel was lower quality or had bad reviews, but it looks wonderful. It has beautiful grounds, several pools, numerous restaurants, beautiful sea views and very good reviews. But a couple of things concern me. The first is the isolation - it is quite far from anything, so our usual stroll into town for a coffee and a spot of people watching would be impossible. Another is the sunlounger situation - I have no desire to join the towel brigade and this seems to be rife here. From what I've read, the loungers seem to be packed in like sardines, so even if you do get up at 7am to claim some, you will be elbow-to-elbow with strangers all day and have no space or privacy. Perhaps this wouldn't be a problem in March as it's not peak season, but it's quite off putting. The other thing is the standard of guests. I'm no snob but several people have commented that it has started to attract the lower end of the market who are spoiling the place for everyone else by drinking too much, shouting and generally treating the place like Blackpool with sun, which is the very reason we've never done AI.
So our options are to stay in a standard room at the Bahia Principe, with unlimited food and drink, good facilities, beautiful grounds and lots of open space, but risk the dreaded sunlounger situation and the louts, and being stuck in the middle of nowhere for a week. Or to stay in a large luxury suite at the Paradise Park, which has plenty of peaceful adults-only areas and is close to town, but has less appealing grounds, mixed reviews and means extra costs for food and drink (albeit only soft drinks).
It's so confusing as we've never been to Tenerife before, so have no idea about the different areas or the hotels themselves. I'm hoping some Tenerife veterans can provide some clarity and save us from another wasted holiday! Many thanks in advance, and apologies for the incredibly long post this has become :-)