Travelling with a baby
Friends warned us that early days travelling in the extended version will have little to do with ZEN. Articles about days with newborn and toddler are numerous, sometimes funny but very often just scary. So off we went, very little expectations. Which was great as we started the trip to the wrong airport – hey, sleep deprivation didn’t make any of us brighter. Luckily the flight was also later than what we initially believed, so we made it to Gatwick on time and with little drama.
We also had little illusion that this trip will not be about discovering and exploring Tenerife but rather a hotel. So we picked Ritz Abama, which sounded like the right place to recharge batteries, have some good food and convenient facilities. And we were not disappointed.
The hotel is huge but spread around graciously. It does not feel like mass tourism in the slightest but rather a gathering of international people enjoying fine things in life. Beautiful and charming, myriads of villas, gardens, fish ponds, waterfalls, restaurants and various other facilities – one could easily get lost like in a red fairy tale even after a week. Our one bedroom suite was huge and felt quite luxurious, both rooms very spacious plus a big terrace. For a week we enjoyed beautiful views over the golf course and the ocean, plus jazzy vibes in the evening. The little ones loved it as well, the baby particularly fascinated by the paintings in our bedroom and staring at them for hours. Toddler loved his big cot, sunbed from the terrace, huge telly with lots of channels, bathroom and various gadgets.
Facilities wise, we all loved the main swimming pool so much that we did not care about trying the other ones. The rocks entertained the toddlers and there are lots of toys around to be borrowed and tried.
The Persian gardens are tranquil and stunning, perfect for a chilled hour with a toddler running around and playing with the water.
The Fish pond, little bridges and waterfalls beautiful and entertaining for little people.
The train to the beach, a delight.
Lots of other little surprises, such as a funicular from the beach, buggies for the villas, waterfalls – convenience, great service and more fun for little people.
McLaren cars outside ready for a test drive – our toddler called them the cool cars.
Lots of flowers, plants and vegetation – all stunning and spread around.
For grown ups only, an adults only swimming pool by Mirador. We’ve seen it on our last evening and promised ourselves will be back 😉
The spa is beautiful – the hotel offered us complimentary water circuit and I tried a simplified/ short version 45 minutes or so.
Food wise, this is not the place to watch the scale or lose that baby weight. With over 10 restaurants a la carte, spread around the beach, the swimming pool, various places in the hotel and 2 Michelin star, Ritz spoiled us all.
We loved the tapas – we were there 3 out 7 evenings. Tried most of their dishes, all pretty good and loved in particular the gambas (king prawns), pulpo (octopus) and clams. Our second favourite was Kabuki – that one Michelin star is well deserved. For grownups only evening, Kabuki surprised and enchanted us with intriguing dishes such as with quail egg and truffle sushis, burger sushis and great sashimi. We were at El Mirador for our last evening – kids below 6 years are only allowed between 6-7:30pm and these slots are very busy; our advice is to book this one in advance, we would have loved another evening in there. The Argentinian (Pampa Grill) and Italian (Verona) were good as well. We didn’t not make it to MB (2 Michelin stars) – too little time at our end and the Basque chef is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Plus on most of the occasions kids were so well behaved in the evenings that we didn’t want to leave them even with the most brilliant babysitter that we met in many years of travelling. Our 7 weeks baby sleeping in his cot from 7pm and occasionally needing a cuddle, a dummy or a bit of rocking; toddler hungry, happy to be with us and very often just exhausted after such busy days and happy to look at his ipad for an hour and let us enjoy our wines and dinners.
Kids menus are brilliant, child friendly plus healthy versions – our toddler has been spoilt with seabass, salmon, steaks, prawns, mini burgers, peas, broccoli, tomatoes, fries and so on. Also kids under 4 years eat for free, just make sure the personnel did not include it in the bills by mistake.
The beach is beautiful, a couple of natural pools next to it. Gold sand and crystal Atlantic waters; on the very fresh side though and with jellyfish during our stay – a beautiful pink and purple beast looking very pretty but understand very painful if accidentally touched.
Ritz kids club was brilliant, we used it few afternoons – slides, balls, planets, lego, lots of toys and classes plus great personnel. For babysitters the hotel recommended few agencies and after asking around and emailing all of them, picked Carebear Nannies. Veronica was Raphael’s sitter for 5 days, each day a couple of hours. They bonded immediately and not only that our toddler loved spending time with her, but we got to hear a lot of their adventures and had to resist going to her house etc ..
First holidays in 4 in a nutshell: occasionally chaotic but great introduction for our 7 weeks baby into travelling. Lots of lovely moments toddler and baby, counting fingers, hugging, kissing. Some quality time parents baby only also whilst toddler was at the kids club. A lot of quality time as well as with our toddler only when the baby napped – hurray for all those sleeping hours early days !
And with a brilliant babysitter the parents also manage to get a couple of hours of grown up time, including a dinner date, spa visit and even a very nice relaxing breakfast with cava 😉