Why Tenerife can be the perfect tonic
Chalkmarks Tenerife

I’VE done it. I’ve come back to Tenerife as a grown-up.

I’m not in one of the 18 to 30s resorts where young Brits enjoy the sun, sea, fry-ups and Irish pubs. I’ve been there and done that.

Then I used to think the whole place was one big Spanish party island but all that noise is tucked away in a small corner in the south.

Here in the north, it’s quite different.

This is the place to be hot and lazy. I can eat breakfast for four hours on the terrace, take a snooze before lunch and have a gentle splish-splash in the pool.

I’ve done it. I’ve come back to Tenerife as a grown-up!

If I feel the urge to stand up, I can take a stroll through the park, visit the local market or sit down again in a tapas bar to linger all afternoon staring at the big blue sky. And after all that, I can enjoy a four-course dinner.

It’s an island far away from the busy beaches, bars and burned skinned punters.

In the capital Santa Cruz, in the oldest hotel, the Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey, the dream scenario continues in the bar.

Here they serve stand out gin and tonic. The best I have tasted. There is a whole menu of them with 45 to choose from. So over a long-weekend break, I drank a lot of gin. A huge lot. (Maybe that 18-30 training came in useful after all.)

This G&T doesn’t come served in a highball glass with ice and a slice. No, there was celery, cinnamon, liquorice, strawberries, cucumber, rosemary, coriander or apple to choose. And that’s not to mention the variety of chic tonic waters and fancy brands of gin that came out.

The bartender came over to the table with a trolley of spirit bottles, mixers, ice and a goldfish bowl of a wine glass.

He then narrowed his eyes and began pouring the gin. He showed little intention of stopping until there was just room for a splash of tonic in the top. Less than that – a dribble.

I raised my eyebrows and he winked back and said gracias when he moved off.

I braced myself. I wrapped my two hands around this monster glass and gulped. I thought the alcohol would go straight behind my eyeballs but it was lovely.

It almost made me want to start using words like a splendid and tipple. But it did beat a bottle of lager necked on the pavement filled with hordes of revellers.

I watched as a family with young children danced together to the live singer.

Then it was to bed where I fell asleep immediately.

And if I’d felt nostalgic for a foam party, dancing till sunrise and downing shots, I could have nipped into nearby Puerto de la Cruz for a dizzying all-nighter.

But this impressive five-star lodgings, which sits on the main road in front of Garcia Sanabria park and just minutes from the shops and port, has it all.

In this bells and whistles establishment, they even serve champagne with breakfast, which goes down well with my sunshine yellow eggs and fresh croissants and jam. This is definitely my thing.

Tenerife is the largest of the Islands just off the north coast of Africa creating a sub-tropical paradise, which is why so many Brits go for a blast of winter sun.

Then there’s the world’s third largest volcano Mount Teide which created those famous black-sand beaches.

When the hotel doors swung open in the 1950s, it was a trailblazer aimed at attracting high-end tourists. This was years before they built the holiday spots in La Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos.

Despite its age though, it doesn’t look drab, thanks to a recent £34million refurb. While it has gone for gardens over swimming pools, there are still two pools, a spa and also a casino.

The clever renovation mixes the modern with its former glory giving the feel of 1950s Hollywood glamour when Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Sophia Loren could be counted among its guests.

The handsome white stone building is now a 21st century landmark with 40 turtles swimming around in the courtyard.

The bedrooms go in for white walls and curtains with comfy black and wooden furniture.

Food devotees should make a pilgrimage as they have recently introduced a series of events offering up the greatest Spanish food. So instead of spending time finding the best restaurant, the top women Michelin starred chefs come to you.

Beatriz Sotelo held the first masterclass with a full afternoon watching her cook followed by an evening of six courses including razor clams and Tataki beef served with a wasabi yogurt sauce.

While I hadn’t tried many of the foods on the menu before, she gave us laid back and heart-filled explanations between each course.

For pudding we had brioche with fruit and vegetables that had been carmelised to a crisp on the top. It was so fantastic, I ate it twice.

After the unforgettable meal I couldn’t resist heading to the bar for a relaxed last proper drink. If I were forced to choose one cocktail for the rest of my life, it wouldn’t be a tough choice.

Holidays like this in Tenerife could be the next big thing.

This time when the gin came, I put the tonic down.

Book it

Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey. To book visit www.grandhotelmencey.com/en
For more information about Tenerife go to www.webtenerife.co.uk

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