A flying time of around four-and-a-half hours and great year-round weather (temperatures rarely rise above 30°C or drop below 20°C) make the Canary Islands a prime spot for family holidays – especially at half term – as does the wide choice of family-friendly hotels.
Among them is the exquisite Hotel Botanico, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Set at the foot of Mount Teide in the north of Tenerife, near the beautiful botanical gardens on the outskirts of Puerto de la Cruz (an easy 20-minute walk down to the town’s volcanic beach), this classically styled hotel attracts a glittering clientele of film stars and princesses yet also provides children with a genuinely warm welcome.
Interconnecting standard doubles and special offers throughout the year are supplemented by a unique kids’ club that will delight all children who, like mine, are animal-obsessed: designed for ages 4–12, it includes a behind-the-scenes VIP experience at Loro Parque, the famous zoo and nature park 10 minutes from the hotel, incorporating exciting workshops with animals, from jaguars to orcas or penguins, plus workshops with vets, biologists and animal trainers. As well as being educational, it’s great value.
Obviously, you can also visit Loro Parque as a family, with the highlight being Orca Ocean, home to the biggest killer-whale show in Europe. Most kids love to sit close to the pool and get drenched by the cheeky whales flipping their vast tails. There’s a complimentary minibus from the hotel to the park.
I made sure to take full advantage of my golden ‘me’ time in the awardwinning Oriental Spa Garden within the grounds of the hotel, complete with thermal circuits, a pool, three Jacuzzis and lots of fantastic treatments. The chocolate body massage was tempting but seemed a bit decadent given that I’d had a chocolate fountain for breakfast. Indeed, the hotel’s sumptuous, extensive breakfasts will have your kids’ bellies happily bursting throughout your stay, with the friendly chefs preparing pancakes and omelettes with their choice of filling while they wait, and a whole table groaning with cakes and chocolates. Breakfast aside, the hotel’s gourmet restaurants offer local, Mediterranean and Thai food – something to please all tastes.
I’d recommend hiring a car if you want to explore the island, although Siam Park, an hour away from Hotel Botanico in the south of the island, can be reached by bus. Another exhilaratingly watery family day out, this spotlessly clean and safe Thai-themed water park is suitable for kids of all ages, with rides ranging from daredevil, adrenaline-fuelled swirly rapids to a calming lazy river. Mini life-jackets are provided for non-swimmers.
Read more about Tenerife family holidays, including things to do on the island.