Fancy Spain as a destination, maybe the Canaries, how about Tenerife? If it’s sun and warmth you’re looking for then it’ll be the south of the island, and quite likely Las Americas. And this is where you’ll find one of the islands finest five-star establishments, Hotel Villa Cortes.
The Mexican designed and themed hotel is located in a commanding position overlooking the Atlantic and is a few metres from the seafront, which can be reached via private access from the hotel grounds.
The hotel is part of the larger Europe Hotels parent group who have a small select number of establishments based in Spain and Germany.
Upon arrival at 10.30pm reception were waiting for us and without any fuss, we were checked in, room keys handed over, bags transported by the ‘bell-boy’ direct to the rooms where we were provided with a quick overview of the facilities. Our family party of five (three young adults) had booked one twin room and two doubles. I was pleasantly surprised to find that our double with a booked sea view and balcony had been upgraded to a junior suite.
All the rooms were large and more than adequate for a two-week stay, however, the suite provided that extra bit of space which helped with an even more relaxing family break. All the rooms have air conditioning as well as ceiling fans to help distribute the cooled air more efficiently.
The bathrooms were more than adequate, with a separate shower cubicle, bath, and toilet from the main area which had twin washbasins. The marble surfaces added to an air of luxury, which the heavy towelling dressing gowns and slippers finished off nicely. And the telephone, illuminated shaving mirror, hair dryer and large complimentary range of toiletries simply proves the hotel has an eye on detail for its guests.
In the main bedroom, the king size bed had a choice of pillow options, reading lamps, a set of patio doors to the balcony which had twin sun loungers and a dining table and chairs. The ‘living room’ portion of the suite had a large writing desk and chair, a settee and armchair, coffee table, a smaller side table and chair along with a large bureau containing the 50” flat screen multi-channel TV and minibar as well as a further set of patio doors to the balcony. A lovely welcoming touch was the fruit bowl and two bottles of water along with the personal letter signed by the hotel manager welcoming us to the hotel. It really is these little touches which show the difference between a five-star establishment and some other hotels. There is plenty of storage space in the large wardrobe unit in the suites entryway, which is also where you’ll find the free safe located.
The hotel, as I briefly mentioned earlier has a Mexican theme running throughout, with a colonial hacienda style making great use of rich earthy colours, its use of dark wooden beams, a low profile in its grounds so no high-rise ugly concrete block buildings and plenty of comfortable outdoor seating areas located sporadically around the grounds.
The pool area is undoubtedly one of the main features of this hotel and has been perfectly designed to remain in theme, with rock outcrops and palm trees, waterfalls, river and green planting to match and soften the style. It has a level shallow access at one end, with other ladder access points. Do bear in mind however that at its deepest point the pool is over 6 feet in depth, and, if like me, you’re no Tom Daley, then be careful where you enter. Beautifully cool, it’s ideal for chilling out in before getting back into the sun to top up that tan.
Unlike a lot of other pools in Tenerife, this one is not a salt water pool, so no stinging eyes either! There are ample pool beds with adjustable backrests and soft comfortable mattresses with a free sunbed towel service also provided. Like almost everywhere nowadays there are always the one or two who want a specific location by the pool and can be seen up and about at 8am reserving beds with towels. This is fairly unnecessary as there were a number of unused beds on our holiday (August 21 to September 4).
There is also a children’s pool area, although quite small, it appears this hotel doesn’t really attract families with young kids, therefore on our visit, there were no more than five children using it. There are also shaded cabana style double sunbeds dotted around the garden and pool area, although less in number. The poolside waiter/drinks service is also a nice touch.
The hotel also has a private beach area with a free draining salt water pool on the seafront which has around 12-15 cabanas and 30 sunbeds. This is where the beach bar and restaurant are located and is reached by a private tunnel from the hotel grounds. On the upper deck of the beach bar, there is a further bar which is open at night and provides ‘disco’ style music and is open to the public.
Be aware though that apart from this, entertainment is extremely limited. On our visit, it comprised of a pianist on two evenings in the lobby bar and a Mexican singer in the Pancho Villa restaurant on Saturday’s where dinner is of a themed Mexican style.
Now to the staff. As one might expect from a five-star business, they were unobtrusive yet available when required, exceptionally friendly and helpful, and those who were bi-lingual wore name badges with small flags of the countries whose language they spoke – a lovely touch. Reception staff are only too happy to make reservations for guests. The maid service was frequent with towels replaced twice daily and the rooms made up on request using a green/red light system operated from inside the rooms. We even had our beds turned down and flowers/chocolates left on the pillow for us.
A special mention, however, must be reserved for the waiting staff in the dining rooms. Professional, competent, friendly and welcoming, they were all this and a lot more besides. The Maître d’, Alberto and his staff are a credit to the hotel and its parent group, Europe Hotels. Their service over the two weeks we stayed with them was faultless and they are to be commended for such dedication, and restraint, particularly so, when you have a group of six whining, moaning, professional complainers from Wales to deal with. I always wonder with these types of guests whether they would also wave their napkin in a local restaurant and shout loudly, over and over again, “hello, hello, hello” until a waiter attended to them? Rude, arrogant and quite pretentious, and to what end?
The hotel has excellent disabled access throughout with a lift system to all areas of the building. The main breakfast restaurant has a ramped access while ground floor tables are also available in the other restaurants with some having alternative access points on the level. All doorways are wide enough for wheelchair users, although guests will need to check whether rooms with disabled bathing facilities are available as our room had a shower with a plinth. Some doors in the public areas are auto-opening.
So, some of you may be thinking it all sounds too good to be true. Well, in fairness it is. It’s one of very few holidays I’ve taken where I’ve not had reason to complain. But, there were a few small issues, nowhere serious enough to warrant a complaint, but for completeness of this review, I’ll mention them anyway.
The main one has to be no free Wi-Fi service in the bedrooms. In this day and age when you can wander into McDonald’s and obtain free access, there is little excuse that an establishment of this standard can only provide free Wi-Fi in reception. At between €6-8 per day, it’s perhaps no big deal, but I don’t believe that travellers these days expect to pay for Wi-Fi any longer. We simply opted for O2’s data roaming package at £1.99 per day which provided 3G coverage.
Our balcony did not allow us to enjoy the views over the pool and the sea beyond with it being a painted concrete wall, but perhaps this was a trade-off between privacy although most of the others were constructed from decorative railings. In my case, it simply wasn’t possible to sit and have a drink watching the sun go down, something I rather enjoy doing. But this was an upgraded room, so there are always trade-offs to be had.
Another simple, but slightly annoying issue was the fact you couldn’t order one-litre bottles of water at dinner – despite the fact that water in one-litre bottles was provided at breakfast free of charge! Similarly, no cocktail menus are available during dinner service merely a wine list.
The shower cubicles have a soap dish attached to the wall, however, there is no further storage for the obligatory shampoos, potions, and lotions used by other family members. Perhaps management will give consideration to this. In room 412, we had a drainage problem with the shower which, when reported to reception was dealt with very promptly. The thermostat problem, however, wasn’t attended to, and I would urge caution to anyone with small children using the shower to take care as the water will, and did, run from burning hot to lukewarm.
That said, this is a subjective opinion, and I do hope that Ricardo and his management team will take note of what is constructive criticism to help them better their guest experience.
In conclusion, therefore, if you’re looking for luxury, style, fine dining cuisine, and first class service, you won’t need to look any further than Villa Cortes. It’s a refreshing change to find an establishment who has managed to get just about everything spot on for their guests – what a pity many others wouldn’t follow suit.
Further information and up-to-date prices at: Villa Cortes
Room Tip: For the best rooms select a higher floor and ask for a pool view which will automatically give you sea views too.