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How to do Tenerife as a family: Kid-friendly hotels and things to do

Simon Calder’s Travel

With year-round sunshine, slim chances of rainfall and crystal-clear azure waters buzzing with a rich variety of marine life, Tenerife has a lot to offer tourists seeking a place to relax and recharge.

That includes frazzled parents, desperate for some sun but not sure how their little darlings will cope on a long-haul flight. The largest of the Canary Islands is four hours flying time from London – with the promise of sun at the other end making up for constant snack requests, a thousand trips to the bathroom and repeated pleadings to stop kicking the chairs in front.

Blessed with four children under the age of eight, I was well aware I’d be outnumbered on the plane. I knew my youngest, at 16 months, would be desperate to use his new-found walking skills to cruise up and down the aisle. But I also knew what Tenerife had to offer in terms of sunshine, sea and space for complete relaxation, having enjoyed some winter sun there when my eldest child was one. Each day he’d happily gone off to the hotel’s baby club, giving me three hours to lie on a lounger and sleep, and my triathlete-loving husband plenty of time to explore the island and its rugged volcanoes on his bike.

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Now with children aged seven, six, three and one, childcare was a key concern. I spent hours researching hotels that had not just a kids club but a baby club too (some hotels only offer childcare for children over the age of four). I also anticipated that swimming with four little ones would be a challenge, so my goal was to find a hotel with a pool shallow enough for the toddlers to splash around in, and perhaps another pool where the older ones could have fun diving underwater. No easy task.

Having had babies back to back for seven years, my husband and I are continuously sleep-deprived so Tenerife’s party resorts of Los Cristianos and Las Americas aren’t exactly appealing. So it was to Costa Adeje and Guia de Isora, on Tenerife’s west coast, that we headed. These are quieter areas with less crowded beaches opening up to calm seas and natural rock pools. They’re also dotted with restaurants serving up traditional Canarian cuisine and freshly caught seafood restaurants – rather than the English Breakfasts and Irish pubs that you might find in other areas of Tenerife.

All in all, just what a family of six needed to…

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