After two and a half years without setting foot on a plane or overseas soil, we finally did it. We got my toddler’s passport (which took six weeks, just an FYI), we chose a hotel based on copious Instagram recommendations and we finally got to make use of the Tenerife flights I’d booked back in March 2020. Thank fuck Easyjet allowed me to move them five times for free, eh?
The hotel we’d booked opened in 2018 and was widely touted by many of you as being the most kid-friendly place you’d ever stayed. I didn’t need culture, museums, independent cafes or hidden beach spots. I just needed a kids’ swimming pool and a place my toddler could throw his food on the floor without needing to feel hideously embarrassed.
Enter Bahia Principe Fantasia. We stayed for five nights at the beginning of May, and this is what we found…
What is it?
It’s part of the Bahia Principe hotel chain which has about 30 properties scattered across Spain and the Caribbean. They’re all five stars, some are geared towards families and others are adult-only. The Bahia Principe Fantasia Tenerife is one of the newest locations. It has 372 rooms, the majority of which are the Family Master Suite, allowing you to sleep in a separate room to your kids (with two sliding doors for access between them). This particular hotel has multiple pools on different levels including an adult-only infinity pool and a brilliant kids play area with slides, a splash park and very low-depths which make it great for toddlers and babies.
Where is it?
It’s about a 10-minute drive from Tenerife South airport. Tenerife is part of the Canary Islands which are just off the west coast of Africa – flight times from London are around four hours and cost from about £100 return per person.
How much does it cost?
We paid £1200 all inclusive for five nights – that was for two adults, a four-year-old and a one-year-old. Prices vary through the year but are roughly £100 per person per night. You get breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as drinks, including cocktails.
Who should I stay with?
Absolutely your kids – or at the very least, your mates’ kids. I saw a woman at check-in who was disgruntled at the amount of small people running about and the kind lady on the front desk had to explain that it was predominately a family hotel but there was, of course, the adult-only infinity pool. Although the big castle and fairytale theme in the photos should be a bit of a giveaway. We saw plenty of families with grandparents – a brilliant idea to split some of the childcare so that you get a break too!
What is there to do?
Admittedly, we didn’t hire a care and get out of the resort, although had we stayed longer we might have done. There are volcanic sites to explore nearby and a water park, too. Within the resort you’ll find the many pools, a small arcade, a kids’ club (ages 4-12), a spa, a small kids’ playroom, exercise classes and regular pool activities like water polo and water aerobics. There’s also an onsite theatre which has daily shows you can book.
What are the rooms like?
The decor is effortlessly chic and minimal. It made me want to come home and instantly clean everywhere. Thew rooms are also incredibly well-sized. The bed in the master room is huge, at least a super king, and there’s lots of floor space for things like pushchairs and suitcases and a cot. We particularly loved the bathroom, which was open-plan (aside from the toilet) from the main bedroom, so we could bathe the kids whilst getting ready for the evening. There was a big balcony, which can be either sea or pool-facing, as well as a kettle, wardrobes and a safe.
What about the food and drink?
There are five restaurants, two of which are all-you-can-eat buffets. One is the hotel’s ‘main’ restaurant where three meals a day are served and the other is a smaller ‘snack’ restaurant located by the pool which has a McDonald’s style burger order service via a screen. Depending on how long you stay, you’re also entitled to some dinners at one of the a la carte restaurants which are PHENOMENAL. There’s an Italian, a Japanese and a steakhouse and honestly, I’m still thinking about the sushi from our second night. They’re brilliant. The buffet food is nice, for breakfast there’s everything from pancakes and fruit to omelettes and smoked salmon, and for lunch and dinner there’s all the usual bits you’d expect like salad, pasta, pizza and chips. I can promise you won’t go hungry.
What makes it great?
It’s the fact it’s so child-friendly whilst also feeling chic and relaxing at the same time. Plus, the sheer scale of it means you can mix up restaurants and pool spots so it doesn’t feel too samey. Value for money is also good when you compare it to other European spots that combine luxury and a family focus, such as IKOS or Martinhal. This comes out significantly cheaper, and although probably not quite as luxurious, there is more of a focus on fun details like the mini water park.
What should I pack?
Definitely jelly shoes or pool shoes for the kids, the pool area is incredibly smooth and I saw many adults and kids completely stack it. There’s also not much to do in the evening – the one thing the resort is lacking is some kind of playground for the kids to run riot in whilst you enjoy a frozen strawberry daiquiri, so small toys, card games or tablets are highly recommended. We packed sweatshirts for the evenings but they weren’t needed, but might be at different times of year.
We visited in May and temps were about 22 degrees but the weather doesn’t fluctuate massively throughout the year so you could visit for some affordable winter sun. There’s also a small supermarket and a souvenir shop directly outside the resort should you be looking for jazzy inflatables or extra room snacks which are a bit cheaper than the on-site shop (we easily spent £50 on crisps and branded ice creams).