Ritz-Carlton, Abama

Ritz-Carlton, Abama


Located on the Guia de Isora coastline of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, which sit in the Atlantic Ocean off Morocco, Ritz-Carlton, Abama could just be the perfect out-of-the-way luxury getaway for golfers. Tenerife is a volcanic island with the sometimes snow-capped Mount Teide at its center, although the tropical climate also enjoys the most sunshine of any part of Spain – it is known as the Island of Eternal Spring, which sounds perfect for golf. It’s also the most populated of the Canary Islands, with two international airports acting as thoroughfares for the tourist destination (the closest to the Ritz Carlton being Tenerife South Airport, approximately 30 minutes’ drive away). But none of this will enter your mind as you tee off on the Abama Golf Course. This par-72 championship course was designed by the late Dave Thomas and opened in 2005. The Welshman was trying to create a European course similar to Augusta National in Georgia, according to course professional Brendan Breen. There may not be talk of moving the Masters to the Canary Islands any time soon, but Abama is a tropical treat for golfers just the same.

“The immaculately maintained 18-hole championship course contains over 300 species of subtropical plant life, including over 20,000 palm trees,” Breen said. “Almost all the holes of the course have spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the island of La Gomera.
“There are 22 lakes spread throughout the course´s ever-changing terrain, as well as waterfalls and white-sand bunkers.”
As well as the lakes and thousands of palm trees, perhaps the other feature to note is the elevation change across the layout. The course rises to 315 meters (1033 feet) above sea level, making the GPS buggies essential for getting around, according to Carsten Fritz on Top100GolfResorts.com, which ranked this as Spain’s 26th best course in 2017.
The course hosted both the Abama Open de Canaries European Tour event in 2005 and Tenerife Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour in 2006.

The challenges:
Considering the elevation changes and elevated tees, you’ll have to be careful about club selection here. There are also plenty of strategically-placed lakes to avoid as you shoot towards large greens. Pro’s tips: “Play for position on the fairways and to the center of the greens. The nape of the green plays an important part in how the ball will run to the hole.”
When to play:
365 days a year – with little rain and warm conditions, this is the perfect climate for golf.
Par: 72
Yardage: 6268 yards, or 6281 meters
Slope: 136
Rating: N/A
Best hole:
The signature hole is the par-5 10th (483 meters, 528 yards), which doglegs to the left and has out-of-bounds on both sides of the fairway. On the left side, there are three lakes running up to the green.
The pro says:
“To play well at Abama Golf, you have to exercise good course management. There are a lot of risk-and-reward holes.”
– Brendan Breen
The resort experience:
The resort buildings form a terracotta citadel with Moorish style that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the island of La Gomera from the slope of The Teide. The property stretches down to a private sandy beach that can be accessed by a cable car from the hotel’s cliff-top perch. Lush vegetation and flowers flourish in the hotel grounds thanks to the constant sunshine. The Ritz-Carlton features a spa with hydrotherapy pool and ten treatment rooms, seven swimming pools, 10 dining options (including two Michelin-star restaurants), and the Ritz Kids club with eco-minded activities for youngsters.

Dine and wine:
With 10 dining options, you are spoilt for choice. However, I’ll be putting two-Michelin-star M.B at the top of the list. Chef Martin Berasategui’s signature restaurant serves Basque cuisine with authentic flavors. Next in line will be Japanese restaurant Kabuki, which has one Michelin star. The restaurants are blessed with fresh produce grown on Tenerife’s fertile volcanic soil. You’ll also find seafood (El Mirador), the 20/20 Steakhouse, Italian (Verona), traditional Spanish (Txoko), cocktails and light food (Beach House), buffet breakfast (La Veranda), Canary Island specialties (Los Chozos), light Clubhouse lunch (La Casa Club), beers on tap (Sports Bar), Cuban cocktails (Cubanika), and live music and more cocktails (Lobby Bar). There’s also 24-hour room service should you get hungry in the wee hours.
The accommodation:
The terracotta strikes a bold tone outside, but the interiors of the rooms are more mellow with softer tones and modern décor. Featherbeds and plush linen on the beds, marble bathrooms, a coffee machine and bathrobes and slippers are included. These are spacious offerings, starting with the Deluxe Room (50 square meter, 538 square feet) with its furnished terrace and ocean, resort or golf course views. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors take advantage of the outlook as well. The bathroom has a double vanity, separate tub and toilet with bidet. It can sleep three adults, too. The Imperial Suite has an impressive 950 square meters (10,226 square feet) and includes a terrace with a heated swimming pool.
Other activities:
Take the cablecar to the summit of Mount Teide at 3718-meters (12,198 feet), which is Spain’s highest peak. You can also go paragliding with a professional, go whale-watching on a catamaran to the huge cliff of Los Gigantes, or throw yourself into any number of water sports, including jet-skis, kite surfing, surfing and parasailing.

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