Hotel Sensatori Tenerife - A Destination in Itself

We recently stayed at this hotel - this journal covers all the things there are to do

Hotel Overview and Accommodation

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Joy S on November 21, 2012

We spent 2 weeks at the Hotel Sensatori Tenerife, near the little town of Alcala. We booked through the tour operator Thomsons as part of a package. Sensatori is their brand name for the hotel and how they market it in the UK. The hotel's actual name is Palacio de Isora, part of the Gran Melia chain.

It is located in the south west of the island. This is supposed to be one of the sunniest spots on Tenerife. We did have lovely weather most of the time, but also about 3 days of driving rain. Apparently this is highly unusual and a freak weather front was to blame.

The location is perfect, just 5 minutes walk from the little town of Alcala, 40 minutes drive from the airport, close enough to the main road network if you want to explore the rest of the island, but away from all the touristy attractions of the main resort. It really felt like paradise. To the back of the hotel is the dramatic Mount Teide, to the front is the glistening Atlantic Ocean and the island of La Gomera. The views are wonderful.

We were so impressed with this hotel from the moment we pulled up at the door. A team of porters met us, sorted our luggage and had it in our rooms before we'd finished checking in. How they did this still remains a mystery! As soon as we entered the lobby, there was a delicious smell of orange blossom and we were given refreshing glasses of apple juice.

Our room was 5001. It was just beautiful, spacious, airy and contemporary but extremely comfortable. There was a huge double bed, a big sofa bed for our son and lots of space to spread out. We had a big balcony with table and chairs - the view was over the infinity pool and beyond to La Gomera. We spent most evenings sitting there enjoying the sunset.

There was lots of wardrobe space in the room and a separate dressing area. They provided an iron, ironing board and (empty) fridge which was useful for storing water and drinks. There were tea and coffee making facilities, a flatscreen television with huge choice of channels (we only switched it on once) and a selection of glossy magazines.

The bathroom was also superb. It was as big as the room, had the most enormous square bath I have ever seen, double basins, a separate toilet and huge, separate rainshower. It was the height of luxury.

Throughout the hotel there was a feeling of opulence and luxury. All the features were high quality - from the Fendi furniture to the silver leaf ceilings. Apparently the exterior of the hotel is designed to look like the Alhambra Palace - it definitely felt like a palace.

There are 600 rooms, so it is a very big hotel, but this was not a problem for us. We loved every minute of our stay. The room was one of the best I have stayed in for a long time. Sheer luxury, ultimate comfort - it was bliss.
Gran Melia Palacio de Isora/Hotel Sensatori Tenerife
Urbanización La Jaquita, Avenida De Los Océanos
Alcala, Spain, 38686
922 86 90 00

The Dining Experience

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Joy S on November 26, 2012

Dining at this hotel is a sumptuous experience - wonderful food, beautiful surroundings and plenty of choice. We stayed here 14 nights, ate breakfast and dinner in the hotel every evening, lunch there 5 times but never felt bored or tired of the food.

We had booked the Full Board Plus package - this meant we got 3 meals a day with house wine, beer and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner.

Breakfast is served in the Pangea restaurant. There is a big indoor seating area and a reasonably large outdoor area with views over a little lake. Most mornings we did get to sit outside. The choice at breakfast was superb - a huge array of cooked foods (sausages, bacon etc.), eggs cooked any way you wanted (fried eggs cooked by the chef to order), a big selection of breads, many types of pastries, fruit juices, huge platters of tropical fruit and Cava on ice. They really did have everything you could want for breakfast - lots of children gorged on pancakes with chocolate sauce by the ladelful.

Lunch for us could be taken in any of three restaurants. We chose to go to Pangea again most days. The buffet style experience here suited us best as a family. Lunches were also delicious and full of choice. There was lots of salad, seafood and fish, soups, stews, breads and plenty of cooked options. Definitely something for everybody.

In total, the hotel has 7 restaurants. On our package, dinner was included in 4 of them. We had to pay in the other 3, but would have received a 25% discount off the bill. The buffet style Pangea is the only restaurant you do not have to book in advance. Booking is easy and hassle free though - there is a machine in the lobby, you use this to make your reservation.

We ate most evenings in Pangea. The choice was wonderful. There were lots of salads, seafood, soups etc.. for starters. Main course choices were also extensive, as well as this they had a fish chef to cook your fish to order, a chef who specialised in wok dishes and stir fries (again cooked to order) and a meat chef to cook your meat choices to order. Desserts were a work of art - exquisite and beautiful to look at, as well as being delicious. There was an ice-cream "wheel" with about 20 flavours of ice cream and a chocolate fountain. If you wanted a healthier option for dessert - there was fruit aplenty. Staff were friendly and helpful, although sometimes, especially in the indoor section, drinks were a little slow to arrive.

The Oasis Pool Grille restaurant serves Mediterranean type dishes by the main pool. This restaurant has to be booked in advance. We ate here about 4 times - it had a lovely atmosphere, waiter service and a stunning view over the infinity pool. The views in the evening were breath-taking.

Club Ocean serves Italian food in a trendy glass cube style restaurant. Waiting staff here were really top knotch, it had a much more "upmarket" and sophisticated air than the other restaurants, but children were welcome. The food was exquisite and choice was excellent. The only problem was this restaurant was extremely popular, booked up very quickly and we only managed to get 1 reservation here in our 2 weeks.

The Market Grill serves meat and fish dishes. You can have lunch here as well. We ate here on a Friday night. Fridays is barbeque night here - there was a lovely atmosphere and a Cuban band playing. We loved that evening.

There are 3 other restaurants - they looked nice, but we didn't try them, being happy with the others that were included in our package. Nami is an Oriental/Japanese style restaurant with a sushi bar and tepanyaki table; Duo described itself as "fine dining" and there was a "Red Level" restaurant for adults only.

We were thoroughly impressed with the dining options at this hotel. Food was excellent, there was so much choice (not just with the food but also with the location) and everywhere had a relaxed air. People tended to dress reasonably formally for dinner, but that gave it a special feeling. Children were welcome in all restaurants we used, there was something to suit even the pickiest and faddiest eater.

Hotel Activities

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Joy S on November 27, 2012

There is so much to do in this hotel, you could almost fill a fortnight with the different activities they lay on. We were certainly spoilt for choice and had to make some tough decisions in order to be able to fit in enough sightseeing.

There are 5 swimming pools in total. 2 of these are family pools which cater especially for children, but the remainder are adult focussed. There is a Red Level pool - adults only, the Red Level zone being an upgraded area of the hotel for those aged 18 plus. It is their premium area, but you get some luxurious extras such as butler service, use of this Red Level pool and a private restaurant and bar.

There is a further adult pool and the piece de resistance - the infinity pool. This is really beautiful - 600 feet long, it seems to stretch endlessly. It is saltwater and was a little chilly (the other pools are heated), but you did get used to it. It was never very busy, and even when the other pools were bustling, this one let you get away from everyone. There are in-water sunbeds, whirlpools and jets - it is superb.

If you are the sporty type or just want a little gentle exercise on holidays, there was something to suit both extremes. Different activities were on offer at the pools - water aerobics etc. or you could try waterwalking - a bit like being a hamster in a giant ball floating on the infinity pool.

Across the road from the hotel was their sports hub. Here they had permanent staff who could tell you more about what was on offer, book a personal training session, give you advice on diet/lifestyle tips etc.. There were tennis courts, football courts and lots of activities on offer too. They ran zumba classes, pilates, paddle tennis and football tournaments, tennis tournaments and yoga. They offered bicycles for hire which you could then use to cycle along the coastal path that runs behind the hotel. There were archery sessions and spinning classes too. You could use the gym or book a personal trainer for a training session. Everything was included in the cost, some activities did have to be booked.

If you wanted to take part in activities that were not sports related, there was something to suit this as well. They ran sushi-making classes, wine tasting and cocktail making amongst other things. Again this was included and you did not have to pay extra.

There was a big spa at the hotel - use of the facilities here was extra. It was extremely luxurious with water therapy pool, steam room, sauna, flotation tank and relaxation area. They offered a whole range of treatments here, or in a separate "Bali massage area" they had quaint massage huts where you could book in for that type of treatment. One of our friends had a massage here and thought it was fantastic.

There are lots of sunbeds available throughout the hotel, but if you wanted something a bit more special you could book one of their Bali beds. This was like a huge, outdoor, four poster bed, located by the pools. You paid an extra charge for this, but got to use the bed all day long and they brought you champagne, fruit platters, newspapers and water.

The local village of Alcala is just over 5 minutes walk away. You can stroll there along the coastal path at the back of the hotel. It is a lovely walk, gorgeous views over the ocean and shaded partly by trees. In Alcala there are lots of little bars and restaurants and a few shops. Monday mornings they have the local market - surprisingly good and worth a look. One bar we loved was El Rincon. Just off the market square, they had the best mojitos I have ever tasted for just 3 euros.

If you walk in the opposite direction to Alcala, through a banana plantation and back along the coastal path, you get to Los Gigantes, a bigger resort. It is a lot further - about 50 minutes walk, but also nice to do. If you don't fancy hiking back, there is a bus which leaves Los Gigantes and passes the hotel twice an hour. It takes about 20 minutes and costs about 1 Euro. The times of the buses are not that reliable, but generally there are 2 an hour.

The hotel is absolutely wonderful. Some people spent their whole time relaxing and enjoying the sunshine, some were super-active and worked out a lot, others (like us) did a little bit of both - relaxing and swimming in the infinity pool and taking part in a few of the activities that took our fancy. The great thing is that there is so much on offer to pick from.

Children's Activities

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Joy S on November 28, 2012

This hotel caters brilliantly for children and is the ultimate family destination. Children of all ages are catered for and every day brought lots of new and fun activities for our son.

If your children like swimming, there are 2 swimming pools especially for them. The family pool - quite large, heated and in a lovely location was where we spent most of our time with our 9 year old. The age range varied in this pool, there were some little children but generally it seemed to be most popular with 6-12 year olds. You were not allowed to bring inflatable pool toys, children splashed around and swam and generally had a great time.

The Pirate Pool catered more for younger children and had a gentler atmosphere. It was in the shape of a big pirate ship with lots of little water slides, water jets and splash areas. You were allowed to bring inflatable pool toys here.

Near the family pool is the Play House. This was decorated and themed beautifully. They offered supervised play sessions, each lasting about an hour, every day. This was included in the cost, you didn't pay extra, and children could pick and choose sessions they wanted to attend. Our son attended a Magic Tricks session, made a ghost puppet and had an hour of fun. If your children don't want to attend the supervised sessions, there are times throughout the day when you can use the Play House as a family. We did this twice. Inside there is a Silly Science Lab where you can carry out experiments, a Kitchen area and an arts and crafts area. They had lots of children's books, beanbags and things to play with.

There was also a teenage area - they had some computers, a table football game, a couple of slot machines and air hockey machine.

The sports hub offered a lot of activities for children too - football tournaments, tennis coaching, archery sessions and more. They had a water based activity every day too - our 9 year old tried water walking and sea scooters. The sea scooters were particularly fun - the children were whizzing around underwater holding these, acting like James Bond.

At the back of the hotel, just off the coastal path is a lovely playground area. It is right next to the sea, the views are amazing and is a great place to play. It does not actually belong to the hotel, but was never busy when we went there. They have climbing apparatus, swings, slides and more.

One of the days during our stay was wet and stormy. This is supposedly very unusual and almost unheard of for this area. The hotel staff were fantastic though. They organised children's movies to be shown all day in the big theatre, as well as different games sessions. Our son took part in Hallowe'en games which were a lot of fun.

In the evenings, there was a children's show every night - Play House Live. It was described to be a bit like Saturday morning children's television. The presenter on stage was a bit zany and wacky, sometimes they had a pop band, there was a quiz every evening and it was all very lively and lots of fun.

In addtion to this, every evening in one of the rooms just off the main square at the hotel, they had a "family lounge area." There was a huge inflatable climbing wall, a bouncy castle, arts and crafts area and a giant screen showing children's movies. Parents were in charge of supervising their own children. There were tables and chairs for parents to sit, drinks were served and it was a great place for children to let off steam after dinner, meet their friends while their parents relaxed over a drink.

We thought the facilities for children at the hotel were first class. The main judge though was our 9 year old, who declared this hotel and all the things to do here, made this the best holiday he had ever had!!

Evenings at the Hotel

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Joy S on December 6, 2012

There is so much on offer to do at this hotel during the day - for children, adults, sporty types, couch potatoes - something for absolutely everyone. This continues into the evening too - there are evening shows for adults and children, lively bars, a disco and plenty of quiet places to just relax and have a drink and enjoy the warm evening air.

There are numerous bars dotted around the hotel. The main indoor bar has a DJ playing chill-out music most evenings. We were particularly taken with some of the seating at this bar - enormous 4 poster type beds, where you could lounge with your drink. Very unusual and great fun.

Outside there are several more bars. There is a piano bar - the indoor area with the pianist is for adults only. The resident pianist plays every night and is sometimes joined by a singer for part of the evening. There are seats outside where you can hear the music and families can use these. Beside the piano bar is the disco/nightclub - again obviously for over 18 year olds.

There is a very cool and trendy champagne bar, just beyond this is the Ocean Bar. This was one of our favourite places. It overlooks the ocean, has lots of unusual seating too - from the conventional tables and chairs to other swinging chairs and more. It is a lovely setting, and every evening at about 9.15, there was entertainment for about half an hour. On our first evening it was 2 couples dancing - one couple were UK champion ballroom dancers, the other was a Latin dancing couple. The rest of the time it was singers from the resident cast.

The main "square" area at the back of the hotel is called the Plaza Atlantica. There are lovely places to sit and have a drink all around the square and huge fountains in the middle. Every evening, at 9pm, 10pm and 11pm the lights dim, the fountains stop for a couple of minutes, then the dancing fountains show starts. This is lovely - a mixture of dancing fountains, music and lights.

For children there is the Playhouse Live show every evening (except Fridays). This starts at 8.00pm in the main theatre indoors. It is fun, frantic and lively. They have dancing, a resident pop band, a zany presenter, competitions etc.. This lasted about an hour.

Later on in the evening, in the same theatre as the children's show, there is a show at 10.00. It lasts about 45 minutes. The shows were mainly West-End type shows performed by the resident cast. Every show we saw was excellent. The cast are very talented, the costumes were spectacular and the stage sets were wonderful. It was all extremely professional. The only slight problem was our 9year old tended to fall asleep before the end of the show - a 10.00pm start was just a little too late for him.

The shows included "Wickedly Broadway" a show with songs from famous musicals including Wicked, Phantom, Jersey Boys and Les Miserables. This was our favourite show. We also enjoyed Rocket Man (a tribute to Elton John) and the Take That Masquerade Ball. We were there for 14 nights and did not see the same show twice.

A couple of times a week, they fly in tribute acts from the UK - we saw a very good Michael Jackson tribute show. There were also classical musicians and other contemporary acts. We watched the most amazing Chinese acrobats and a wonderful tenor. Again there seemed to be something for all tastes.

In the Plaza Atlantica, between 7pm and 10pm every evening they opened the "Family Lounge." There was an area for parents to relax with a drink, children could use the bouncy castle, climbing wall, watch a movie or join in with arts and crafts.

Both weeks we stayed at the hotel, on Thursday, they had a little market in the main square in the early part of the evening. There were about 20 stalls with local people selling craft products, wines, local foods etc.. It was very nice and quite good.

So, just like in the daytime, the evenings in this hotel meant you were spoilt for choice - everything from a glitzy, glamourous show to chilled out nights listening to music under the stars.
Hotel Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora
Urbanización La Jaquita, Avenida De Los Océanos, S/n
Alcala, Spain, 38686
922 86 90 00

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