For our next family holiday, we decided to stay at the 5* TUI SENSATORI Resort Tenerife. It was the first time that we had been back to Tenerife since Ian and I met on the island nearly 17 years ago so we wanted a hotel that was special and ticked all the right boxes needed for a luxury family holiday.
We initially looked at the Ritz Carlton Abama hotel but we saw a great deal with TUI that included our flights and transfers and made the booking on a full board basis. This was our first time at a TUI Sensatori hotel and had heard good things about Sensatori properties so we were looking forward to our stay here.
During the research process of choosing our Tenerife hotel we learnt that the TUI SENSATORI Resort Tenerife was actually a 5* Gran Melia hotel called Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora, it’s worth taking this into account regarding pricing as booking direct with Melia can sometimes work out cheaper than booking it as a package with TUI.
After our 4 hour flight from Bristol to Tenerife and a 50 minute transfer to the west of the island at Guia de Isora we arrived at our home for the next week.
The hotel dominates the seafront and is styled like a Moroccan palace set over several buildings with caramel coloured walls with the dormant Mount Teide volcano as its backdrop.
The Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora or TUI SENSATORI Resort Tenerife is considered as one of Tenerife’s most luxurious hotels and part of the luxury range of hotels offered by TUI and its Sensatori range.
This is reflected as soon as you walk through the doors into the gorgeous lobby with its marble floors, huge chandeliers and eye catching artwork and water features along with the beautiful scent that infuses the area.
We have stayed at many luxury hotels in Spain and this was one of the most impressive entrances, especially when you look out over the central Plaza Atlántica courtyard with views toward the Atlantic Ocean; we were all extremely excited to be staying here.
If you are looking for a small and intimate hotel then the TUI SENSATORI Resort Tenerife (Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora) is probably not the place for you, the hotel is big with 609 rooms, however the hotel does offer a Red Level for adults and families.
Think of the Red Level like a boutique luxury hotel within a hotel with the levels of service that you expect from a 5 star hotel with lots of added perks such as butler service, separate adults only pool and executive lounge. These rooms cannot be booked with TUI but can be upgraded directly with Melia before you arrive.
Tip – Download the free TUI Sensatori and Gran Melia app for information on daily events and hotel information.
We booked a deluxe room which had views over the gardens toward the ocean, but we switched rooms during our stay to a more luxurious 1 bedroom master suite (more on this later)
The interiors of the deluxe room are impressive, beautifully decorated with dark wood furniture and cool mood lighting above the bed. The rooms consisted of a king bed, sofa bed, small seating area and wall mounted TV and all the extras you would expect at a 5* hotel from bathrobes and slippers to evening turn down service.
We had a lovely welcome to the hotel with gifts for the girls and welcome champagne for us as it was a special occasion which was a really thoughtful touch from the hotel.
At 48 metres square the room would be more than big enough for a couple but for families it felt a little cramped. I am not a big fan of sofa beds for the girls and by default at the Gran Melia this is what kids are expected to sleep on and it was not the best quality. I would recommend asking for two extra single beds to be brought into your room like we did after the first night if you want your kids to have a good night’s sleep.
The large bathroom was modern and well-equipped featuring his and hers marble counter-top sinks, large mirrors, a deep bathtub, separate walk-in shower, plush towels, bathrobes and slippers.
One of my favourite things about the bathrooms at the Gran Melia were the Clarins toiletries – one of my favourites, however we would occasionally get Melia branded toiletries instead. Its little details like this that the hotel needs to get right because in the luxury market everything needs to be perfect.
1 Bedroom Master Suite
We moved rooms half way through our stay to one of the 1 bedroom master suites which are a much better option for families and one we would really recommend as its location was much closer to the family pool areas.
These rooms are a definite step up from deluxe rooms with a more contemporary style and much more space for a family of four. With a separate living room, dining table with small kitchen area, master bedroom and a huge bathroom it was pure luxury and a great way to spend the rest of our holiday at the Gran Melia.
We had great views of the ocean and the kids pool area from our large balcony and it was a great place to relax at the end of the day.
Pool and Gardens
What makes the Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora perfect for families are its amazing swimming pools, they are really impressive surrounded by beautiful and well maintained grounds.
On our first morning in Tenerife the girls were up bright and early as they couldn’t wait to dive straight into the pools and have fun.
We spent the majority of our time at the large family pool area which the girls in particular thought was terrific as they practiced their swimming, made friends with kids from around Europe and took part in the daily water challenges run by the entertainment team at the hotel.
Even though it was peak visitor season we never have had a problem with locating a sun lounger or umbrella at the pool as there were always plenty available (although for a luxury hotel they should really have been padded).
We loved the “Bali’ sun beds which can be hired at extra cost and added a little luxury to our time by the pool. Not only did we love the extra space and privacy but they also come with alcoholic drinks for adults and soft drinks for kids, snacks and a butler service as part of the package.
The huge saltwater infinity pool was the most impressive spanning nearly 400 metres along the front of the hotel. This was one of our favourite places to cool down especially with its water sunbeds and whirlpools and take in the views of the neighbouring island of La Gomera from the infinity pool.
For younger children was the pirate pool with water slides and a tipping bucket, which soaks everyone around it at timed intervals and was always a stop off for us as we returned back to our room at the end of the day.
For adults there are two adult only pools one of which was reserved for Red Level guests which looked a different level of luxury of poolside surroundings.
Because of the hotels seafront location, the black volcanic sand beach and rock pools was just a few minutes’ walk away along the landscaped promenade, accessed via a private entrance from the hotel. Even if you don’t intend on spending time on the beach its worth making the short walk to take in the views of the stunning cliffs of nearby Los Gigantes.
Our pool time was so relaxing and the girls enjoyed so much that they didn’t want to leave the pools at the Gran Melia. The only time we could coax them away was when we hired a car from the hotel for our visits to Mount Teide and Loro Parque – both of which I would highly recommend visiting when in Tenerife.
We stayed on TUI’s Sensatori full board package which included three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) along with as much alcoholic and soft drinks as we wanted with lunch and dinner. There are enough restaurants here to eat at a different one every day of the week, but only four restaurants are included in the full board plan as part of the Sensatori package.
The main buffet restaurant Pangea had an excellent selection of international dishes available, in fact it was one of the best we have experienced at a Spanish hotel especially for the children – the range of desserts was amazing the chocolate fountain was a lovely treat for Chloe and Holly.
It was at Pangea where we had a beautiful breakfast from the substantial offering each morning.
You are really spoilt for choice and the girls loved the freshly made Mickey Mouse themed pancakes to give them the extra energy needed for the amount of swimming they did each day.
The only disappointment was that service was very inconsistent and not what I would expect from a 5* hotel.
Market Grille was one of our favourite stops for lunch overlooking the magnificent infinity pool as was the Oasis pool grille – both of which were also available for evening meals.
Club Ocean offered delicious Italian food in a great setting, especially if you time your evening meal to watch the twice nightly illuminated fountains show that dance to Tchaikovsky in the main courtyard – it was like being back on Lake Bellagio in Las Vegas. The only difficulty can be getting a reservation here, so it’s worth booking well in advance with the Gran Melia concierge team which provided a more personal service than using the touch screen devices in the lobby.
Facilities and Entertainment
There’s plenty of nightly entertainment on offer at the Gran Melia and we enjoyed the acrobatic shows and live acts in the Atlas theatre.
The child friendly outdoor terrace next to Club Ocean had live musicians every evening with lots of comfortable seating areas. The best part of all was watching the sunset over La Gomera from this vantage point each evening, it was beautiful.
The huge central plaza was a hub of activity each evening, it was like a little village with shops and a weekly craft market.
Located off the main plaza was a dedicated kids area which had games consoles, bouncy castles and a mini disco – which is always a holiday highlight for both Chloe and Holly.
What I thought was great about the children’s entertainment here was the range of live shows on offer especially for kids – in fact we watched one of the best shows over the course of our stay here. Magician Oliver Van Damne was amazing and as Chloe was involved in the act it was one of the many memories made here at Sensatori.
For adults wanting a peaceful end to the evening Nemos Lounge looked perfect, it was a stylish adult only bar with resident pianist and one of the 7 bars available at the hotel.
The hotel offers everything that a family could want in one place for a holiday, whether it’s the pools, kids club, evening entertainment, spa and access to the beach.
If you are feeling energetic there was also a gym, archery, yoga and tennis courts available to guests and golf courses close to the hotel.
There was so much for all the family to do at the Gran Melia. The recreational facilities on offer really are extensive, which is why this hotel is such a popular option.
A personal highlight for me was Clarins Spa complete with a hydro thermal pool, herbal steam rooms, ice filled plunge pool, whirlpools and relaxation rooms – it really is a must do when staying at the hotel. It must be my influence on the girls but Chloe and Holly love a spa visit as much as I do. We even treated ourselves to an express manicure.
The hotel is in a remote location surrounded by banana plantations and in thbut that’s part of its charm. The local village of Alcala has some local shops and a little harbour while Los Gigantes was just a short drive or bus ride away.
The Gran Melia Palacia de Isora is an impressive luxury resort hotel that is really family friendly and if you are visiting Tenerife with kids there are few hotels that can rival this. The only flaw was that some levels of service during our stay were very inconsistent which was disappointing and not something we would expect from such a luxury hotel brand.
However any issues that we encountered were quickly resolved by the hotel management which we hope were isolated incidents as it was very busy during our stay with it being in peak season.
Even with these minor issues the Gran Melia Palacia de Isora is still one of our favourite luxury hotels in Spain and is highly recommended if you are looking for a family holiday in Tenerife.