The Hotel Bahía Príncipe at the Costa Adeje
Holiday in the fairyland - this was my first thought when I saw the colourful little houses and the pool - landscape of the hotel complex of Bahía Príncipe. This new hotel complex of 4,5 stars was opened to the public since 3 weeks when I was there for two weeks in January 2002. So, have good fun by reading my detailed report of two dream weeks in the Hotel Bahía Príncipe.
General things about the hotel
If one drives on the southern motorway from the capital or is coming from the Aeropuerto Tenerife Sur around the southern tip of the island, this tip ends in Adeje, from which a little road leads down to the Costa Adeje. There, one finds some hotel and appartment complexes spread around, thereunder the huge complex of the Hotel Bahía Príncipe.
The hotel complex that was opened in December 2001 belongs, with 4,5 stars, to the upper class hotels of those who spend their holidays in Bahía Príncipe have everything included. Due to the reason that in Tenerife there are not many all inclusive hotels,neither there are many hotels with more than 4 stars, the Bahía Príncipe is something unique of the island. In the complex, there is a club atmosphere that is known from the north African countries or in the hotel complexes in the Caribbean: each guest needs a bracelet that allows him to an unlimited consumption of food and beverages.
In the hotel complex there are more than 900 beds, mostly in double-bedrooms but also in the appartment. Nearly 300 staff members take care of the guests. The whole complex is so huge, that one nearly needs 10 minutes to get from one end to the other. As the complex is practically isolated from the external world, a little village was arranged in the middle of it with shops, bars, hair dressers, ect.
Although the hotel is located right at the sea, the hotel has not an own beach. Neither there is a beach close-by that can be accessed in an easy and quick way. Thus, one only baths in the wonderful pools. Those who have not a rented car but sometimes do want to have a bath in the beach, are taken for free from the hotel with a mini bus to Playa de las Américas.
Those who spent their holidays at the Bahía Príncipe should definetely rent a car, unless they are satisfied with the diversified possibilities that are offered in the hotel complex. There are enough parking places at the hotel. Cars can be rented straight in the hotel in the nizza-cars, also only for a couple of days. Those who are good walking can be in an hour in Adeje. But it is more comfortable to take the hotel shuttle to Playa de las Américas. From there, many public buses depart that can take one into nearly every spot of the island.
The pool landscape
If there is no real beach for bathing, then, at least, the swimming pools have to offer everything what the heart of a seadside vacationer desires. And it really does: I have never lived in an hotel in which I found so big and beautifully arranged swimming pools. In the hotel complex Bahía Príncipe there are two swimming pools, a children pool and a whirlpool.
From the three big pools, each one is bigger than many ones in other hotels. For me, as an enthusiastic swimmer, it was the first time that I really could do swimming sports in the pool of an hotel, as one can really do some lengths and/or laps without banging any 10 seconds at an edge of the swimming pool. Considering the abundance of good food, it was also absolute essential to burn some calories by swimming from time to time.
The most fascinating is the lower pool from which one has, on one side, a straight view to the sea (as a result, the pool is called Piscina Del Mar), on the other side with good weather conditions the Teide is shining in the background. Unfortunately, the pool is not heated, so that one has really to burn out oneself by doing sports in order not to freeze to death. But consequently to the cold water it is guaranteed that maximum one more person except oneself is also swimming in the pool. Unfortunately, the water of the whirl pool is also not heated, so that it was practically never occupied.
Big swimming pools also have, of course, a disadvantage: they are very hard to keep clean. So, in the course of my holiday, a sand cover accumulated at the bottom of the swimming pool that the pool staff could not really handle despite of numerous cleaning actions.
Much more beautiful than the pools was the pool landscape itself. There are so many deck chairs, that each of the guests had a guaranteed place, even if they arrived at noon time. For me, there is nothing worse than having to reserve a deck chair in an hotel in the morning before having breakfast in order not to have to abstain from it later; What is brillant in Bahía Príncipe is that for each taste, there is a respective place to be: those who are not interested in the pool landscape lie straight at the seaside and only see the sea and the horizon in front of them.
Those who want to lie straight at the pool, for example in order to keep an eye on their children, they will not need to be more than 2 metres distant from the water; Another one optimizes his deck chair maybe according to the fact that there are only 30 metres way to the bar. The next one probably looks for a shady or a windless place; there are also enough of such places. There are also enough parasols.
Each guest gets per day a big bath towel. Here, there is a big chaos: in order to get the towels, one has to subscribe and bring them back before 5 p.m. Of course, there are queues shrortly before 5 p.m. and many would prefer to lie in the sun. As after 5 p.m. it is not possible to return the towels, one has willy-nilly to wait until the next morning with the consequence of partly not getting a towel at all, as in the previous evening it was not possible to wash all of them. What a pity!
The hotel rooms
The most important thing in an hotel is, of course, the hotel room itself. All rooms are very big and spacious and have either a balcony or a terrace. Nearly all rooms have a view to the sea. But the good romms are at the pool side. There is a fantastic view with the pool landscape in front of it and the sea at the background.
Apart from the double beds, all rooms have an extra table with chairs, either in the room as also in the terrace. The bath rooms are very spacious and there are enough towels. What I also liked was that I had a TV straight in front of the bed with nearly all important german channels, so that during the holidays I did not miss to be informed what happened in my home country.
But for me, the most important element of an hotel room was deficient: the bed. Instead of a real double bed there were two single beds positioned together, that got separated by the least nudge. Thus, there was always an unpleasant ditch between the beds. Additionally, the beds were not comfortable at all. Instead on a slatted frame, the matresses were simply put straight away on wooden frame. In this concern, I definetely expected something better of a 4,5 stars hotel.
All rooms are air conditioned, but it is not very useful, as one only gets light and air condition by putting the door keys in a special switch. Thus, the room can't be cooled while one is having dinner. If one is in the room, it is not possible to use the air conditioner, as it blows straight into one's face. thus, spending a night with the activated air conditioner leads inevitably to get a cold.
Unfortunately, my stay was marked by many power blackouts, so that even during the daytime it was not possible for me to use the air conditioner. If one left the window opened at night in order to get some fresh air, one was sounded by the unbearable noise of two power generators that were stationed in a distance of only 50 metres from the hotel.
The room was daily cleaned and not only 6 times per week, as in many other hotels! The room staff was very friendly and careful. unfortunately, the chambermaids were hopelessly overstrained with the number of bedrooms. Thus, I often had to wait until 5 p.m. until my room was done. This was annoying, as during the whole day the room was not done and at the time when one came back from the pool it was not possible to enter it because the service what there at that time.
But there is one thing I would never had expected, even in the case of all inclusive: there was a mini bar in the room from which one could take some refreshments, beer and crips. The mini bar was refilled every day and it was also included in the price. Thus it was really pleasant to have the possibility to open a cold beer in the evenings in the room or to simply take two bottles of chilled water from the mini bar for an excursion.
The food, the restaurants
The hotel complex Bahía Príncipe has 4,5 stars. But I give, without any curtailment, 5 stars to the cook and/or the cooks, as the abundance and quality of the food offered every day must have been prepared by a herd of excellent cooks and kitchen helps.
Already in the morning, one is spoiled with a giant breakfast buffet. Warm meals in all variants, sausages or vegetables, cheese and cold cuts boards, tasty tortillas and individually prepared omelettes, there was everything what can be wished for breakfast. Of course, there were also cereals (müsli), different kinds of bread, croissants, sweet goodies, cake, fruit and different fruit juices.
Everything was very tasty arranged and carefully prepared. But unfortunately, I tasted in this hotel one of the most disgusting coffee ever, thus the day when there was no coffee from the coffee pot available but from the automat. After some strong protests from my side and also from the other guests, this was, thank god, a single case. I found it impressive how the client's wish was immediately respected.
The restaurant where one usually has breakfast is called El Mirador (viewpoint) Normally, one has also lunch and dinner in this restaurant. additionally, there are three restaurants à la carte: the italian Portofino, the spanish Casa Bonita and the fish restaurant Vistamar. Each guest is allowed to have lunch or dinner once per week per restaurant.
In the "common" restaurant El Mirador, there was daily an excellent lunch and dinner. One had the choice between several kinds of fish and meat. The very best meat was bought: it was fresh and without fat. I never had such good meat in an hotel before. There were daily three different pasta dishes as of course also a giant paella. And those who did not want to have the food of the buffet, they could ask for getting an individually prepared, juicy steak.
But the starters were already excellent and after them I was often already stuffed: the different fish salads and soups were too good. Of course, one could eat as much as wanted. And at the end, one somehow had to try the desserts: whether it was fruit salad or a cheese board, there was everything one's heart desired. But the most delicious were the little dessert tart pieces that were cut to palatable cubes and consisted on up to 7 layers. Every day there were new variants of them and one tasted better than the other.
After so much praise, some criticism is justifiable: there was wine, beer and other drinks ad infinitum with the meals. But unfortunately, during my stay it happened only once that I got some more wine poured in my glass without having asked for that. In this concern, I already have experienced a better service in 3 stars hotels. I also missed a good coffee with the dessert. Indeed, the coffee was also included in the price, but at the bar, not in the restaurant.
During my stay I went two times to the italian, the spanish and the fish restaurant. But this had definitely nothing to do with à la carte, as most of the times there was a common buffet. I always really enjoyed the food in the italian restaurant. There was an excellent service, fine pasta dishes and a delicious tiramisu as a dessert.
Both of the times I ate in the spanish restaurant and also in the fish restaurant I found it deterrent. In the huge restaurants, one sits at a wide distance from another, the atmosphere is sterile and cold. The food was good indeed, but never real joyment came up - neither in the case of the other guests. In order to have lunch/dinner in these restaurants that only opened 1 - 2 a week, one had to book in advance as there were not enough seats available. Thus, the emptiness that came up in this huge halls was even more frightening, what resulted to be also a disadvantage when one wanted to to call the waiter from a far distance, for example in order to get some more wine.
It only remains to say that at any day or night time, one could order pizza, burger and chicken in a snackbar; Particularly the pizza that was freshly prepared was so good that I often prefered it instead of having lunch at the restaurant. It still only remains to say that in the Canarian village of the hotel there is a further restaurant named "Rincón canario" but it is not included in the common all inclusive package. But there is one thing I really missed during the two weeks in Bahía Príncipe: a good ice cream. Unfortunately, there is even not a kiosk that sells good ice cream.
The drinks and the bars
What a pleasure for alcoholics and people who like to drink a lot: wine, beer, champain and cocktails ad infinitum! Thank god I have not seen anybody during my stay that made use of this free choice in great profusion. In the hotel complex, there are several bars at which one gets drinks during the whole day and during the whole night.
I cannot describe how pleasant it was to lie at one of the pools and be able to quickly tap a beer, a coke or a fresh beer. Words fail me also to explain what a pleasure it is to go after dinner to the lobby bar and have a good irish coffee, carajillo, a cognac or a further fresh beer; And if one ate too much, there was also the respective whyskey or vodka available.
The national cocktails are also inclusive. But what this means I didnt't learn until I tried two of them: th national cocktails are not those that we use to order in the bars of Germany, but 3 different sorts of friut juice with a shoot rum or a similar stuff. The real cocktails were all charged.
The service of the bars impressed me. There was the omnipresent chief waiter who always had an eye for an empty glass, there were some waiters who not only served one the drinks but also had time for a nice chat. And when I asked one of those nice waiters for a speciality of Tenerife, I got a tasty rum with honey served on the house - what a nice gesture! Of course, it was also not a problem to take a glass of champain or beer to the room.
But the bar system had a deficit: there was nowhere a card from which one could see what was really inclusive; To find that out was a real challenge during the first days and although I asked several times, I could only get the information by watching the other guests that were for a longer time there.
The hotel staff
Nearly 300 employees take care of nearly 1000 guests in Bahía Príncipe. The staff fufilled nearly every wish of the guests. As soon as one arrives to the hotel, the baggage is immediately taken by baggage porters. The young guys are also pleased to to explain some rules of the hotel and are always open for a nice chat. The staff was particularly helpful at the reception. I rarely experienced such a helpful hotel staff as I did there; No matter if it concerned the change of money, a problem with the car rental or a weather forecast, I got always immediately excellent help.
The office "Relaciones públicas" was a particularity, where one for example had to book the seats at the restaurants in advance. Here, every now and then, I could use the computer with internet access for a short time for free (a real internet zone as promised in the prospect was unfortunately not available in the hotel). In this office, the guests get some help, no matter what kind of need he has.
No matter if I was concerned with the room service, the reception, the pool personnel or a waiter I always had the feeling that everything possible was done to get the guest satisfied; I applaud to that!
During my whole stay I only became acquainted to a waiter who straight annoyed me 3 times extremely and who was having a go at me. I experienced that what is just about the limit 10 minutes after checking out when I still had to wait for an hour for the bus to take me to the airport. Again, this waiter treated me like a criminal when I asked for a glass of water at the bar. Although he already knew me, he refused to serve me a drink. I couldn't believe that after a dream vacation I suddenly was treated like a criminal. Blessedly, the chief bar keeper was not far; he knew that a good service must be also guaranteed until the last minute.
Thus, my tip is: if possible, check out as late as possible or take a drink in time before returning the wristband.
Organized activities, sports, entertainment
In the hotel complex, there is during the whole day up to the late evening a program of organized activities, so that each of the guests who never leave the hotel does not feel bored in any case. Of course, there are standard programs as sports in the early morning hours, dance classes or aerobic. But what was much more interesting to me were the special programs as a little trial course of diving or an introduction into wind surfing.
The children are also attended in an excellent way. After dinner, the children are sent to the kids disco where it is guaranted that each child gets sleepy eyes. While the kids frolic in the background, a live band played each evening at the hotel lobby for the adults. What is a daily highlight in the hotel is a water ball match. Therefore, two real goal nets are arranged and two team are determined. During this time of an hour, there is no calmness in the complex, as not only the players scream around like kids but also the spectators around the pool.
My favourite activity was to play a round of squash each evening. The hotel has an own squash court with an excellent floor and a good ventilation; Rackets can be borrowed for free. I cannot say how good it was to make some sports each evening before the big dinner and to refresh inoself afterwards in the pool.
According to the schedule the hotel should also have a sauna and relaxing area; but unfortunately there was nothing whatsoever about this. But who needs this in Tenerife...
The guests of the hotel
What kind of people do their holidays in a 4,5 stars hotel in Tenerife with everything included? For young party people, the hotel is much too posh and expensive; the age of the guests start at approximately 25 years and ends at the age of retirement. The complex is a paradise for families, as the children can have a good romp there. But it is also a paradise for young people that spend the day walking or with sightseeing in the island, as one is not attached to certain meal times and it is even possible to take some drinks and a snack for the walking.
What I really found positive is that the hotel is not completely in german hands. Vacationers of Germany, France, Spain, England and Holland are more or less equal. Additionally, there are sporadically some vacationers of Scandinavian countries and of Portugal. Thus, there is a mixed bundle of people from different nations.
Despite of the 4,5 stars, men in suits and fine styled women are fortunatrely rather an exception so that one as a normal person does not feel to get lost in an elegant society. Indeed, in the evenings, long trousers are deseired to be weared in the restaurants, but no one who ist dreeses with some airy short trousers will be excluded due to his way to dress. Thus, in the hotel complex there is a relatively relaxed and pleasant atmosphere among the hotel guests.
My two weeks vacation in the Hotel Bahía Príncipe was an absolute highlight of all my holidays until know; Even if there was some discomfort here and there (power blackouts, uncomfotable beds, bad service in the restaurants, noise at night), the comfort outweighs them (beautiful pools, excellent food, mini bar). The stay in Bahía Príncipe is unforgettable and will remind in my mind as a good thing to remember for a long time.
I recommend a vacation in the Bahía Príncipe to everybody. Me, I would come back any time if Tenerifa was the holiday destination.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz