Gluten free at Abama Hotel Tenerife

With a  multitude of food intolerances holidaying at a Hotel for me is a very daunting thought. Something I’d almost rather not consider.  But after a tough year with health issues and a house move we really felt we needed a break away. A break where we both had complete relaxation , no cooking or worrying about what to eat.

My husband had heard good things about the Abama in Tenerife . A Ritz Carlton Hotel in Guia de Isora . After a little persuassion we booked a week in the winter sun.

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Abama Hotel

In advance we emailed the food and beverage manager at the hotel . Giving a hotel advanced notice I think is a good idea, whether you are gluten free due to having coeliac disease or a dairy intolerance or like me a long list of foods I have to avoid. The restaurants then have time to make sure they can be fully prepared.

I felt far calmer about the holiday once the email was sent and a reply had been received. My husband researched all the restaurants at Abama and pre booked every night before we flew. Abama has two Michelin star Restaurants , neither was something we felt we needed to try , although I’m sure they are amazing . With so much other choice we knew we would eat well . We chose to go half board to get the best deal.

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Restaurants –

La Miramar – locally sourced Seafood restaurant / Breakfast venue for Villa guests

Verona  – Italian

20/20 Steak house

TXOKO – Traditional Spanish

Beach club restaurant

Los Chozos – Bar and restaurant ( not visited )

La Casa club ( not visited )

Sports bar ( not visited )

Lobby bar

M.B – Michelin star restaurant ( not visited )

Abama Kabuki – Japanese fusion Michelin star restaurant (not visited )

 

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and after checking in we were met by the Executive chef and we were given a glass of Cava . He instantly made me feel at ease about my week at Abama . Opening up his laptop he took more notes as I chatted him through my list including onions, garlic, paprika, chilli’s, yeast including wine & vinegar and Gluten . He was so reassuring making notes in both english and Spanish to send to all the restaurants. A fantastic start!

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Our villa

Our first meal was lunch at the beautiful beach side restaurant local fish grilled with the softest mash , just perfect alfresco dinning in a relaxed atmosphere. In the evening we ate at the Seafood restaurant overlooking the sea. With the weather in Tenerife warm enough to sit outside with heaters just like a UK good summer. We enjoyed a salt crusted Sea bass with traditional Tenerife style potatoes and vegetables.

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stunning view from our villa

Day 2 was our first chance to experience breakfast on the veranda of La Mirabar Alfresco this restaurant is for Villa guests only . A big plus for me, close to our villa and views straight out to the sea and the island of La Gomera. At 9am in the morning it was warm enough to sit outside with just a cardigan. From the very first minute I felt like a very special guest . Post it notes were on all our bookings and every day I was told reasuringly that they were informed about my intolerances. There was a huge buffet but also an a la cart menu Which I chose from every day. Sometimes asking for things off menu which the chef was happy to provide . Delicious omelettes , poached eggs, salmon bacon, avocado etc.

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Stunning views at breakfast

They struggled to understand that I couldn’t eat the gluten free bread and rolls and occasionally offered it to me. The good thing was I was able to have a look at what was on offer and the gluten free rolls etc looked really nice. I also noticed that lactose free milk was available and soya milk was available at the buffet. Plenty of fresh fruit as you would expect and hams and cheeses were on offer. I had these brought directly from the kitchen rather than the buffet to avoid the cross contamination .

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Alfresco breakfast in January

Our evening was spent at the steak restaurant 20/20 This restaurant is up at the hotel a steep walk or a 5 min buggy ride away. The waiting staff here were a little slow but on the whole it was a fine meal of Spanish cheese and Iberian ham , Steak and gluten free fries and a creme brûlée . It reminded me of eating at Côte.

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20/20 Steak house

Our third Evening was spent at the Amazing Spanish restaurant our favourite . The waiting and front of house team were exceptional The surrounding were lovely an indoor restaurant up at the hotel again but very Spanish in feel and just that extra bit special. The food was a real treat the best aged Iberian ham I have ever tasted along with some good quality Manchego cheese .

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Aged Iberian ham and Manchego cheese

My main course was some beautifully cooked fish with crispy skin , steamed veg and fries made specially for me in separate oil . Gluten free desserts are always more difficult to find on a menu it seems. But here I was offered the most incredible Spanish decadent rice pudding I had ever tasted with a brûlée style topping . At the end of the meal unexpectedly the wonderful Chef came out to be introduced and shook our hands . I’m sure the other customers thought we were very special , they made such a fuss of us.

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Decadent sweet rice pudding

Days were spent by the adult only pool very close to our villa looking out to sea and beyond to La Gomera , With complimentary water and fruit there was no need to move at all, or pay out for lunch  .

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January winter sun

Just plenty of time for absorbing some much needed vitamin D and reading some gentle books . Perfect for improving your mental health and completely switching off from all the pressures of life. The pool staff were attentive and friendly the pool area was very clean and quiet . The water was 24 degrees perfect for a little light exercise . There was a bar on site for tapas style lunches and a cheeky drink.

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The Adult only pool

Day 4 we had booked to eat at 20/20 again but as we were not over enamoured with the quality of the food we changed to the Spanish restaurant where we knew we would eat like Kings. It might sound strange but I had virtually the same meal as i’d had the night before. Being a Spanish restaurant the majority of main courses contained onions and garlic etc  But I was quite happy having more beautiful fish and this time special mash made for me by the chef in advance as he had asked on our last visit if there was anything he could make for me specially . The rice pudding the night before had been so amazing an even though there was other choices apart from fruit . I couldn’t resist ordering it a second time. So sweet and creamy it somehow felt very homely and comforting . Although I’ve never eaten quite such an amazing rice pudding in the UK.

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A very memorable evening meal was the special Paella the chef created at La Miramar

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Chef created a special paella just for me

Our final evening was spent at the Italian restaurant at the hotel, This restaurant did have gluten free pastas available , but I chose some lovely fish and fresh veggies followed by a delicious raspberry panna cotta .

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If you are thinking of spending a week on Tenerife, I can recommend a drive up the volcano Mount Teide , the scenery is absolutely stunning and surprised me enormously.

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view from the volcano

The small coastal villages are beautiful as are the historic inland villages like Garachico with quiet squares for people watching and welcome shade in the heat of the day.

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Garachico

The hotel we stayed at was really lovely and I can definitely recommend . I would particularly recommend a villa rather than a hotel room . It has the edge on the hotel and feels just that little more special.  Our room was clean , nicely decorated and had the most stunning views from our balcony.

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Family pool and our villa

Well worth a stay if you are celebrating a special birthday or anniversary . Just be aware the hotel is on a hill , with relatively steep slopes and numerous steps around the resort. There is though a team of drivers to taxi you around in golf buggies ( allow 15mins plus ) , a resort train to take you to the beach and hotel.

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resort train

and a funicular railway down to the golden sand beach .

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View of the beach

We had a fabulous time, and would definitely return, when we’ve saved up !

its certainly not a cheap holiday but for a special occasion you can’t go wrong.

Happy Holidays !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family wedding in Hong Kong

Thursday 25th April was a very special day for our family. My husbands brother Phil was to marry his girlfriend Katy at the Renaissance Harbour view hotel in Wanchai, Hong Kong. Where Phil and Katy live and work.
The day started very early for my husband who was best man. Breakfast with the groom and ushers. Followed by a visit to the wedding hotel where they were set tasks by the bridesmaids to do various challenges. Feeding m&m’s with chop sticks, press ups with the groom on their backs and finally Phil had to woo his future bride in Cantonese. As a forfeit for not achieving all the goals the groom had to sing a song.
Then came the first of many tea ceremony’s to take place that day. The first one was for the brides parents. Following this the Bride and Groom came to our hotel where they served tea to the grooms parents and myself and my husband as elder siblings.

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Katy and her bridesmaids looked beautiful and it was a huge honour to be part of the ceremony. Katy wore a traditional Chinese wedding dress in gold and red, adorned with gold jewellery.

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After photo’s being taken in the foyer of our hotel, we all made our way to the Hotel in a minibus for a relaxed lunch with the brides parents. Following this the Bride and Groom travelled all over Hong Kong having pictures taken. The rest of us were able to go off for a rest and to prepare ourselves for the evenings celebrations.

Being very keen we arrived back to the wedding hotel an hour early so my sons and their girlfriends joined me for Pre drinks in the bar while the best man went off to help set up.

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The wedding was beautiful. We sat at our tables as Katy came in wearing a stunning white wedding dress, followed by her bridesmaids.
The registrar led the marriage ceremony and Phil and Katy made their promises to each other and gave each other wedding rings.

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The wedding was witnessed by 2 friends and it was announced that they were husband and wife. The wedding was a real East meets West with some traditionally Chinese parts and some familiar British ones. A relaxed family affair which brought me to tears for almost the entire evening.
A slide show was then shown of all the days events. That started me off again!

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A large buffet was set up for everyone and a special menu had been prepared for me which was stunning. Possibly the best wedding food I have ever had. The bride and groom had gone to so much extra effort for me, it was very kind.

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The evening finished with my husbands best man speech in English, and Cantonese by Herman the MC. Then the first dance by the Bride and Groom.
A day to remember forever!

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Photo’s were being taken all evening and within moments were being handed to us in beautiful envelopes. This was one of my favourites my grown up sons and myself. Made me cry again !

Long tail boat trip to Hong Island

Early on Sunday morning we went down to our beach at The Tubkaak Krabi boutique resort. Where we found 2 long tail boats ready to take us on an island hopping trip. The boats are traditional wooden boats with huge what look like car engines on the back to drive the propeller. We clambered on board using the rusty ladder and off we went. My husband and I in one, and our boys and their girlfriends in another. Looking back we think one would have been enough, but we were concerned about having enough shade.The boats left the shore and we were off. The noisiest engine ever!

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The trip to Hong Island took about 20 mins and we were the first people to arrive. It was about 8.20am. Well worth the early start, to really see the island at its best.

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The water was clear and the sand was the best I’ve seen in Thailand. There is a small cost to come to this island as it is a national park.
A huge array of fish were easy to spot in the sea and when the first tour boat arrived we saw even more!
The group had sensibly brought sliced white bread with them which they kindly shared with us.
The fish had a feeding frenzy. Eating straight out of our hands. Well I say our hands, I was a little freaked out and kept dropping the bread.

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We stayed on the island until 10am and by then large groups came and went. We were so thankful we were there so early. Would definitely go back if we get the chance one day. I would recommend.

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We then left and motored around the little islands until we came to another small beach where we snorkelled. Again very busy with motor boats this time but plenty of room to see more fish.

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We then climbed back on the boat and went off to our final island when we arrived it was so busy we decided not to anchor there, and made our way home.
A really perfect day. Well worth the 2000 baht for the boat. Second boat slightly cheaper.
Hope to return one day to Hong island and feed the fish. Hopefully I will be a little braver.

Visit to the Floating Market

We drove for about 1.5hrs on a minibus from Bangkok to a small canal were we boarded our long tail boat which would take us to the market.

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Soon we came upon boats floating up the canal selling various hot food and fruit. Thai silk, hats etc were sold on the banks from wooden stalls.

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We booked an English speaking guide to escort us and teach us about Thai culture. Andy was excellent and I would definitely recommend booking a guide. We were shown some great photo opportunities and we were able to get out of our boat and walk around the covered market too. I wasn’t brave enough to try any food there. But the food did smell delicious.
A must do, if you come to Bangkok. Exceeded my expectations!

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