GETTING back to nature doesn’t always involve 5am safari starts or nine-hour mountain hikes.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, it can be as easy as lounging on a Bali bed with a chilled bottomless sangria in hand.
That was exactly how I was, a couple of weeks ago, when I spotted several whales off the coast of Tenerife.
OK, I had been squinting through my mum’s binoculars for a good 30 minutes, but nonetheless, there I was realaxing beside the pool, watching the animals breaching the waters south of the island.
Whales aside, it felt remarkable I was even lying there in my swimming costume in early November, a mere three hours and 40 minutes’ flight from the UK, given the torrential downpours we’d experienced in London before our trip.
The weather forecast said 25C every day but it felt more like 30C.
My mum, and I had packed three jumpers each for ourselves and my three-year-old son — and they never left the suitcase.
Yes, my pre-schooler was there. For despite unlimited cocktails and millennial-style sun loungers, this wasn’t an adults-only hotel.
Infact the Hotel Landmar Costa Los Gigantes was the most kid-friendly place I’ve ever been to.
We were staying in one of the Landi suites, the most popular of the hotel’s rooms — with a living room, balcony and bedroom that could easily sleep two adults and two children on camp beds.
But their huge selling point is the added extras that come with the room.
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Depending on the age of your child, it will be stocked with items like changing tables, baby toys, bottle warmers — or in the case of my son, a potty, circus tent, blackboard, some snacks and a mini dressing gown and slippers.
Outside of the room, I was seriously impressed by little details to make parents’ lives easier, including free swim nappies and a self-service laundry area.
Equally friendly is the night-time silence — the suite’s thick walls, windows and doors meant we heard no noise in the night. Just as well given the amount we packed into each day.
As well as two large pools, two kids’ paddling pools, a water slide, a soft play area, a zip wire, a splash zone, a beach volleyball court and an astroturf football pitch, there is a decent arcade, with enough games to interest everyone from age two to 18.
If you want some grown-up time, there is a kids club daily, with a number of activities and the occasional appearance from the hotel’s mascot — a giant turtle called Landi.
Landi must be the hardest working turtle in Tenerife, because he’s often entertaining children by the pool, at the kids’ club and then he has a starring role in the nightly shows in the hotel’s theatre.
There is two hours of family-friendly entertainment every night, starting with a kids’ mini disco and followed by a more structured show — our favourite was the Disney showtunes, which featured performances by characters from Frozen, Aladdin, Beauty And The Beast and more.
If that sounds more like hell on earth than a good time, there is more grown-up-friendly entertainment in the bar area (where the magic never-ending sangria tap can be found), from either DJs or singers.
Grown-up time stretches to the spa and the gym too, which has an excellent panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Landi also hosts an early kids’ tea on Saturday evenings, although we skipped that in favour of the buffet.
This had a decent array of canapes, starters, mains and puddings to keep you happy for a week, including local Canarian delicacies of Papas Arrugadas aka “wrinkled potatoes” and red mojo sauce.
The breakfast is good too, we worked our way around all of the stations which offered plenty of freshly cooked choices.
The two a la carte venues feature Italian and grill options, but they’re not as good as the buffet in terms of quality.
Outside of the hotel but within walking distance are several nice restaurants overlooking the local beach.
With such an extensive kids’ offering, it would be tempting to stick within the confines of the hotel, but that would be a great shame given all this Canary island has to offer.
Excited by our Attenborough-at-cocktail-hour whale sighting from the sun lounger, we signed up for a three-hour whale-and-dolphin-watching boat trip with Flipper Uno.
Its pirate-style boat would have impressed my son enough, but we got to see at least 20 pilot whales up close as we sailed the impressive Los Gigantes coast, including a mother and its two-week-old baby.
The marine conservation area between Tenerife and La Gomera is home to around 400 pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins year-round, allowing the tourist boats to offer a 100 per cent guarantee of a sighting.
There was also time for a paella lunch and dip in the sea on the way back to the harbour.
The sea is warm enough for a comfortable swim even in November, so the next day we headed back to the shore, unable to resist building sandcastles in the novelty black sand.
You could easily fill a week’s trip with visits to Tenerife’s key attractions.
Siam Park, the world’s best waterpark according to TripAdvisor, is a 20-minute car ride away.
For a more natural high, you can hike up the island’s Mount Teide, an active volcano that’s also Spain’s highest point.
There’s a cable car for those who don’t fancy a hike — or have little legs to deal with — and you’re rewarded at the top with astonishing views of the surrounding islands and the Atlantic.
And for another high, take a tour of Tenerife’s vineyards and wineries to sample the local wine.
Canarian wine might not be the current fashionable tipple here in the UK but it was loved by some of the world’s biggest names in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Two US presidents, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, were fans and it got mentions in three of William Shakespeare’s plays including Henry IV.
For such a small island, there is a wide range of reds and whites, some from vines that are centuries old.
It was so good, I took a couple home in my suitcase as an apology to my boyfriend, who was stuck in the office as we enjoyed island life.
Although from the amount my son has talked about black sand, pirate ships and whales since, it’s unlikely he’ll miss the next trip.
STAYING THERE: Landmar Costa Los Gigantes is offering a four-night all-inclusive stay from £299 per family, based on two adults, one child under one and one child over one sharing, arriving May 21, 2023.