The best way to get a feel for the Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora is to take a dip in its infinity pool — the longest in Europe.
Nestled between Tenerife’s famous Teide volcano and the Atlantic Ocean, the 400-metre-long saltwater oasis stretches the entire length of the resort, allowing for a leisurely swim tour of the hotel’s various poolside restaurants, gardens and Clarins Spa, as well as a daily workout. Cocktail breaks are highly encouraged – just use the ‘press for service’ buttons dotted along the water’s edge.
From its five gourmet restaurants to its top-notch Red Level offerings, here’s what else to expect from the popular Canary Islands resort.
Where is it?
Just four hours from London on the quieter west coast of Tenerife. It is only a ten minute drive from the resort of Los Gigantes (‘The Giants’), a must see for its huge rock formations. The Teide with its famous snow-capped peak is only an hour’s drive away.
Ditch any preconceptions about budget-conscious ‘Brits Abroad’ and think of the kind of opulent, exclusive luxury one would associate with hotels in Dubai or Marrakech. In fact, the hotel is designed as such, combining Andalusian elegance with grand Moorish touches.
The place is huge, so don’t expect a small boutique hotel feel, but come for expansive tropical gardens, opera nights in grand, sprawling halls, and sparkling pools overlooking the Atlantic.
Despite the 500 rooms, there’s still an exclusive, intimate feel — especially if you’re staying at the premium Red Level.
Each of the Gran Melia’s 500 rooms is contemporary in style, with cool, understated artwork and fresh, neutral tones. All come with soaking tubs, terraces, and high-speed WiFi, and there’s a wide range to choose from, from master suites with whirlpool tubs to beachfront villas with private pools. Try to snag one with a sea view and wake up to the sun rising over the two neighboring Canary Islands.
There’s a Red Level for adults or a Red Level for families, and all are particularly luxurious, with mahogany furniture, mood lighting, and prime views (there are villas with private pools for extended families). Perks include 24-hour butler service, valet parking, exclusive lounge areas for adults or families, an intimate Red Level restaurant, and a private pool, making it feel like a boutique hotel within a hotel. Ask a butler to run you a bath on your balcony before returning to your room.
The hotel has five restaurants and six bars offering a gourmet mix of international and local dishes, from sushi and teppanyaki to local seafood and traditional French chateaubriand.
La Terrasse by Jorge Peñate offers a selection of fresh fish and shellfish dishes and a tasting menu; The poolside restaurant, Oasis, serves Mediterranean cuisine and specializes in rice dishes. and the Red Level restaurant, Le Bistro Provençal, offers fine French dining by candlelight surrounded by floral arches. Order the goat cheese salad for starters and tarte tatin for dessert. The dining arrangement – sitting next to your partner – takes a little getting used to, but means you’re both facing the sea.
Breakfast is a buffet affair, accompanied by a harpist in the garden if you’ve upgraded to Red Level (the downside to al fresco dining is that a pigeon occasionally swoops in to disrupt the proceedings). Expect fresh fruit, pastries, cereal, yogurt, and juices, though some are running out, so get an early breakfast.
Dishes like Eggs Benedict and omelettes can be ordered to your table, and there are fun cute little extras like a honeycomb wall, brownies, and cakes. There’s champagne on offer if you like your morning fizz.
The hotel’s showpiece is its 5,000-square-foot saltwater infinity pool, the longest in Europe, with lots of fun features, from massage jets to shaded cabanas.
There are four other swimming pools, including an adult-only Red Level pool and one with slides for kids, all surrounded by lush tropical gardens with hot tubs, Balinese-style day beds, sofas, and sun loungers. The staff won’t bring you towels, as some guests may expect at a five-star resort, but there are plenty available to pick up at points throughout the resort.
Adjacent to the main infinity pool is the Clarins Spa, a 2,000-square-foot wellness paradise featuring the hotel’s only indoor pool and a comprehensive water circuit with sauna, steam room, and Turkish baths. Lockers are stocked with bathrobes, towels, and hats.
The location is a swimmer’s paradise – the hotel is right next to Playa San Juan’s main beach, so you can swim in the sea too – and fitness enthusiasts are also catered for. There’s a 24-hour gym, tennis courts, and everything from golf to bike trails on your doorstep: Rapha-clad cyclists are a common sight in the hotel lobby and on the scenic Teno Alto walking route and Cueva del Viento, one of the world’s largest lava flows Pipes are both close by. Many of Tenerife’s most popular golf courses are also around the corner.
As well as the fountains in the hotel’s opulent main hall, there’s nightly entertainment, from opera singers and live saxophonists to DJs and circus performers. There is a Mini Club and an Infant Park with water slides and climbing frames if you bring the kids.
What about Instagram
Bath time on your private balcony at sunset. Heaven.
Luxury seekers looking for a reliable sunshine. Multigenerational family vacations are popular here thanks to the villa option, but the most common guests are couples, from honeymooners to retirees on golf trips. Melia regulars tell me that the Red Level service is mostly worth it, but doesn’t compare to that of other Melia properties and certainly not on the same level as the Ritz-Carlton, Abama — the hotel’s main competitor down the street. Here at the Melia, there’s a queue at the bar for happy hour, which only offers four designated drinks. At the Ritz-Carlton, villa guests have all-day access to complimentary drinks and canapés.
how to get there
Flights are only four and a half hours from Heathrow and Gatwick, then a 30 minute taxi ride from the other end.
when should i go
Literally whenever, which is why Tenerife is so popular with Brits. Temperatures average 22 degrees Celsius year-round, so it’s reliably warm and sunny – even in January, the coldest month, you’ll struggle not to get a tan.
Rooms from £427, Av. de los Océanos, s/n, 38686 Alcalá, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, melia.com