Tenerife (review published 2013)

You may not know the name but there’s a chance you’ll recognise the place.
The family-friendly Luabay Costa Los Gigantes hotel in Tenerife is the location for a long-running TV ad by all-inclusive specialist First Choice.
Featuring the Flo Rida track Good Feeling, the minute-long promo aims to sell the “feelgood” factor you get when going all-inclusive.
A family goes from home to plane to hotel in a dream-like celebration amid much high-fiving and cheering from friends, fellow customers and First Choice staff.
Having spent a week at the Luabay Costa Los Gigantes with my wife and two-year-old daughter, I can see why it was chosen to illustrate all that’s good about the holiday company.
Located on the fringes of the dramatic Los Gigantes cliffs, the hotel has been rated as “excellent or good” by 96% of First Choice guests.
Every one of its 500 rooms is a spacious suite with a twin/double bedroom and living area with sofa bed, plus a balcony or terrace with sea views (some of them better than others).
The view from our balcony was almost identical to the closing scene in the TV ad – across a pool to the neighbouring island of La Gomera.
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Luabay Costa Los Gigantes hotel in Tenerife
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All the suites have two satellite TVs, a safe and a minibar which is refilled every couple of days with two Cokes, two beers and bottled water.
The sprawling hotel complex boasts three heated pools (one of them with a water slide) plus two paddling pools and there is a daily activities programme.
Guests are able to help themselves to beer, sangria, wine, pop and tubs of ice cream at the poolside bars, one of which also serves up late breakfasts, hot lunches and snacks.
There are two more pools in the impressive spa and beauty centre, the larger of which features several “stations” for neck and back massages.
I found the smaller, saltwater flotation pool wonderfully relaxing, especially as I was the only one in there and could lay back, eyes closed, without fear of bumping into anyone.
Less relaxing was the “bucket speciality shower” which involved the automatic filling of a bucket with ice cold water which was then emptied over my head.
Takes all sorts, I suppose.
Sporty guests can choose from tennis, table tennis, football, tenpin bowling and a gym where you can scan the ocean for dolphins while pounding a treadmill.
If children get bored of the pools there’s a playground, a soft play area, a cinema, a games room and a kids’ club.
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Luabay Costa Los Gigantes hotel in Tenerife
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Adults and children can also challenge themselves on the new high ropes course. It’s no Go Ape but it was still too scary-looking for me.
I cowardly claimed it wasn’t for someone who had scrimped on his family’s travel insurance (a bargain £9 with Virgin, not including lost luggage cover).
Evening entertainment was family-focused and during our stay included mini-discos, a parrot show, a birds of prey display and scaled down musicals.
But the star of the show was always Luby, the sun-faced Luabay mascot, who was hounded within an inch of his life by hordes of screaming children every night.
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners were a daily delight but there was always so much choice that I spent an eternity deciding which dishes to try.
The solution was to have a little of everything then go back for some more.
Yes, my belly was experiencing the feelgood factor of going all-inclusive – three times a day.
There was a no shorts rule at lunch but this was largely ignored, and rightly so.
Speaking of rules, it was also forbidden to leave towels on sunbeds, yet most of the prime poolside positions were taken before breakfast.
Yes, the hotel was popular with German holidaymakers, but I have to admit that the main culprits appeared to be British.
Oh, the shame of it.
Having said that, even though the hotel was full during our stay there were still plenty of sunbeds to choose from.
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Volcanic black sand at Playa de la Arena
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The nearest beach is in the small town of Playa de la Arena, just a five-minute walk from the hotel’s gates, although the return journey takes 10 minutes because it’s a pretty steep hill.
Made of black volcanic sand, the beach is small – Usain Bolt could probably run its width in less than 20 seconds – and shelves steeply which makes for some dramatic, crashing waves.
The promenade features a variety of shops and bars, including, inevitably, one called Paddy’s – the obligatory Irish theme pub.
But I wasn’t tempted to pull up a stool and sup a Guinness. Not when there was free booze back at the hotel.
Sadly, just when we were getting used to indulging ourselves, it was time to leave the Luabay Costa Los Gigantes.
But what a great week. And I’ve a good feeling you’ll enjoy going all-inclusive there, too.
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Tenerife Top Five
  • MOUNT TEIDE: The one million-year-old volcano is the third largest in the world and at 12,000ft is Spain’s highest peak. You can walk through the lunar-like lava fields to the summit or cheat and catch the cable car.
  • SIAM PARK, PLAYA DE LAS AMERICA: One of the biggest waterparks in Europe, it’s bursting with exciting slides, lazy rivers and beaches, with a Far East theme. One vertical slide takes you through a shark-filled aquarium.
  • LORO PARQUE, PUERTO DE LA CRUZ: Originally a parrot park (there are still 1,400 of them) the tropical gardens are now home to gorillas, tigers, giant tortoises, an acclaimed Orca whale show and the largest population of penguins outside Antarctica.
  • PYRAMIDS OF GUIMAR: These three mysterious, six-stepped stone structures are more Mayan than Spanish yet they were built before the Americas were even on the map.
  • LA GOMERA: Tenerife’s nearest neighbour, this unspoilt island boasts a UNESCO-protected national park, an historic capital city and jaw-dropping views of Mount Teide.
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Travel file
Adrian was a guest of First Choice at the Luabay Costa Los Gigantes hotel in Tenerife. The hotel is a 40-minute private transfer from the airport.
A seven-night, all inclusive, winter sun break in November, based on two adults sharing, costs from £499 per person.
Visit www.firstchoice.co.uk for details.
For general tourism advice click here
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