Home from home: Family-friendly La Palma

It's hard to choose the prettiest of the seven major Canary Islands, but La Palma has a strong claim in terms of nature walks, romantic hideaways and dramatic scenery. It also does well in the family-friendly hotel stakes, thanks in part to the mammoth Hotel La Palma Teneguia Princess and Spa.

Technically speaking, it's actually two hotels; La Palma Princess and the Teneguia Princess. The complex's 625 rooms spreadeagle along a prime stretch of the Fuencaliente coastline, an area that traditionally enjoys warmer weather than the other parts of the island, thanks to its sheltered location offering protection from the north-east trade winds.

In many ways, this hotel sums up all that's good about family resort hotels in the Canary Islands. It's spread out, so there's never a feeling of jostling for elbow room, plus it gives adults and kids a chance to go their separate ways in a safe and quiet part of the island. Its location is well chosen, near La Zamora, the best cove out of a string of black volcanic sand beaches. It's also close to Los Canarios, a traditional fishing village surrounded by volcanic cones and vineyards, and fringed by pine forests climbing up ash-black slopes.

If the thought of black sand between your toes doesn't appeal, there's an artificial white beach back at the resort, tagged on to one of 12 swimming pools (only two of which are heated, incidentally). A hard-working team makes sure the junior family members are kept amused with an overflowing programme of fun and games. Sports competitions and exercise activities are also put on for adults looking to neutralise the effects of holiday bingeing at the five restaurants and seven themed bars.

Rare within the peaceful tranquillity of the "Emerald Isle", there's also a nightclub for the teens and teen-minded. And then there's the spa. Choose your weapon of indulgence chocolate, coconut oil or volcanic stones and let the battle of rejuvenation commence in a glass-walled palace of pampering.

It's the combination of contrasting factors that make this hotel ideal for family stays in La Palma: the surfeit of activities in tranquil surroundings; sub-tropical greenery colouring the stark, scorched earth; and sensuous spa facilities on an island of rugged drama.

Hotel La Palma Teneguia Princess and Spa, Carretera la Costa, Cera Vija 10, 38740 Fuencaliente, La Palma (00 34 922 425 500; princess-hotels.com ). Doubles from 81.99 per night.

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