Reliably hot, close to home and perfect for the kids, Costa Adeje, on Tenerife's south-west coast, ticks all the boxes for parents. It has plenty of four- and five-star hotels, too. Here is my choice…
I know I am entering risky territory here by offering a male perspective on the female gender... but here goes anyway. By my observation, mothers with small children look permanently exhausted and at the end of their tether. What they need is a week away somewhere that is (i) only a short flight away; (ii) almost certain to deliver hot weather; and (iii) guaranteed to have decent hotels. The resort of Costa Adeje, on the south-west coast of Tenerife, ticks all these boxes… with the added bonus that it is on the low-cost airline route.
I know people can be a bit sniffy about Tenerife (after all, it's not on the cultural glitterati trail) but I doubt many of those poor exhausted mothers care. All they have to do is introduce their kids to the pool – "Darlings, this is Pool; Pool, this is Samantha, Nial, Cameron [insert as appropriate]" – and they are off. You can pretty much leave them to it, provided (i) they can swim and (ii) they can be trusted to exit the pool and use the designated toilet facilities. Note, the latter is not normally a problem if they can do the former.
It is probably obvious by now that I am a fully signed up member of the Holidays Are For Lazing Club. For me, getting up to order a beer is a significant inconvenience – so the thought of hiring a car, dragging the kids out to it (to the usual howls of protest) and experiencing "the real Tenerife" is just too much. Besides, if you choose the right hotel, there will be a big book on the coffee table in your room with photographs of beauty spots, volcanoes and forests – along with the inevitable pearl jewellery factory producing stuff you wouldn't look twice at in the Argos catalogue. That is my way of getting up to speed on the local culture.
For a family of pool lovers like mine, the choice of hotel is what counts – and that is why we keep returning to Costa Adeje. For my kids, Easter time means Tenerife time. Twice we have stayed at the Costa Adeje Gran – and we have also checked out the Sheraton La Caleta and the Roca Nivaria (which is up the road a few miles, in Playa Paraiso). They are all five-star hotels – or at least that's what they claim.
By common consent in our family, the Sheraton La Caleta is the best of the three – by a long way. This place has space – oodles of it – and it is a true relaxation hotel. Kids are pretty well catered for, except there is no children's disco. The hotel is aiming for an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, so a kids' disco doesn't quite fit the bill. However, there are inevitable consequences. Deprive the children of evening entertainment, and what do they do? Sit nicely on your lap, sipping water, reading a book? Or gather together like lost souls, then swarm around noisily to the distress of the management and the amusement of the waiters? If you think it is the former, I can only assume you either don't have children or you carry around large doses of Ritalin.
The Costa Adeje Gran is nominally a five-star, too – but you have to ignore the decor. The rooms look like they haven't been decorated for a while (which they haven't) but the hotel is fine for the price. Spend some time trawling for special offers and you will bag a pretty cheap deal. The food is OK, but make sure you eat early when the restaurant is still sedate. After 9pm, it gets busy and starts to feel like a canteen. Staff are pleasant – ie, good with the kids – but while there is a children's disco, they haven't changed the tunes they play in four years. What does that tell you? That the Head of Entertainment is too important to worry about it.
Finally, the Roca Nivaria is very nice – and when we were there three years ago, the staff were attentive and the management were crawling all over the place (which is good). Having said that, it had only just opened – and I don't know if there is still the same attention to detail. The problem with the Roca is outside – as in outside the hotel. While nearby Costa Adeje is by and large free of beer guts, tattoos (or at least no Bull Dogs or Millwalls) and stag/hen parties, Playa Paraiso (where the Roca is) is a different kettle of fish.
In addition to those above, Costa Adeje has many other five- and four-star hotels – including the Gran Bahia del Duque, which never seems to get a good write-up on Trip Advisor but is certainly expensive. There, you can also do some celebrity-watching when you go for a stroll by the beach. I even spotted a star from Coronation Street – so there you go. If it's good enough for the stars of Corrie…