Heavy building in the Seventies and Eighties imposed a lasting impression on many people. Developments, many of them timeshares, sprang up in southern Tenerife, where Playa de las Américas became a neon-lit centre for cheap and cheerful clubs and bars.
Tenerife has worked hard to temper this image. Five-star hotels have opened and planners have softened the concrete with bougainvillea and greenery. The infrastructure has improved and works well. BA has noticed the change. Last year it introduced regular flights, five a week, from Gatwick to Tenerife with a substantial, well-used Club section.
The average house price is £187,000 against a Spanish national average of £200,800. That buys a two-bedroom 1,200sq ft modern apartment near the beach in buzzy Los Cristianos or a three-bedroom terrace house minutes from El Médano, the hot spot for kite surfers. Engel & Volkers has a three bedroom villa built in 1999 with private pool for sale by the Adeje golf course for £576,700.
From £539,380: flats, plots and villas at Abama Golf & Spa Resort, where adult-only Tagor Villas, are part of the range of accommodation on offer
GREAT SPORT, FINE FOOD
Tenerife has nine golf courses, all but two in the more developed south. One of the most scenic is at Abama, 30 minutes from the Reina Sofia airport and 15 from lively Playa de las Américas on the south-west coast. The challenging clifftop course — Bill Clinton was an early player here in 2004 — winds down towards the Atlantic in a sloping amphitheatre, providing lush views.
Abama Golf & Spa Resort is considered one of Tenerife's finest resorts. Along with the golf it has 10 restaurants including two with Michelin stars, a good spa, tennis courts, seven swimming pools and a small beach with soft, white sand. Guests come from across Europe and include many affluent London families and golfers.
The resort last year launched sales of new-build flats, plots and villas from £539,380. The freehold three-storey apartment buildings face west across the course to the sea with the Mount Teide volcano behind. A two-bedroom 1,450sq ft apartment costs £594,000.
The first 30 of 132 two- and three bedroom flats sold to UK, Belgian, Swiss and German buyers, who move in this year. Abama will run the rental pool and owners can only rent through the resort. Abama's Maria Moreno says: "Most buyers like the security of being on a resort with an established branded hotel name. They like the attractive golf course, the exceptional sports facilities and the range of quality restaurants."
Abama Golf& Spa: abamaluxuryresidences.com (0034 922 126011)
Engel & Völkers: engelvoelkers.com/tenerife (0034 922 719573) Service charges at Abama start from £290 a month.
'We will spend 10 weeks a year at our new flat'
Gareth and Barbara Davies from Kensington expect to move into their new two-bedroom flat at Abama overlooking the golf course and the sea by Easter next year. They are already frequent guests at the resort's five-star hotel.
"There is so much we love about Abama," says Barbara. "There's the beach and the beach bar, the golf restaurant and the peace and beauty of the land above the golf course. "Off-resort we love walking along the boardwalk beside the sea in Costa Adeje and the New Year's Eve party in the square at Los Gigantes."
The couple, both consultants for global firms, plan to spend up to 10 weeks a year at their flat, renting it through Abama at other times. "Given the state of the economy in Spain and the plethora of unfinished building, we worried about the risks involved," adds Barbara. "This was early 2012 and many Spanish banks were in intensive care.
"But we checked the ownership structure and financial stability of Abama and it was persuasive. We haven't regretted our decision for a moment."
Abama: abamaluxuryresidences.com (0034 922 126011).