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I went on holiday by myself for the first time aged 30 – here's what I learned

Fancy a dose of luxury all to yourself? Iberostar is the place to go…

Iberostar Grand El Mirador© Iberostar
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
November 13, 2023
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I love a group trip as much as the next person. For years now (COVID years aside), my summers have revolved around wild trips to Ibiza with my girlfriends, traipsing through muddy fields at festivals, and even weekends away closer to home, exploring the British countryside with my favourite people.

Therefore, the idea of taking a solo holiday abroad did not seem like something a just-turned-30-year-old like me would consider. Why would I go away with no one to talk to when I could go with my best pals to enjoy late nights and endless conversation over bottomless cocktails while our young bodies still allow us to?

Iberostar Grand El Mirador is the perfect spot for luxury© Iberostar
Iberostar Grand El Mirador is the perfect spot for luxury

Well, after a hectic summer for a multitude of reasons (one being the aforementioned wild week in Ibiza), a weekend away with nothing but my own company in a gorgeous hotel all of a sudden became something I should do, not just something I would – or would not – do.

So, there I was sitting on a plane by myself for the first time ever watching the green fields surrounding Gatwick South terminal shrink smaller and smaller as I took off. I immediately felt my shoulders drop. The relaxation had officially begun.

Pool area shown at El Mirador hotel© Iberostar
The pool area is simply stunning

Why Iberostar needs to be the hotel of choice

The Iberostar Grand El Mirador elevated my idea of lavishness to a whole new level. Upon arrival, away went my suitcase from the grip of my hand and in came a chilled glass of champagne. Next, I was shown to my suite and no request was too large or too small for the impeccably helpful and friendly staff. It dawned on me from that moment on that lapping up this luxury all to myself was probably the best decision I ever made.

Huge bed with ridiculously soft linen? All for me. A large terrace draped in sunshine with privacy, too? You got it. More champagne on ice delivered right to your door? No sharing around here, thanks. I felt truly spoilt from the moment I arrived to the moment I left.

Iberostar's pool area is stunning© FrancescaShillcock
Iberostar's pool area is stunning

About Iberostar Grand El Mirador

The surroundings at the Grand El Mirador are nothing short of stunning. Situated atop the seafront promenade in Costa Adeje in Tenerife, Iberostar gives the most gorgeous view of the Playa del Duque beach. 

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But the surroundings of the hotel's outdoor area are equally gorgeous. So much so, that you'll find yourself torn between beach or sunbed most mornings. A delightful dilemma to have. The hotel was carefully designed with romantic décor in mind and the structure and architecture of the whole place really is spectacular.

Grand El Mirador overlooks the sea© FrancescaShillcock
Grand El Mirador overlooks the sea

The rooms

The rooms at Iberostar make leaving them each morning quite difficult indeed. A gorgeously spacious bathroom and large bed provide a dose of comfort that, frankly, anyone would bask in.

The suites at El Mirador© Iberostar
The suites at El Mirador

The décor is stunning and, depending on which room you opt for, the terrace/balconies offer a view like no other. 

The stunning view from El Mirador's suite© FrancescaShillcock
The stunning view from El Mirador's suite

The food

Iberostar has three restaurants on offer to guests: El Mirador – where guests dine for a generous breakfast buffet spread each morning; El Cenador, a gourmet restaurant with plenty on offer on its creative menu (and the place where I had the most delicious prawn risotto I've ever had); and La Pergola, a more relaxed restaurant which is a great choice for lunch as it overlooks the gorgeous pool area and across the cliffs towards the sea – meaning you can soak up the rays, enjoy some really decent grub and marvel over the views.

Dinner at El Cenador© FrancescaShillcock
Dinner at El Cenador

There's also the La Tosca bar, serving drinks and refreshments all day which transforms into a relaxing yet vibey area in the evening. There's even live music most nights. But make no mistake, this isn't your average, often clichéd hotel entertainment. The live singers were fantastic and provided the perfect balance between chilled-out ballads and crowd-pleasers.

The restaurant at El Mirador© Iberostar
The restaurant at El Mirador

What else does Iberostar have to offer?

The weekend was all about zen, self-care and 'me time', so it would have been remiss of me not to pay a visit to the SPA Sensations at the Iberostar. Immediately after walking into the spa area, I felt calm, serene and at peace. I was treated to a facial that gave my skin a glow that I had never seen before (and probably won't again until I inevitably return). A ten out of ten from me.

Iberostar offer facials that will make your skin super glowy
Iberostar's Spa offer facials that will make your skin super glowy

But that wasn't all. On a Sunday, the hotel also encourages guests to partake in some morning yoga. Laying under the shade of the palm trees after doing some much-needed sun salutations was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Some Sunday morning yoga will have you relaxed in no time© FrancescaShillcock
Some Sunday morning yoga will have you relaxed in no time

What I learned about enjoying a holiday flying solo

Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert (admittedly, I am the former), taking time for yourself is so important. But, life is busy; people have to juggle their work, kids who need looking after, pets that need feeding etc., therefore not everyone has the ability to holiday by themselves, even if just for a night or two. 

But if one can then I truly believe one should at least once in their life. 

On a practical note, you can get lots done. I sped through three books and finally crossed off some podcast episodes on my 'to listen' list. I also just enjoyed getting some proper time to clear my head. It really does do wonders for the soul.

Grand El Mirador's structure is amazing© francescashillcock
Grand El Mirador's structure is amazing

Make no mistake, I take my hats off to the die-hard solo travellers. Was this a life-affirming trip during which I discovered myself Eat, Pray, Love-style while exploring a third-world continent with nothing but a backpack, foreign currency and a thirst for adventure to my name? Far from it.

But the solo endeavour has sparked interest and, as the old saying goes, I have the planet on my doorstep, and the world really is my oyster. But for now, I'll just take those oysters with a dash of lemon and some champagne, please.

A junior suite at Grand El Mirador starts from £296 per night. Get more details about pricing, here.

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