The best hotel I’d recommend is … not. In fact, I have experienced most kinds of accomodations, hotels, rental apartments, colocation when I was younger, and my favourite are by far rental apartments.
If you can afford a 4 star hotel, you may enjoy renting a villa there, I travelled to Provence last year and rented a house through this company
They are specialised in working with foreign clients, so this helped me a lot.
I agree the Azores are stunningly beautiful – though they are in the mid-Atlantic, so if you do get a storm it could get a bit alarming. But if the weather is kind they are lovely.
How about Agadir. There are 3 excellent RIU hotels on the seafront. I stayed at one of them in March and had no complaints.
I love the Riu Hotel chain and they have two on Teneriffe. I’m not sure which one I stayed at but it was right on the beachfront with a lovely garden in front. Food was superb, mostly buffet, unfortunately, but you did have the option to sit in one area of the dining-room and have service. The other hotel was right behind it and I believe you could use both for meals. Have a look at their website. They also have two on Gran Canaria in the only warm spot there at this time of year, Maspalomas, one is all-inclusive and the other is full service.
The other alternative is the Azores, possibly some rain but fairly warm and the islands are lovely.
Madeira is still a bit too cold in December and January, although you could be lucky and get many sunny days. But real heat is hard to come by if you don’t want to fly long-haul. I’m afraid I’m falling into the same way of thinking as your husband and I’m searching for something near home but have decided to give long-haul one more try! Going out is easy, the excitement keeps one going, but the return journey is less enticing!
Left to me I’d do a long haul and be sure of the weather because our wedding anniversary is in December but my husband will only consider a 4 hour flight at the most. We have been to the Canaries lots of times but never tried Tenerife. Can anyone recommend a good hotel (4*) for us to try….. thanks!