WHERE TO STAY
BEST FOR WINE BUFFS – A stay at Finca Malvasia will convince even the most committed urban dweller to give island life a go. The British owners, husband-and-wife team Richard and Tarnya Norse-Evans, have created a four-apartment hotel in Lanzarote’s central La Geria wine region that’s packed with funky touches such as volcanic-stone walls and cactus gardens. It’s as chic as you’d expect from a couple who ran a design agency in London’s Shoreditch before they packed up and left for the Canaries almost a decade ago.
Whether you’re after a surf instructor to guide you through unfamiliar swells or have a hankering for wood-fired pizza, they will have someone on speed dial. Spend evenings at the finca eating from plates piled high with Canarian goat’s cheese, membrillo (quince jelly) and artisan bread smothered in spicy mojo dip, with a glass of crisp wine from the surrounding terroir. Forget about traditional rows of vineyards here; the dark volcanic soil is peppered with scores of small pits in which the vines grow close to the ground, which creates a curious patchwork of black dry-stone walls and bright green plants.
BEST BOUTIQUE BEDS – One for fans of the Ace Hotel look, but without the pretension or even a sniff of skinny-jeaned hipster, Bed and Chic is a cool 12-room hotel in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Book a high-ceilinged junior suite, where large windows let the sunlight flood into the pared-back white-and-grey interiors. Fun additions include fabric artwork clouds floating above headboards and cushions printed with monocled reindeer. It’s a five-minute walk to the beach at Playa las Canteras, and the hotel’s laid-back rooftop bar is the best place to sink a coconut-laced Papua cocktail and watch the twinkling lights of the Canary Islands’ most vibrant city come to life.
BEST FOR OLD-SCHOOL CHARM – The town of Garachico in Tenerife was remodelled by volcanoes, its seafront and deep black-lava rockpools the payoff for the old harbour’s destruction. In the mornings, it’s often crowded with day-trippers, so for a more peaceful experience wait until the late afternoon to sit in the tree-canopied main square with a cold cerveza. For absolute serenity, check into Hotel San Roque, a pretty 18th-century manor house. Here the rooms have polished wooden floors, furniture by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and deep bathtubs. There’s also a courtyard pool for sun-soaked dips until those crowds disperse, as well as creative comfort food by Danish chef Danny Nielson, including white asparagus with truffle oil, and steak with Stilton mash.
BEST BIG-HITTER – There is an air of North Africa about the pink-painted Ritz-Carlton, Abama in Tenerife Styled as a Moorish citadel, it overlooks a private white-sand beach, which is accessed by a funicular railway from the cliff-top. There are hidden tropical gardens with palm trees reaching up towards dome-topped turrets, a two-Michelin-star restaurant, headed up by famed Basque chef Martin Berasategui, and an 18-hole championship golf course Philosopher Alain de Botton visits Abama every year and declares the golf course his favourite part of the hotel. ‘I can’t bear golf de Botton says, ‘but that’s not a problem. It’s a beautiful place to go and think, away from the tourists, with great ocean views and a cooling breeze.’
BEST COUNTRY BOLTHOLE – With its minimal, mid-century aesthetic, super-slick Finea Paraiso is one of the most stylish places to stay on Gran Canaria. This was once a cosy stone house huddled against a remote hillside. Now a smart 21st-century extension has added floor-to-ceiling windows to take in precipitous valley views and created a grown-up hideaway full of design-classic furniture with room to sleep six. Enjoy the view from a rocking chair on the terrace while eating an orange or mango freshly plucked from the tree.