Hotel Jardin Tecina
La Gomera, Canary Islands
Reviewed by Christine Charlesworth
On arrival at the port of San Sebastian, the main town on the island of La Gomera, we collected our hire car from CICAR and set off up the hairpin roads. It is impossible to build roads along the coast of La Gomera as it is such a high, rocky island with very deep valleys, so first we had to drive up and up towards the centre of the island for several miles before finally taking a road heading south and down to Playa Santigo and our destination, Hotel Jardin Tecina.
We wound our way down to the coast, with breathtaking and breath-catching views at every turn, until we arrived at the Lomada de Tecina. Here we found Hotel Jardin Tecina, set in 70,000 square metres of tropical gardens with two-story, Canary Island style, white painted buildings hidden among the lush gardens and set along the cliff tops overlooking the sea and down to the small, unspoilt, fishing village of Playa Santiago far below. We turned into the complex and as soon as we drew up we were met by a porter, driving a buggy, ready to take our bags to our room. We unloaded, parked the car and went into the spacious reception area, where we were met by friendly, helpful staff who explained where the main areas of the hotel could be found, gave us a map marking our room and directions how to find it.
Walking from the main hotel building we followed the easy directions, down steps and winding paths between the small ‘village’ buildings, beautifully integrated into the surroundings, each with their own terrace, garden or large balcony. When we arrived at our room, which was number 333, the porter was there to greet us with our luggage and show us the room. We had a superior room which was large, with two three-quarter size beds as one, excellent furnishings, a large bathroom with good sized bath & shower and a large balcony with sea view, seats & table. We were very pleased to see that we had coffee and tea making facilities and there was a well-stocked mini bar. Before we unpacked we delighted in sitting on the balcony nibbling some of the complementary fruit and sipping some of the complementary Brut sparkling wine, while we enjoyed our uninterrupted views over the glistening Atlantic Ocean and across to the small marina and village nestling in the foothills below. We felt completely relaxed and happy. The wind had dropped, the seas had calmed, we were surrounded by peace and tranquillity and felt we were truly in a different world to the one that we had left a short time ago on Tenerife.
In the early evening we strolled along the winding paths, through the lush gardens, up to the main hotel area where we enjoyed a drink in the large bar area and enjoyed the live music before going downstairs to the RestaurantePrincipal. This restaurant is a buffet restaurant and tables were laid inside the main room and outside on the terrace overlooking the gardens and ocean. The brochure did not exaggerate when it described this as ‘an elaborate gastronomy’. Large plates of food, of every description, were laid out on buffet areas and chefs prepared and cooked the hot meats and fish for each customer in the open central kitchen. We chose to start with a selection of cold meat and salads, then had a small hot fish course followed by a hot meat and vegetable course and finished with a selection from the wonderful array of fruits, deserts and cheeses. We chose a bottle of Canarian white wine and a bottle of water. The tap water on La Gomera is not for drinking. Between each course our table was cleared and ready for us to return with our new dishes.
Following our meal we decided to relax in the entertainment lounge, on the same floor as the restaurant. This had a small stage and dance floor area surrounded by tables and seating with a comfortable bar area. We watched a really amazing magician and his assistant perform their routines with great skill. There were different acts performing each evening and details were available on the notice board outside the bar.
Next morning, exactly as predicted in the brochure, we woke up to peace and tranquillity with only the gentle sound of the sea below and the singing of birds in the trees.
While my husband set off to discover some of the breathtaking walks in the area, I met with Krestina of the Hotel Tecina for a tour of the main house and details of the complex. Krestina has been working at the hotel for over 15 years, has her own home on the island and loves living on La Gomera. She was able to tell me lots of interesting bits of history about the island and the Fred Olsen family, who run the hotel, as well as details about the hotel. She explained that the hotel, which can accommodate up to 850 guests, is completely full at the moment with people mostly from England and Germany who usually come for a long visit. There are 434 rooms ranging from standard doubles to superior doubles, junior suites with sitting rooms to family bungalows on two floors. Accommodation is distributed along the cliffs and round into the wonderful botanical gardens, where guests can see more than 300 species of plants. January/February/March/April are the most favoured months for people from Europe but people from Spain prefer the hotter months of July & August when the temperatures are always around 30 degrees centigrade and in the summer months the hotel runs a special ‘mini-club’ for children, including teenagers. There are always a number of excursions organised to other areas of the island and at weekends there is a trip in a glass bottom boat from San Sebiastian which calls in at Playa Santiago and then goes on to Valle Gran Rey.
Krestina took me on a tour of the hotel and we saw the Restaurant Internacional (menu service) and the new Tapas Restaurant. There is a lift set into the rocky cliff that takes people down to the lower swimming pool and Club Laurel Restaurant but, unfortunately, this was closed for a short period and we were unable to visit. The hotel has 5 swimming pools, a beauty salon, solarium, Jacuzzis, a gymnasium, five tennis courts, two squash courts, three paddle courts, a diving school, tennis, table tennis, a golf academy and the wonderful Tecina Golf – a 6.340 metre long par 71 golf course, situated behind the hotel and with uninterrupted ocean views.
During our stay we were able to enjoy excellent breakfasts in the Restaurante Principal choosing from both hot and cold foods, fresh fruit, delicious breads, pastries and sparkling wines, fruit juices and hot drinks. We explored all areas of the hotel complex, including a walk round the truly beautiful golf course and a walk down into the unspoilt fishing village of Playa de Santiago.
We stayed at the Hotel Jardin Tecina on half board in a superior double room with sea view. It was a wonderful experience and one that I would thoroughly recommend. However I was very sad that we were not staying there longer and will have to make sure that we come again.
For more information or to make a booking visit www.jardin-tecina.com/en-US/index.aspx.