Parador De Gomera
Reviewed by Christine Charlesworth
Perched on the edge of the rocky cliff 60 metres above the small port and marina of San Sebastian de la Gomera is the stone and whitewashed Parador de Gomera with its dark beamed, terracotta roofed single and two-story buildings clinging to the cliff edge and nestling amongst subtropical gardens, looking out over the turquoise sea to Tenerife or down to the sheltered, black-sanded beach and old town of San Sebastian below. We drove up the winding road from the old town and found the cobbled entrance to the Parador, just off the last hairpin bend, as we reached the top of the cliff. Entering through the massive old dark wooden doors into the hushed, stone floored interior we were immediately aware that we had found an oasis of calm and the Castilian-style architecture, together with the antique furnishings and large portraits from the Elizabethan era, gave us the feeling that we had in fact stepped back in time.
Central to the main building is a lush inner courtyard-garden. A gently cascading, rose coloured, stone fountain stands in the centre of the small square lawn with trees and palms stretching up above the overhanging terracotta roofs. There are antique chairs, small tables and old wooden bench seating along the four walls of this cloister with pots of ferns, palms, lilies and other plants lining the edge of the garden, adding to the privacy and giving a feeling of retreating from the outside world. A large stone staircase leads up from one side of this area to the upper floor, which has dark wood beamed ceilings and wide corridors, some with open sides to see into the inner oasis and also another courtyard garden, which has small garden areas for the rooms below. The floors are made from wide planks of polished wood and all the bedroom doors are large, dark carved wood with giant old fashioned keys and key-fobs. All the bedrooms are painted white, with antique furnishings and large ceiling fans. Windows have heavy dark wood open-worked shutters to shade the rooms from the bright Canarian light, while affording views of the gardens or sea to those inside.
We made our way down the corridor to room 211, at the end. Our bedroom was large, quietly situated and furnished with a large double, hand painted, four-poster bed and antique furniture, including easy chairs, a small table and a beautiful antique wardrobe. There was a complementary basket of fruit on the table together with a finger bowl, plates and knives. The bathroom was extremely well equipped with bathrobes & slippers, a very large bath, toilet & bidet, a large number of toiletries, including hairbrush, toothbrushes and razor and twin washbasins set into a marble base. In the bedroom there was a large wardrobe area, a TV and a mini bar. The small balcony had two seats and a view, through the fronds of a Canarian date palm, across to Tenerife with the dominating, snow-capped Mount Teide, looking even more impressive than Mount Fuji in Japan.
The Parador has a wonderful ambiance. With a total of 52 twin rooms, 6 double rooms and 2 suites the Parador it is just the right size. Some rooms have their own garden area, other rooms have private balconies with garden or sea views. All rooms are furnished in old Spanish style.
The wonderful, tropical gardens that surround the Parador are a joy. A lonely, but very friendly, large green parrot sits in his cage among the trees calling ‘hola’ to anyone who passes. Red volcanic gravelled garden paths twine between the date palms, cacti, mango trees, Algarrobo trees with their curling bean-type pods, Date Palms, Palmera Canarias sit like giant pineapples, Estrelitzias were in flower, a huge Araucaria and many other exotic trees and plants fill this garden and different styles of seating, from benches to small tables and chairs, are scattered in shade or sun, giving opportunities to relax and enjoy private vistas of the turquoise sea, with panoramic views down to the harbour below or over the sea to the dominant Mount Teide. The garden paths lead down to an open sided building, furnished with recliners and sofas, just above the large, quiet, secluded swimming pool area, which is perched at the edge of the cliff and surrounded by lawns and a paved area. There is a small stone and white washed building to one end of this area where tea, coffee, snacks and drinks are served.
The public rooms are a good size and have high, beamed ceilings with large chandeliers. The main sitting room has antique seating grouped in different areas round the room and there is a large stone-clad fireplace.
We stayed in the Parador for two nights, Bed & Breakfast. Breakfast was served in the main dining room, which is similar to the main sitting area but also benefits from a covered loggia to two sides with wonderful views of the garden. This loggia area has seating at tables for two and is attached to the main restaurant by squared arches, at intervals. Breakfast was a huge array of magnificent buffet food to suit all tastes and nationalities, with coffee served to us at our table overlooking the gardens.
We decided to eat in the restaurant on our last evening and chose the set €33 menu, which included Partridge Pate, Duck on a bed of apple & raspberry coulis with carrots, finishing with mandarin sorbet and a fluffy palm syrup pudding. We drank a red Riocha wine and fizzy water. The restaurant lived up to its reputation for excellent food.
The sense of peace, romance and tranquillity at the Parador de la Gomera is profound. It really is the best place to stay in San Sebastian for a wonderful romantic winter break.
For more information or to make a booking visit www.paradores-spain.com/spain/pgomera.html.