“A simple manor house - the ancestral home of the first family of Tenerife - wrapped in a banana plantation that flanks a rugged coast”
Rooms are nicely simple. So are their prices. If you want glitzy luxury then look elsewhere, but if you’re happy with country comforts, you’ll get more than you bargained for. Beds are dressed in colourful linen, floors are tiled with terracotta, and a daily maid service blitzes the hotel from top to toe. Bowls of fruit are left in the rooms and you can fling the windows open to let in the breeze. Bathrooms tend to be small - most are shower only - but they’re pretty. There are no phones or TVs - a deliberate ploy to let you shake the city from your shoulders.
The estate is centuries-old and there’s a bit of ramble to it. Rooms are split between the manor house, the bodega (winery), the stables and the annex up the lane. Those in the manor house are comfortable and authentic, with a touch of style. You get sofas, heavy beams, perhaps an old armoire. All of them have lovely views - some of the banana plantation and the sea, others of the mountain - plus a small terrace or balcony with wicker chairs and candle-lit lanterns. One Superior room can sleep 4 in a double plus a double sofabed - book it early if you're interested; otherwise most rooms can fit one extra child's bed.
Rooms in the bodega have small balconies overlooking the lush courtyard, where palm trees soar up to the sky. They come in warm yellows and pinks, with cast-iron beds, shuttered windows and beamed ceilings. They’re well-sized, but it’s worth noting that they’re above the bar, with tables and chairs scattered about the courtyard below, so you may hear a little noise in the evenings. However, the pace of life here is slow and most people come for the peace, so don’t expect a party.
Stable rooms are to the side of the house. A sheltered terrace stretches along the front, and windows at the back look onto the courtyard. These rooms have cast-iron beds and high ceilings open to the rafters. The terrace outside is open-plan, and each room has a table and chairs outside the front door. Room 1 is entered from the courtyard; Room 2 is quite small and doesn’t have much of a view.
Rooms in the annex are cheaper as they’re half a mile down a lane that leads deep into the plantation. They’re very peaceful, and if you don’t mind the inconvenience of having to walk (5 minutes) or drive (1 minute) to the hotel, you’ll love them. They share a long terrace, with each room getting a table and chairs outside its door, plus a communal sitting room with sofas, armchairs and a fridge filled with drinks. They’re beautifully airy, with windows on both sides that flood the interiors with light.
At the time of writing, dinner was only available once or twice a week, so be prepared to drive out in the evenings. But breakfast is offered daily in the dining room, whose full length windows offer wonderful views over the plantation and out to sea. And you can help yourself to hot drinks, biscuits and fresh-picked fruit throughout the day, then retire to a sofa or table hidden in the rampantly flowering gardens.
Breakfast is a rather institutional buffet, but there's plenty to choose from: plates of chorizo and salami, sliced cheese (not local,sadly), pastries, croissants and fruit. Unreformed Englishmen will also find cornflakes, bacon and eggs, even beans on toast. The coffee is pretty grim, though - we think it's the local variety which tastes somehow burned.
If you’re heading out for the day and want to take lunch with you, small picnics can be prepared by arrangement. You get a couple of sandwiches (ham and cheese, tomato and lettuce), a piece of fruit, a carton of juice, maybe a hard-boiled egg. Walkers seem to like them.
If you coincide with a dinner day (booking required), you can expect straightforward local fare such as pumpkin soup, homemade lamb stew, chicken thighs with baby carrots, or grilled fish with a green salad. Pudding might be lemon tart, chocolate mousse or tiramisu. Feedback has been mixed, so you might to check again before booking.
But it's no real hardship to eat out. In Icod, a few minutes east, we had a very satisfactory and reasonably priced Canarian supper in Carmen, just below the main church and 1000-year-old dragon tree. In Garachico, a couple of miles the other way, we've heard great things about Pizzeria Rugantino and Casa Gaspar; or you can splash out on upscale fusion fare at Hotel San Roque.