Hotel San Roque

Garachico, Tenerife, Spain Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
The best hotel in the Canaries? Film-star good looks seduce at this designer conversion of an 18th-century mansion in the sleepy fishing village of Garachico
Garachico, old and pretty, is squeezed between ocean and mountain, but it’s San Roque which exhilarates; everything about this boutique hotel is special. Inside, you find luxury, chic style and peace.

The architectural elegance of this 18th-century mansion needs little embellishment. Wide cloistered walkways under heavy beamed ceilings lead to arched stone doorways. Wood, stone and steel mix easily with the terracotta-washed walls and the feel is uncluttered and airy, with a sense of timeless calm. Big wicker sofas are scattered about, the daily papers wait to be read. Lie by the pool and take the sun or walk down to the sea and bathe in volcanic rock pools. Potter back for a cup of Earl Grey on the roof terrace or grab a video from reception and head to your room. The 20 rooms are strikingly simple. You’ll find Rennie Macintosh and Mies van der Rohe chairs, Spanish modern art, super-comfortable beds and all the 21st-century gadgets you could want. Candlelit dinners by the pool offer some of the best cuisine on the island; breakfasts won't disappoint either. The kindest staff add the final touch. Perfect.

Highs

  • The exquisite traditional architecture is combined with delicate modern décor
  • We found the food to be outstanding - modern and inventive, a real rarity in the Canaries
  • The swimming pool is in a cloistered courtyard that's lamp-lit at night, and heated in the cooler months
  • The great staff are helpful and unobtrusive; they park your car, remember your favourite wine and do an impeccable turndown service
  • This is ideal for those looking to discover the real Tenerife; the north west is a world apart from the built-up resorts on the south of the island

Lows

  • You'll need a hire car to get down here, but this is easily arranged either through the hotel or other companies on the island
  • The good white-sand beaches are on the other side of the island, putting them out of range, though there are some lovely black-sand beaches within striking distance
  • North Tenerife is cooler and cloudier than the south, but this also makes it more lush and green - and less crowded
  • You may find the air-con a little underpowered in summer, and the bedroom lighting a little dim for reading
  • No kids under 14 allowed, a plus for some!

Best time to go

Anytime of year - the average temperature is 25C. Low season prices between May and September are very attractive, though it can get very hot at that time of year. December to February is the busiest and most expensive time as it's the closest place to the UK to find warm weather in winter. February is carnival time.

Our top tips

If Garachico is draped in clouds, try driving west past Buenavista and along the spectacular lane to Punta de Tena, where the little black-pebble beach and red-striped lighthouse are usually bathed in sunshine (and wind). Don't be put off by the 'Road Closed' signs after Buenavista - they are just being cautious.

For faded colonial grandeur, stroll through La Orotava, stopping off to eat ice cream in the Botanic Gardens and buy quirky local souvenirs (lava jewellery, jars of mojo) in the handsome wooden-galleried townhouses.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 20
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Over 14s only
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Jacuzzi
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Junior Suite

Rooms

The same effortless style hangs over every square inch of San Roque and the bedrooms are no different, with an easy grace begat from uncluttered décor. Creamy linen curtains hang in front of big wooden window frames, thick rugs cover reddish wooden floors, and contemporary art hangs on colourful walls. There are exposed timber ceilings, contemporary lighting and glass tables. Best of all is the hotel’s collection of Art Nouveau and Bauhaus chairs, many of which are scattered throughout the rooms. You get hand-crafted Macintosh high backs and low-slung Cabonier cow hides. Bathrooms come with Jacuzzi baths, power showers, robes, slippers, and all the bits and bobs.

Rooms come in different colours (greens, blues, reds and yellows); all have plasma TVs and DVD players. Standard Rooms are fine, but lack any sofas or armchairs. Duplex Rooms are larger but some are rather dark. You get a proper sitting room with a sofa and armchair, then a staircase that leads up to a big, galleried sleeping area. Junior Suites and Suites are exceptional - we particularly loved #110, a bright Junior Suite with velours Bibendum chairs and a circular Jacuzzi in the corner. The Tower Suite is spread over 3 floors, with a bedroom, a sitting room and a private roof terrace (the highest point of the hotel). In the bedroom, 4 walls have a window each, giving huge views north, south, east and west (or sea, mountain, banana plantation and town).

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Jacuzzi
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv

Eating

The dining room is tiny because no-one ever uses it; instead, you eat around the pool. Breakfast is served until 11am, so there’s no need to dive out of bed first thing. Freshly-squeezed OJ is brought to your table, there are croissants and pains au chocolat, fruit and yoghurts, lots of cold meats and cheeses, and something delicious tortilla-style wedges or toastettes with goats' cheese and quince jelly. If you’re still hungry, you can order something cooked - scrambled eggs, omelettes, bacon, that sort of thing.

Dinner around the lantern-lit pool is the real highlight. Danish chef Danny Nielsen concocts a delicate mix of "local specialities and other ingredients I love" - perhaps bream with red tomato pesto and caramelised almonds, or juicy beef tenderloin with Stilton-infused mash. Desserts include a light-as-cloud white chocolate mousse and strawberry soup with mascarpone ice cream, all of which make a refreshing change from the typical Canarian cream-and-sugar bombs. We can certify that all the above are superb, and that there is little to be gained by eating out (we did, once, and wished we hadn't). If you have any special dietary requirements they’ll happily sort you out with something suitable.

An extensive snack menu (salads, pasta, tapas) is available throughout the day, either as room service, down by the pool or in the library (wherever you want, really).

If you want a drink, staff will serve you wherever you are, but there's a bar in the sitting room/library (with lots of design books). At one end, a table is given over to a wonderful collection of brandies, whiskies and unmarked bottles with stoppers in them. If you want to disappear for a while, this is a good room to do it in.

If you do want to eat out, manager Dominique will happily advise. He knows the island like the back of his hand, and its restaurants even better. There are a couple of options in town, or more if you're willing to drive.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity: Garachico

Activities

  • Take a tour of the town - it’s utterly authentic, beyond the tourist trap. Don’t miss the town square, Glorieta de San Francisco, or the tiny but wonderful gardens in Plaza de Juan Gonzales de La Torre. Here you'll find the original arched entrance into town, the only piece of architecture to survive the 1706 volcanic eruption

  • Head down to the seafront and you'll find a number of volcanic rock pools. They're not hot springs, just sea water, but they are quite popular. They stretch over a relatively large area and are connected by labyrinthine paths cut into the rock. Waves come crashing in, but you don’t get wet - it's a great place to watch the sea

  • You’re in the loveliest part of Tenerife, the northwestern tip. Mountains rise behind, as does the odd mountain road. These are not for the faint-hearted, but a trip up into the hinterland takes you into some spectacular scenery. Climb up to El Tanque and you can stretch your legs in one of 3 nature reserves: the Teno Rural Park, the Forest Crown Nature Park and the Chinyero Special Nature Reserve. Take the road on to Masca and you’ll find a tiny village up on a mountain with vast views out to sea - utterly remote and a very special place

  • You can keep going and do a tour around the volcano; most people do. There’s a lookout halfway along, where you can gaze out from the top of the mountain all the way down to the coast. There’s also a good restaurant up here for a bit of lunch

  • Head to the western tip of the island for an 1883 lighthouse, volcanic bays, dreamy colours and spectacular views down the coast to the cliffs of Los Gigantes. There’s great hiking here, too

  • Golfers will be in heaven down at Buenavista, a course designed by Seve Ballasteros. Seven of the holes run along the ocean (a magnet to most golf balls). It’s a great day out and the hotel can arrange a tee-off time for you - see Rates

  • If you want a day out, head up to Santa Cruz, the island's capital. You'll find fancy shops, big churches, a whiff of history, a top-flight Spanish football team and an exceptional concert hall with a resident orchestra (the hotel can arrange tickets)

  • The hotel has mountain bikes that you’re welcome to borrow. Staff will advise where you can ride without having to take on the big hills. Nearby Los Silos is one of the greenest (and flattest) spots on the island

  • Fishing rods are available from reception and the sea is on your doorstep. If you catch something edible and ask nicely, they’ll probably cook it for you for supper

  • There’s a tennis court across the road where you can lose balls in the ocean. The hotel has racquets and balls and will book the court for you

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis

Kids

This is a grown up hotel, only teenagers 14 years old and over are accepted

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Duplexes work well, as they have a double sofabed (quite narrow, so best for just 1 teen) - we liked the fact that they made it up as a sofa each morning and re-made the bed at turndown each evening. If you have 2 teens, one duplex suite can take 2 extra single beds

Kids Activities nearby:

At the Cesar Manrique water park in Puerto de la Cruz, the main town on the north coast, you'll find huge azure pools (n.b. not heated in winter), some with waterfalls and volcanic islets: teens can splash around while you devour novels or cold drinks on a sunlounger. The much-advertised Loroparque zoo is also a good option for cooler days, but arrive early to justify the steep entry fee

Families Should Know:

There are precious artworks and valuable pieces of furniture

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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