Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura
Buzz Trips opinion:
An elegant and luxurious, colonial style hotel set alongside Fuerteventura Golf Club where excellent service, superb food and complete relaxation combine to keep guests returning year after year. Set around a tranquil central courtyard where palm trees rise above the wooden balconies to grace the skyline with their rich fronds, the Hotel Elba Palace Golf has all the hallmarks of a gracious host from a bygone era. From the moment you step over the threshold you’re made to feel like an honoured guest and a family friend at a particularly well staffed country mansion. And you don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy its charms.
Driving down Fuerteventura’s east coast the short distance from the airport, there is nothing in the landscape to prepare you for the delights that exploration of this most African of the Canary Islands will uncover. Arid wasteland punctuated only by scattered coastal settlements of uniform housing and the occasional small industrial park are all there is to be seen until you arrive at the resorts of El Castillo and Caleta de Fuste. From here roads lead down through holiday accommodation and past shops, bars and restaurants catering predominantly to the needs of holidaymakers, to soft, white sand beaches and a small marina.
But like Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, head inland, away from the purpose built resorts and coastal developments and you’ll find another world, one where the landscape takes on kaleidoscopic tones as the sun passes over the firmament; where quaint hamlets of cottages cling to barren hillsides, the intensity of their bougainvillea lined streets spreading like a delicious stain across the terrain, and where goats outnumber the population.
Perfectly placed on the coast mid-island with direct access to its handful of roads, the Elba Palace is a seductively comfortable and convenient base from which to explore Fuerteventura, returning to its pampering embrace to clean off the sand and chill.
On the east coast of Fuerteventura, standing in glorious, green isolation on the inland side of the golf course, don’t let the seemingly endless route that directs you through mundane housing estates put you off. Turning your final corner you arrive at the hotel where a feng shui footbridge over an ornamental pond takes you to its colonial-style oasis.
Rooms and Grounds:
Just 69 rooms on two floors with balconied, open walkways are set around a large internal courtyard with a decorative fountain, around which dining and sitting areas lie and from which all facilities are accessed. After dark, floor level lighting and candles transform the courtyard into a beautifully romantic setting in which to enjoy the hotel’s excellent cuisine beneath a star studded, African sky.
In keeping with the hotel’s architecture, rooms are large and themed in period, colonial style with dark wood furniture, wood floors and patterned fabrics making them quite dark and delightfully cool. A ceiling fan adds to the colonial feel and gives a welcome boost to the air conditioning which was struggling to keep on top of a particularly hot late September. Patio doors lead to an expansive balcony, in our case looking out over the driving range and greens of the golf course where, every morning, flocks of Ruddy Shellducks arrived to waddle across the grass in search of food.
En suites are delightfully large and beautifully tiled with twin sinks, walk-in shower and man-sized bathtub.
The biggest attraction of the Hotel Elba Palace Golf is naturally the 18 hole, par 72 golf course on which it literally stands and on which the vast majority of its guests spend much of their time. Away from the links, subtropical gardens lead to an intimate swimming pool with sun decking surround, and there’s a small but well equipped gym, a sauna and Jacuzzi, hairdressers and golf shop. In the evenings a smooth piano bar entices with its Jazz notes and gin menu.
Breakfast is a comprehensive selection of fruit, cereals, cold meats, pastries and hot dishes with eggs cooked to order but it’s the freshly squeezed orange juice, so often absent even in five star establishments, the aromatic coffee and the daily fruit smoothies that make the difference.
Dinner is served in the restaurant or in the courtyard and is a buffet starter and dessert with table service for the main course. Each evening there are two chef’s specials from which to chose as well as the á la carte menu. We stayed at the Hotel Elba Palace Golf for three nights and everything we chose was cooked and presented to an extremely high standard.
Buffet selections are showcased in elegant, contemporary displays with first courses prepared around a theme such as smoked fish or pâté, served with fresh salad ingredients. Main courses are freshly prepared and offer pastas, seafood, rice and meat dishes with one or two vegetarian options. Chef’s specials when we were there offered a choice of a meat or fish dishes nightly and used top quality, local ingredients prepared in a fusion of traditional Canarian and Mediterranean.
An atmospheric wine cellar below the patio stocks an enviable selection of wines and according to Hotel Director Juan José, one of the best collections of French and Spanish brandies in Europe. Wine and gastronomy tastings are held by prior arrangement and although we thoroughly enjoyed one such tasting, we didn’t get a chance to try the brandies which is as good an excuse as I’ve heard for returning to this Fuerteventura oasis.
Hotel Elba Palace Golf , Urb. Fuerteventura Golf Resort, Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura; (+34) 928 163 922; double room with breakfast & golf course view from €150 per night, half board €189 per night.
From now until the end of October 2014 you can enjoy the Elba Dine Around deal which allows you to eat at 3 new Fuerteventura restaurants. Valid on stays of 7 days or more on a half board basis.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+