Lomada de Tecina, Playa de Santiago
It’s in between the gentle strains of the guitarist that we first notice the alien noise bouncing around the high cliffs and echoing across the beach. At first we think it’s the sound of a child’s video being played loudly on some errant smart phone but when we hear it for the second and third time we furrow our brows and ponder. Then a memory creeps into our minds, a fleetingly read information board on the walkway that leads from the beach to the elevator built into the cliff. It said: ‘We are Shearwaters. The noise you hear at night is us.’
Strolling through the hot night, alongside a shimmering silver path across the ocean leading to a full moon that’s lighting our way as clearly as if it was a sun, we listen to the strange cries and watch the black silhouettes as they reel beneath the cliffs above our heads, their wing tips catching the occasional shard of silver moonlight.
Buzz Trips view
Wherever you’ve been in the Canary Islands I can guarantee it will not be able to match Hotel Jardín Tecina for the sheer beauty and tranquillity of its surroundings. At first glance the Tecina looks like just another resort hotel, albeit a rather picturesque one. But get beyond its size and you discover a hotel that has become as much a part of the environment as it has the local community. Traditional Canarian design in extensive mature gardens; a genuine commitment to sustainable tourism; and a love and respect for the privileged place it occupies, make the Jardín Tecina a unique, and addictive, experience.
Hotel Jardín Tecina occupies the entire headland above the village of Playa de Santiago on the sunny southern coast of La Gomera, an island known for its unspoilt beauty and its spectacular hiking trails. Alongside the hotel is the island’s only golf course, an 18 hole, par 71 championship course with spectacular views. Both the hotel and the golf course are owned by the Norwegian shipping magnate family of Fred Olsen. The fishing village and small marina of Playa de Santiago is accessible by a lift built into the cliffs at whose feet it lies and offers a small selection of restaurants, a couple of local bars and a pleasant, if pebbly, beach.
From double rooms to duplex suites, over 400 rooms in single and two storey terraced rows built in traditional, colonial style are scattered around the gardens and across the cliff top. Prices depend on space and location with the superior, front line rooms featuring uninterrupted ocean views carrying a payment premium and an army of return customers vying to bag their two weeks with what must surely be one of the most spectacular balcony views in the entire archipelago.
Décor is fresh, simple and uncluttered with plain white walls, blonde furniture, ceramic tiled floors and chequered coverlets. TV, telephone, hair dryer and WiFi are standard in all the rooms. Superior rooms and suites have tea and coffee making facilities. Balconies and terraces overlook gardens, upper level rooms have either side or full sea view but only the front line, superior rooms have the ocean to themselves.
The 27 year old gardens are the hotel’s greatest feature. Brimming with subtropical beauty like mango and banana trees, towering palm trees and perfumed oleander, they provide shaded and sun filled walkways with hypnotic ocean views and are the setting for five swimming pools, two outdoor Jacuzzis, four tennis courts and three padel courts. A weekly botanical tour introduces guests to their detailed qualities.
A state of the art gymnasium; beauty club with therapeutic and cosmetic treatments, and sauna and massage facilities are located in the main building along with a boutique and souvenir shops. On the rooftop is a chic, chill out area with summer cinema showing kid’s movies. At beach level, the Club Laurel provides Bali beds, swimming pool and Italian cuisine in a Club Tropicana-type atmosphere.
Food & Drink
Top notch food is served throughout the day, beginning with a superb buffet breakfast selection in the main restaurant with its terrace overlooking the sea which, on sunny mornings, is the perfect place to begin the day. Lunch can be in the main restaurant, at the poolside Barbacoa or at the Laurel Beach Club. A popular alternative to the buffet is the Spanish Tasca Fandango. For a gastronomic night or two to remember, the Club Laurel à la carte restaurant is hard to beat and deserves a blog post all of its own.
When appetites are sated, low key entertainment accompanies the moonlight at the poolside lounge bar or you can sneak into the kiddies film on the chill out rooftop. But best of all is your own balcony with a bottle of wine, the ocean and the twinkling lights of the village far below. I defy you not to want to return.
Hotel Jardín Tecina, Lomada de Tecina, 38811 Playa de Santiago, La Gomera, Islas Canarias; +34 922 62 83 85; double room on bed & breakfast basis from €197 per night in winter and from €157 in summer.
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+