It had been a long and immensely satisfying walk through Tamadaba Natural Park but now we want to kick back; throw off those trekking shoes and sink a cool one in ultra comfortable surroundings.
Our taxi negotiates a row of motorcycles that make the narrow entrance to Gran Canaria’s Parador de Cruz de Tejeda, located 1560 metres above sea level at the centre of the island, that bit narrower. Their owners are enjoying the last of the sun’s rays in a couple of bars opposite. Sitting in the centre of the pines at the crossroads of merchants’ trails (camino reales), Cruz de Tejeda has the air of a slightly wild western outpost with the parador acting as the fort. I immediately like it. The presence of life outside of its doors doesn’t make it feel as aloof as some paradors we’ve visited.
Check in is smooth and quick and we’re told that dinner is held between the hours of 9 and 11pm; giving us time to clean up, chill out and wrap our hands around something cool and alcoholic. Hot, sweaty and tired, I barely register the arched vestibule as we focus on finding room 205. Boasting only an intimate 43 rooms, getting to your room at the Parador Cruz de Tejeda doesn’t take long. We open the door and enter. If there wasn’t a clunk there should have been; both of our jaws must have hit the floor at the same time as we harmonise a spontaneous ‘WOW’.
The room is large and attractively decked out but it’s what lies beyond that has tractor beamed our attention. The world seems to have fallen away right outside our window, leaving a huge cinema-scope scene of canyons and valleys populated by pines, plateaus and peaks; the landscape of Miguel de Unamuno’s ‘Petrified Storm’. We grab two beers from the mini bar and plonk ourselves down to absorb what feels like an exclusive viewing of a battle between Gran Canaria’s Roque Nublo and Tenerife’s distant Mount Teide for the title of king of the skies.
Just as well dinner is served till 11pm, this is going to take some absorbing.
Rooms are big, bright, attractive and very comfortable as are beds (mostly twins pushed together – so ‘romantics’ don’t have to feel squeezed out). But the USP here are the terraces with their epic views; you will be impressed to the point of needing a fly guard for your mouth. Rooms all have mini bars, safes and flat screen TV. WiFi isn’t available in the rooms (it is at reception), but reception will provide a cable to connect to ADSL.
The Parador de Cruz de Tejeda has a super little spa that limits the number of guests using it so that it maintains an air of intimacy and exclusivity. You can wallow in an aloe vera wrap, sigh during a Tejeda stone experience or float from below cool blue Grecian arches to the green sheen from the pines in a pool that extends into the forest.
Perfect for filling up before tackling forest trails, the extensive breakfast buffet looks great and has loads of variety including hot (sausages, eggs, tortilla etc.) and cold options (meats, cheeses, pastries). The dinner menu is pleasurably sophisticated (Iberian pork with green beans wrapped in bacon Tejeda cheese and creamed potatoes; ravioli in a curry sauce with cubes of pineapple, trumpet mushrooms & pumpkin slices). Portions are generous to the point of being too big, my hot crispy won ton starter was delicious but could have easily fed two people. Sensational sunset views are an exquisite bonus.
Before and after dinner, there’s a neat little bar which has an outdoor terrace and ceiling to floor windows inside, ideal for sipping something sexy at sunset when there’s a chill in the air.
Buzz Trips View
The Parador de Cruz de Tejeda was originally built in 1937 and feels as fresh as the pine air that permeates the air around it. It is a perfect design for its natural surroundings, fitting in literally as most of the rooms are actually built into the hillside.
We were bowled over by its location and then charmed by the hotel itself. It has managed to pull off feeling both ‘bosom of Mother Nature’ and stylishly contemporary at the same time which makes it attractive to guests with varying preferences. The obvious is as an ultra relaxing base for hiking, cycling and any number of outdoor activities. The second is as a tranquil getaway from it all destination. But it is also dreamily romantic; the food is imaginative, the spa just too cool for school and the luscious backdrop prompts spontaneous bouts of hand-holding.
The bottom line is we didn’t want to check out.
Prices start from around €128 per room (breakfast included). Book some quality time with nature at the Parador de Cruz de Tejeda here.