Barrio Ibo Alfaro, Hermigua, La Gomera
Buzz Trips view:
Rural Hotel Ibo Alfaro is like a dowager countess of Hermigua; a genteel icon of a simpler, grander age who welcomes hikers into her ample and bejewelled bosom to soothe them with her surroundings, replenish them with her breakfasts and send them out into the world fully informed and ready for anything La Gomera’s walking routes might throw at them. The service is second to none and the hotel’s English speaking Alex is on a perpetual mission to ensure guests want for nothing.
Finally arriving in Hermigua after a strenuous 13km, 4 hour hike which had begun in appalling weather conditions of thick fog, horizontal rain and strong winds and ended in glorious sunshine, we did what we always do at the end if a hike – found the nearest bar and ordered a well deserved beer. The hotel is only half a kilometre away, we reasoned.
Little did we realise the half kilometre was practically vertical and by the time the Rural Hotel Ibo Alfaro came into view I was breathless, exhausted and muttering expletives. But by the time we had reached our room in the cosy world of Ibo Alfaro and been made to feel like one of the family by Alex, I’d forgotten the uphill hike and settled into blissful relaxation.
Set on the mountainside high above the valley, the Ibo Alfaro is a 150 year old Canarian mansion, impeccably restored and furnished in keeping with her age. What she lacks in facilities she more than makes up for with traditional character and expansive views stretching to Tenerife and to Mount Teide peeking above the ridge.
The hotel’s position is a double edged sword; on the one hand the views and the tranquillity are unsurpassed but on the other, restaurants and bars are a taxi or car drive away or else you face that slog back up from the town.
Seventeen, en suite bedrooms are dotted along the corridors and annexes of the rambling main house and extensions, each offering wooden floors and mudejar styled wood ceilings. Many have traditional window seats from which to enjoy those spectacular views if your room is on the front of the house, and all are furnished in period style teamed up with contemporary, abstract oil paintings. Our room had comfy twin beds, a window seat, a writing desk and a small occasional table, and although it wasn’t large, it didn’t feel cramped or crowded. The bathroom was tiled in beautiful, Moroccan style, miniature tiles and there was lashings of hot water but the towels were on the hard side of a surf board and could do with being replaced.
At night we opened the wooden shutters to better see the heavenly displays as we fell asleep and to be able to determine between day and night after sun rise. By day the window seat provided the sort of views normally reserved for miradors and the perfect spot to enjoy an early evening glass of wine.
Breakfast is served in the ground floor dining room and is a healthy affair consisting of the best selection of muesli, nuts, dried fruits and seeds that I have ever encountered, all guaranteed to set you up for the rest of the morning. Local goat’s cheese, cooked ham, jamon Serrano, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit and pastries add the extra fuel needed to tackle those barrancos. Ask for a packed lunch and you’ll need an extra rucksack to carry it all; ours lasted us for two days and we were still eating their plump, juicy figs on the flight home.
The outside terrace is a fabulous place to enjoy an early evening aperitif or a cold beer from the honesty bar in the little sitting room, weather permitting. The roof terrace also provides tempting places to sit and let the views seduce you should you feel so inclined.
Rural Hotel Ibo Alfaro, Hermigua, La Gomera; tel: +34 922 880 168; double room plus breakfast €82
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+