Tenerife: it doesn’t exactly evoke connotations of stylish, peaceful, classic beauty.
Sunshine guaranteed in the winter months, a cheap flight away, sure. But boutique, unspoilt spots for an authentic experience? Less likely. Hang on, because we’ve discovered a truly exquisite gem nestling on the North East coast of Tenerife, an hour and half slightly perilous drive from the somewhat more touristy Tenerife South, and the Playa de las Americas ridden with Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald’s.
Breathe, relax and let the adult only peaceful vibes wash over you.
The Hotel San Roque is located in the picturesque town of Garachio, the former capital of Tenerife, and a site of cultural interest only moments from a charming square where locals wile away the day playing boules and drinking espresso.
The Hotel San Roque is housed in a stately 17th century restored house brimming with history. Owned originally as a private house for one of the big families of Garachio, it has now been owned by the same family for twenty years. They spent four years lovingly restoring it into a magical adult-only paradise, with two open courtyards, a roof terrace to catch the winter rays, a swimming pool and sauna, and plenty of nooks and crannies to nestle with a book when the sun goes behind clouds. There is such a specific energy this hotel provides; relaxed but smart, a place you can comfortably walk around barefoot, but which feels classically elegant.
Breakfast is served by the pool until 11am, which means long lie-ins and lazy breakfasts with repeat returns for crumbly buttery pastries, sweet tomatoes and cured meats at the breakfast table. Eggs are available on request, and we spent many a mornings slowly eating omelettes and bacon, and making crumbs on the English newspapers provided. The hotel are incredibly flexible with dietary requirements, making frothy soya cappuccinos and butterless omelettes.
If you so choose, food is served whenever you like and all you have to do is press a button by your seat and one of the charming staff will appear. The staff are perfect here; available when you need them, but not too suffocating.
The hotel is home to Restaurant Anturium, one of the most celebrated places to eat in the village. The dishes mix haute cuisine with Canarian influences, and it’s a real must visit.
Each of the rooms are unique, and are continually being tided by the lovely housekeepers. We got so used to our little mat at turn down service, it was quite a disappointment to return home to a crumpled duvet. We recommend stay in the impressive ‘La Toree’ (the watchtower) suite built on three levels with its own private terrace with views for miles of the volcanic rocks and beyond.
We can’t be more effusive about Hotel San Roque, it was a true Canarian experience that blasted all my misgivings of Tenerife away. Stay here, bring handfuls of books and amble amid the charming narrow streets of white washed houses and you will be utterly content. One tip: do bring a phrasebook, or at least learn the name of your favourite seafood in Spanish as the locals mostly do not speak English.
The motto of the town of Garachio translates as ‘Glorious in Adversity’, reflecting how it was reborn from a week-long eruption in 1706. Adversity or no adversity, perhaps just a bad euro rate, it is utterly glorious at the Hotel San Roque and we urge you to try it for yourself.
Gemma is Health Editor at About Time.