Sunday, 30 January 2011
THERE'S A SMALL HOTEL ...
Its been a rainy day today so I have had plenty of time to prepare this new post. Bad weather doesn't mean no pictures however, since I have an inventory of photos from other trips to sample for your benefit.
Today's post is about a necessary, but often disappointing, aspect of travelling abroad, namely the choice of the right place to stay. As I already mentioned, I am spending my two weeks here in Playa del Inglès, one of those tourist places Spain has managed to stamp out of barren and unpopulated ground all over its coasts. The coastal region here in the South of Gran Canaria was to start with a barren desert-like slope, with only brushes and cactus to show for it. It took Franco to organise a system of man made lakes in the mountains together with tunnels and trenches, which rendered the desert arable. As result, huge tomato plantations were created, adorning the flats where hotels now abound.
So there was no cultural background or inheritance to guide the heaping of cement upon cement, in the sixties, to shape a tourist town where tomatoes used to grow, a town like many other tourist traps in Spain. Fortunately, nature blessed Playa del Inglès with a treasure that the Spanish authorities had the good sense to preserve: a kilometer wide stretch of wide and flat beach, flanked by a charming hillside of desert dunes, full of sand blown over from the Sahara, which is just some tens of kilometers away towards the East. The dunes were declared a protected nature area. This has the pleasant consequence that you can walk on the beach, for about 5 kilometers, seeing only dunes and forgetting that you are surrounded by a forest in cement, built to house yourself as well as the other thousands of tourist coming to this place every week.
More about the beach in a future post. This chapter is about housing. I am sure you start to understand that it is rather important to find a place here that lets you forget that you are staying smack in the middle of a tourist trap and that, at the same time, lies so close to the beach so that you don't waste a lot of time before pursuing your hiking pleasure on this unspoilt place.
I am happy to tell you that I found just that. A hotel that lets you believe that you are staying in a palm forest, albeit being placed in the middle of all the concrete ruckus. All the rooms face a grove of mature palm trees, which are surrounding some nice facilities, such as, a pool and pool bar and some bungalows for families with children. Only when you step out of your room on your way to the elevator are you forced to take a look at the town. By a stroke of genius, the architect let the hotel show only its backside to the town, the front with all the rooms and balconies are facing in the other direction, ultimately looking at the beach, if you care to lift your eyes above the palm crowns.
This hotel, by the name of Riu Palmeras, has been my trusted abode during essentially all my stays here in Playa del Inglès and I can but recommend it to others of a travel inclination similar to mine. If you would like to hear and see more about this agreeable place, why not have a look at a small video I prepared for this purpose. You can find it on Youtube if you click on the link below: