The port location is convenient for the beach, as well as for good-value shopping, nightlife and restaurants, both ethnic restaurants and earthy neighbourhood haunts. The beach, Playa de las Canteras, is just around the corner, and can be admired from the hotel’s rooftop terrace and pool deck. The beach has a breezy urban buzz, especially at weekends. If tempted to visit the hotter beaches in the south of the island, then the bus station is conveniently close to the hotel and Parque de Santa Catalina. This square offers a slice of Las Palmas life, day or night, not just at Carnival. Watch stallholders, sailors, shoeshine boys and chess-players go about their business. This is also the red-light area but generally feels completely safe, even at night.
The hotel works less well for exploring Vegueta, Las Palmas’ lovely old town. Vegueta is not just my favourite district but the most beguiling old quarter anywhere on the Canary Islands. Vegueta has the most eclectic nightlife scene, from sophisticated restaurants to quirky bars and happening tapas joints. But you’re still only a short drive (or cab ride) away. A cab is recommended (only about 6 euro) as parking in and around Vegueta is tricky.
The bedrooms are contemporary, characterised by clean lines, pine floors and wood surrounds. Nice touches include the flat-screen tv, complimentary water and WiFi, and attractive bathrooms. Don’t expect beach views from the bedrooms: the sea views are gritty views across the port and docks, but distinctive nonetheless. Request a room on the higher floors (such as floor 6 or 7) as the rooms are absolutely quiet, and also more convenient for the rooftop pool.
The public areas have a rather functional, impersonal feel, an impression confirmed by the meeting rooms, but mitigated by the friendly service. The lobby bar offers WiFi (extra charge) but the most appealing area is the rooftop, with its gorgeous 360 degree views of the sea.
Eating and drinking
Like the rest of the hotel, the breakfast room (which doubles as the restaurant) is contemporary and fairly functional. The breakfast buffet is more than reasonable, with a good spread of cheeses, hams and pastries. On the rooftop, the pool bar does drinks, snacks and light lunches. The main restaurant specialises in creative, fusion cuisine, but don’t commit yourself to half-board as there are so many dining options nearby. I particularly like a small Lebanese restaurant called Tabule (Calle Padre Cueto) that, bizarrely, comes with a handy spa.
For an utterly urban hotel, Cantur feels very relaxing, helped by the rooftop pool zone. Here you’ll find the heated main pool, a small children’s pool, the sauna, and pool bar. But better than any of these are the views of the rugged coastline in all directions, including Las Canteras beach. The hotel has a small spa centre a short walk away, with an indoor pool.
Even so, Las Palmas itself is the biggest `leisure facility’ so explore the Vegueta old town cultural quarter, as well as Las Canteras, the urban beach scene around the corner. Lining the seafront are enough bars, restaurants and ice cream parlours to making a day at the beach deeply enjoyable. As a contrast to the gritty port area around the hotel, explore the more stylish bars on the Marina, further south.
As a Best Western hotel, the Cantur comes with the assumption of professional standards and service, and I wasn’t disappointed. Service is personal and friendly, especially the manager and all on reception.
Who stays there
Expect an eclectic mix of northern Europeans there for business or leisure. Solo business people, couples and culture-vultures predominate.
Book early for the city’s fabulous Carnival in February, which is centred on Parque de Santa Catalina, the bustling square close to the hotel. If needed, definitely pre-book the hotel’s private car park around the corner (around 10 euro daily) as parking is otherwise tricky. The spa, which is nearby, also comes with an extra charge (12 euro).
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Families with teenagers
- Mature travellers
- Live entertainment
Pros & Cons
- The bedrooms are tastefully contemporary
- The roof-top pool is a great draw
- Convenient for Las Canteras beach
- Handy for dining and shopping around the port area
- The hotel isn’t within walking distance of Vegueta, the old town
- Mutterings about noisy rooms on the lower floors
- I like it but the gritty port area isn’t for everyone