Set on top of Playa de las Canteras beach, on the north-western edge of Las Palmas, the hotel overlooks the golden sands and the promenade. The beach is sheltered by La Barra, a natural rock barrier, which breaks the incoming waves. At low tide, this turns the sea into a warm, shallow lagoon and good beach for swimming. The surfing beach is at the southwestern, where the golden sands peter out into black, volcanic sands.
This urban beach scene is lively all-day long, and popular with joggers, roller-bladers, swimmers, surfers and strollers – as well as with diners eating at one of the many cafes and fish restaurants that line this pedestrian route. Although the weather can be cloudier compared with the southern resorts, this still makes a good beach break. If tempted to visit the hotter beaches in the south of the island, then the bus station is ten minutes’ away. Services run to the airport and to the beach resorts of Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles.
Apart from the beach, the location is handy for restaurants, nightlife and music. The Auditorio Alfredo Kraus concert hall is a walk along the promenade. It’s the venue for classical concerts as well as ballet, jazz, flamenco, soul, pop and rock. Vegueta, Las Palmas’ lovely old town, is a cab ride away but unmissable. Vegueta is not just my favourite district but the most beguiling old quarter anywhere on the Canary Islands. It boasts the most eclectic nightlife scene, from sophisticated restaurants to quirky bars and happening tapas joints.
The hotel’s signature look is of a once glamorous grande dame who has slightly lost her looks. This played out in the bedrooms in particular, which are often looking in need of a facelift. Expect a rather floral, chinzy look, redeemed by parquet floors, and some renovated bathrooms. Even so, the bustling views of the beach and promenade are enough to keep you rooted to your balcony. Definitely request a room higher up as views from the lower levels are impeded by buildings on the side. Number 229, for instance, has a view pof the sea, palm trees and a roof garden below.
There’s plenty of space and an airy, palm-lined lobby leading to the beach. The look is gracious but dated, as elsewhere in the hotel. Business guests will find plenty of functional meeting rooms.
Eating and drinking
Buffet breakfasts are among the best on the island. Expect omelettes made to order and orange juice squeezed in front of you (even mixed with vodka or Spanish cava). Special diets can be catered for too. Half-board guests eat all meals in Roma, the main buffet restaurant, next to the lobby. Instead, La Parrilla, the a la carte restaurant on the 8th floor, boasts one of the best beach views in town, and is an elegant setting for a gastronomic feast on such dishes as breaded prawns, sea bass, and Canary-style steaks. Next-door to the rooftop pool, the Fiesta Bar, which looks surprisingly snazzy compared with the rest of the hotel, designed in a faintly Art Deco style. This is the place for drinks, as well as cocktails overlooking the sunset.
The most appealing area is the rooftop, with its views of the beach and promenade. The hotel also has a fitness centre and sauna. There is currently no spa but plans are afoot to revamp the gym and create a spa, but don’t expect it any day soon.
Las Palmas itself is the biggest `leisure facility’ so explore the Vegueta 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 beach scene, explore the more stylish bars on the Marina, further south.
Service ranges from businesslike to personal and friendly.
Who stays there
Germans and the British form the core clientele, and are mostly there for leisure. The hotel is suited to families as well as couples, with mature couples predominating. Reina Isabel could also make a laidback business option as the central business and shopping area are nearby.
Check the price of half-board against B&B and if there’s very little difference, then consider opting for half-board as the food is good. On the other hand, the promenade is lined with enticing restaurant terraces so eating out here is a pleasure.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Families with teenagers
- Families with younger children
- Mature travellers
- People watching
Pros & Cons
- The beachside setting, overlooking Las Canteras beach
- Superb breakfast buffet and gourmet a la carte restaurant
- The sea views from the higher floors
- Strolling and dining in restaurants along the promenade
- Not within walking distance of Vegueta, the old town
- No spa but apparently one is on the cards
- The hotel is looking dated and in need of refurbishment