La Residencia is set in an ancient palm grove in the most select part of Maspalomas, in the sultry south of the island. If you’re simply after a lazy beach, golf and spa break, or some winter sun, dispense with a car and book a transfer from the airport, which is about 35 minutes’ drive away (38 kms). Although it’s only a short stroll to the centre of Maspalomas, the cosseting nature of this hideaway means that guests are only too delighted to resist the temptation. Bustling Playa del Ingles is 5kms away but most guests never venture there.
Conceived of by French interior designer Alberto Pinto, the soft-focus Spanish colonial look embraces the bedrooms. These are designed in a soothing palette of blue and white, offset by dark teak furniture, a Spanish-style tiled floor, and splashes of colourful ceramics. Bedrooms and suites come with either a terrace/private patio or a wooden balcony overlooking the gardens, pool or sand dunes. For a sense of place and seclusion, opt for a dune view, despite the slight price differential. The presidential suite boasts its own garden.
Bathrooms are in exquisite elegant-rustic taste, and stocked with chic L’Occitane bath products or, in the case of suites, stocked with Bulgari goodies. The typical bathroom has a bath with overhead shower, separate bidet and loo, with a Jacuzzi bath in the suites.
The cocooning effect soon sets in, whether in the elegant piano bar or in the casual pool bar. There is a charmingly clubby library (where you can also borrow DVDs for your room) and free internet there too, as well as WiFi in the lobby and on the terrace. There is occasional muttering about the sun-loungers being too close together by the pool: children, children…
Eating and drinking
Top-notch breakfast buffets include eggs or pancakes cooked to order, while the pool bar is the place for lunch, ranging from tapas and salad to steaks. An elegant afternoon tea is served on the terrace. The gourmet dinner is a romantic, candlelit affair in the airy, glamorous restaurant. Expect international and Canarian dishes with creative flourishes. Half-board a la carte is the best option, both in terms of quality and value, with an impressive silver service feast. On two nights a week there is an equally tempting barbecue instead. The hotel is within walking distance of Maspalomas’ restaurants but most guests opt to hide out here.
The beach and dunes are around 300 metres away but most guests prefer to stay poolside. The freeform outdoor pool, and pool bar, is the focal point of the tropical gardens. The outdoor fitness area is a welcome touch, as is the personal training service, at an extra charge. Tai Chi, yoga, tennis, volleyball and boules are also on offer, with these services shared with Palm Beach, the sister-hotel down the road. That’s if you can bear to leave the grounds.
The spa is a superb discovery, and surprisingly big for a boutique hotel. Guests can access the sauna, steam room, gyms, thalasso pool (with massage jets) and water aerobics sessions at no extra charge (although spa and beauty treatments are, of course, extra). The beauty centre does hair and nails while the spa treatments include ayurveda, anti-ageing facials and Swedish massage. In the spa, the colonial mood is abandoned in favour of Moorish-meets-Ottoman. The Rasul is the treatment of choice for couples who want an excuse to slather one another in mud. But I prefer a solo `Pantai Luar' massage.
Personal yet discreet service which is virtually faultless, with Spanish warmth underpinned by Germanic efficiency, reflecting the ownership of the hotel. The German owner of this much-admired hotel group is passionate about his flagship property and makes flying visits to keep his eye on the details. Definitely no German commandeering of sun-loungers here.
Who stays there
The chic set and a sprinkling of off-duty celebrities, such as actor Orlando Bloom. Also more laidback couples who want the boutique charm and sultry beach temperatures of the southern resorts. The Residencia appeals to honeymooners, empty-nesters or anyone who wants laidback luxury and near faultless service. The hotel is not suitable for children: choose the more family-oriented Palm Beach instead, which is nearby and in the same excellent hotel group.
Definitely book half-board: as in most Gran Canarian resorts, the price differential between B&B and half-board is negligible and the food here doesn’t disappoint. As elsewhere, winter season rates (October-April) are higher and a loyal clientele means it’s best to book well in advance for a January break, and request a room or suite with dune views.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Families with younger children
- Mature travellers
- Escaping the crowds
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Snob appeal – no sightings of the riff-raff on Playa del Ingles
- Laidback luxury for couples and the chic set
- Superb spa treatments in the exotic boutique spa
- Mutterings about the sun-loungers being too close together by the pool
- You won’t want to stay anywhere else on the island
- The beach is about five minutes walk away even if some rooms overlook the dunes