Set back from the beach, the luxurious Hotel Cordial Playa Mogan, is set in an area that has survived the ravages of rampant over-development. As the most picturesque resort in the south, Puerto de Mogan is a fishing village that has seamlessly become a resort without losing its soul. And the fishermen are still there too, along with a few great seafood restaurants.
Puerto de Mogan, set in the south-west of the island, still maintains its painterly atmosphere. It is even dubbed `Little Venice’ because of its canals that link the marina and the old harbour. Low-slung pueblo-style cottages grace the waterfront. Arches are overhung with bougainvillea and hibiscus. Around the beachfront and marina are inviting bars and seafood restaurants. The golden-sand beach is sheltered by a breakwater and makes for a lovely bathing spot.
In eco-friendly terms, Puerto de Mogan is a shining model, compared with every other beach resort on the island. This erstwhile fishing village couldn’t be more different from the classic soulless southern resort.
The watchword is privacy rather than opulence, with accommodation scattered throughout the grounds rather than in one main block. The bedrooms rarely feel like classic hotel rooms as they often look onto a private courtyard, perhaps graced by a Canarian fountain. Some rooms look a touch dated but still pleasant, designed in low-key good taste with bathrooms to match. The so-called `blue wing’ is suitable for young families, and convenient for the pool.
The suites, which often have a villa feel, tend to be more secluded and further away from the main action. Suites come with a separate bath and shower, with a Jacuzzi in four cases. One nice touch is that guests in the suites have their own dedicated breakfast buffet, which avoids the `feeding frenzy’ common in most big resort hotels.
Seen from the outside, the hotel is underwhelming and faces a nondescript shopping centre. Once inside the tropical grounds, any petty gripes are instantly forgotten.
A huge team of gardeners ensures that the landscaped grounds are lovely at all times of year. Wander among the figs, bananas, palms and cacti. The botanical variety makes it feel more like Kew Gardens than a resort hotel. Look out for the chirping canaries (we are in the Canaries, after all), as well as the Canarian fountains.
Apart from the over-the-top lobby, which reminds me of a cruise ship, I love the hotel. Even the lobby is captivating in its own way, revealing pools, waterfalls and grottoes. Tucked into this jungle-like scene is a bar and nightclub, not that you’d notice if you weren’t looking.
Tucked into the grounds is an archaeological zone containing a cemetery for the Guanche, the pre-Hispanic inhabitants of the Mogan Valley.
The hotel is very well-organised, including with a courtesy suite, where you can relax, shower or store luggage after checking out.
My tiny gripe is that there’s no beach access, and little sense of the sea, even if both are just a few minutes’ walk away. But if this were a classic beach resort, then the hotel would relinquish its sense of privacy - so best that it stays as secluded as it is.
The chapel in the grounds reflects the romantic nature of the resort and its popularity with honeymooners. You can even get married there.
Eating and drinking
The food is generally very good, though a notch below that found in the Residencia and Palm Beach. But bear in mind this is a 4-star hotel, though it doesn’t feel like it. Take the half-board option and feel free to switch your dinner to lunch if you feel like it.
Los Guayres, the à la carte restaurant, specialises in creative Canarian cuisine, and is only open in the evening. While not included in the half-board option, guests get a discount when dining there.
Tamarona, the main buffet restaurant, overlooks the lagoon and serves tasty international and themed cuisine, with meat and fish dishes often cooked in front of you. La Fula, officially the pool bar, has a laidback tapas-bar feel but is still probably the best place for an outdoor lunch. Dishes include upmarket tapas, as well as grills and salads. Alternatively, La Sama is the a la carte lunch alternative, but caters to guests in the suites for breakfast. At night, Fataga comes into its own as the disco bar.
In the grounds are two adult pools and Jacuzzis, as well as engaging water features and secret patios linked to self-contained accommodation areas. Children are well catered for, with a kids’ club, dedicated pool, man-made beaches and a full range of activities.
The dive center organises daily dives off the Mogan coast and is suitable for beginners or experienced divers. There’s also tennis (with a floodlit court), as well as squash, gym, a bowling alley, and poolside entertainment. Evening entertainment includes everything from live music and discos to fire-eaters and snake-charmers.
The Spa Inagua is not on the grand scale of many others on the island, nor is it a dedicated thalassotherapy spa. Small, but perfectly formed, it focuses on a wide range of pampering treatments, including some eclectic options. At the Spa Inagua, you can melt into a chocolate wrap, be dipped in crushed gold, or be detoxed in Champagne, not as bizarre as it sounds.
The Champagne Dream is an indulgent detox (not a contradiction in terms). This exfoliation and massage uses Champagne, which supposedly tightens the pores and leaves your skin glowing. The Gold Peeling and Wrap produces a similar effect by using pulverised gold. Instead, the Chocolate Dream is designed for dry skin and features an exfoliation, body wrap and massage using cocoa butter. The chocolate fosters a mood-boosting endorphins high.
Facials, seaweed wraps, and hot-stone massage are also on offer. There’s also a thermal spa pool with massage jets, along with a sauna, steam room, ice fountain and Jacuzzi.
Service is attentive and friendlier than at many rival hotels, led by a Christian, a half-Canarian guest relations manager who really listens to guests.
Who stays there
Puerto de Mogan is a sought-after spot for British visitors, especially empty-nesters and older couples. Also expect an international mix of guests in search of a garden retreat near the beach. The hotel suits quiet couples, garden-lovers and foodies – as well as low-key families who want to dip in and out of the beach scene, but not to be enslaved by it.
This is a 4-star hotel with the standards (but not prices) of a 5-star. Definitely choose 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. You can even switch your half-board dinner to lunch, then eat out in Puerto de Mogan some evenings. Book well in advance for Christmas to February and all half-term holidays as this is rightly a popular hotel. As elsewhere, winter season rates (October-April) are higher.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Families with teenagers
- Mature travellers
- Escaping the crowds
- Great views / scenery
Pros & Cons
- This is a 4-star hotel with the feel of a 5-star
- The discreet hotel design, made up of hidden courtyards
- The lush setting, close to picturesque Puerto de Mogan
- A glorious garden retreat – the best hotel grounds on the island
- Although the beach is so close, the connection with the sea feels missing
- Some standard rooms look a touch tired but are still appealing