Gran Canaria

by Olivia Cox October 1

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I’m a fairly lazy traveller. I love finding new places, but if I’m honest I resent having to travel longer than a couple of hours. Call it generation Easyjet, whates.

But occasionally, I do make exceptions.
Which is what happened last weekend when I took the plunge and boarded a (free Wi-Fi enabled, how cool is that?!) Norweigian Airways flight to Gran Canaria. I had obviously had to google exactly where the island was (geography was never my strong point), and after assurances from slightly more street-wise friends that no, I would not need vaccinations, I was pretty damn excited.
We were staying at a hotel called Seaside Palm Beach in Maspalomas in the south of the island. It’s one of the only ‘design’ hotels on the island, which basically translates as a bit more edgy and cool that the rest. Think the kiss sofa in St Martin’s Lane hotel, or the quotes printed on the W hotel’s bathroom mirrors. Those sort of things.
The focus in the hotel is on relaxation, wellness and good food. This was explained to us on day one, but frankly , I’d defy anyone not to notice the ethos within circa ten minutes of exploring the place. The grounds are littered with the sorts of thoughtful details you just don’t offer by accident (submerged exercise bike in the pool, outside gym, salt caves); and the food just surpassed all expectations in variety, freshness and basically yumminess. Example: they didn’t bat an eyelid when I demanded gluten-free at each meal, and at breakfast you had a choice of oodles of sorts of milk. These may seem small details, but trust me – they’re not.
One of the traditional things to do on the island is visit the Thallasso baths, which are healing pools at puke-warm temperature with oodles of salt and various different pressure jets to stimulate and massage. Unfortunately, you do have to wear a bog-standard bath hat (yes, the see-through things) while you’re in there. But if you can get over that, it’s ever so relaxing. And if not… well. It’s pretty amusing, too.
Slightly less traditional but just as mega was a trip on a genuine submarine, which submerged us to the inky (ok, it was still pretty light) depths of 25 feet and slowly toured hidden shipwrecks, much to the delight of the resident schools of fish, who seemed to be putting on a show for us out the pothole windows. The sinic in me assumes we must have been trailing fish food, but nonetheless it was pretty magical to watch fish after fish (and the occasional eel-slash-snake thing) flit past the window.
Not satisfied with staying in our little slice of paradise, we also explored some other hotels on the island. Now obviously I’m biased (bear with me, you’ll find out why in a second), but my favourite was the penultimate, called Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa. It’s set within an absolute menagerie of greenery, and has lovely little details like cat feeding posts (‘if you can’t beat them, join them’, the manager explained in reference to the problem of stray cats the hotel had suffered), and resulting cat adoption scheme, where the hotel will prepare the papers to allow you to take a cat home. We met lazy Felix and a feisty little black number who hissed at us, tried to scratch Felix, and stalked off toward the food. ‘What’s his name?’ I asked. I was told he didn’t have one. Well everything deserves a name. So I was allowed to name him, and naturally settled on Oliver. (Or Olivia if he turns out to be a she. There were varying opinions being bandied about at the time of naming). So that’s my reason. They named a cat after me (sort of). Fickle, I know.
We were on the island for a measly three days, which really isn’t long enough. I know this for a fact because many of the guests we met had been returning to the exact same location since they were children themselves, and were now shipping their grandchildren over here to begin their own new tradition.
Gran Canaria is beautiful, packed with activities (I hear the waterspouts are pretty darn fantastic), and just uber uber relaxing. If you can face four hours chilling on a roomy plane with Wi-Fi, snacks and free movies, I urge you to go. Say hi to Oliver for me…
Olivia x

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