With nothing but grey days and afternoons spent sitting in the dark to look forward to, it might be time to consider a break away from the gloom. Mr Grumpy and I have just the destination for you – one that is back in the limelight and should be visited before everyone races to it – Lanzarote.
This beautiful island with its stunning scenery, interesting sites and black volcanic sand can no longer be called “Lanzagrotty”. If you head to the Marina Rubicon at Playa Blanca you will discover bars, restaurants and shops to rival the smartest in other exclusive resorts.
Marina Rubicon has had a facelift. The cigarette butts littering the walkways have been banished, the entire area has been cleaned, polished and in enjoying a renaissance. Gone are the wide-screen televisions blaring music or football matches in cafes filled with bare-chested men downing pints, and in their place are smart supermarkets, leisure facilities and a French bakery. The shopping centre itself has also been revamped and the Marina Rubicon remains a delightful place to enjoy a sundowner and hobnob with yacht owners.
THe (The Hotel Experience) Hotel Volcan is the perfect place to stay and enjoy all that this area offers. From here it is only fifteen minutes walk to the nearest sandy beaches and the hotel overlooks stunning views over the Castillo de las Coloradas and the Marina Rubicon. If you can’t face the walk, jump in a taxi or better still, grab one of the hotel’s electric bikes and arrive without even breaking into a sweat.
Best of all, The Hotel Volcan offers you an “Adults Only” area where you can bask in the sun on a huge Bali bed, jump in a child-free pool, wallow in a Jacuzzi overlooking the sea and enjoy all the private facilities of THe Club.
THe Club is a separate area to this charming hotel. It has its own breakfast room and offers afternoon tea and a free evening drinks and nibbles bar. There is a lounge area, free Wi-Fi and newspapers – in fact, everything to make your stay relaxing and enjoyable.
The hotel is adorable – built in the style of a small Lanzarote village in the shadow of a volcano that is the reception area at the hotel. I won’t spoil the surprise but wait until you see what is inside the volcano. It has the “wow” factor.
There is much to do in Lanzarote, especially if you hire a car. From excursions to pretty towns on the island to vineyards, secret lagoons, cactus farms and the magnificent Cesar Manrique house. You will not be bored. By the way, you must visit Los Jameos del Agua and be blown away by the 600-seat auditorium built in volcanic caverns.
If you fancy a day off the island try sailing, take a cruise to one of the smaller islands and enjoy a spot of walking or grab the ferry that goes between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura for a day out.
Tips from the Grumpies
Mr Grumpy’s tip: head to the ferry port at Playa Blanca and visit Betty German Bakery. She has the best cakes and pastries in the area. Try the apple strudel with cream.
My tip: Although you’ll get bright, sunny days, you will not be able to sunbathe all the time. It can be very cool and breezy so make sure you take a coat and a hat!
Mr Grumpy says: I’m giving the hotel a resounding 10/10 no children to annoy me all week – bliss!) 10/10 for the resort of Marina Grande and I’m giving the island a 9/10. I took one point off for the wind. It blows a lot here.
I say: Top destination for some winter sunshine. I’ve already booked for next year.
Unusual things to do in Lanzarote.
Take a SUP stand up paddle boarding course. (Try not to laugh too much when your partner falls off.)
Go on the perfect grumpy tour and hike through the hills on the back of a camel up Timanfaya National Park and admire the geysers. It’s a myth that camels spit at humans. They only spit at fellow camels. (And grumpy old husbands.)
Go fully underwater in a real life yellow submarine. (From Puerto Calero)
Hurry up and book for this coming winter season. We were there in December along with the “Rip Off Britain” team – Angela Rippon, Gloria Hunniford and Julia Somerville who were filming for the show and extolling the virtues of the Marina Rubicon. I don’t expect it to remain a well-kept secret for much longer.