A GEM IN A GEM Earlier this year we were looking for something a little different to fit in the “just a week, plenty of sunshine, near the sea and above all a really good hotel”.
“Just a week” was easily resolved; we had recently enjoyed a week in Tenby with the family, son, daughter in law, daughter, son in law and four grandchildren. The weather was excellent, the grandchildren were well behaved but at the end of the week we were pretty tired; we needed to be away as soon as possible.
“Plenty of sunshine”, easily settled as well….The Canaries. We chose La Palma because it’s one of the quieter islands. It also has a very good record for sunshine, particularly the western side of the island, and we had heard the island described as a “gem”.
Tazacorte seemed to fit the bill with the town only a 25 minute walk to the beach and a convenient bus service.
“A really good hotel”! Now one of us had a birthday in the chosen week so we had to get this right. Jean chose Hacienda de Abajo from the Classic Collection brochure. The hotel is a refurbished 17th century sugar estate and is without doubt one of the best hotels we have had the pleasure of staying in.
Any words we use to describe our experience will fail dismally to convey the quality of the public rooms, bedrooms, gardens and service; but we will try. Hopefully a few photos will help.
Our transfer to Hacienda de Abajo was by private taxi …. a good start and on arrival we were met by Eleanor one of the very charming front desk staff and offered a glass of cool dry Cava as we completed registration. The “front desk” is just that and the lobby is furnished with some very interesting antiques. This was the first of several “WOW” factors.
The reception lobby:
Eleanor showed us to our room which overlooked the fantastic tropical gardens, (“WOW” factor two). Later we were fortunate enough to meet the husband and wife landscapers responsible for a wonderful array of trees, shrubs and flowers covering almost all of the outside public area. As a little aside as to the level of service provided at Hacienda de Abajo they took time to explain how they designed the gardens, how certain plants might survive in an English garden and gave us the name of a book to help us in our very sandy soiled garden that is “plagued” by wildlife.
Just part of the splendid garden:
Set inside this area of tranquillity was the swimming pool and the “honesty corner” for self service drinks; hardly needed because Carlos, Angelino or Paola periodically appeared to see if all was well. Adjacent is the sauna, Jacuzzi and the massage area…with such beautiful weather we had to decline.
The pool and spa area:
We had booked a standard balcony room, (“WOW factor three”) with a beautiful mix of old and new. The old was the high antique bed, antique bedside cabinets and a large wardrobe. The new was the bathroom, pastel walls, bath and shower, robes, slippers and quality products. If this was a standard room, what were the superior, de luxe and the suite like? We found out later when Marinke, the Reception Supervisor took us on a brief tour…… more “WOW” as each room has it’s individual décor. The only modern features were air conditioning, the flat screen TV, safe, (no charge) and the mini bar with complimentary water and soft drinks each day.
Room number 30 The hotel has 32 rooms, is adults only and has been open for 10 months. It has “Emblematic” status which means that the construction must replicate the historic heritage of the island.
The bar terrace area provides the ideal setting for breakfast. The buffet is beautifully presented with a wide choice with the addition of hot food expertly cooked to order ….. including service with an ever ready smile and welcome. Similarly there is an excellent á la carte choice for lunch and dinner which can be taken on the terrace or in the outstandingly beautiful first floor dining room that overlooks the sea. We enjoyed both settings and on each occasion had the benefit of expert advice from Carlos as to the choice of wine.
The breakfast and bar terrace The first floor dining room:
Again, an aside that shows the excellent level of service from the staff; Jean chose banana soup as part of her birthday dinner….”Delicious” she said, “Unique to La Palma” said Carlos. The next day we saw the Chef and Jean complimented her on the two dinners we had enjoyed and in particular the banana soup. At breakfast the next morning there was a copy of the recipe.
We silver travellers have unfortunately stayed in some pretty average hotels; but that was probably when we were not so “silver”. Now with the wisdom and astuteness that goes with “silver” we’ve probably stayed in many good hotels. This was without doubt one of the very best.
We hope this brief resume will encourage others to enjoy the gem that is Hacienda de Abajo.
NB. At present there are no rooms adapted for disabled travellers and the road to the town is quite steep.