A volcanic archipelago located off the west coast of Africa, the Canary Islands are known for their dramatic landscape and white sand beaches. These Spanish isles have long been a favourite holiday destination for Europeans. Just under three hours by plane from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands’ rugged coastline has seen its fair share of development over the years. But these days, the opulent beach resorts on islands such as Gran Canaria are attracting a discerning clientele.
It’s safe to say that the Santa Catalina — a marvellous blend of old world style and modern updates — is the most famous luxury hotel in Gran Canaria. The ornate 19th-century landmark building is immediately recognizable with its carved wood balconies and twin domes, all surrounded by beautifully manicured grounds containing fountains, palms and a Spanish courtyard. Categorically upscale, the 204 rooms feature marble floors, oversized freestanding tubs, Rituals toiletries, and mirror TVs in opulent gold frames.
Stationed right on Playa de Las Canteras, a wide C-shaped beach with golden sand and clear blue water, Hotel Cristina las Palmas is incredibly well-positioned. The majority of its 306 rooms have a private balcony to take advantage of the ocean views and surrounding mountains. For more sweeping vistas, there’s a rooftop terrace with a solarium, heated dipping pool, and pool bar for drinks and snacks. Other perks include 24-hour room service and free breakfast with Nespresso coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and sparkling wine.
This architecturally gorgeous all-inclusive is renowned for its stunning Gaudi-esque design, ocean views and laundry list of facilities. The seemingly endless freeform pool anchors the north end of the resort and an infinity pool overlooking Playa de Meloneras (10 minutes away by foot) is found on the south end. Seven restaurants and bars provide near-limitless meals and refreshments, from the richly varied buffet (the chocolate fountain is a hit with kids) to a well-reviewed brasserie and a trio of open-late bars with live piano and sax.
The gleaming Gold by Marina may be in the heart of Playa del Inglés, but it looks straight out of Miami’s South Beach. The art deco vibes inside hold their own against the streamlined exterior, from the trendy ocean liner-inspired rooms to the hip restaurant. For adults only, Gold by Marina is perfect for scenester young couples and friend groups looking for the elusive trendy hotel in Gran Canaria.
Backed by the rocky red mountains of the island’s southwest, there is little in the surrounding area of the 422-room Radisson Blu outpost, besides other resorts. Families will appreciate the wealth of onsite facilities — three pools, three restaurants, tennis courts, and a rock-climbing wall, to name a few. The pleasant village of Puerto de Mogan and its canals, marina, and half-moon beach can be reached in 15 minutes on foot.
Hotel Concorde makes a friendly base for travellers exploring Gran Canaria’s capital. Like many Las Palmas hotels by the water, Hotel Concorde maximises its panoramic views with rooftop amenities; expect to find a sunny terrace with a pool, sunbeds and potted cacti. Enjoy further vistas from the upper-level restaurant, where a free breakfast buffet is set up every morning.
This stylish resort stands out for its African-inspired decor, from a safari-themed lounge bar to an exotic outdoor pool. However, Lopesan Baobab Resort is serious about its service – with bellboys on hand to whisk luggage to your room to massage treatments in the spa. Choose from four restaurants serving either buffet style or à la carte, seven outdoor swimming pools, poolside cocktail bars and facilities for golf, tennis, volleyball and more.
Originally constructed in the 1970s, this design-forward luxury hotel was given a new face by Parisian architect Albert Pinto. The rooms are all decorated according to one of four colour schemes, inspired by the natural surroundings of the island. Each room also comes with its own balcony, overlooking the pool or the beach. The hotel itself is nestled among an oasis of palm trees, just meters from the sandy beaches of Maspalomas. Make full use of the hotel facilities, which include thalassotherapy and outdoor swimming pools, as well as a spa offering a number of treatments.
Inspired by the Spanish colonial era, the Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia is the only hotel on Gran Canaria to be part of the alliance of The Leading Hotels of the World. The spacious rooms reflect the hotel’s commitment to tradition, with hardwood furniture and ornate ironwork setting the tone. Look forward to a number of special touches from this five-star Gran Luxe hotel, including fresh juice and coffee served in the room every morning. The Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia delivers everything you could want from an old-fashioned all-inclusive resort.
The Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel is a perfect example of how one of the island’s package holiday hotels has reinvented itself as a high-end destination. Located on the Playa del Inglés – the island’s most popular beach – you won’t find any kids running around the pool here, the hotel is adults only. The rooms feature bold modern colours and funky features such as mood lighting. You will love dining at the 360-degree rooftop restaurant, which offers contemporary Canarian cuisine in a refined setting.
Tara Jessop contributed additional reporting to this article.
Discover some more of Gran Canaria by booking a stay at one of the best boutique hotels in the area, or alternatively by arranging a stay at one of the best hotels in Gran Canaria, bookable through Culture Trip. For more great accommodation options, check out our pick of the best resorts on Gran Canaria, Spain, bookable on Culture Trip.
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