Gran Canaria’s 241km (150mi) of coastline contains some of the best beaches in the Spanish archipelago, with golden sand and ideal conditions for water sports — including surfing, snorkelling, paddleboarding, diving and sailing. From Las Palmas in the north to the spectacular Saharan-sand beaches of the south, here are the best places to book for a beach holiday in the Canary Islands.
Bohemia Suites & Spa is a rarity in mega-resort-laden Playa del Ingles – a sophisticated, small boutique hotel catering to adults. Its 67 suites have wonderfully unique style – open bathrooms, natural wood, bright colours – and fantastic amenities such as tablets, rainfall showers, Illy espresso machines and stocked beach bags. But best of all might be the big balconies, furnished with Bali beds pointing towards the sea. Set back a few hundred metres from the sand, this tower hotel wows with their rooftop restaurant and terrace that offers marvellous views of the beaches and dunes.
The once-aging Riu has been renovated into one of the best all-around resorts on the island. Of its many fantastic facilities, its several heated pools, three restaurants – two themed and one buffet– three bars and direct access to Playa de Maspalomas all get special mention. Something rather unique that this typically family-friendly hotel offers is the concept of a swim-up room – an adults-only category featuring a private pool with sun loungers.
Right on Playa de San Agustin, Melia Tamarindos is a beachy, all-inclusive resort with across-the-board appeal. To go with the long tally of features – pools, buffet and à la carte restaurants, a spa with saunas and hydrotherapy – is an active schedule of aqua aerobics and Pilates during the day. By night, try Spanish dancing or watch the impressive acrobats. A special touch is the hotel’s observatory – free, though bookings are required – with a telescope and professional astronomer.
With 94 rooms and a serene palm-grove setting, Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia delivers a charming and intimate alternative to the big cookie-cutter hotels so common in the Canaries. Palms, cacti and blooming vines surround the pool, poolside restaurant and bar and the Spanish-Colonial-inspired buildings. Refined guest rooms combine traditional decor and upscale amenities, including minibars, Bvlgari or L’Occitane toiletries and daily deliveries of fruit and newspapers. As the name suggests, the beach is a five-minute walk away.
For an all-inclusive resort centrally located in San Agustin’s tourist area, Bull Costa is surprisingly intimate and peaceful. The hotel goes above and beyond to create a relaxed atmosphere – one nice touch is the reserved sunbed system that provides guests with a dedicated lounger for the duration of their stay. For food, an attractive main restaurant serves all meals and hosts dinnertime entertainment, while two bars handle all-day drinks. The impressive spa has an atrium-like pool, plus an underground flotation cave and rooftop solarium.
Anfi Opal Villas is a collection of 15 villas for families and groups, surrounded by the Anfi Tauro Golf Club near the southwest coast. Two- and three-bedroom villas aim to recreate all the comforts of home with fully equipped kitchens, large ensuite bedrooms, washer/dryers and indoor hot tubs. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors lead to the backyard, where a private pool holds court. To sunbathe and swim on a white-sand beach, drive six minutes to the protected crescent Playa de Amadores. You can also get discounts on green fees, club rental, golf balls and buggies.
This property takes the villa concept and gives it a contemporary spin, with sleek, all-white homes made of stone, glass and marble. Interiors are just as stylish, but it’s the outdoor areas that are the real attraction – with long swimming pools and barbecues for grilling. The location is a three-minute drive from Playa de Meloneras and under a ten-minute drive from Playa de las Mujeres, Playa de Maspalomas and the Maspalomas Dunes protected area.
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