Three Kings West Coast Tour

Title: Three Kings West Coast Tour
Location: Arguayo to Los Gigantes
Description: Meet the busiest Three Kings in Tenerife. Starting in Arguayo at 5.30pm, calling at Las Manchas 6.10pm, Santiago del Teide 6.15pm, Valle de Arriba 6.15pm, El Molledo & El Retamar 6.30pm, Tamaimo & La Caldera 7pm, Playa de la Arena, Puerto Santiago, Los Gigantes 8pm. At Los Gigantes church plaza the Three Kings will take to the stage and hand out presents. Timings are of course very flexible.
Date: 2012-01-05

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Charter Night – Santiago del Teide Lions Club

Title: Charter Night – Santiago del Teide Lions Club
Location: El Marques, Puerto Santiago
Description: The annual birthday celebration of the Santiago del Teide Lions club featuring a sit down buffet and cabaret. Starts at 7 pm with an informal reception followed by food, and entertainment from George Pena, Glam Slam and Tuxedo Nights. Tickets 30 euros from El Marques reception, MDI Alcala, or Mary on 607435267.
Date: 2011-02-05

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Sabor Español Restaurant Review, Wild Boar & Flamenco Chill Out

It’s not often that I’m compelled to find out what the background music is in restaurants on Tenerife, but the jazzy riffs with a hint of Andalusian rhythms providing the audio backdrop to the Sabor Español Tasca & Restaurant at the Barcélo Santiago Hotel were really rather cool.

“It’s a mix of modern Flamenco and Chill Out,” Elvi (Elvis without the ‘s” as she described her name), our delightful and knowledgeable waitress, told us. That explained the hint of Andalusian rhythms then.

Sabor Español’s stylishly subdued lighting, dark wooden tables and chairs with blood red cushions combined with music I’d happily chill out to at home exuded sleek sophistication. The ingredients ticked all the right boxes in creating an ambience that promised an enjoyable dining experience. The restaurant looked and felt sensuous, intimate and a good choice for a romantic dinner for two, a group of friends”¦or even the local taxi drivers’ Christmas shindig for that matter; all of whom made up the other diners on the evening we were there.

The Flavours of Sabor Español
The menu, a fusion of Spanish and international cuisine, was concise; usually a good sign. With around half a dozen starters, half a dozen meat and fish dishes and a few rice dishes, including a couple of vegetarian options, there was sufficient variety of choice to keep most palates satisfied. The prices were also incredibly good value with main courses being around €12.
As soon as I opened the menu my eyes locked onto one of main courses like a heat-seeking missile. I had only eaten presa Iberian (wild boar) in chorizo form previously, so the opportunity to try something different really got my juices flowing.

To whet our appetites we nibbled on warm bread accompanied by mojo verde and mojo rojo followed by crunchy chicken and goats’ cheese salad for Andy and marinated smoked salmon salad for me.

Elvi had advised that the presa Iberian was best cooked medium rare and she was right on the mark. The juicy wild boar fillets, looking more like steak than pork, were seared on the outside, pink on the inside and beautifully tender. The flavour was also closer to steak than pork, except stronger with a far more pleasurably unique taste that was exactly to my liking.

To accompany the meal Elvi recommended a bottle of Viñatigo Tinto from Tenerife’s La Guancha area, explaining that, as a full bodied red, it was a suitable partner for the boar. Again she was spot on; the wine’s fruity, peppery flavours were a worthy match for the presa Iberian’s strong personality and a sip of wine after a mouthful of boar intensified the flavours of both.

Whilst I was enjoying my taste-buds’ new found friendship with wild boar, Andy was discovering that her choice, fillet of sole with salted baby squid in a mango and fennel sauce, was equally palate pleasing. The intriguing partnership of mango and fennel created a surprisingly subtle and light sauce which combined wonderfully with the crunchy squid and moist flaky sole.

With main course plates wiped as clean as though they’d never been graced by food and with stomach space rapidly running out, we completed our meal with a selection of small, light postres including white and dark chocolate mousse, coconut sponge and our favourite, strawberry cream in a white chocolate cup.

Just when we thought we couldn’t manage anything else Elvi came up with one final suggestion. As her advice had been faultless all evening, her recommendation of a chilled concoction to aid digestion, specially made from a mix of herbs and spices, seemed reasonable. It was only when I asked afterwards I discovered the concoction was that acquired taste known as Jägermeister.

It was my second “˜first’ of the evening. I’ll definitely be trying the wild boar again; however, the Jägermeister I can live without”¦even if Elvi was actually right about it aiding digestion.

Tenerife magazine’s five star rating for Sabor Español
Décor ““ 4 stars. Sensuous, stylish and sophisticated with a relaxing ambience that is ideal for a romantic liaison.
Menu ““ 4 stars. A small but varied menu which combines crowd pleasers with some original creations.
Food ““ 3.5 stars. Main courses were inventive and cooked perfectly. Starters weren’t quite as imaginative.
Service ““ 5 stars. The staff were professional and friendly, especially Elvi who was simply delightful. It felt as though we were being served by a friend, albeit a very knowledgeable and professional one.

Where, when and how
Inside the Hotel Barceló Santiago , La Hondura 8, Puerto Santiago; open 19.00-23.00; reservations (0034) 922 86 09 12. www.barcelosantiago.com
Prices
Starters average €6, main courses average €12. There is also a discount for hotel guests.

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Checking Into Hotel Barceló Santiago

It’s the week before Christmas, traditionally a very quiet period for visitors on Tenerife and in tourism terms, the lull before the storm.
As soon as the turkey leftovers are covered in foil and popped into the fridge for later snacking, keyboards will be hotting up with holiday searches and the beaches and resorts of Tenerife will throng with northern Europeans thawing the ice from their toes.

So before the madness begins, Tenerife Magazine headed to the sunny south west coast to check out what the stylish Hotel Barceló Santiago has to offer.

This is a hotel that knows how to make its guests feel welcome from the moment they arrive. At reception, while the smiling Nancy goes through the details of my booking and the hotel’s facilities at my disposal, a chilled glass of cava appears before me bringing a smile to my lips and putting me firmly into holiday mode.

Exiting the lift on the eighth floor with cava bubbles in my blood stream and a spring in my step, I open the door of Suite 819 to step into one of the coolest hotel rooms I have ever stayed in.
Ice blue opaque glass screens, slate grey tiled effect walls and a bed so large I’ll need GPS to find the pillows lie before me – my own private paradise. And just when I think the WOW factor can’t possibly get any better, I open the curtains to discover ceiling to floor length windows and endless terrace beyond which the cliffs of Los Gigantes tower above the ocean. The white sails of dolphin watching ships glide below like toys on a pond. Pulling back the curtains on the other side of the room, the island of La Gomera is shimmering on the horizon and below me, the infinity pools of the hotel are whispering my name.

Dragging myself away from the awesome views afforded by my room, I wander out into the warm sunshine to explore the gardens. Ignoring the impulse to sink into one of the cane chairs beneath the thatched roof of the pool bar and order another glass of cava, I step over the footbridge, past the Jacuzzi where suntanned bodies are being massaged by water jets, and down the steps by the kiddies” club to the sports courts.

A group of guests are enjoying a spot of rifle practice, supervised and tutored by two of the animation team. I linger awhile until one of the guests who is getting on in years and has a very distinctive arm shake steps up to the mark ““ no point in taking unnecessary risks.
In the show bar there’s a stretching class in progress and the occasional grunt rises above the chill out music as muscles are put through their paces. I continue downwards, drawn by the aroma of incense until I arrive alongside the gym which is packed to the gunwales with state of the art equipment and completely devoid of guests, all of whom I suspect are being tenderised in the scented paradise of the hotel spa alongside.

Back at pool level I place my towel on the comfy sunbed below a straw parasol and slip into the infinity pool where I float, watching the Los Gigantes ‘giants” in the heat haze and making a mental note to check the rules of this month’s free holiday at the Barceló Santiago. Perhaps members of TM staff aren’t excluded from winning?
Drat!

Hotel Hotel Barceló Santiago, The Essentials

Location: On a small headland in the resort of Puerto Santiago overlooking the cliffs of Los Gigantes on one side and the neighbouring island of La Gomera on the other. Throw into the mix the fact that the south west coast gets more sunshine hours than any other and you arrive at the conclusion that this hotel probably has the best location on Tenerife.

Rooms: Rooms are stylish and comfortable in contemporary design with lots of floor space, terrace and flat screen TV with satellite. Décor is ice blues with the palest lemon and maximum use is made of the natural light to provide a calm and relaxing environment. It’s well worth paying a bit extra to take advantage of those spectacular sea views. Superior rooms and suites have even more floor space and tea and coffee making facilities.

Service: In my experience staff can make or break the quality of a hotel. In the case of the Barceló Santiago the staff are exceptionally good. Wherever I went in the hotel I found multi-lingual, professional and friendly staff who had an excellent rapport with all the guests and who appeared to be enviably happy in their work.

Food: I arrived at the Barceló after a late breakfast and intended only having a salad but faced with the delicious selection on offer in the buffet, I ended up with a lip-smacking three course lunch. In the evening I chose to eat at the hotel’s a la carte Sabor Español restaurant where I was treated to excellent food and wine served with savoir faire by the delightful Elvi.

Entertainment: The evening kicked off with the mini-club during which the animation team kept the youngest guests entertained until bedtime. When the clowns exited stage left, the dancers entered stage right and kept the adults foot tapping and applauding for the rest of the evening. For a change of scene a mini stroll takes guests to Route 66 where they can get their kicks from resident bands Old Dogs New Tricks and Los Tres Hombres.

Overall: A stylish and comfortable modern hotel in a stunning location where families, couples and singles can enjoy the best of Tenerife’s sunshine, sunsets over La Gomera and excellent service from friendly and professional staff.
I shall certainly be making a return visit.

Hotel Barceló Santiago; 4 Star; La Hondura 8, Puerto Santiago, Santiago Del Teide; www.barcelosantiago.com ; (0034) 922 86 09 12; email santiago@barcelo.com

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Top Ten-erife Sculptures

From a perfect set of buttocks or an octopus tentacle escaping from a basket, to being a bath time voyeur ““ these are my top Tenerife stone people.

1. The Fish Wife ““ Puerto de la Cruz.
At the entrance to the harbour, Julio Nieto’s pretty fish wife with her flowing skirts and her mouth poised mid “cockles, and muscles, alive, alive -o” (or whatever the Spanish equivalent is) is a beautiful tribute to the town’s fishing industry which is still one of its biggest assets.

2. Mencey Bentor – Los Realejos.
Marking the spot from which he threw himself to his death rather than see his beloved island enslaved to the enemy, Mencey Bentor rails at the sky and the hopelessness of the Guanche plight against the Spanish conquistadors. The stunning views are enhanced even more by this impressively proportioned hero.

3. Fecundidad ““ Parque García Sanabria, Santa Cruz.
Casting all who see her into the role of bath time voyeurs, the fountain setting of Fecundidad is irresistible memory stick fodder. Rainbows dance around her permanently wet, plump knees as she bathes ““ the perfect depiction of the fertility of this paradise island.

4. Museo del Pescador ““ Puerto Santiago.
Bernard Romain’s fantastic depiction of life on and below the ocean’s waves on the building’s façade is easily missed as you navigate the bend but at the risk of taking out a headlamp, it’s a west coast must-see.

5. ‘Courage’ ““ Plaza del Principe, Santa Cruz.
The orator seems so at home beneath the trees in the busy Principe park where he daily preaches his gospels. Joining his audience on the plinth, Hanneke Beaumont’s art work provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to get in on the act.

6. Teatro Guimerá.
The iconic bronze mask is a stunning landmark for the capital’s historic theatre and what’s more, by leaning nonchalantly against the nose, it lends itself to the coolest of 70s album cover poses.

7. Alonso Díaz ““ Santiago del Teide.
Testament to the power of perseverance and the victory of the little man against the might of conquest, the Guanche goatherd Díaz and his kid goat have come to symbolize the pretty rural hamlet in which they reside.

8. Monument to the Fallen, Plaza España.
Proving irresistible to anyone with a penchant for the perfect buttocks are the warriors who stand guard over the Spanish Civil War memorial in the capital’s heart.

9. Cha Domitila ““ Arguayo.
Illustrating the strength and skill of the women who traditionally crafted the distinctive pottery of the area, these sculptures look perfect against their cliff face backdrop.

10. Monument to the Defeat of Nelson, Santa Cruz.
The distraught woman with her clenched fists is the perfect depiction of defiance as she stands as firm and as unmovable as the Anaga Mountains behind her.

And just to keep all you sculpture fans out there happy, the photo of the woman on the home page is the Monument to the Defeat of Nelson. Mencey Bentor was our photo challenge a while back. And here are photos of the rest of the top ten. From left to right: The two pottery girls of Cha Domitila, Courage in Santa Cruz (clearly taking a night class) and Alonso Díaz with his dinner…err I mean goat.

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Los Gigantes, Living Without The Beach

Spectacular and dangerous, they often go hand in hand, something that Los Gigantes became painfully aware of on 1st November 2009 when part of the steep rock face above the beach tumbled down killing two women. With the legal repercussions dragging on and the beach still sealed off, summer has arrived and whilst the tragedy will not be forgotten, visitors are finding other watery ways to enjoy this west coast Tenerife village.

Just across from the beach road is El Laguillo, a winding sea water pool kissed by the sea breeze and with clear views out to the Atlantic as well as the towering cliffs that give Los Gigantes its name as a backdrop. Not artificially heated, the water can be quite cool or refreshing depending on your constitution and at some points the looping circuit narrows, encouraging a friendly exchange of smiles and small talk as you pass another swimmer. It will really put you through your paces if you want to do laps, and opens up into a large shallow end perfect for youngsters just beyond a wooden bridge where many adventures have been acted out. There’s plenty of room to crash out on sun beds and a large restaurant and bar with terrace will tend to your food needs. If you want to converse with nature, they have a rock pool.

Fact File
Entry 3.50 euros, under 8 years FREE. You can stay all day.
Week’s pass 20 euros, shade, towel and mattress 2 euros.
They have a great offer on this summer, entry and food at the restaurant just 10 euros, that’s a one plate meal and a drink.
Pool open from 10.30am to 6.30pm, restaurant food from 9am to 4.30pm but opens from 9am to 6pm for coffee etc.

You’re spoilt for choice with outdoor pools. Just above El Laguillo, the Oasis Leisure Centre can be found in Avenida Maritima leading off from the Tourist Information Office. The children’s pool and the main swimming pool come with that inspiring view of the Los Gigantes cliffs and marina, and are set in a sprawling grass and palm tree garden, perfect for sun or shade. The main pool has two slides down into the water and is close to a bar kiosk for cooling your inner self.
The main building has a bar and restaurant and of course a terrace. If you want to earn that cooling dip there is a crown bowling area and tennis courts or surfing of the internet variety in the restaurant building. As you are perched up on a rocky ledge you can take advantage of a stone pathway down to the sea level, but be careful.

Fact File
One day with sun bed 4 euros, one week 18 euros, two weeks 33 euros, stay all day.
Children up to 11 years pay half price. Shades 1.50 euros.
Bowling 19 euros an hour, tennis 10 euros an hour.
Open from 10am to 6pm.

Of course you still might have a yearning for the open sea. If you take the road out of Los Gigantes, head off to Crab Island at the bottom of Cardiac Hill, you will recognise that as it looms ahead of you. There is a lane sign posted to Crab Island rock pool, a popular but vulnerable bathing spot. In rougher weather the gates are locked, if it is open make sure you are armed with common sense as well as your towel.

Heading round into Puerto Santiago, turn right down to the Hotel Barcelo and the path to the coastal path. The Paseo Litoral is a lovely walk upgraded and opened in October 2006 and the myriad of rock pools below are another popular spot with locals. The council thoughtfully put in new sturdy stone stairs down to the shore but the warning signs are not there just for fun. For those of us not able to do an impression of a mountain goat, there are some delightful café bars looking down on the bathing area at the new Mar Blanco complex.

Sand you say? Well keep following the coastal path and as you round the point you will see the Puerto Santiago beach of dark compacted sand. It’s small but has a nice character, the tiny church and lifeboat shed rub shoulders with a couple of basic Canarian bars, cheap and cheerful and nestled in the deep palm of the beach. Unless you retrace your steps, it’s a steep walk up to the main road. Just be glad you aren’t wheeling the Virgin statue up from the beach after the yearly blessing.

Well I saved the best till last. Playa de la Arena is just another 5 minutes walk from Puerto Santiago and a short taxi ride or energetic 20 minute walk from Los Gigantes. The sand here is loose and plentiful and very black, it certainly holds in the heat. It’s a decent sized beach served by a sometimes lively tide but has some of the best amenities on the west coast. The Neptuno and Pancho restaurants are a few steps from the sand and there is even FREE Wi-Fi access on the beach from 10am to 5pm in winter and to 6pm in summer.
There is a definite sense of pride attached to this sun trap, adapted buggies offer sea dips for the disabled, and there is the most thorough information board I’ve seen at any beach. Sea and sand temperatures, tide times, wind strength and direction are all here. They even have a questionnaire in three languages to make sure you are happy with what’s on offer. No wonder the European Union Blue Flag is a permanent fixture here.


The tranquillity and beauty of Los Gigantes is still well worth seeing and the bustling marina and old church plaza are still focal points for tilting a coffee cup and easing into the laid back life. The sun seekers and water babies might have to find new places to splash around but they don’t have to look far.

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Fisherman’s Museum ““ Puerto Santiago

Three resin based fibre glass figures perch on a roof unloading half of a real fishing boat embedded in the wall. Fish heads and tails enter and emerge from a seascape looking down on the local west coast beach. Not just a homage to local fishermen, but also a head-turning work of art from Roanne-born and Paris-trained French sculptor, Bernard Romain.
Completing the piece in 2002, Bernard hung daily from the roof on a small swing, stopping occasionally to discuss his ideas with passers by. No newcomer to “˜big art’ Bernard’s giant flag mural draped over the Normandy cliffs achieved Guiness book of Records status.

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