The friendly and welcoming four-star all-inclusive Sandy Beach Hotel, popular with couples and families alike, is built around a feature pool and subtropical gardens. In addition to the spa and gym, there’s also an additional outdoor gym on the ninth floor with sea views, as well as sunbathing terraces for naturists. Guest rooms and suites face the gardens, although a few rooms on higher floors have sea views.
The famous sandy beach is 400 metres away, and all the attractions that have made Playa del Inglés a holiday resort favourite for more than half a century are within walking distance.
Set within landscaped subtropical, palm-filled gardens, evocative of an exotic North African oasis, the five-star Hotel RIU Palace Oasis is on Maspalomas beach. Found in Meloneras, the upscale resort area of Gran Canaria, the hotel is close to the island’s landmark 1890s lighthouse. Expect some of the best sunsets on the island.
All 415 guestrooms and suites have been remodelled and following the five-star update, there are new swim-up rooms with private pools. Dining includes the Promenade, a sophisticated buffet restaurant, and the Krystal fusion restaurant, offering signature dining.
The Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, offers refined service and genuine privacy. This ‘gran lujo’ property is the place to stay if you want upscale accommodation and services in total tranquillity.
As a sophisticated, mini resort the hotel is evocative of the Hollywood hideaways of Southern California. Set within a palm grove, this elite enclave has rooms and suites in cosy, traditional guest cottages (with interiors by French designer Alberto Pinto) that surround a heated pool. Candlelit gourmet dining at the rooftop restaurant is the evening highlight, followed by live music and drinks in the piano bar.
The island has emerged as a desirable hiking destination. Climb to the base of the huge 80-metre-high Nublo rock in the island’s Unesco Biosphere, and one is rewarded with exceptional views including out across to Mount Teide on Tenerife. Alternatively hike to one of the island’s highest points, at Pico de Las Nieves; or enjoy the 12-kilometre round trip from Tasartico down to the secluded Güi Güi beach on the island’s west coast.
With 236 km of coastline and 60 km of beaches, the sandy shores of Gran Canaria are without doubt the island’s biggest draw. To access uncrowded and unspoilt natural beaches like Güi Güi, you can also take an excursion with CanariasGay. Skipper and host Jaunvi offers small group, private sailing trips aboard his luxury 46-foot yacht. Sailing from the picturesque port of Mogán, on the island’s south west coast, guests can throw their inhibitions to the wind, and enjoy a relaxed and pampered day out.
Aboard a Canarias Gay sailing experience, you can sunbathe naked if you wish, snorkel in the crystal clear Atlantic coves, and tuck into gourmet food, cocktails beer, wine, and refreshments. Juanvi will even prepare a classic Valencia paella on the beach.
If you choose to stay in the resorts of Meloneras or Playa del Inglés, then the nudist Maspalomas beach and the magnificent Maspalomas Dunes are within walking distance. Evocative of the Sahara, the five square kilometres of mobile dunes are protected, with access limited to designated paths and areas, which are strictly enforced by environmental agents.
La Vegueta Old Town
The island’s capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is much more than one of Spain’s biggest ports. The city is a hub for shopping and culture too. It’s also home to one of Spain’s most famous urban beaches, Las Canteras.
The Old Town of La Vegueta is full of charm from the 15th-century cathedral to the fairy-tale architecture of the Casa de Cólon, where Christopher Columbus is said to have finalised details of his 1492 voyage to the Americas.
I strongly recommend hiring a car when visiting Gran Canaria, so one can explore the natural wonders of the interior.
Cicar car rental is particularly convenient, with locations across the island, including Playa del Inglés, the cruise ship terminal, the ferry port, the capital, Las Palmas and of course in the LPA airport. The rental desk is directly opposite the arrivals, and the cars are walking distance away in the adjacent carpark.
The official website of the Canary Islands provides further ideas for planning a trip, as well as the latest Covid-19 related travel news.
For more inspiration and insider insights, check out the articles by fellow Spanish foreign resident Matthew Hirtes, who lives in Las Palmas and writes regularly about Gran Canaria and the Canaries.
Direct flights from Malaga (AGP) to Las Palmas Gran Canaria (LPA) are operated by Ryanair and Vueling.