Pictured left to right outside the new store are: Paul Hardwick, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Director of Retail; Emma Bailey, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Tutti Taylor, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Councillor Candy Vaughan, Mayor of Eastbourne; Trevor Ridler, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Business Development Manager; and Shirley Waters, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents..
Angela Jiang, Senior Retail Travel Sales & Marketing Consultant at our Bournemouth travel agents in store at Beales, attended the annual Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Managers’ Conference in La Gomera for some winter sun. After getting business out of the way, the group had plenty of time to explore the island and see what it has to offer British travellers.
Destination: La Gomera
Operator/Host: Fred.\ Holidays
(Hotel names/Ship name): Hotel Jardín Tecina
Duration: 2 nights
This year, the Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Managers’ Conference was held in La Gomera. 21 of us took a Fred. Olsen-owned ferry from the south of Tenerife to the island and stayed two nights at the Hotel Jardin Tecína – the most luxurious hotel on the island, also owned by Fred. Olsen.
We arrived at Tenerife Airport and were met for our half-hour transfer to the port of San Sebastián, where the Fred. Olsen ferry was ready to take us to the island of La Gomera. The sky was clear across the water and it seemed that the island was very close, but it is 35 miles away and the sailing takes around 50 minutes.
We were all pleasantly surprised by the spacious areas available on board; comfortable chairs in rows towards the front of the ferry offer fabulous views and a seating area in the middle with tables for enjoying a drink and snack from the bar. There is even outside seating for the sun worshipers.
Our group were lucky enough to experience the first class lounge upstairs. This area offers soft/alcoholic drinks and light lunches – as much as you like for £28 extra. The view from the seats at the bow of the ferry was the highlight of the trip. We were even lucky enough to spot a pod of dolphins jumping through the waves; it was just magical.
On arrival in San Sebastián we hopped on to our transfer bus for the 50-minute drive to the hotel Jardín Tecina in the small village of Playa Santiago.
As we neared, we passed the award-winning golf course, Tecina Golf, which is next to the hotel’s very own banana plantation. Who doesn’t love a banana? Especially a Canarian banana, which is smaller than in the UK and tastes so much better.
We all fell in love with the surroundings and ambiance of Jardín Tecina. The hotel offers such a feeling of peace and tranquillity and a real escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The bungalow-style rooms are Canarian architecture and built around the beautiful gardens and winding pathways, which lends to it feeling very private and serene.
We were allocated the superior rooms situated on the cliffs facing out to sea, high above the black rocky beach of Playa Santiago below. The views were just stunning and waking up to the beautiful sunrise was such a treat, helping us to forget all about the wind and rain back at home.
Families are well catered for with family rooms that offer a maximum occupancy of two adults and two children. Or, there are Family Maxi rooms for two adults and two children, two adults and four children, or three adults and three children. There is also extensive daily entertainment from the dedicated team at the children’s mini club. The hotel also offers an adult-only option, comprising of Duplex Suites sleeping two to four adults with a balcony and private sun area on the top floor.
In the exclusive public areas, there is a private pool with cabanas where you can enjoy drinks and snacks with the press of a button. There are four themed restaurants and one main buffet restaurant, offering such a variety of choice from BBQs and tapas to a la carte dining. We enjoyed a superb six-course tasting menu at El Laurel, situated by the beach and highlighting the wonderful local Canarian cuisine.
The food was just delicious and nothing was too much trouble for those of us with special dietary requests. For a romantic dinner for two, you can enjoy the unique intimate cave dining experience overlooking the ocean at Club Laurel. On a daily basis, you can eat in the buffet style restaurant and choose from so many different options.
On day two, we went on a La Gomera tour. We learned that the climate of the island is warm and soft in general, with few fluctuations, maintaining an average temperature of twenty-two degrees all year round, which allows visits during any season. We found that it is much warmer on the south compared to the north due to the southerly winds. Stronger winds and clouds mostly appear on the northern side. Due to the height of its mountains, the steam from the rain condenses to create a green forest. When we got to the top, it felt five or six degrees cooler and, at times, everything was in the clouds.
One highlight of our trip was a tour to The Garajonay National Park, which has a beautiful landscape and is full of magnificent flora and fauna not found anywhere else in the world. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The tour ended with a visit to Fred. Olsen’s own restaurant, Abrante. The main attraction is a seven-metre-long glass skywalk suspended above the small town of Agulo on the northern coast of La Gomera with a glass floor. It offers sweeping views over the Atlantic with Tenerife and Mount Teide in the background. This restaurant is not to be missed and is said to be best spot on the island to dine while enjoying the amazing views. During our lunch, the waiters demonstrated their traditional whistling language, which was used by previous generations and is still being taught in school.
Travelling along the winding mountain roads, from landscape to landscape, it felt amazing to see the twists and turns through palm-filled valleys. After every turn, another dramatic view comes into sight. Often we found palm-fringed ravines surrounded by banana plantations and it almost felt like being in the middle of tropical Hawaii. It is super peaceful and we were told this place attracts a lot travellers who seek tranquillity.
La Gomera is an island for activity lovers as well, though. It’s the perfect place to go trekking, a wonderful place for cycling, climbing, rappelling, canyoning and playing golf at the award-winning 18-hole golf course. Plus, at the hotel itself, there are facilities for tennis, squash, paddle tennis, beach volleyball and fitness classes like aquafit, running, yoga and Crossfit.
If a luxury resort holiday is your thing, Hotel Jardín Tecina offers an authentic stay with a mix of luxury hotel and natural discovery. The location is superb and the eternal good weather makes it possible to enjoy the surroundings and interesting botanical walk within the hotel gardens. A short break here can be just the tonic for travellers wishing to get away from it all and reflect, enjoy a good book, pamper themselves at the spa or perhaps partake in some of the sports available.
I would highly recommend this beautiful hotel and island as a perfect year-round destination.
If you would like to enjoy a relaxing, or active, break at Hotel Jardín Tecina, visit your local branch. We have travel agents in Ipswich, Norwich, Colchester, Felixstowe, Bury St. Edmunds and along the south coast.