Way back in the early 2000s, when I worked for a specialist Tour Operator, we had a visit from the sales team at the Hotel Jardin Tecina, part of the Fred Olsen Group. They made a presentation showcasing their hotel in the south of La Gomera in the Canary Islands. The captivating visuals of the hotel, its amenities, the scenic golf course, and the picturesque landscapes of La Gomera lingered in my mind for years.
Two decades later, the long-awaited opportunity to visit materialized and so, earlier this year, during a four-night stay, I basked in the warmth of the September sun.
Was it the idyllic experience I had envisioned for years? Let’s find out!
Seamless Travel To La Gomera
I arrived at Tenerife South Airport and after a short transfer, I spent a couple of nights in Los Cristianos acclimatising – well that’s my story and I am sticking to it.
On the morning of my departure from Tenerife, I walked down towards the waterfront in Los Cristianos where I found Los Tarajales Beach. At one end lies the port, welcoming up to seven daily ferries to and from La Gomera. This is where my adventure would truly begin!
One of the many benefits of staying at the Hotel Jardin Tecina is that you can rock up at their little office at the port in Los Cristianos and check in before even setting foot on the island of La Gomera. I was greeted by an authoritative gentleman who jovially shuffled around in the tight space of his kiosk. He issued me with my room key, tagged my bag for a swift delivery on arrival, and gave me a resort map so that I could do my homework en route.
Boarding the Fred Olsen Express Ferry, just 1 minute from the kiosk, involved a seamless ticket and ID check by an attendant sporting a charmingly old-fashioned “Thunderbirds” style uniform. Despite the heat, her formality and welcoming demeanour, topped with a distinctive hat, ensured I boarded with a broad smile.
The 45-minute ferry ride from Los Cristianos to San Sebastian, La Gomera’s capital, was both scenic and comfortable. Independent foot passenger fares range from 45 to 80 euros one way. The ferry, which also caters for cars, boasts a café with refreshments, a sun deck, toilets, air conditioning, and plush seating. For those of you considering travelling with kids and are perhaps a little nervous about navigating multiple legs of a journey, this streamlined process was simple, quick and comfortable.
I always love a ferry and when you are travelling somewhere new, it makes it that much more exciting. It was finally time for me to say hello to the island of La Gomera!
Arrival in La Gomera
The ferry takes just 45 minutes and delivers you to the heart of San Sebastian de La Gomera, the capital of the island.
If you haven’t arranged transfers in advance, a fleet of waiting taxis offers a convenient option, with fares averaging around 40-45 euros for the 40-minute journey to Hotel Jardin Tecina. During this scenic drive, winding through the mountainous terrain, you’ll be captivated by breathtaking views back to San Sebastian and across to Tenerife, where, on clear days, the majestic Mount Teide stands tall. As a little tip, for the best views, choose a seat on the left side behind the driver!
For those of you interested in hiring a car there are several car hire company kiosks located at the port.
On reflection, especially for a short stay, I think hiring a car at San Sebastian Port is a more cost-effective option than taking a taxi. For a two-day car hire, the cost is about 98 euros, whereas two one-way hotel taxi fares will cost a total of about 90 euros.
First Impressions of the Hotel Jardin Tecina
As the taxi made its final descent towards the Hotel Jardin Tecina it became apparent to me that, despite my training 20 years earlier, Tecina was actually a very small, charismatic Canarian village. As we passed through the entrance gates, we pulled up at the drop-off and I was greeted by a welcoming bell boy who took my already tagged luggage and ushered me through to reception to undergo some brief and simple administration.
The reception is large with several smartly dressed English-speaking staff waiting at desks behind protective screens, a throwback to those dark days of COVID, to offer you their welcome.
The reception is like a little museum in its own right showcasing exquisite art and basalt rock sculptures to vibrant floral arrangements. With my Antiques Roadshow head-on, one piece caught my attention—an antique Walnut table that once belonged to the main man himself, Fred Olsen. Shipped from the Southern Philippines Archipelago on the Fred Olsen ship, Black Watch, in 1997, it added a touch of history and charm to the surroundings!
Rooms & Views
The accommodation comprises 434 rooms and suites, categorized into five types. Set amidst the lush gardens, the rooms are set in elegant two-story bungalows and terraced rows, all adorned in pristine white.
Standard rooms have garden views. Comfort Rooms provide side sea views as well as those glorious gardens. For full sea views, you need to stay in a Superior or the more spacious Junior Suite. The Duplex suites, over three floors, cater for families of up to 4 people while a babysitting service is available at an additional cost. There are also some adult-only suites and rooms that cater for disabled guests.
I was staying in a lovely airconditioned Superior room (331). Typically Canarian in style it came with colourful furnishings, terracotta tiled flooring, a large comfy double bed and artwork showcasing the natural beauty of the island, as well as the creative artistry of the local people.
There was tea, coffee, and a minibar along with a large flat-screen TV, plenty of lighting and numerous sockets for all those gadgets we take away nowadays. The Wi-Fi throughout the hotel is excellent. So often hotels get this wrong…not here!
The piece de resistance was the balcony. From here I enjoyed the most magnificent views across the Atlantic Ocean and then down to the village of Playa de Santiago. I would highly recommend spending that little bit extra to get a Superior room on the top floor, you will not be disappointed!
On my first evening, I had a wander around the tropical gardens and got my bearings. Naturally, this kind of strenuous activity brings on a thirst, so I decided to head to the main bar before enjoying dinner.
The Salon Beatriz de Bobdilla serves a variety of beverages, from beers and spirits to cocktails, within its spacious, dark wood-furnished setting. Despite its size, the area was often empty during my visits, except on this occasion, for some lively children’s entertainment, for one child. While this might be expected in high season, the majority of the hotel’s guests during my stay did not seem to be families so I thought this could be improved or relocated. I, along with many others, decided to enjoy my drink on the quieter, outside terrace.
The Bar Piscina is a hub during the day for guests relaxing by the pool to have refreshments and for kids to taste the delicious ice cream. The swim-up bar behind gives you the chance to enjoy a drink while wallowing in the warm pool.
Other Bars in the resort are located at Club Laurel, and there is a small café at the Ahemon Café.
There are five restaurants in total.
The spacious Main Buffet Restaurant, equipped with air conditioning, offered a themed buffet that included a delightful array of Canarian and Gomerian dishes. Throughout my stay, I found the cuisine to be both diverse and of exceptional quality, whether enjoying a hearty breakfast or an evening meal.
There is an L-shaped outside terrace balcony which is considered the prime area to dine due to the views, the fresh air and the quieter atmosphere than in the main buffet restaurant. My tip is to arrive early if you want those seats! Another popular area is at the front of the restaurant in the courtyard. This area is under cover which makes for a nice atmosphere, especially in the evening.
For Lunchtime only there is the Barbacoa, a Barbecue that comes as a supplement for those not on full board.
The former International Restaurant has been renamed to the Gara Restaurant, in honour of the Garajonay National Park. Here, you can start each day with a delicious, varied breakfast including cereals, fruit from the hotel’s garden, fresh juices and hot and cold dishes.
The Tasca Fandango is a Spanish Tapas restaurant where, as I did, you can pay a supplement for the taster menu, or pay as you go with the a la carte. The various dishes served up were delicious and the local wine was a treat. As a tip, I would dine after the sun has gone down, as if you are too early, the tennis court opposite may still be open, and there is nothing worse than a series of Maria Sharapova-esque grunts when you are tucking into your Iberian Ham starter.
Taking the lift down to the beach to the Club Laurel is an experience in its own right. The elevator swiftly deposits you in a softly lit tunnel carved into the volcanic rock. As you walk through this mysterious passage, you encounter various visuals highlighting the island’s iconic landmarks. Once outside, it is then just a few metres to the Club Laurel entrance.
By day the Club is busy with its large pool, enticing bar and lunch area. In the evening there are two beautiful atmospheric restaurants, the Italian, La Trattoria, and the Mexican, El Laurel. Both offer a similar option to the Fandango by way of either a taster menu or a la carte. I chose the Italian which was magnificent.
From Club Laurel, it is only a short walk along the coastal path to the delightful little village and beach of Playa de Santiago.
There are several swimming pools to choose from at the Hotel Jardin Tecina, thus ensuring whatever your needs are, they will be met.
In the centre of the hotel is the Main Pool complete with children’s entertainment and a gate to ensure the youngsters are protected from the deeper waters. Raised above the main pool is a second smaller pool where I found couples relaxing partly due to its proximity to the Bar Piscina and Ice Cream! There are plenty of very comfy loungers sprinkled around the pools. Some areas are set back and away from the poolside which are quieter and more chilled. I thought was a nice option for guests.
The Spa pool is for those seeking peace and relaxation, while the Club Laurel pool lends itself to those looking to unwind in sumptuous surroundings with a classy cool vibe.
The Spa Ahemon
A stone’s throw from the Main Pool is the Spa Ahemon. I met the smiling friendly face of Maria at reception, who was keen to present the facilities on offer. To access the spa there is a 10 euro charge for two hours which on the day I visited, was plenty, as it was extremely hot.
There is a chill-out area, steam room, sauna, wet room and toilets all at ground level alongside reception. The Spa offers a variety of Beauty, Reflexology, Massage and Aromatherapy treatments with prices starting at 65 euros for a 50-minute session.
A lift takes you up one floor to the main area which consists of a lovely pool with a waterfall, as well as various places to relax on loungers some of which sit within the water itself. Do take flip flops as the floor around the pool gets incredibly hot from the intense sunshine – burnt trotters on any holiday are not good!
I really enjoyed my time at the Spa Ahemon. The atmosphere was incredibly serene, the facilities excellent and accompanied by the soothing sounds of the waterfall.
Sport & Fitness
The Hotel Jardin Tecina prides itself on having a wide choice of facilities not only for those who want to relax but also aimed at those looking for a more active holiday.
The Tennis centre was particularly impressive with a wide range of artificial courts. I met a friendly Hungarian Tennis coach who advised that the cost to play was 6 euros for an hour or if you wanted her coaching, then it was 50 euros for a one-on-one lesson. For those who enjoy their racquet sports, there are also squash, volleyball, table tennis and padel courts. There is even a giant chess set for the more sedate activity!
The large gymnasium on site is fully equipped with a huge range of cardio machines as well as weights and floor areas for stretching and group exercises which include yoga.
La Gomera’s only golf course, Tecina Golf, is located 300 metres from the front entrance of the hotel. Guests booking tees will be picked up for the short transfer to the course. I however chose to walk past the hotel’s banana plantation to the main clubhouse where Maria and her lovely welcoming team greeted me.
So often golf courses are stuffy but not here. The team are on hand to help you make the most of your time at this beautiful course.
There are various offers for multiple rounds but for a single round of 18 holes, the cost is 65 euros with the hire of clubs from 24 euros. A buggy is 36 euros and, in my opinion, much needed due to the at times hilly nature of the terrain.
The course itself is stunning with palm trees, jacaranda, cacti and numerous flowering shrubs lining the course and walkways. The 10th hole is the signature hole with the lush fairway and green backing onto what appears to be a deep dark mountain ravine and the graveyard of many a golf ball. It was here I took a little time out to sit and take in the views and also watch the numerous birds coming and going, in particular a kestrel that hovered overhead before plummeting into the ravine in search of prey.
Back at the clubhouse, there is a driving range, a practice putting green, a delightful little golf shop and a bar with an outside terrace. I was particularly taken by the enormous bunch of bananas hanging by the main entrance. Simply pull off a couple and take them out onto the course – much healthier than a Mars Bar!
The hotel gift shop stocks a range of nautical-themed clothing, as well as snacks, bathroom essentials, and gifts and souvenirs relating to both the hotel and the island.
I was taken by a lobster kitchen hook and duly purchased it. A few days later at Tenerife Airport, this iron hook was picked up in my hand luggage at the security check as the lady thought I had a live crayfish in my hand luggage. Much to her relief and my amusement I was able to prove my innocence and bring the snappy little gift back home! Seeing my lobster on the scanning screen was one of the funnier moments I have endured at an international airport!
Opposite the gift shop, there is a small library that has a wide choice of books which guests can enjoy and return during their stay. This is a lovely little addition to those who may have forgotten to bring their holiday book read with them!
The Hotel Jardin Tecina Gardens
One of the most impressive elements of the Hotel Jardin Tecina and the Golf Course is, as the name would suggest, the tropical gardens. Take a little time to enjoy the nature here as it’s very special. The hotel even offers tours so you can discover and identify some of the many species of plants that thrive in the rich soil and tropical climate here in La Gomera.
Species include the Canary Islands dragon tree, the Canarian Palm Tree, the Phoenician juniper, the Elefant feet yuca, the Garden Croton, the Pygmy date palm and the Livistona fan-palm. Plus there are the usual tropical plants such as Hibiscus, Boungainvillea and scented herbs at every corner.
At the Eco Finca Tecina down behind the Club Laurel you can learn about how the hotel cares for the gardens and plants, producing, for their dining tables, fruits and vegetables such as papaya, lettuce, cabbage, aubergine, moringa and, artichokes.
The simple elegance of the hotel combined with excellent food, and a fabulous spa amongst lush tropical gardens are what make the Hotel Jardin Tecina very special. It remains a hidden gem, and I guess that is also part of its appeal, as is the unspoilt nature of La Gomera – an island that has not been ruined by commercialism or excess.
For those of you looking for an island retreat not far from home, I highly recommend a visit to the Hotel Jardin Tecina and Tecina Golf on La Gomera – it delivers what every holiday should – enjoyment and relaxation – just don’t leave it 20 years to visit. Go now and have the most incredible restful and enjoyable stay!
Contact Information – Hotel Jardin Tecina
For more information on visiting the Hotel Jardin Tecina and Tecina Golf visit their website or contact your local travel agent or Fred Holidays. For more about the island have a read of my blog on La Gomera – A Whistlestop Tour.
2 responses to “The Hotel Jardin Tecina, La Gomera”
What a great article – very inspiring. Makes me want to visit.