44 // Stargazing, Sand Dunes and Sunburn

Back in January Mikee and I went on a 4 night mini trip to escape the gloomy British winter and spend some time topping up our lack of vitamin D in the lovely and warm Gran Canaria. The end of last year was pretty tough to say the least and the quiet of Jan made for the perfect opportunity to make up for that. I booked it as a Christmas present, not really having considered visiting the Canary Islands before, but it was the only place that was around 20 degrees in January so figured why not. It was a really lovely break and the perfect time to go. If you’re planning on going I’ve added some info at the bottom of the post incase it might be helpful.

DAY ONE: SUNBURN AND STARGAZING

We’d arrived the day before and after we’d had breakfast and a wash we got changed and tried to find the secret pool. I found where it was in location, Mikee figured out the trick to get there #teamwork. We read there for a bit, Mikee tried to get in but it was extremely cold at that time of year despite it being a lovely warm day. A German couple were there already and the man just got in and swam around like it was nothing. Total Boss. We both really wanted to swim so we went and investigated the Sunset pool on the top floor, which was thankfully heated. Pure joy apart from being a bit nippy getting out of the water.

I’d read about someone going on an astrology tour on a blog while researching what to do, I thought it sounded neat so visited the AstroGC website and put in the dates we were there. They check the weather and decide if they’re going to go on the day and we got a text saying that we could go that day! It was absolutely the best thing we got to do on the entire trip and I would encourage anyone going to book. There was a good sized group of us who went and we were picked up from our hotel by the lovely Carmelo.

We were told to dress warm and were picked up at 5pm. We went to a local fruit shop to have prickly pear smoothies. They were bright pink and amazing. We were going to miss our dinner at the hotel so Carmelo called ahead and arranged sandwiches for us so we didn’t go hungry. We were so grateful for that because the room service food was obviously ludicrously priced.

After a quick stop for smoothies, we drove the tiny winding road up the side of the mountain. The views were incredible going up and we stopped at a lookout point on the way to the top to watch the sunset over the valley, sea and mountains before heading to the top.

We loved every moment. We were given a small presentation by Gauthier the main astronomer before using the telescopes. We learned the names of constellations, we saw planets and star clusters and galaxies. We were most amazed by seeing two nebula – one where stars were being born and one that had followed a supernova. Everytime I’ve spotted Orion in the sky since I’ve remembered seeing the cluster of gas and stars in the telescope. We were given a photo at the end which was a lovely touch and a genuinely wonderful keepsake to have from the experience. It got a bit chilly by the end and they had even considered to provide the group with fresh warm mint tea at the end before heading back to the hotel. I 100% recommend going if you visit. I took some really crap photos of the stars propping my camera on the top of the car but they give you an idea of just how clear the sky was.

 

DAY TWO: SAND DUNES AND SANGRIA

On our second day we decided to get the free shuttle that runs every hour from the hotel to Maspalomas, it stopped right where we needed it to for our adventure to the sand dunes. It felt like being in a mini desert next to the beach which was amazing. I loved it despite it being quite difficult to walk on when you’re really not used to it. Mikee ran up a couple of them which is a lot harder than you would imagine – I tried and failed getting about a quarter of the way up before sinking down to my knees. After about two hours of walking around we decided to walk along the beach and go and have a couple of drinks before heading back to the hotel and having dinner.

 

A post shared by Emilia Buggins (@emiliabuggins) on

DAY THREE: SPA TIME AND SLEEP

Our last full day we decided to go to the Spa. We had three hours of free use of the spa and we booked a couple of treatments. I’ve only had one spa day before last summer with a friend, which involved a really amazing Baobab massage and smelling really really lovely after. We swam in the spa’s pool – again it was a little cold but my Finnish skin made the most of it. There was a sauna which I loved, a steam room, this shower that turned hot and cold which was quite invigorating and a room with really clean air which was nicer than you’d imagine. I’d booked the Aloe Experience which involved a scrub, a massage and a facial followed by an aloe vera drink. It was really nice but I did feel a little uncomfortable as they provided these teenie tiny mesh pants for you to wear and it’s the only thing you wear. I didn’t know what way to wear them and totally put them on the wrong way round… Embarrassing. The scrub was amazing – it was a combo of salt, volcanic rock and aloe vera gel, it was a little painful because of my sunburn from the first day but I felt soft as pillow after. I had to have a quick shower to get rid of all the debris and then put on another pair of tiny pants – still the wrong way roundand then got the massage which was pretty standard. My lovely friend Ariana from Spirited Away Massage in London does excellent massages so my expectations were high. The facial was nice and soothing and the drink was nice. I’m not sure I’d recommend it wholeheartedly but it was a nice part of the trip. We were pretty happy and relaxed by the end of it. We got dressed, watched the sunset from the top of the hotel and then went to dinner before finishing our trip with some foreign TV and packing up our stuff ready for the morning.

HOW WE GOT THERE:

I booked the trip through Inspired Luxury Escapes as a package. I would usually go and do everything myself but due to the last minuteness of the booking it made sense to book it all in one go. I had initially found the deal on Conde Naste Traveller Secret Deals but it was cheaper to look on the booking agents website. We went in the low season which made it quite affordable. They booked the hotel with half board, transfers and flights for us.

We got the train to Gatwick, Easy Jet leave from the North Terminal. Once we arrived we found our transfer and they took us to the hotel.


HOW WE GOT AROUND:

WALKING – We didn’t venture that far but we walked to a mini supermarket at the entrance to the hotel. We also walked around Maspalomas beach.

TRANSFERS – As I mentioned before the booking agent arranged hotel transfers with a local company who also seemed to offer day trips around the Island.

HOTEL SHUTTLE – We used the hotel shuttle to get to Maspalomas for one of the days as the hotel was quite isolated (which was perfect).

CAR – One the first day we went stargazing and the company picked us up from the hotel and drove us up to the middle of the Island.

(Mikee’s sister has also been with her partner and they cycled around the island so that could be worth doing if you want a more active break.)


SHERATON GRAN CANARIA SALOBRE

We had booked the Sheraton which was close to Maspalomas but set back from the hustle and bustle in the hills. It seemed to be a very popular place for older Europeans who like to golf which meant the hotel was quiet which was perfect. There’s a big golf course, a spa, a few bars and resturants, 7 pools, a secret swimming pool (which we were very pleased to find) – if you’re going a hint is that it’s on the 4th floor. It’s quite small and pretty chilly but it’s nice and private. The infinity pool on the top is heated which is lovely until you want to get out. They have bali beds to rent which looked great to relax on but we just used the standard seats around the pool which were perfect. There’s also a gym and they run a daily schedule of exercise classes around the hotel – we tried aqua yoga which was pretty funny.

Half board gets you breakfast and dinner in the Gofio restaurant – there’s a giant buffet at both meals and you can stuff yourself to sleep if you so desire. I preferred breakfast and Mikee preferred dinner, most of the food was delicious – it was pretty rich though. You could stock up on breakfast and not need lunch so that worked out quite well.

Our room was a Deluxe on the 10th floor. It was perfect for the two of us, big enough to spend time in together. Lovely balcony overlooking the golf course. The rooms are staggered so it feels like you’re in your own little studio apartment rather than in a hotel. There was a bathroom with a big bath and shower (and a strange window from the bathroom to the bedroom just incase you want to go travelling with a friend – it might be a bit awkward).

Leave a Comment

  • (will not be published)