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Old 09-19-2012, 02:40 PM
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Default Finca Las Longueras Review - Agaete - Gran Canaria


Finca Las Longueras

Agaete, Gran Canaria

A crimson colonial mansion with elegant rooms set in fertile fruit groves and surrounded by mountains.
The eye-catching Finca Las Longueras lures you like a ruby parrot behind palm trees. A colonial mansion dating from 1895, it is known affectionately as 'La Casa Roja' and was the autumnal residence for an aristocratic Gran Canarian family. Inside, the feel is patrician, not pompous, with airy conservatories, light-dappled hallways leading to velvet-rich reading rooms. The 12 guest rooms lie off various corridors and all have views – you could be peering over orange and avocado orchards or, in our case, reaching out of the window to touch (carefully) an immense cactus.

As Las Longueras is in a deep valley, craggy mountains loom above you in a dramatic backdrop. You could hike to one of the island's highest peaks, Tamadaba, seen from the lushly landscaped pool... or you could just ask that young Dutch couple at breakfast how tough the trek is, and then stay by the pool. Hiking or hanging out, Las Longueras covers both in grand style.


Rooms

As an aristocratic second home, Finca Las Longueras feels very much 'to the manor born'. The early 18th century salon, chapel and conservatory are kept in pristine condition and the outdoor terraces with enclaves of wrought-iron chairs and tables are also well maintained.

In the guest portion of the hotel are 10 double/twin rooms and 2 suites, all of them are fairly spacious - no manoeuvring between bed and wall. There are only 2 genuine double rooms; the European twin bed set-up is very much the done thing here, with no pretence of even pushing them together. But there are grand wardrobes (with clothes hangers you can actually remove from the railing), Victorian dressing tables and floor space to plunk down your latter-day travel trunks.

Bathrooms are big too, but rather rudimentary: no fancy toiletries and some just have stand-up showers (no baths). All rooms have a minibar, TV and safe but no overhead fans, phone or aircon. Lourdes, the friendly manager, assures us there is major refurbishment ahead… she has a modern outlook and knows the finca's old-world style might be wearing a bit thin in some rooms.

But the Casa Rural, the small self-catering cottage for 2-4 which lies a 300 metre walk from the finca, will definitely be keeping its cosy charm intact.


Features include:

  • TV
  • Safe box
  • Minibar
Eating

Las Longueras' approach to breakfast is to help yourself to coffee, bread, juice from the sideboards of the dining room; then it's a please-pass-the-jam affair round the communal table (from 8.30 - 10.30am). It's all very sociable, though some may feel that supper is really the only time to be chatting to fellow guests.

The half-board option is popular in Gran Canaria, and if you've booked this, you can arrange to have dinner outside under the vined canopy terrace at a table for two. We had a tasty seafood paella made by Elsa, the finca's cook, who walks to work from the next-door village of San Pedro. And her home-made almond ice-cream was a triumphant finale.

You may want to head to the nearby (2km) twin towns of Agaete and Puerto de las Nieves for lunch. Here is the terminal for the 1-hour ferry to Santa Cruz, so you could even pop to Tenerife for lunch. But we couldn't resist the raft of cheap and cheerful outdoor restaurants along the seafront, serving up fresh fish dishes in a boisterous taverna atmosphere. We did feel a bit sorry for the Restaurante Dedo de Dios, which recently lost its raison d'etre: a prime view of 'God's Finger', a tall basalt monolith that lasted 100,000 years, only to be snapped off in a mad storm in early 2006.


Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by Arrangement
  • Communal Dining
  • Minibar
Activities

  • Wander through the well-preserved salons and suites of 'La Casa Roja'; read a book in the conservatory with its view over the chapel bell
  • Treat yourself to a cold beer from the honesty fridge and lie by the pool, enjoying sumptuous mountain views
  • Walk along the road behind the cactus garden to the tiny village of San Pedro (less than 3km)
  • More adventurous trekkers can brave the stiff climb - 3 hours each way - up Tamadaba mountain (see our Destination Guide); and there are other less daunting hiking trails in the area
  • Head to the beach at Puerto de las Nieves (2km) – it's small and rocky but swimming in a sea ringed by mountains is awesome
  • Take the fast Fred Olsen ferry from Puerto de la Nievas to Santa Cruz in Tenerife; the crossing takes just over an hour and runs six times a day

Facilities

  • The entrance hall with its genuine 17th century post-sorting box from Tenerife with amusing old-world spelling like for long-ago English colonies called 'Filadelfia'
  • The lovely duck-green corridor with paintings and photographs of illustrious family history on one wall, and sunlight beaming through the arched windows on the other
  • The copious orange, mango, papaya and avocado trees that imbue the air with fruity fragrances
  • Old-fashioned, but large rooms, all with views of the verdant grounds
  • The well-kept palm trees and plants dotted around the pool
  • Glorious mountain vistas
  • A choice of rooms or a self-catering cottage for 2-4
Kids

Children of all ages are welcome (up to 2 years old: free - baby cots provided, 2 - 12 years old: paying supplement)
and older outdoorsy children will love the wild setting and spacious grounds. Be aware the pool is not supervised and the grounds may be a bit uneven for toddlers. One suite can take a 3rd bed, while the cottage has 2 double beds in the same room - some families may not like the remoteness of the cottage and may feel more comfortable in the main house.


Location


Finca Las Longueras is off the GC-2 road to Agaete in the northwest of Gran Canaria. It's a 30-minute drive from Gran Canaria airport.

By Air
Gran Canaria (Gando) (30km). Click on the links below for a list of airlines.

From the Airport
Public transport links aren't very good, and whilst you can get a taxi, you may want to drive so you can explore at your leisure.

By Ferry:
There are regular ferries and hydrofoil services to/from Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Passengers coming from these destinations and also from mainland Spain (Cadiz) will arrive at Puerto de la Luz in Las Palmas.



Guest Ratings

Room: 85%
Food: 74%
Service: 88%
Value: 88%
Overall: 84%

Highs

  • Spectacular location in a tranquil valley, with mountains encircling the finca's abundant orchards
  • Rooms are spacious, with the owners' family antiques and paintings adding a yesteryear touch
  • Large landscaped pool with a little kitchen/honesty bar
  • Gorgeous grounds, well-groomed by the long-standing gardener
  • You're just 2km from Porto de la Nievas, for swimming and day-trips to Tenerife
Lows

  • The gravel road leading down to Las Longueras is full of hairpins and potholes - the family is trying to convince the local council to pave and improve it
  • Some bedrooms could do with serious refurbishing (tired fabrics and furniture) – but there are plans to modernise
  • Breakfast is shared round a communal table which doesn't always suit non-morning types!
  • The 300m track to the cottage is a bit treacherous and unlit at night so bring a torch and tough shoes
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:24 PM
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