The Canaries are singing a new song
Once upon a time the Canary Islands were an exclusive holiday haunt for only a select few who actually knew where the Spanish archipelago was hidden in its tucked away corner of the North Atlantic Ocean. Then came cheap flights, package holidays and greater notoriety for the likes of Tenerife and Lanzarote, whose reputations as fantastic year round sunshine destinations rapidly saw them becoming some of the most popular winter and summer holiday destinations for thousands of Britons and Northern Europeans.
With mass popularity came rapid construction of hotels and required infrastructure, and what some would call a cheapening of the appeal of the main islands. This fact however did not escape the attentions of the authorities which govern the islands; since 2001 concerted efforts have been committed to raising the bar when it comes to tourism, lifestyle and culture across the Canaries. Nowadays one is far less likely to associate the likes of La Gomera and La Palma with their nightlife than with the incredibly impressive and high-end quality of life that they offer their increasing numbers of international residents and annual holidaymakers.
A recent article in the Times highlighted specifically the transformation of Tenerife from popular holiday hotspot to exclusive lifestyle location destination, and it commented particularly on the improvement of key infrastructure as well as architecture. Where ugly buildings were once constructed in record quick time to accommodate the increasing numbers of overseas visitors, one is much more likely to see these buildings coming down and sympathetic and stunning architecture taking their place nowadays.
One way in which the authorities have succeeded in changing the face of the Canaries is through the introduction of golf tourism across the archipelago. Golf courses attract an entirely different crowd who seek quality and luxury when they holiday, rather than cheap accommodation and basic facilities. By developing courses across the islands and improving the associated facilities, amenities and accommodation, the Canary Islands have gone from being a package holiday favourite to become a high-end choice for the discerning traveller.
One of the Canary Islands now particularly rising in popularity is La Gomera. Previously the island was more difficult to access than the likes of Tenerife and Fuerteventura; whilst it did not see the local economy thrive as a result of tourism because of this lack of accessibility, La Gomera did see the total preservation of its stunningly diverse natural beauty. The Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a fine example of the islands’ natural beauty covering some 40 km2 in the centre of the island. This park attracts thousands each year keen to experience the humid subtropical forest that once covered most of Europe some 65 million years ago.
The shipping magnate Fred Olsen discovered La Gomera over 100 years ago and truly fell in love with the majestic charms of this sun kissed isle. Since then subsequent generations of the Olsen family have made their mark on the island, and today there is a rapid and frequent daily Olsen ferry service to La Gomera from Tenerife, making it that much more accessible. You can also fly to the island from Northern Tenerife, and because you can now fly premium class to the Canaries thanks to Cadogan Holidays, you can arrive on La Gomera in style!
According to James Wyatt, Senior Partner of Barton Wyatt International and a regular visitor to the island: “La Gomera is another of the Canaries to benefit from the development of a premium golf course, and the current Fred Olsen lives in a villa backing on to the Donald Steel designed course. The course plays downhill from the 1st to the 18th hole and leads the golfer through incredible gardens planted with beautiful local flora. Because of its location on the magnificent "La Lomada de Tecina" the course possesses breathtaking views of the Atlantic at every hole. The Olsen family are now behind the construction of one of the most significant and spectacular property developments on the island. The environmentally friendly residential development of high-end villas and apartments is called Pueblo Don Thomas, and it lies adjacent to the golf course allowing residents direct access to the greens and to the amenities and facilities that are part of the Tecina Golf Course.”
Those wishing to buy in to the exclusive Canary Islands and who are seeking the most elite opportunities should closely consider La Gomera and in particular the spacious and luxurious apartments and villas at Pueblo Don Thomas. Residents will benefit from the onsite Country Club with its superior leisure facilities, bar and restaurant and property prices start from £673,896/€850,000 to £951,382/€1,200,000. For more information contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit www.bw-international.com.