When it comes to getting away from it all, a spa break takes some beating, but when it’s attached to an elegant mountain hotel nestling in the pine forest where nature holds complete sway, there’s only one word for it ““ Paradise.

In the shimmering heat of a Tenerife October, Tenerife Magazine checked into the Hotel Spa Villalba in Vilaflor to find out what the winner of our holiday competition has in store.

A mountain retreat
Arriving in the charismatic spa town of Vilaflor late morning, I take the steep turn in the village that winds up past the Ermita de San Roque until it reaches the Hotel Spa Villalba. Leaving the stifling heat of the day, I step into the Canarian patio-styled lobby of the hotel where my eye is immediately drawn to the expanse of polished wood which forms the floor and sweeps upwards in a wide curved staircase to a walkway across the galleried space beneath a hand made, wrought iron decorative chandelier.

A roof to floor window occupies one side of the lobby, its margins sending rainbows of light from their stained glass patterns dancing around the aubergine walls. The lobby floor plays host to a garden of potted plants and an elegant sculptural water feature where the sound of running water completes the feng shui balance.

Opening the door onto room number 203 I”M immediately struck by the expanse of floor space, the elegant décor, the extensive presence of beautiful wood and the bed that occupies the far wall and is big enough to justify grid references. I flick the light switch to the en suite and enter the most cavernous bathroom I have ever seen in an hotel. Decorated in exquisite Victorian tiles in teal and white, twin ornate sinks take centre stage below the mirror. A bath with overhead shower lies to one side and the ‘usual facilities” to the other, across an expanse of vintage, maize-coloured tiled floor.

I”M already grinning like a fool when I step out onto the grand balcony and am caught completely off guard by the endless, fragrant pine forest in what feels like touching distance. Birdsong and the rustle of the breeze in distant tree tops is all I can hear as I inhale the mountain air and try to take in the full extent of the beauty that surrounds me. I’ve only been here five minutes, my case is still unpacked and my car keys are still in my hand yet already my shoulders have relaxed, my breathing is deeper and the Hotel Spa Villalba has thrown me a curve ball by revealing the truly unique beauty of its location.

I may never leave.

The Essentials

Location: Nestling above the alpine, spa town of Vilaflor looking like it’s waiting for the Von Trapp family to move in, the Hotel Spa Villalba lies on the cusp of a ravine in the pine forest with panoramic views over the town to the south east coast from the front of the hotel and over the fragrant forest from the rear. Designed to maximise its rustic setting, everything in the hotel is geared towards the enjoyment of your surroundings, from the seats dotted around the garden and the hotel viewpoint with its telescope, to the glass covered swimming pool edged by pine trees which is opened in summer and cosily closed over in winter.

Rooms: As generously bountiful as nature herself, bedrooms are big on space and minimal on fuss. Oatmeal décor teamed with soft plaid furnishings complement the highly polished hard wood flooring beautifully while prints of pencil drawings and oil canvases showcase flowers and rural scenes. A large, wooden terrace overlooks the gardens and forest while bedside, shuttered windows bring the pine romance inside. Free WiFi brings modern convenience to rustic charm and the practicalities also score highly with lots of wardrobe space, a shower so powerful it hurts your head; coat hangers galore, TV, mini bar and in-room safe.

Service: I have always found Vilaflor to be one of the friendliest towns on this Tenerife amable island and the staff of the Hotel Spa Villalba outshine even my former experience. From the Hotel Director Julio, to Marta on reception, the La Vendimia dining room staff and the chambermaids, everyone welcomes guests as if they were into their own home. The guests” comfort and relaxation appear to be paramount and once experienced, the service keeps the guests returning. I spoke with an elderly lady who was in her fourth week at the hotel and has been a regular guest for many years.

Food: The La Vendimia Restaurant is the venue for a fresh and beautifully presented continental breakfast buffet with fruit, cereals, home made breads, cheeses, cold meats, pastries, juices and wonderful coffee. Eggs are available for those who like a hot start to the day. In the evening the restaurant morphs into a candle lit romantic dining venue where fresh produce from the hotel’s garden is imaginatively and beautifully prepared. A la carte choices include a good selection of vegetarian, fish and meat options and the set half board menu was a nightly decision dilemma with three delicious options for every course vying to be picked. An extensive wine menu includes very quaffable organic wines from the owners” own label as well as a good selection of Tenerife produced wines.

Entertainment: The moon shining through the pine trees and Vilaflor’s trademark, star-studded firmament provide all the entertainment that’s needed in this country idyll. A TV room and a games room provide an indoor alternative to Nature. But as I don’t have a section for it, I’ll take this opportunity to mention the splendid spa and gym facilities that come as standard for guests. Set within spacious and elegant relaxation areas are a Jacuzzi, sauna, sunarium, Turkish Bath, plunge pool, showers and a dark relaxation lounge with water beds and coloured ceiling lights to lull you comatose. Downstairs, a gym equipped with ranks of state of the art equipment is flanked by a room with a full sized climbing wall.

Overall: An idyllic, romantic Alpine mountain getaway where sublime comfort, healing spas and treatments, relaxation, good food and tranquil surroundings relieve you of stress and leave you feeling renewed and energised. This is the perfect hotel for tired executives, romantic couples, athletes, nature lovers, hikers and anyone seeking a real ‘away from it all’ experience.

Hotel Spa Villalba; 4 Star; Carraterra San Roque s/n, Vilaflor; (0034) 922 70 99 30; email [email protected]

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