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Checking In :: César's Palace

Tuesday July 5, 2011

Checking In :: César's Palace

If you're planning to visit Lanzarote in luxurious style then the Gran Melia Salinas is likely to feature at the top of your list. As this stylish hotel in Costa Teguise is not only an important part of Lanzarote´s cultural and historical heritage but is also one of only 6 five star hotels on the island.

Today, the hotel is something of a museum in its own right. Thanks to the involvement of the island born artist and architect César Manrique, who designed the building in collaboration with Madrid based architect Fernando Higueras in 1976.

Manrique had returned from New York in the late 1960´s just as package tourism was starting to take off in Spain. He was deeply concerned that Lanzarote could face a concrete burial similar to the high-rise development starting to engulf the Costas and other Canary Islands.

I believe that we are witnessing an historic moment where the huge danger to the environment is so evident that we must conceive a new responsibility with respect to the future. César Manrique

As a result. Manrique urged restraint and sought to influence development on the island as much as possible by using his contacts in the island government, which was under the aegis of an old family friend called Pepin Ramirez.

The Creation of Costa Teguise

Manrique envisioned creating a low-rise luxury resort in a previously deserted spot that was christened Costa Teguise - named as the seaside sister to the ancient island capital of Teguise some ten minutes up the road.

The Gran Melia Salinas was to be the first incarnation of this plan and the first building in the resort. Creating, it was hoped, a stylish example for future development. And as a result the hotel still bears many of Manrique´s signature design touches, such as the classic pool area. As well as many of his original works of art and murals, which sit alongside works from other leading Canarian artists such as Pepe Damaso and Paco Curbelo.

But its the botanical centrepiece of the Gran Melia that is arguably its most impressive feature. As here Manrique designed a lush and breathtaking indoor botanical garden that serves both as homage to the traditional Canarian patio found in many older island homes - and a much-copied talking point that has been replicated in other hotels around the world.

Indeed Manrique and Higueras work was so impressive that the hotel was awarded the International Award for Architecture in 1978. Which was just the sort of prestigious PR that the resort needed in order to build its profile internationally as an up market destination.

Hotel Facilities

Today the Gran Melia boasts 316 refurbished rooms. Comprising 279 deluxe standard rooms, 31 single rooms, 25 junior suites and two master suites. As well as ten ultra exclusive Garden Villas which feature private pools and gardens and some really opulent features. For example, guests here can even choose the type of pillows and bedding they prefer.

The Gran Melia is also home to no less than five different restaurants - most notable of which is the a la carte Restaurant La Graciosa, which is reached by a wooden bridge through the internal gardens.

Its well worth noting that certain areas of the hotel, such as the main bar and some restaurants are open to the public. Which means anyone can enjoy a touch of five star luxury even if they are not guests.

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