The regions of La Palma vary greatly with regards tourism and local facilities so check the details carefully to ensure you are booking in an area that you really want to be! The area surrounding the capital city of Santa Cruz de la Palma is generally more touristy than the western side of the island which offers a more peaceful retreat.
La Palma & Teneguía Princess Resort – Fuencaliente
We spent 2 weeks at La Palma Princess during February 2008. Although our reviews are somewhat dated now, they still offer an insight into the hotel and area so please read on…
Opened in 2004, the La Palma Princess Hotel and Teneguía Princess are part of an impressive 4 star complex situated in Fuencaliente, close to the southern tip of La Palma and the two volcanoes, San Antonio and Teneguía. The resort itself is set in beautiful tropical gardens on an ocean-front location surrounded by banana plantations, volcanoes and black sand coves but not much else. There is no access to the beach itself but the complex has 11 good pools to choose from of ranging depths and plentiful sunbeds to relax in.
There are a number of varied restaurants and bars on site, all offering a good choice of food and drink including some with stunning views and relaxed environments.
Situated in a tourist-free area of La Palma, the closest village is Las Indias with the small town of Fuencaliente just a little further up the hill. Both centres are accessible by car or the regular bus service but are practically impossible to walk to as you have to follow the narrow road up a very steep, winding hill. There are supermarkets at both Las Indias and Fuencaliente where you can buy beers, snacks and supplies etc plus a few bars if you want a change of scenery.
Just outside the hotel is a circular footpath, ideal for walking, running or jogging and provides a means to get out and about and enjoy the spectacular sea views without going too far.
From the hotel, the level road to the right leads along banana plantations to the Fuencaliente lighthouse, incorporating a cove, black sand beach and volcanic area. The walk to the lighthouse takes approximately 1½ hours with a bus service available at certain times if you only want to walk one way or catch the bus there and back (but do check the times).
The road to the left leads to La Zomora beach (approx 15 minute walk) where there is a simple bar / cafe located on the ocean front and an enclosed cove for swimming and sun-bathing although the path down is somewhat steep. The cafe is very basic but offers good views and a relaxing place to sit, eat and drink. You can continue walking along this road past banana plantations and volcanic areas until it ends abruptly (due to erosion?) and you will need to return the same way.
Honest Reviews from Outdoor Views
A female point of view…
After an early morning flight from London, we were on the Thomson coach as it made its way past the volcanic areas down to La Palma Princess Hotel in Fuencaliente. Peering eagerly out the window, the first thing that struck me about the hotel complex was the sheer size, the impressive ocean-front views and the number of swimming pools. The second thing that struck me was the remoteness of the hotel and the peaceful location.
Check-in was fairly fast and straightforward aside from actually finding our room. We followed the map and directions provided by reception but this seemed to be an impossible and frustrating task. The huge complex was filled with tired new arrivals wandering around aimlessly with site map in hand, dragging their luggage behind them with frustrations building. We couldn’t find our room! The solution: send the clever person off with map-reading skills to locate the room whilst the rest of the party stays by reception (or the bar) with all the luggage. Dragging your suitcases up and down the hills and steps is no fun after an early morning flight, causes arguments and is not a good way to start your holiday! We finally found our room, hurrah!
Once we’d located our room we loved it. It was spacious, decorated to a high standard and with plenty of storage / wardrobe space which is always a good thing. The bathroom was fantastic with a bath, large sink area, toilet and very large spacious shower cubicle with a powerful shower. Plus there was a good hairdryer in the bathroom which is always an added bonus.
Whilst checking in, we’d considered the option of a sea view which carried an additional charge but after a good nose-around, we determined it was quite windy facing the ocean and the balconies were more open with less privacy. Our room was on the 2nd of 3 floors, with a clear view of the mountains and a view of the sea if you looked sideways and we liked the location and peacefulness next to a courtyard garden.
The pool area was really lovely, well-equipped and very spacious. We were there in February so had no trouble getting a sun lounger but I think this is probably still the case in high season as there are so many in the complex. The heated pool was a little chilly upon arrival but seemed to warm up during our stay once the sun appeared! Some of the pools were shallow for paddling in which offered a great area for the non-swimmer or younger ones. We had a wander around one day and encountered a ‘natural’ area which was a bit of an unexpected surprise. I have no problem with anyone who wants an all-over tan but it was a bit of a shock to stumble across nakedness so bear this in mind! I think the hotel should put some signs up to make people aware.
Since we love to walk we decided not to hire a car during our stay but the hotel offered a good rate for car hire if you wanted to organise one. Our trusty legs, the good local bus service from reception and a few organised coach trips proved to be all we needed for our stay but it did take us a little while to find our feet and realise all the options. Looking back, we felt that through our lack of knowledge we lost a few days not knowing what to do, where to go or how to get there (hence our website to help you!).
We were on half board and the breakfast and dinner options were very good. The dinner buffet at the Taburiente was extensive and offered a good selection of fresh salads, soup, pasta, fish, meat and plenty of desserts if you had room for them. Examples of the options during our stay included sea bass, rump steak, salmon, green lipped mussels, pork, turkey and plentiful salad, pasta and vegetables. Breakfast was good too with plenty of options. After two weeks of buffets, I did crave some good old fashioned home-cooking by the end of it but the food itself was very good and should appeal to all. I would have liked something with a bit more spice on the odd occasion but understand they need to cater for general tastes.
For breakfast and dinner you could eat inside or out. The outdoor balconies were beautiful and a favourite of ours. In the mornings, you get the benefit of the sunshine and in the evenings, you can dine by candlelight and really relax and enjoy. We ate indoors once (on a wet evening when they had to close the balconies) but thought it was far too bright and noisy for our liking. There are some lovely central tables inside that look down into reception in a balcony type design which were nice too.
Late breakfast at La Choza (by the pool area and sea) was a lovely experience and you can sit overlooking the ocean and enjoy your meal. The selection is a little more limited than the main restaurant but it makes a nice change and the chef will freshly cook your eggs, omelettes or bacon to order which was nice. It does get busy at times.
The ‘La Tasca’ themed restaurant was an interesting experience. We eagerly booked at reception and requested a table outside but on arrival that evening, were told it was too cold for outdoor dining so were seated at the only available table inside. This table had been shoved in near to the door and next to the curtain that separated the main restaurant from the themed one. The curtain, which flapped around all night, gave constant glimpses of the diners ‘next door’ and we almost felt as if we were there with them. The meal itself was disappointing and the food served was basically the same as the main restaurant (which we were almost in anyway!). The main difference was that you had table service. We didn’t go back for our second visit.
The hotel had a vast entertainment room with a bar which was comfortable and well presented. The entertainment, which was on every night, consisted of excellent outside acts (about three nights a week) which were varied, professional and good. These included a Chinese acrobatic team, traditional Canarian folklore singers and dancers, a Bee Gees tribute plus a few other acts (which were all much better than they sound!). The remaining evenings were filled by the in-house entertainment team who, in my mind, were absolutely dreadful most of the time despite their best efforts. I can only assume bar sales are good on those evenings, it’s the only way you could sit through the entire show!
We were also looking forward to the ‘piano bars’ but discovered these are just ‘bars with pianos’ and no-one actually plays them! However, there were a very good group of three professional Spanish entertainers playing guitars and singing every night just outside the main entertainment room.
The on-site shop was small but good and sold a range of general holiday items plus beer, snacks and papers. As expected, the prices were a bit higher than buying elsewhere but given the location of the hotel, it was convenient to just ‘pop in’ and get what you needed. We bought UK newspapers, suntan lotions, snacks and drinks which we all good and it was very handy.
To summarise, I really liked the La Palma Princess Hotel and it offered everything that we needed for a two week stay. I enjoyed the peace and quiet and being away from the main tourist areas but this may not suit everyone. By using the local bus service, booking a few organised coach tours and following our feet, we had a great fortnight and saw much of the island. Rooms were excellent, food was enjoyable and plentiful, the pools were great, and the hotel was of a good standard, modern and well-kept. Plus there was a great little on-site shop selling all you needed. Everything has a downside and for me it was the in-house entertainment which was a real let-down and painful at times. If you like long walks and hiking as we do, La Palma is great and I was surprised at the lush green areas and beautiful coastline, thinking it would be volcanic and dry everywhere. That does come with a bit of rain though!
A male point of view…
The hotel was very spacious and well planned with many secluded areas to have a drink, chat or play games all with different settings, views and facilities. The strange element of the hotel is that technically it is two hotels but operates as one.
Check-in is in the La Palma Princess and the reception in the Tenequia is used for general enquiries. Holiday representatives operate from this area and buses leave from here. The general feel is that it is one hotel with two receptions.
In the accommodation areas there are quiet courtyards where a seat can always be found for a quite read or to just enjoy the gardens. There are quite a few species of birds that often come and go.
Football matches were broadcast in the outside bar areas and when more than one important match was being played, an additional area was used. The hotel is so large that this does not interfere with any non-football lovers as so many other quieter places are always available.
Newspapers are sold in the hotel shop and generally arrive on the day of printing at around 11 am. The shop also sells most essential items including sun cream, some clothing, hats, crisps, nuts etc. plus a limited selection of local wines and both English and local beer. Prices on average were 1/3 more expensive than could be found in local supermarkets (nearest one 20 minutes by road, bus from front of hotel).
There were various fitness activities available at the hotel. The gym was well equipped and always seemed to be available for use. There were running routes around the hotel, out of the main entrance and left or right provided access to quiet roads along the oceanfront which were suitable for running. Scenery is different in each direction but with much banana growing both ways. If road running is not considered safe, there is a circular route around the hotel which can be lapped and has paving along much of the way.
These were spacious and well presented. The balcony doors were meshed which is a huge benefit if air conditioning is not wanted at night, the doors can be left open and a good breeze generally blew into the room. Table and chairs were on most balconies. Guests from the various countries and tour groups were usually grouped together. The maid service was excellent, with rooms generally cleaned whilst at breakfast. T.V channels consisted of Sky News, CNN and a couple of other satellite English channels that varied. Other channels could be purchased for a fee.
There was an adequate fridge in the room which was empty and could be stocked from the hotel shop or supermarket. Also a free room safe was available.
There were some great little eating areas in the restaurant away from the main dining area which were very good for couples. Some were on balconies but could not be guaranteed, a good look around is recommended before choosing a table. Eating later usually guaranteed a better table. No set table was given with diners choosing their own on most occasions unless the restaurant was very busy.
Food was of a good standard and buffet style, hot freshly cooked meat and fish often cut or served by a chef at the main serving area but there was an option to use this or not as wished. The variety was also good but no real surprises were evident.
Tables were generally clean with linen table cloths. Waiters and waitresses were friendly but often not too cheerful but responded when asked. Language played some part in this, with many guests speaking no Spanish and staff only recently learning English in some cases.
There are also themed restaurants, La Vita and La Tasca. These were adjacent to the main dining area and looked very good from the outside. The curtain blowing revealing the main restaurant area did not support the dining out experience however. The food was quite similar too. Generally it seemed not as good as some of the main restaurant areas but you were served at the table. A bit of a let down really but some people did seem to enjoy it.
The wine list is basic in all restaurants. Wine could be taken to other areas of the hotel from the restaurant if not finished. Some people might find this unusual, some a pragmatic approach. Beer was generally Estrella Damm and cocktails were freshly made.
Breakfast was served in the main restaurant area and was of a good standard with the only downside being orange juice that was more like squash. There was also a very pleasant outdoor breakfast area open until 11.00am called “La Choza”. This served a reduced selection of food to the main restaurant area but was a very good spot to eat, overlooking the sea and with flowering shrubs adjacent to the tables. This was popular but worth a visit at least once.
The pool area is very good indeed. There are 11 pools with various layouts around each with one being heated. This was always the most crowded. In the surrounding areas there are many undercover areas with bars of a good standard, all very nice but not luxurious. There were always plenty of sunbeds and table and chair areas readily available.
There is a pizza restaurant by the pool area which is good for snacks that also does takeaway pizza in a box. These can be taken to other areas of the hotel for a snack.
Well maintained and attractive gardens also surround these areas with the odd wildlife visitor.
Overall, a good well maintained hotel which is possibly a little isolated. This can be a benefit but also a hindrance. If travelling out and about regularly then the daily drive up the hill to reach other road networks can become a chore. This is the general route from the hotel to other parts of the island but longer coastal routes can be chosen to avoid monotony. Benefits are completely empty beaches and quietness if sought. A right turn out of the hotel with a 30 minute walk will provide a rugged volcanic beach which is worth a look but another ten minutes or so and there is a very large flat finely ground volcanic beach which offers an ideal place for beach games or a picnic. Continue along this road and a lighthouse can be found with a small visitors centre, with toilets, worth a look. From here there is a trail up into the hills that is a marvelous run or walk that leads to Teneguia, the volcano. Many athletes were running up here. A very good spot with many plants along the way. A walk in either direction from the hotel for a couple of hours is recommended if staying for a week or more as scenery is different in both directions.
Entertainment – There was something happening every night. Some good visiting acts were performing in the main stage area and were generally of a high standard. These included Chinese acrobats, La Palma dancers and musicians, Bee Gee tribute, etc, with the resident band trying hard to please every night in the bar area. They played international hits and were professional and had a comprehensive repertoire. They played away from the main stage in a courtyard bar room. This provided an alternative if the main show was not suitable or the hotel troop not liked. The resident entertainment troop were fine for general daytime games and a dance after the main act but their routines were a bit weak when they were the main show of the night as they appeared on stage on the nights when other artists did not perform. Outside acts provided entertainment two to three times per week.
- Good breeze at night through balcony door, mesh gives protection from insects
- Always performing artists in the evening
- Fridge and safe in room
- English papers available
- Excellent pool area
- Good hotel layout, many different garden areas
- Most hotel staff friendly and helpful
- Lounger and seating areas plentiful
- Outdoor breakfast area open until 11.00 am
- Some excellent dining areas around the main restaurant area
Visitor Reviews Submitted
Below are some comments we have received from people who came across our website and wanted to share their views.
“We’ve just returned from a weeks holiday at La Palma Princess Hotel and prior to departure found your website invaluable. We downloaded the mini guides to the towns and villages, the short (!!) walks and they were a great help when we hired a car for a few days and toured the island. Like you we enjoyed our time at the hotel and found the island a wonderful place. Many thanks, keep up the good work.”
Neil and Barbara – April 2010
“Just returned from our sunny week in La Palma, really enjoyed the island and the Palma Princess did the trick. The advice from your web site proved very accurate. There are always pros and cons to all locations and it would have been nice to have been able to walk to a village, so you do feel a bit isolated and the twisty roads are not to everyone’s taste. We hired a car for 3 days and had a good look at the main attractions. It was our intention to walk more but the Baranco we chose going into the Caldera became more of an assault course over large boulders. A lot of good walks to do but quite a few were described as strenuous and with the heat it did not take much to put us off. On arrival we ignored your advice to let the hotel take the luggage and we trundled around until we were pointed in the right direction. I think their signs and directions could be improved. You did warn us! Large eating area has a canteen feel, although you can go out the balcony for a change of scene. Something about having so much choice at the buffet, leaves you after a few days feeling that you need a change of scene. The all inclusive worked well, the all inc. cocktails were lacking in alcohol content but G & Ts etc had a generous serving of alcohol. Coffee from the machines was not good and the decent stuff had to be purchased. Spacious accommodation and good linen/pillows – should probably have spent more and gone for the sea view. Heated pool was up to 25 degrees (felt cooler) and there were lots of activities and you were spot on about the evening entertainment. The professional entertainment was mostly of a good standard but the hotel staff entertainment although they were very enthusiastic did appear to be inconsistent and maybe would benefit from some more practice/training!”
John & Jacky – January 2013
Official Hotel Website