Accommodation in the Canaries and Azores

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canariesAccommodation in the Azores and Canaries ranges from luxury hotels to campsites, covering the whole scale of prices and facilities to suite everyone needs, just to make your Canary vacation or your Azores Holidays special and unforgettable. In Tenerife and Gran Canaria the choice is enormous, but there’s less of a selection in the small islands. Hotels are graded by a star system, 5 stars luxurious, 1 star unpretentious, as are hostales (guest houses, graded 1 to 3 stars) and the few pensiones (boarding houses, also graded 1 to 3 stars).

Every establishment has a sign outside the entrance indicating its star status: H means hotel, HA apartment hotel, HR residential hotel, H with a little s above it means hostal, and R means residential only (i.e no meals served except sometimes breakfast). In a 5 star hotel you can expect every possible facility, with private bathrooms taken for granted. A 3 star hotels and hostales have a private bath or shower while in a 1 star hostal or pension you have to queue in the corridor.

Since there is no real ‘high season’ in the Canaries the same prices apply most of the year, though some hotels raise the rates by about 15% between December and March. Similarly, advance reservations are particularly necessary during these winter months.

Most hotels here date from the late 1960s or ’70s, and are modern and comfortable. Some of the most attractive hotels are the government-owned paradores (inns) of which there are presently five in the Canaries, characterized by picturesque situation and harmonious architecture. All are highly recommended. Their restaurants are open to all-comers.

Apartment hotels and villa/apartment complexes are confined to Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote Fuerteventura and Sao Miguel, Terceira and Flores Island in Azores, where the tourist developments possess the appropriate shopping and leisure facilities. Many travel agencies arrange excellent packages comprising flights plus apartment/villa as a cheaper and more independent alternative to hotel accommodation; it’s a relatively new idea and catching on fast in these islands. So fast that land and property prices are soaring. Some apartment hotels (AH) can be easily found on the internet or in your travel guide, but for fuller details of self-catering accommodation, apply to your travel agent or to one of the specialists such as OSL (Owners Service Limited) in Britain.

In the Canaries themselves many estate agents have holiday lettings on their books and there are several villa-holiday companies, such as Lanzarote Villas who will organize flights as well as villa, bungalow or apartment accommodation of a very high standard.

There are only two official campsites in the Canary Islands, both in Gran Canaria (Temisas, near Agiiimes, and Guantanamo, near Mogan), though this does not deter visitors from ‘wild’ camping. Permission should be sought from the local tourist office, who can sometimes recommend suitable places, usually hedged around with warnings about fire risk and water problems.

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