THERE are four types of holiday you can have in Gran Canaria, to suit anyone’s taste.
The volcanic rock mountains lend themselves to those who like to explore mountain villages or take part in Nordic walking.
The resort hotels are perfect for families to get away and have something to do for any age group.
There are beaches and pools for couples who want to get away from it all and catch some sun.
But for those who want pampering and luxury, Gran Canaria also boasts top-drawer spa breaks.
Until recently the island – just 200km off the coast of Africa – boasted the largest spa in Europe.
Not naturally thermal, the spas are usually based on thalasso – salt – treatment, using salt from the sea as its source.
The idea is to do a specific circuit of bubble jets, Jacuzzi, steam room, ice bath, and sauna in order to get a proper relaxing experience, rather than just jumping in and out of a pool, steam room or Jacuzzi on a whim.
Relaxation and improving circulation are the key benefits, with a treatment such as a wrap with a massage topping off the experience.
There are a range of spas to suit most bank balances. On the more expensive side, the Corallium Thalasso spa at the five-star Lopesan Villa Del Conde Resort boasts private Jacuzzis and treatment suites overlooking the Atlantic.
The most popular treatment there is the Aloe Vera wrap and massage, which exfoliates, nourishes and massages the tissue deep into the muscles.
It’s best to have it after the circuit, which starts off with Jacuzzi beds in the pool, moves on to strong water jets for the neck, back and shoulders, moves onto hot beds, a cold pool with reflexology pebbles, aroma showers, then steam rooms, ice baths and a sauna, and then onto a ‘gravity pool’.
This is made up of 25 per cent salt, so it’s impossible to do anything but float around.
Another 5* resort is the Sheraton Salobre Golf resort and spa, which markets itself as a couples retreat.
The Aloe Spa has recently undergone building work, and boasts indoor whirlpool, outdoor vitality pool and hydromassage
Another Corallium spa, this time at the 4* Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort, was the previous holder of the largest spa in Europe title.
It takes around 4.5 hours to visit every spa room, not to mention relaxation time in the outdoor pools.
They include a Himalayan salt room, ‘womb room’ featuring waterbeds, Turkish Hammam, ‘cosy wall’, and a floatation pool.
For more water-based spa experiences, the Gloria Palace Amadores Thalasso is a large, indoor salt-water spa with picturesque ocean views.
The best treatment to have there is the wonderful Ayurveda wrap which uses hot oils and pressure points based on an Oriental technique.
Finally, the best hotel to stay in on the island, as voted by TripAdvisor reviews, is the Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa, with its Inagua spa.
It is small, but perfectly-formed for relaxation.
The salt scrub, using Epsom Salts, will leave skin glowing and smooth, while the Special Massage will fix any aches and pains while the aromotherapy used is chosen by the client.
Staff are friendly and will help teach visitors how to complete a proper spa ‘circuit’.
The hotel is a dream, and should be rated higher than 4*plus.
EASYJET fly to Gran Canaria from Gatwick Airport, flying into Las Palmas.
The island has an almost constant temperature of 24 degrees the whole year round, thanks to the cooling winds tempering the equatorial sun.
The south side of the island, approximately 50 minutes from Las Palmas, is sunniest, while the east side has the best beaches and the west boasts rocky coves.
Stay at the Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa, where staff cannot do enough for guests, in the sleepy fishing village of Puerto Mogan.
The hotel also boasts its own ancient burial ground, chapel for couples to marry in, and a fantastic a la carte restaurant
If you fancy a couples’ 5* break, check out the Sheraton Salobre’s variety of couples’ packages on offer.
Hire a car and explore the mountain villages for a taste of true Gran Canaria.