Santa Catalina - a Royal Hideaway Hotel Las Palmas
168 EUR (Junior Suite)
Amazing traditional place
Great services and food
Three pools including breathtaking rooftop one
A piece of "Zärtliche Chaoten 2" history
Uncomfortable workplace in room
Hard to believe – but when I selected the Santa Catalina, a Royal Hideaway Hotel, in Las Palmas for my Gran Canaria (Grand Canary) trip, I had no clue that this was in fact a place which was used for the German 1988 Zärtliche Chaoten II movie I have been chasing on that trip. This is by far not the only reason why the hotel in the Gran Canaria capital is a very remarkable place. Here are my thoughts about the stay, which I had in December 2020.
Santa Catalina – Location
The hotel is located in Las Palmas, It is located quite in the middle of the old town attractions like Columbus’ House or the Santa Ana Cathedral and the harbor area. The GC-1 motorway is located in close distance. There is no local transport but buses in Gran Canaria – the bus stop Leon y Castillo is more or less locatied in front of the hotel’s premises (buses: 1, L1).
The area does feature a few bars and restaurants, but the key attractions and touristic hotspots of the capital require some transfer. The drive from the hotel is some 20 minutes (25 kms). The hotel features a parking garage (see below). The transfer to Play de las Canteras beach is just a couple of minutes.
Santa Catalina – Atmosphere / Parks
The five star Santa Catalina hotel already opened in 1890. It is not only used as an accommodation, but is also a key place for social events. The style is very classic and almost feels majestic.
On the front of the hotel, it owns an own, beautiful park, which is also used to drive to the reception area and to the parking garage. My Renault Clio, rented at local company AutoReisen, was a rather uncharacteristic car for that place.
The rear of the hotel is almost connected to the public Doramas Park (Parque Doramas). The park is a beauty as well and a popular recreation area for tourists and locals. It also features a small cafe not too far away from the hotel.
Not too surprisingly, the hotel is a beauty in the night, when the park and the building is illuminated. Really loved to stroll around the grounds during the evening.
Santa Catalina – Junior Suite
My four night stay, bed and breakfast, in December 2020, was 672 Euro. Due to several reasons, I booked the Junior Suite category, which I finally received. The style of the room was quite in line withe the design and touch of the hotel: very classic, but not too old-fashioned. The room was not overwhelmingly large, namely the entrance area and the sleeping area. The bathroom, however, was massive.
I loved the classic style bed and the large cupboard. It took me about one day of my stay to finally spot the mini bar (which was just filled with water during my stay due to Covid-19 reasons. The marble floor felt very luxurious. However, there was no proper work desk. The small table in the entrance area was too high compared to the chair. The power plug situation was also unfortunate in that area, so that it felt a bit too tiring to work at that desk. The mirror you see on the picture of the sleeping area, by the way, was in fact featuring a TV set behind – a very fancy and elegant concept, which, however, also leads to issues regarding reflexes on the screen.
The bathroom area was massive. The styling was classic with a separate (huge) shower and a large bathtub. There were two sinks, so that the sanitary area was super-comfortable. I absolutely loved that part of the room.
The room had a nice view of Doramas Park. Funnily, in contrast to cheaper rooms, it did not feature a balcony.
Santa Catalina – Breakfast / Food
The hotel drives several restaurants, breakfast was served on the ground floor. You could either dine indoors or at a lovely balcony. Apart from masks, you had to wear gloves while serving yourself at the lovely breakfast buffet, which had a great selection and quality. Unfortunately, they struggled at some points which refilling and temperature issues – some items were generally not kept warm properly.
The hotel bar was very popular in the night – not too surprisingly, as it offered outdoor seating with a view of the hotel park. I checked the very rural, cosy 1890 La Bodeguita for dinner, which offers quite straight and traditional food. I loved my three course menu (no set menu), which had a Spanish tuna salad, a sirloin steak and a French Toast-style brioche with ice cream. Including drinks, the bill was below 50 Euro.
Santa Catalina – Pools / Spa
One of the signature elments of the hotel, apart from the historic building and its style, are definitely its three pools. The largest pool is the outdoor pool, which you reach through a side exit of the hotel. It comes with some facilities are a snack bar and his really large. However, this pool is also the only one for guests in the smaller hotel rooms. The pool is really large and also comes with some very nice amenities like underwater sun loungers.
The more fancy rooms (including the Junior Suite I stayed in) have access to all three pools, for three, though. All other guests need to pay a nominal feel for the wellness / spa area. The admission gives them access to the quite cozy pool (which is not covered and has an open roof, very fancy…), two jacuzzi pools, two different saunas and a steam bath. I visited the Wellness / Spa area onec, but overall felt that I rather enjoy the pool on the rooftop.
No doubt, the most posh and beautiful option to relax next to or inside the water is the rooftop pool on the 6th floor. Access is limited to the top room categories. The area also features a pool bar, which is then open to all guests in the evening hours when the pool is closed. The view from up there was just lovely – and due to the pandemic booking situation, it has been a lovely relaxing place.
Santa Catalina – Other Services
The staff at the hotel was really friendly – I also loved the small greeting after check-in, containing of some delicious sweets. The WiFI was very stable and worked well during peak times (I read a lot of negative reviews about poor hotel internet in other hotels on the island, so I feel it is important to mention).
Next to the wellness area, the hotel drive a large gym with a lot of machines. In contrast to the wellness / spa area, the gym was available 24 hours.
The hotel offers a parking garage, which is 20 Euro / day. Overall, parking there was comparably painful and narrow – but that is likely all you can realistically achieve in a that historic building / ground.
Santa Catalina – My View
My stay at Las Palmas was just amazing: the Santa Catalina Hotel is a beautiful place, running a classic place with quite modern attitude. Staff, food and other services were great, the rooftop pool was just amazing and I will remember it for a long time. The only negative point I really had was the poor working situation in the room – nowadays, you just need to have a proper work desk with sufficient power supply in a five star place. Still, a really great stay and a well-deserved Top Pick!