Stay the night: Finca de Arrieta, Lanzarote
An organic finca in north-east Lanzarote offers stylish living and all mod cons
Sunday 30 August 2009
I've never been much of a camper. But, with a young family to keep happy, I've enthusiastically embraced "glamping" – all the fun of the outdoors without giving up the little luxuries. And when guests pitch up at the eco-yurts on Michelle and Tila Braddock's beautiful, organically styled finca in the north-east of Lanzarote, it's obvious they won't have to compromise on much.
The four stylishly designed dwellings sit in gardens of aloe, succulents, exotic fruit trees and local volcanic stone. The Eco Yurt, Eco Yurt Suite, Garden Cottage and Luxury Villa (a converted aljibe, or water store), as well as the couple's family home, are all off the national grid, running on a system of solar panels, wind turbines and the latest renewables – the largest such system on the island. Guests are encouraged to be aware of their energy consumption, but you don't have to go without your hairdryer or TV.
Our Mongolian yurt felt luxurious – draped on the inside with rose-coloured satin and with the criss-crossed cane structure visible. A solid floor featured inset lights and Moroccan-style tiling. Despite the lashings of the Lanzarote winds it was sturdy and cosy, and had the added bonus of offering stargazing from bed, thanks to a flap in the roof. Outside, there was a wetroom and an al fresco kitchen, as well as a private deck with steamer chairs.
The food and drink
Apart from the chilled bottle of local wine that awaits all guests, you can collect fresh free-range eggs, tomatoes, onions and potatoes and whip up a brunch straight from the land. There's an excellent tapas bar on Arrieta beach or head into the village for restaurants specialising in seafood and papas arrugadas (Canarian potatoes baked in salt) and decent local wine. Beware: they eat early here – some places will close if there are no customers by 7.30pm.
There's a communal pool and chill-out area on site. The excellent hosts, Michelle and Tila, offer a range of activities and services – free and otherwise. There's weekly windsurfing and yoga, as well as island excursions and a mobile massage service. Don't miss the artist Cesar Manrique's work at his foundation (00 34 928 84 31 38; fcmanrique.org) and the Los Jameos del Agua Caves (00 34 928 84 80 20). Special tours of Timanfaya National Park (00 34 928 84 02 38) explore the lunar landscape of lava fields formed by enormous 18th-century eruptions.
Children are made very welcome, with a range of toddler/baby equipment available on request. Those with limited mobility might find the uneven paths and steps in parts of the finca difficult to negotiate.
A week in the eco yurt (sleeps two, four with extra bed and cot) costs from £490. Monarch (08719 40 50 40; monarch.co.uk) has return fares to Lanzarote from Gatwick and regional airports from £138.99, including taxes. One week's hire of an A-class car with Economy Car Hire (0845 450 0877; economycarhire. com) costs from £84.
Finca de Arrieta, Lugar Dieseminado 34, Tabayesco, Haria 35542, Lanzarote (00 34 696 982 873; holiday-rentals.co.uk/p85803).
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