Where to stay in the Canary Islands

Reside in colonial splendour or in an intimate coastal boutique in the Canaries.

Hacienda de Abajo, La Palma

What's so special

This 32-room boutique hotel, located in the centre of the coastal village of Puerto de Tazacorte, dates from the 17th century, when it was home to sugar barons. The building has recently been restored to its original appearance and is a welcome change from the big commercial hotels.

How they rate it

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Although it only opened in September last year, the hotel has already acquired a strong reputation. Each room is individually decorated with antiques from around the world it hosts the best collection of tapestries in the Canaries as well as a valuable art collection. In short, it's "glorious", says Richard Green in The Sunday Times.

"The service is excellent, the bar cute and the restaurant splendid." The spa provides outdoor treatments and the pool is "time-sappingly pleasant". It's also for adults only so if you're looking for a peaceful grown-up break, it's the perfect spot.

The menu

El Sitio, the hotel restaurant, has views of the Atlantic Ocean and serves local dishes with international touches, such as rabbit stew with Boletus mushroom croquettes.

The cost

Doubles from £174 with breakfast. See www.hotelhaciendadeabajo.com or call 00 34 922 406000.


Gran Melia Salinas, Lanzarote

What's so special

You can enjoy the winter sunshine in Lanzarote, while avoiding the crowds, with a stay at Gran Melia Salinas. This luxurious gem is located between two sandy beaches on a quiet corner of the island.

How they rate it

This is a large hotel there are 272 rooms and suites plus ten villas. However, it still has personal touches local artist Csar Manrique designed the gardens and pool, so "you really sink into the unique Lanzarote vibe from the moment you arrive", says Annie Bennett in The Daily Telegraph. "It is all colonial splendour inside, with a waterfall in the huge plant-filled atrium."

The rooms are generously proportioned, and the "dcor is conservative with the odd contemporary touch, with the emphasis on space and comfort", says Bennett. "No mad designer chairs here. Master suites have a Jacuzzi on the terrace."

The superior rooms and suites in The Level' have "lots of extra perks", including a private pool and a private lounge with free wifi and drinks.

The menu

There are three restaurants serving local and international dishes. "The settings are just as appealing as the food, so there is no danger of getting bored with your surroundings."

The cost

Standard rooms from £120/superior room in The Level from £218. Find out more at www.melia.com, or call 00 34 928 590040.


Three exotic winter retreats

For an exotic winter holiday, try Burma, suggests The Independent. Travel to the once-closed state has become far easier and there are some great hotels.

For example, The Governor's Residence (pictured) in Rangoon, which is owned by the Orient-Express Group, "offers luxury in spades... Rooms are lavished in silk drapes and timeless teak furniture."

The Mandalay Restaurant has "views of the hotel's tropical gardens and lotus-layered ponds and serves fragrant Burmese curries".

From $299, with breakfast (Governorsresidence.com).

Alternatively, stay in Mandalay, the former royal capital, which sits in the heart of Burma. Rupar Mandalar "makes an authentic base from which to explore the city's wealth of hilltop pagodas and craft shops".

Each of the "traditional wood-panelled rooms bares a botanical name, with sumptuous throws and Asian artwork adding warmth within". You can also borrow bikes to explore.

Doubles from $300, including breakfast (Ruparmandalar.com).

One iconic image associated with Burma is that of fishermen using heavy wooden oars to balance on one leg and fish. There's no better place to "watch this traditional technique in action than at the Inle Princess" on Inle Lake.

The Inle Princess Resort offers a range of low-rise wooden chalets, many with lake views. Surrounded by paddy fields, it offers "a dining room, cocktail bar and romantic lakeside spa".

Prices from $240, including breakfast (Inleprincessresort.net).