Tradition and modern day fuse together at the Hotel Emblemático Arucas de Gran Canaria, a century old house that has been refurbished.
The first stone at the San Juan Bautista church in Arucas, one of most important historical buildings in Gran Canaria, was laid back in 1909. There is evidence of a photo being taken of its construction from the skyroof of a house just thirty metres from where building was taking place. This means that this century old house was already standing prior to the building of the church, which due to its noble structure, is called a cathedral by many.
Times move on, but the stones, in their own way, stay still. And now once again they are to be heard. The old building opposite the church has re-opened its doors right in the historical town centre, now as an emblematic hotel, following a painstaking restoration programme. The “emblematic” category is reserved for historical buildings that are included in the island’s official catalogue, and has inspired the name of this establishment, namely the Hotel Emblemático Arucas.
Opening the doors of the hotel for us today is Marcelo Afonso Gil, the co-owner of the business alongside his friend Miguel Henríquez Pérez, the heir to the building that he lived in from the age of four and which has played an important role in his life. As we enter, the blend of the traditional and the modern is clear to see. To our left is an elegantly carved table. On our right is an original stone wall, a remnant of times gone by and a guardian of memories. On the ceiling meanwhile hangs a more modern style lampshade.
The interior emanates a wholly peaceful atmosphere. It is one of the signs of identity of the Hotel Emblemático Arucas, which maintains an open dialogue on three sides, between the past, present and future. Many elements from yesteryear have come alive again thanks to a painstaking process of adaptation and recycling.
An old font presides the main courtyard. Blocks of stone from the same quarry used to build the San Juan Bautista church are laid out in the form of benches. One of the rooms occupies the area formerly used for the storage of grain, and the old manger still stands. Original pieces of wood have also been re-used, in this case with the priceless help of Miguel’s father, Fernando Henríquez, who has brought all his wisdom and expertise to a hotel which is the culmination of dreams.
The sixteen sleeping places available at the hotel are made up of two double rooms and three junior suites with independent lounges, all of them with private bathrooms. Modern technological features such as the wifi system live alongside some amazing details which carry us up to the sky and which are shrouded in mystery, as in the case of the windows that look out over part of the church of San Juan Bautista.
While on the subject of views, the terrace provides a superb viewpoint over the both the church and the Mountain of Arucas and to the maze of cobbled back streets that wind their way around the hotel. A jacuzzi bubbles away contentedly in another corner, another modern touch that reminds us that, even though it doesn’t look like it, we are indeed firmly in the 21st century. The amazing thing here is that we can enjoy total peace and quiet as if we were in a bygone age.
The setting of the hotel in the heart of the town centre means we can step out into an area in which the past and the present are firmly linked. Nearby is the Plaza de San Juan, the Cultural Centre, the Parish House, the Town Park, the old Arucas y Firgas water board building, the shopping streets of León y Castillo and Gourié, together with a range of eateries, and not far from the Arehucas rum factory, which can also be visited.
Arucas is also strategically situated just fifteen minutes from the capital city, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, some 35 minutes from the airport, and around one hour from the huge expanses of beach to the south of the island, not of course forgetting it is also the ideal spot from which to discover the north, and the hillsides and peaks of Gran Canaria, plus the geological spectacle provided by the coastal areas of Arucas with their stunning banana tree plantations.
Marcelo once more turns the handle on a door which will be readily open for anyone looking to unwind and enjoy life, at a place where every stone and piece of wood has a story to tell.