11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Giant parrots in small cages!
"The hacienda is beautiful, the service is good, the pool is nice, but 1 thing disturbed me a lot: the parrots (blue and yellow parrot, white kaketoe) are held in very small cages. These intelligent birds need a lot of attention and at least the possibility to fly. Ask the manager Roberto why these birds are held like this or write a complaint at the reception."
- Travel date: Tue 7th of April 2015
"This was our first time in La Palma and we booked a deal with Thomsonâs rather than travel independently to an island we were unfamiliar with. However, we had made contact with the Hacienda San Jorge by e-mail with our room preferences and on arrival we were delighted that these had been granted â room 214 (block A) had a sea view, balcony and the sun from sunrise to sunset.
The hotel could hardly be faulted and we were very happy with our choice, guided by other reviews on tripadvisor. One reviewer had described the hotel as âquirkyâ and we could see why, with so much of its valuable real estate being devoted to flora and fauna, its concern for the welfare of stray cats who, surprisingly, got on very well with the ducks and its policy of constantly painting the pathways a dark shade of pink.
Room facilities and cleaning etc. were excellent. Reception staff were friendly and helpful and lunchtime snacks were of the highest quality. All other meals were eaten out and the best restaurants we found in Los Cancajos were âSadiâsâ and âJirajaraâ.
We found La Palma to be the most scenic of the six main Canary Islands we have visited so far. It is greener and a visit to the Caldera de Taburiente is a must for all first time visitors. From the highest point, at the Roque de los Muchachos, the views around the island and to Tenerife and El Hierro are stunning. We travelled there on an excursion booked through Thomsonâs which also included an interesting visit to a museum devoted to the early inhabitants of the island at the Parque Cultural de la Zarza. We also saw much of the very green north of the island on this trip.
The excellence of the public transport system encourages visitors to see as much of the island as possible. Santa Cruz, only a couple of miles from Los Cancajos, is the hub of the system and from there we took a bus to Fuencaliente in the south of the island, a small and picturesque village almost completely untouched by tourism. On another day we enjoyed a spectacular journey across the mountainous heart of the island to Los Llanos.
We would have no hesitation in recommending La Palma and the Hacienda San Jorge to other travellers and intend to visit again as soon as possible."
- Travel date: Tue 22nd of July 2008
Peace and quiet and chav free too!
"The room we had was excellent being similar to a one bedroom flat rather than the usual hotel 'bedsit' type rooms i.e. the bedroom is also the living room. It was a very nice welcoming touch to have a bottle of wine awaiting us as we came through the door. Rooms were cleaned on a daily basis (except Sunday) and were spotless each time. TV only had two English channels -Sky and CNN.
The pool is beautiful and idyllic to lie around and read which I did for the duration of our stay. There are plenty of loungers and no one was placing towels on them at 6am. My only complaint about the pool ( and this is just personal to me) is that the water was very cold and consequently I rarely went in but the pool is immaculately clean.
The grounds are stunning too with wildlife ranging from parrots and ducks to koi carp and turtles (I think ) and the gardens are tended on a daily basis by several gardeners.
We didn't eat in the hotel preferring to go out to local restaurants. Nearby is a complex of restaurants and cafes. We tried Restauarant Tiunna which is split in two - one part being a restaurant (good food & wine) and the other a cafe which served great tapas. About fifty yards from the hotel reception is another restaurant ( can't remember the name, sorry) which again had a good selection of wines and served a reasonably priced and tasty paella.We did find that all restaurants in the vicinity were quiet and so after a few days we caught the bus into Santa Cruz which is about 1 euro per person. We tried several of the restaurants here but found many of them were bars which also did food. Cafe Floridita had been recommended to us but we found the Cuban found it served so-so but the barmaid was very friendly. A local cafe off the main square used by the locals didn't look much but i had a great meal there which I'm still not entirely sure what I had but it tasted great. The better restaurants on the seafront seemed to be further North along the main road.
At the moment tourism seems relatively small scale at the moment and I got caught out when trying to use Travellers cheques. At first the waiter looked at it with sheer confusion and didn't have a clue what it was but the hotel reception later informed me that few places used them and that really I needed to change it into cash but commision would be charged at about 6% making my 100 euro cheque worth 94 euros. It seems that cash is king there at the moment. A taxi back to the hotel from Santa Cruz averages about 5 euros - but beware on Sundays late evening as there are not many of them around.
As in the day the hotel is also quiet in the evening with mainly the bar area to relax in. There was some entertainment booked for somes evenings and this included a youth brass band but mainly jazz combos.
Overall we couldn't have booked a better place for peace and quiet and much needed rest. It really is one of the most tranquil hotels I think I've ever stayed in and remained Chav free for the entire time we were there!!"
- Travel date: Sat 7th of June 2008
a jewel of a find
"Just returned from La Palma or as the natives call it La Isla Bonita (The beautiful Island) It really is just that. Only go there if you want peace and quiet though, it is nothing like the other Canarian Islands. We just loved the place. Hacienda SJ is a fabulous place to stay. The apartment was superb. A welcoming complementary bottle of wine was awaiting us in the apartment together with toiletries and fluffy bathrobes. The gardens are stunning as is the pool area. The whole complex was kept spotlessly clean. The restaurant was really nice offering a hearty breakfast with so much choice. We had dinner one evening on sight, that also was excellent. We ate at the following restaurants;
La Fortuna......not impressed
Restauranta Montmarte....grossly overpriced for mediocre food and service.
Restaurante Sadi...Food fantastic ,excellent service, lovely surroundings
Cafe Vista Playa....Fantastic food. great service. Nice owners
We ate at the beach restaurant El Pulpo at a lunchtime. This was very good food and service.
At the moment the island is unspoiled and well worth visiting. A visit to the Caldera de Taburiente is a must.There are several walks to be done in the Caldera with stunning views. The scenery across the island is so changeable and delightful. We hope to go back very soon.
May is low season so be aware that some of the restaurants and shops are not open. However it is still worth visiting at this time of year."
- Travel date: Tue 27th of May 2008
A quirky little gem!
"Having received positive reports from tripadvisor contributors I stayed in the Hacienda San Jorge in mid May 2008 and have only just returned. It is a delightful place to stay with numerous small touches, such as providing a glass of cava with breakfast, or the bowl of free apples on the reception desk, that make it a significant cut above the normal apartment hotel.
The main attractions are the beautiful gardens, with an artificial stream and a variety of sub-tropical plants such as palms, flowering shrubs and cacti, which are interspersed with statues. There are also a couple of aviaries, with budgerigars, a koi carp pool, numerous orange hued cats and a two magnificent, but rather noisy, macaws!
The Reception is quirkily, but charmingly, furnished with antiques and maritime memorabilia, such as astrolabes and a sailing ship model, which contrast with the rather more modern style of artwork.
The apartments are pleasant, of adequate size and comfortably furnished. They are equpped with simple cooking facilities, including a microwave, but there is no kettle. There is a small TV but, with the exception of CNN, all the channels are in either Spanish or German. The hotel does have quite a large German clientele but there also appears to be an increasing number of English speaking cutomers who should, presumably, be equally catered for. As the hotel is built into the side of a hill, all the apartments appear to have a veranda, or balcony, overlooking the gardens, and, in some cases, the large, sea water, pool.
For much of the time I preferred to try the local restaurants rather that the one in the Hacienda but the breakfast was very good, apart from burnt coffee, and the buffet dinner was fair. As always with buffet catering, one's timing is critical if you are to enjoy freshly cooked and hot food, but there was plenty of choice in a pleasant environment overlooking the pool or the black sand beach. The local restaurants were a mixed bag but Ristorante Sadi, about a 10 minute walk through Los Cancajos, was excellent for both its food and the quality of its service. As for the rest there are a couple of Chinese restaurants, a couple of pizzerias and a few others with international type, tourist, cuisine. Not to be missed are the excellent La Palma wines, with a number of local producers providing a variety of styles. A personal favourite of mine was Vega Norte Blanco - if you can find it!
The Hacienda has a small supermarket with reasonably priced food and drink (excellent bread rolls and British papers!) but it closed for the day at 1pm, and the till wasn't working, and all transactions had to be recorded by hand! Additionally, there is larger Spar supermarket a five minute walk away, so it is easy to find food for snacks and picnic lunches.
Nature is still making La Palma, as it is a place of active volcanism. The same may be said of the Tourist Industry, for growing bananas is still the major economic activity, but tourism is developing and there is a fair deal of development going on, particularly around the airport. Thankfully the island is aware of the dangers of overdevelopment and there is no chance that it will become another Tenerife or Gran Canaria. The scenery is magnificent and, in the areas of recent volcanic eruptions (the last being in 1971at the Teneguia volcan, in the extreme south of the island), very dramatic. The best way of seeing the island is on foot and hiking appears to be the most popular holiday activity. This can be freelance, using the readily available Rother booklet to find the best trekking routes and the well signed paths, or with the knowledgeable, and multilingual, Guides provided by the Natour organisation. Alternatively, car hire is relatively inexpensive and a couple of days hire should be enough to get around most of the island. Try to find La Plaza de la Glorietas, nr. La Manchas, with its beautifully executed small mosaic garden (see photo) and a trip to the highest point on the island, Roque de los Muchachos, is an absolute must for its quite outstanding views back towards the coast. Unless you get up very early in the morning don't expect to see into the Caldera de Taburiente itself, because the clouds, invariably in my experience, start hiding the highest peaks by 8am."
- Travel date: Wed 21st of May 2008
"We booked direct with Thomsons after reading reviews in Tripadvisor. We were delighted. Some reviewers have commented on the fact that it is a bit of a lottery whether you gat allocated a room with a decent view. This is true. We had a garden view from our terrace/balcony, and a view of Santa Cruz, the capital, and the coast from our bedroom window. The apartment was large and well appointed, and we enjoyed the view of the palm trees from the balcony. At night the geckos came out. If we went again- and we probably will- we would ask for a room with a sea view (C400-411).
La Palma is wonderful. We did some walking guided by Charles Davis' book, "Walk La Palma". The Caldera De Taburiente is awesome, and the forests covering the East of the island ar beautiful. Tropical plants thrive cheek by jowel with temperate plants. When we visited, the nasturtiums, forget-me-nots and poppies were a riot of colour. As previously noted, the hotel shop is reasonably priced and the lady who runs it is friendly. A smattering of Spanish is an advantage everywhere on the island.
We had a car through Holday Autos for a week. With the strength of the Euro being what it is, this is the cheapest option. Although we had a bald tyre, the hire car company changed it quickly and with good grace. The island has so much to offer, and a car is essential, in our view.
We ate well at El Lagar, and a fish shack called Casa Goyo at the end of the airport runway. La Placeta in Santa Cruz was really nice, as was El Cantillo on the main road from Los Cancajos to Santa Cruz. Fantastic rabbit in mojo picon.
We had lovely sojourns, with meals and swims in Puerto Tazacorte, and Charco Azul. The Restaurante San Andries, in the town of the same name, near to Charco Azul did a great paella. We scarcely had an indifferent meal, and feasted all week on Canarian fish.
If you like fresh air, good food, walking and aren't too bothered about golden sands, La Palma is for you. Go now, before it changes. It has all the best, and little of the worst that the Canaries have to offer. We wouldn't stay anywhere other than the Hacienda San Jorge. Everywhere else, especially the Teneguia Princess, is rather remote."
- Travel date: Wed 7th of May 2008
Gardens & Pool stunning
"Charming and friendly receptionists will give good local advice although under pressure when airport coaches arrive. Useful hotel minimarket with competitive prices for wines and spirits.
Accomodation was in room 122 on ground floor Block A with partial view of sea and the odd rambler hiking off to Santa Cruz. Car parking a bit of a lottery and had to walk 400 metres 1 night from parking slot. Excellent accomodation with large sitting room come kitchenette which most English will adapt to as no kettle or teapot but there are ways! Good balcony for slight view of sea and rocks with waves crashing over and no real problem from passers by.
Dined twice in restaurant, 11 Euros for the buffet is reasonable but get in early for decent selection as hungry hordes from N Europe sweep select foods down with gusto. Nito, waiter, good service with a sense of humour missing in the Maitre D. Hors d'ouevres basic tinned selection. Breakfast same principle, get in early as rather than lay towels down, the N Europeans seem to stuff their pockets with all the goodies like croissants.
Dined in local restaurants, the best is El Lagar on 2nd floor of complex next to Hacienda. Excellent wines including Rias Baixas from Galicia the newly elevated wine region of Spain. Really fresh fish and stunning steaks not costing too much. Charming waitress and co-host who might give you home produced orange based aguardiente with your coffee if you ask politely.
Avoid beach restaurant although a good setting is expensive for paella at 20â¬ for 2. Ours was served with banana slices! Weird..
Excellent fish restaurant in Puerto of Llanos on 2nd floor which all the locals use next to carpark. Thought Puerto Naos bland and sea can be dangerous for youngsters at times.
If you admire the wild flowers and like gardening, seeds for the proteas and bird of paradise can be found in small shop in Centro Commercial below El Lagar restaurant.
Small triangular bar facing sea here very reasonable in evening for coffees, liquers and mad funny guitarist some evenings.
In Santa Cruz, park in main carpark on Av. Maritima. Good local food & spices (got to buy saffron at ridiculous low prices) market in Av Del Punte. Great town for just ambling.
Extensively stocked supermarket on main road to Llanos on left looking like a car showroom, 10 minutes from Canjeros by car."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of April 2008
"We choose this hotel partly because we liked the pictures and partly because of the reviews in trip adviser.
The hotel grounds are very beautiful.
We had an appartment on the ground floor partly looking out over the swimming pool and partly looking at a wall with trees, it was slightly below the pool, I have to say we were disappointed with the view as all the pics are shown from the upper floors, If I went again I would book independantly (we went with Thomsons) and ask for a room with a balcony. As far as we could tell the 1 bedrooms appartments seem to either overlook the pool or the sea but the sea ones also overlooked the street and parking, The two bed app. seem to have a view of the sea and pool. Because of the way the complex is situated round the pool there are some rooms which would not be so good ie. overlooking the road but not the sea, if you book talk to them about what your view would be (if it bothers you!!)
The appartments inside are very nice and decorated in a simple but artistic way. There is almost no English channels on the TV CNN and BCC news (but that did not work for several days) there are many Germany channels as well as Spanish.
There is no entertainment at night (at least when we went) - we did mention these points to the hotel. We if fact went up the road to the large Hotel nearby Tabriente Playa they had very good entertainments and we noticed several people from our app. had also gone there.
We eat our breakfast in the H.S.G. every day,(we were on an app. only basis another time I would have breakfast included in the price as it is probably cheaper) as it was easier than going out and the coffee was good! I would say the breakfasts were ok but not great esp the cooked part. We had 2 evening meals and they were about the same, ok. The pool was very cold and I did not go in.
The hotel is very close to a nice beach, fine black sand.
The resort is small but there are a few resturants and shops. The resort is nicely landscaped. It is close to the airport but the planes are not a problem as most of them are small.
The staff at the hotel in reception are pleasant (they tried to change our room but the ones they offered were not as good as the one we already had).
A reviewer said there were alot of cats they were right!
We were wondering whether to stay at the H>S>J> or the Los Olas, we went to the Los Olas for a meal. There was a large choice on the buffet but the whole feel of the resturant was not as nice as the H.S. J. but it was good value for money 11 Eur. for as much as you wanted (at the hsj it was 17 euros) The place looked nice it was at the other end of the village nearer to the road, but the road was not busy. I think either place would be good to stay at!
We went to the Cafe Vista Playa it has just been taken over by a young couple and the food (home cooked) was great it is open for lunch and breakfast.
La Palma is a wonderful place. BUT not somewhere to go in winter for guaranteed sun! we had rain on about 4 days out of 7, but not all day! we did have alot of sun as well! We hired a car for 5 days and went round most of the Island, one day we went to the top mountain peak where the observatory is situated if you can do this it was magnificent, if fact there was a snow fall and on the road we met a snow plough!
We also climbed one of the mountain peaks Pico de la Nieve the sign said it was 1.9km but it took us hours as it was quite a scramble up and down! If you are going to the natural protected areas It is worth buying food and drink as there are not many places to eat.
We went to the south of the island, The information centre in the National park is very good and there is a cafe there. There are quite a few easy walks as well as difficult one. There is a Princess Hotel near Fuencaliente we drove to it and walked round the outside, it looks very nice but is very isolated and it would take quite awhile to get to other parts of the Island (although I am sure there are tours from the hotel). The west Tazacorte and Punta naos are more tourist orientated with more small shops and resturants. The biggest shopping area is Los Llanos, there is an interesting church there and we had a good look at the shops
Thanks so much to the traveller who suggested Enriciai the resturant in Santa Cruz it is fantastic. The lady who owns it (with her husband) is so nice, she does not speak English and there is no menu but both time we went there were people there who spoke english and spanish so we werre ok. The spaghetti with sea food it wonderful. It is difficult to find and only has 3 tables but do go if you can. It is just off he Avenida del Puente go done the side of the Mercado and it is just up on the right as the one way street starts down. We asked in our hotel and they knew it and drew a map.
The most expensive coffee was in a Hotel called Romantica in the north of the island about twice the price of any other!
There is a festival in La Palma every year from about the 1st Feb t 10th it does not seem to be in the guide books. They celebrate people going to the Americas and making their fortune and coming back. On the 4th everyone wears white and throws talcumn powder over each other! The whole of Santa Cruz was alive and very white! If you do not like this idea it would be good to avoid towns (it goes on all over the island) or do not go at that time, it is also more expensive in the hotels if you book yourself. If you like this idea it would be great fun!
I have written alot here as I did find the comments travellers had made very useful this time and so made alot myself!!
I could recommend the Island as a most beautiful place and
and the H.S.J. but check out where the room will be (if you mind!)"
- Travel date: Tue 12th of February 2008
"Thomsons fly has just started flying direct to La Palma, as we had not been to this Island we decided to give it ago.
We stayed at the Hacienda San Jorge in Los Cancajos.
Our apartment was on the first floor with a nice patio area and good sea views. The apartment was clean and comfortable the kitchen area was a bit basic two cooking rings a microwave and a fridge with a ice box. ( No kettle or toaster.) The beds were comfortable . Early morning call was performed every morning by a cockerel good if you are a early riser. We did get up early one morning and drove up to the top of the hill from the resort and photoed the sunrising it was worth it.
The hotel is very quite with no entertainment. The bar was very reasonably priced, they like to put everything on the room number so you pay at the end of your holiday.
We stayed on self catering basis so we did not eat in the hotel.
All meals were buffet style.
In the room you will find a umbrella in the wardrobe as it sometimes rain and bathrobes for using a round the pool which you can buy from the shop if you like them. A nice touch.
There is a very good restaurant across the road from the hotel
called Tunna they cook very nice food and was busy every night.
The hotel staff very very helpful most could speak some English.
There is a small shop in the hotel selling bread, milk, butter etc.
The pool is set in lovely gardens. The gardens are well cared for and all the plants are numbered every week they have a guided tour around the gardens with talks on the different plants.
This hotel is an ideal base to explore the island. It`s ten minutes drive to Santa Cruz the capital, five minutes drive to the airport we drove around and across the island in the week. We also walked a lot of the national parks the views were amazing. This Island is unspoilt no big shopping mails or big supermarkets just small shops the biggest supermarket we found was a spar shop.
In the resort of Los Concajos you will find a nice clean beach of black sand four hotels, a few apartment blocks and a handful of bars and restaurants, a spar shop and a tourist information board. And a nice new promenade to walk along."
- Travel date: Mon 26th of November 2007
"We used this as a base for a week-long walking holiday. Really couldn't fault the place. Our apartment-room was large, clean, comfortable and had a nice sea view from the balcony. Everything worked and the staff were extremely friendly and efficient. A beautiful pool (which we didn't use, preferring the sea) and extremely pleasant, well-maintained gardens complete with a pair of squawking parrots. The (very) nearby beach is clean and safe for swimming and there are plenty of decent restaurants within walking distance.
The only fault we could find was that parking can be a bit tight, especially at weekends. Otherwise, excellent-value, comfortable and extremely relaxing. And the airport is (literally) a three-minute drive away."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of March 2007
A True Tropical Treasure
"Wow - That's all I need to say about this Hotel. The main pool is surrounded by fabulous tropical gardens, it was a real paradise. There are ponds with terrapins in, a couple of parrots perched in the Palm trees. From our hotel balcony you looked over the pool, gardens and sea and could even see the Capital, Santa Cruz De La Palma which was over 2KM away - so within walking distance. Even the view at twilight was fabulous as the capital was then all lit up. The hotel does have a lot of cats roaming around - great if you're a cat lover. On balance I would say it was one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in (and I do travel frequently). Highly recommended and built taking great consideration of the local environment - something hotels are not particularly noted for. Top Marks."
- Travel date: Wed 22nd of February 2006