It took three years of stripping back layers of neglect before Hotel San Agustín was able to show its old treasures in the heart of Icod de los Vinos. A hanging carved sign and three ornate wooden Canarian windows give a hint of the history packed into this former home, built in 1736.
As I walked through the tight entrance passage, suspended ferns, a trickling fountain, and overhanging balconies gave a relaxed feel to the courtyard cafeteria where guests can enjoy breakfast. It’s a good way to start the day before exploring the nearby Garachico coast and other rural delights in the north of Tenerife.
It’s been a labour of love for Birgit Mielenhausen from Germany, her Icod born husband, and two sons. “ When we bought the house it had been boarded up for 10 years, my husband knew its history, it used to belong to the Arencibia family headed by Icod’s most famous mayor.
“It was in a bad state and it took a year to gut it back to the basic shell before we could see what we had. There were some lovely surprises, the wood is local tea, very strong and resistant to damage and we found some alcoves in the walls and filled them with Moroccan pottery.”
Birgit led me back to the small reception desk near the entrance and the natural stain of the wooden staircase matched the high beams that we found on the first floor. Of the eight guest rooms, six look down onto the courtyard and two out into the main shopping street Calle San Agustín that leads directly to the town hall, the sprawling main plaza and the famous Drago tree park and museum.
The rooms are all spacious, high ceilings are countered by old metal chandeliers, a recurring theme throughout the hotel. “ We got local banana plantation workers to polish and restore the chandeliers” Each room has its own distinctive linen and backdrop to the bed, the two facing the street have built-in wooden window seats that open fully, or partially for a sneaky peek. Some of the most extensive work involved new plumbing for the ultra modern en suite bathrooms.
“ The only way round it was to raise the floors in the bathrooms so the piping could be tucked underneath.” The modern touches continue with flat screen TVs in each room and wi-fi throughout the hotel. The combination of rural charm and central location have earned San Agustín the government distinction of Emblematic Hotel. Ancient and modern have been brought together with plenty of style, a daytime visit to the courtyard café will confirm that.
On my visit a local fiesta meant the San Marcos church was surrounded by colourful bunting and the gardens were in full bloom attracting a few escapees from the Butterfly Park below. The big event of the Icod calendar is San Andres ( 30th November) when brave souls hurtle down steep side streets on wooden trays to honour the wine harvest. Hotel San Agustín adds a practical link to the past but should also boost the growing tourist interest in this culturally rich part of Tenerife.
Category : accommodation
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