The landmark Lago Martiánez which occupies 50,000 square metres of coastline in the resort of Puerto de la Cruz is far more than just a swimming pool complex. From the moment you arrive at the fat, twisted trunk of César Manrique’s Juguete del Viento wind toy with its silver cones slowly carving circles in the sky, your eyes are assailed by a symphony of blue provided by seven pools and a vast lake set like sapphires amongst the palm filled terraces, kiosks and restaurants.
Back in the 1960s when the Martiánez project began, tourism in Tenerife was nothing more than the promise of a brighter future, and this ambitious plan represented the tourism hopes of the entire Canarian archipelago. Puerto de la Cruz was the focus of the budding tourism industry and it was hoped that the development of a series of swimming pools to replace the treacherous, rocky Atlantic shore would attract more visitors from Europe, particularly from Germany.
Employing the famous Lanzarote architect, designer and landscaper, César Manrique, who specialised in using natural elements of the Canarian landscape to populate his designs, the collaborative forces of local and island funding set about turning the vision into reality. When the Martiánez Lido opened on the 19th September 1971 to a glittering night of stars and the world’s press and radio, no-one had ever seen anything like it before.
Enter the Lake
Buoyed by the success of the project, in 1975 the same architectural team was employed to expand the complex and create the lake that was to become its focal point. A further 33,000 square metres was re-claimed from the sea and at its heart, 15,000 square metres of sea water was transformed into an immense artificial lake with five natural islands floating on its surface. The largest of these contained a restaurant and an underground dance hall, which would later become the Andrómeda night club. The lake was a landmark in engineering, the first construction to have its foundations entirely submerged below sea level. When it re-opened in 1977, Costa Martiánez was heralded as one of the most important tourist developments in Spain.
In 2004, its pools and terraces beginning to show the wear and tear of over 30 years of service to tourism, the complex closed for renovation. 30 months and 30 million Euros later, amidst an extravaganza of multi-media presentations, sound-to-light laser shows and pyrotechnics, it re-opened its iconic gates.
It’s after dark that the complex really comes into its own. That’s when Lago Martiánez becomes the Hollywood-esque entrance to the Casino, now located beneath the lake in the former Andrómeda Club. At surface level, the fountain is lit by rainbow lights, and studded cat’s eyes light the walkways and the bridge over the lake turning the complex into the chic venue for fashion shows, concerts, TV broadcasts and the sort of place where you wouldn’t be too surprised to see Daniel Craig adjusting his cuffs and heading to the roulette tables. Or is that just me fantasising again…?
Open 10.00 -19.00 daily; entrance €3.50 adults, €1.20 children which includes sunbed hire.
Category : days out
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