If you've ever read any of my back catalogue, you probably won't have me pegged as a business traveller. Check the profile pic if my work's totally new to you. Yes, I've got an economy-class mugshot, haven't I?
So, it came as some surprise to be invited to review Elba Vecindario Aeropuerto for Gran Canaria Local. And a strange experience to stay on the same island without the family. But not a first, having reviewed the classy Bohemia Suites & Spa in the unlikely location of package-tour fave, Playa del Inglés, for The Independent sin familia.
If anything, Vecindario's an even more implausible setting than PDI for this four-star hotel. A new town on the island, its boundaries are marked by wastelands of developments abandoned after the Spanish property bubble burst. Although, the Elba Vecindario Aeropuerto's located closer to one of the island's most highly-rated shopping centres, the Centro Comercial Atlántico.
As a hard-working, deadline-juggling father of three, it was great to have some me time. Even if I was sharing it with my trusty camera, notebook, and pen. Although my notes became increasingly illegible, to the extent they were mistaken for shorthand, as dinner progressed with each glass of red wine the best waiter I've ever had the pleasure of being served by on the island poured.
Sleep came predictably quickly in a stylishly functional bedroom. Making my way to my buffet breakfast, I was impressed by the welcome I got from a member of staff at the door. Imagine my bewilderwent then when later during my pre-arranged video interview with hotel manager Jonathan Cañellas, I once again faced the same member of staff. With the benefit of hindsight, we should have probably videoed our second encounter in the lobby rather than his office.
170 rooms small, this Elba hotel's bijou enough to offer such personal service. You certainly don't feel like another brick in the wall. Which can be the sensation you experience in some of the island's bigger, brasher establishments.
Interview done and dusted, I found time before my return to my home in the capital, to stretch out a while on the rooftop pool. Offering fine views of Santa Lucía de Tirajana above and the coast below, the windsurfing beach of Pozo Izquierdo's a mere 3km away, I enjoyed an early siesta. The pool's well sheltered, which is a relief as Vecindario's one of the windiest places on the island.
And then I had to leave to catch the bus back into big, bad Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Except I didn't say adios to the Elba Vecindario Aeropuerto, but hasta luego. Oh yes, I will be back, with or without family in tow.