A few weeks ago you may remember that Britain froze. Brrrr. LHR closed its doors, everyone struggled to get to work and the general consensus was that everyone had a pretty miserable time – unless of course you were 7 and you got to stay and home and build snowmen. Kids – make the best of it while you can.
By pure chance, I happened to book a week in Gran Canaria that coincided with the freezing conditions in the UK, so as you can see from the above picture, my outlook was not one of cancelled trains and black ice, but 25C heat and constant sunshine. Indeed having travelled to GC on more occasions than I care to remember, I can’t recall such a week of consistently glorious weather.
This island, which is the largest in the Canaries, enjoys sunshine pretty much all the year round, given its location just off the West Coast of Africa. And the fact that it’s only 4 and a bit flying hours away from London, has become a hugely popular winter sunshine destination, especially with the gays. I mean – what’s not to like – miles of undulating sand dunes which can become excessively cruisey, temperatures in the mid twenties, and a bevy of hot men from every corner of Europe. Think Eurovision, but without the songs, and more sand and you’re pretty much there.
The best area to stay in is Maspalomas which affords you a prime position for the varied, and often messy, nightlife at the Yumbo Centre and is only about a ten minute hop, skip and a jump to the aforementioned Dunes and the beach.
I stayed at one of the very few male-only gay complexes called Club Torso, which opened in October to rave reviews and is masterminded by a lovely Dutch couple, Richard and Martijn. They’ve both been in the gay leisure industry on the island for almost twenty years, so their experience at other venues has certainly paid off as Club Torso is spot on in every respect as they’ve managed to pull everything together to deliver the best all round experience that I’ve ever had on the island.
Comprising of 12 bungalows, the overall feel of the place is young, trendy and fresh. Each bungalow has been tastefully decorated, has all the necessary amenities including a kitchenette with microwave but the real luxury is in the bedroom! So may similar resorts in Maspalomas insist on pushing two single beds together, and call it a double but all the beds at Club Torso are king size, and have duvets, as opposed to sheets and blankets. I had the best night’s sleep imaginable, whether sleeping length-wise or width-wise across the bed (I’m not that tall), as not only are the beds comfy, but at night there’s peace and quiet as well.
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Richard and Martijn have learnt that there are certain key elements which go to making a stay perfect, and whilst they may seem small, they’re massively important. Towels are changed every day, and the bungalows are cleaned with expert precision by the lovely June. There are also several large water tanks behind the complex which means that there’s hot water for showers throughout the day – it never runs out. If you fancy a night in there’s a plasma TV with a good choice of TV channels.
A buffet breakfast is included in the price, (most places will charge €7 - €10 extra per day) which is served round the pool from 9am, and with Marcel on hand to cook you your eggs of choice, this is a great way to prepare for a lazy day lounging by the heated pool (27C). There’s also a Jacuzzi (heated to a bubbling 32C) and a downstairs play area of a more adult nature, so the urge to leave the complex during the day never really materialised. There’s a bar as well that serves food until 8pm every day and drinks til considerably later. The atmosphere is friendly, quiet and easy going, there’s free Wi-Fi, and all the staff pride themselves on the fact that they treat every customer the same whether they’re spending €1500 or just pop in for a coffee and spend €5.
Unlike other gay complexes they don’t throw parties at Club Torso, which makes it a haven for relaxation. I have to add that although I was invited there to write a travel feature, I’m not just singing Club Torso’s praises because of that. I would happily return and pay good money to stay here simply because it was perfect. Club Torso boasts wonderful staff and friendly clientele. It also has a great atmosphere, is spotlessly clean and is above all the perfect venue in which to kick back and chill for a week, or longer.
Richard and Martijn are on to a winner with Club Torso, and as the couple from London who were staying in the bungalow opposite to mine said: “Don’t give this place too great a review as then we’ll never be able to book a room – as this is the best place we’ve ever stayed.”
And you can’t say fairer than that.
Words and pic: Keith McDonnell
Keith was a guest of Club Torso, and flew on Easyjet (which he paid for out of his own piggy bank).