August 25, 2014

Struth! Is this the world's most remote hotel?

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says those looking to a holiday on which to get away from it all should look no further than Spain's El Hierro Island in the middle of the Atlantic –  long considered "the end of the world" until Christopher Columbus did the unthinkable one day and sailed past it to discover America.

The smallest and most south-western of the Canary Islands, El Hierro is a rocky outcrop regularly shaken by earth tremors and volcanic eruptions, and battered by regular Atlantic storms.

But despite its isolation and weather, more-adventurous tourists flock to it for walking holidays, scuba diving and to enjoy its quietly peaceful crowd-  and traffic-free pleasures, the biggest town having fewer than 2000 residents.

And those who can get in, opt for the tiny Punta Grande Hotel that has just four double rooms (none with phone or TV,) a breakfast room and lounge but no bar. Guests wanting a drink have to walk several hundred metres into town from where the tiny hotel – originally a circa-1800 Customs Office that checked ships arriving from America into Europe – clings to an exposed natural rock breakwater.

And its unusual rustic d├ęcor comprises items salvaged largely from shipwrecks over the years: portholes, lanterns, old charts, a diver's suit and hand-operated diver's air-pump, compasses, ships' name-plates and ominously, lifebuoys.

Friendly and welcoming – but just don't expect to sit outside the day you've done your hair.


[] YOU won't get much more remote than this – the tiny Punta Grande Hotel on the farthest tip of most south-western of the Canary Islands. (


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