Jun 13, 2016
When the decision is made to send attendees and planners to an event in Lanzarote, those making their way there should be in no doubt that this will be a trip to remember. The meetings and presentations will likely make up the majority of the stay, however, for the downtime, we would like to ensure that each moment is maximized.
The NH hotel, Hesperia Lanzarote is situated on the southern coast of the island and it is from there that we start proceedings. Unlike a city location, stepping out of the venue and wandering around the nearby streets is not the ideal way to experience this volcanic wonderland. Although we understand that it could be a challenge leaving our outdoor pools, terraces and spa, we provide this guide to the some of the hotspots and you get to decide how and when to take advantage of them.
Known for its all-year-round warm climate the selection of beaches is what draws many a visitor to the island. And what better way to switch off from business thoughts than removing your shoes and pacing along the spectacular sandy or rocky expanses: some of international fame, others a secret to a privileged few. Playa Quemada is one such area only a 10-minute drive from the hotel meaning even just a short break in proceedings can give you the chance to visit, while the more rugged walk down the coastline could take up to an hour. If time permits the Atlantic Ocean views make the walk worth it. When quiet thinking time is required, whether alone or with colleagues, then this non-touristy fishing village is a perfect choice.
For a livelier beach area, Puerto del Carmen is a similar distance eastwards. This is arguably the most established resort on the island and offers up more than just scenic attractions. Six kilometers of golden sand ensure that luxury feel for all city slickers here on business but try to fight the urge to send a tough-day-at-the-office selfie to those stuck in the office back home! This small town is not just about the beach, however, with a range of restaurants, bars and shops along its main streets. The Biosfera shopping center is found in Puerto del Carmen, giving visitors five floors of fashion to use up some of the downtime and offers some fabulous panoramic views over neighboring Fuerteventura.
Continuing along the coast to the east is where the island’s capital sits. Arrecife is Lanzarote’s hub of commercial activity and the main shopping mall, Centro Comercial Arrecife, should provide any interested party with plenty of choice. Also try out Calle León and Castillo for a selection of handcrafts and souvenirs if a little gift is desired and Juan Brito’s workshop on Calle Pérez Galdó is worth a quick look around. As you wander through the capital, pop into one of the many cafés that you pas for a refreshment and a chance to see what emails need attending to.
The capital Arrecife is home to the Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, where exhibitions take you on a journey from the volcanic history of the island to the wonders of the surrounding sea. Art, nature and sustainability are key pillars of the local economy and the activities available are closely tied to them.
Casa José Saramago, the house museum of writer José Saramago, is a short drive north of Puerto del Carmen and is the place to go for literature buffs. The man from Portugal won the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature and his home – he lived here from 1992 till his death in 2010 – offers a unique insight into his personal life, with an impressive library to be admired.
To truly clear the head for an afternoon of meetings, Mirador del Río is a great choice. Looking out to the nearby island, La Graciosa, this viewpoint was designed by artist and architect, César Manrique, and is a beautiful example of how the lava rock can be sculpted. Coffee is also available!
Gastronomy in the Canary Islands has a very traditional feel about it and, as could be imagined, seafood often takes center stage. You’ll find in most restaurants that local produce is being used while you’ll also become accustomed to two particular sauces being provided as accompaniments: one red and spicy (mojo rojo) and the other green and mild (mojo verde). Make sure you try the simple potato local delicacy known as papas arrugadas with your preferred sauce.
While in Puerto del Carmen, Restaurante El Toro is the place to take potential clients for some high-quality meat dishes. Many consider this the best steak house around but don’t miss out on ordering a few starters while also leaving room for dessert, even if these have to be shared. Delicious, beautifully presented and within the traditional surroundings that create a very welcoming experience.
Arrieta is a village to the east of the island and for those who make the trip there, lunch or dinner at Restaurante el Amanecer should not be missed. The fish is taken fresh from the Atlantic shore and served up with homegrown potatoes, croquetas or salad. Another recommendation for succulent seafood is Restaurante el Risco, which resides in Caleta de Famara on the north coast. With a classy feel, a terrace overlooking the sea, and with local and seasonal produce meaning 0km cuisine, this is an excellent choice to finish off any business trip in style.
With excursions to all corners of the island very manageable, two other foodie eateries that focus on traditional fare include Restaurante La Puntilla (Arrecife), located on the magnificent lake, Charco de San Ginés and Casa Rafa Restaurante de Mar, in the delightful western resort of El Golfo.
If there is an option to travel the night before or stay an extra day then don’t think twice about taking it. With that additional time there are further adventures to be had on, and just off, the island.
Getting to see a volcano up close and personal is not something you can do every day so why not take a trip to Volcán El Cuervo, located in the central part of the island, about half an hour by car from the hotel venue. The surrounding area is impressive enough but here you can actually step into the crater for a truly never-to-be-forgotten view. For more volcano-related enjoyment, take a short car ride to the Timanfaya National Park.
Sunday mornings in Lanzarote provide an added incentive for getting up and out of that warm bed: the Teguise Market. It can be found in the Plaza Clavijo y Fajardo and gives you a chance to purchase anything from locally made souvenirs and clothes to a wide selection of wine, cheese, fruits and vegetables. Great for last minute gifts.
Unique scuba diving experiences in crystal clear waters; camel rides up the volcanic trails; golf in the most serene conditions… As well as being good for your own well being, Lanzarote provides so many fantastic options for team building activities that can be incorporated into your trip. Note too that each year from the end of February to the beginning of March Carnaval comes to the island. Expect to see a bump in the number of visitors, as well as all the locals, partying hard with exuberant color and uplifting music filling the air.
Of course, wine is an important part of the trade in these parts and tours of the Lanzarote vineyards (Bodegas La Geria and Bodega Rubicón) can be an ideal way to mingle with colleagues away from the meeting room.
As is very clear to see, Lanzarote is a special location for event hosting, one that offers all in attendance the opportunity to explore, discover, excite and reinvigorate…and that’s just between the sessions.