Arriving after dark did not give me a true appreciation of the hotel or its beautiful location. It was not until the next morning that I could truly appreciate the stunning views of the sea from my room or the 19th century bridge that had taken us from the Spanish mainland to the Isla de La Toja.
Hesperia Isla de La Toja is a modern four star hotel and after a long flight my large, bright and airy room was welcomed relief. The small bag of local mineral bath saths were a nice touch by the hotel. All of the 104 rooms and suites have free Wi-Fi (something which always wins major TLTB brownie points).
Hotel guests will come for, and be impressed by, the fantastic food and spa, both of which take advantage of the bounty of the local area.Galicia is a seafood lovers paradise. Throughout the area local people, especially women, can be spotted doing the
backbreaking task of harvesting shellfish from the sand and fishing boats can be seen heading out daily.
The area is also known for its wine, including the delicious
Albariño white wine, which complements the seafood perfectly.
The hotel has two restaurants. 'El Aceuducto', the more rustic in style and with views towards the sea, takes guests on a gastronomic tour of Galician cuisine while 'a Lanzada', the more modern in style, offers a simpler buffet-style menu based on local produce and seafood. Although they both have different approaches to the cuisine, both serve delicious and fresh dishes and include nutritious dishes that promote health and wellness.
Local wines, beers and snacks are available at the hotel bar, part of 'El Aceuducto'. Due to the island's good climate it is possible to sit out long into the evening so rather than a stuffy could-be-anywhere hotel bar, this bar feels like one is sitting in a traditional village square.
The spa is impressive in both size and range of treatments on offer. The mineral and medicinal waters of Isla de La Toja are renowned for their healing and soothing properties. It is said to be have many therapeutic benefits for both dermatological conditions and other ailments.
The spa has stunning sea views and features indoor and outdoor swimming pools, mineral baths, bubble beds, Vichy showers and Jacuzzis, all of which use island spring water. For those that way inclined there is also a state-of-the-art gymnasium. A doctor is always on call at the spa should you need advice your health in relation to a particular treatment.
It is clear that many guests come to use the spa for health reasons, but there are also plenty of treatments on offer that will pamper the mind and skin in order to feel truly indulgended. Taking my pick from the extensive spa menu, I chose a Body Peeling and local massage. After which my skin was as soft as it has ever been.
The spa staff are all highly professional and through a mix of basic English, Spanish and actions communicated with me effectively to explain what the treatment was and what I needed to do.
One treatment was certainly an experience, which left me wondering if I had misunderstood and had actually signed up for some sort of medieval torture. The Jet Shower basically involved standing in a room with a woman pointing a hose of mineral-medicinal water at me as I stood in paper knickers. As I was hosed down I did wonder if the benefits would outweigh the experience. However afterwards I did feel much more energised and my skin did feel better... an experience worth trying (what happens in Galicia, stays in Galicia).
Guests will come for (and be impressed by) the fantastic food and spa, both of which take advantage of the bounty of the local area.
If you can bear to drag yourself away from the spa one of the benefits of the hotel is that there is plenty do in the local area. While most of i t is accessible by car there is also plenty to do less than five minutes from the hotel.
One highlight, moments from the hotel, has to be the sea-shell church, a beautiful and unusual little chapel. Covered in local sea shells, to protect it from the elements, it is a lovely little tourist attraction.
Tourists will love the 30plus local white sand and crystal blue water beaches, including the emblematic La Lanzada (which translates as 'a thrust with a spear' or 'in the mood for love') beach which is 3km of white sand and holds a blue flag (a national quality award). Use of a local golf course, Marina and tennis courts is also available.
For the gamblers there is a small casino opposite the hotel, granted it is not Vegas but is a fun way to spend a night and clearly where the locals go. Luckily there was little noise or disturbance because of it and patrons were very respectful as they left.
After a weekend stay at Hesperia Isla de la Toja I left feeling more relaxed, smoother, softer and feeling rather pleased with myself for discovering this hidden gem of 'genuine' Spain.
Sarah Bryans, 2/2/12