Finca you for the memories – Muddy visits Lanzarote
Finca de Arrieta is wonderful for families, couples, travellers and most holiday-makers, it's a broad church and it definitely gets the Muddy seal of approval.
Who wants to go on an Eco Retreat, meet some brilliant people and relax with your family – or if you’re really lucky ‘sans’ kids? Me. We’ve been to Lanzarote a few times, which is unusual because I like to try new things and broaden my horizons; but sometimes it’s good to hit the ground running. Is it the winter sun that draws me back? Well ‘yes” but Lanzarote Retreats (loads of varied accommodation), and Finca De Arrieta (Eco Retreat) in particular tick so many more boxes too (right near the beach, total self-catering flexibility, glamping or cottages, good restaurants nearby…).
Our expectations are always high and are always surpassed here, especially since Lanzarote has been our go to place to avoid the miserable UK winter weather (Northants excluded obvs). Well the truth is, Finca de Arrieta is wonderful for families, couples, travellers and most holiday-makers, it’s a broad church and it definitely gets the Muddy seal of approval.
Tila, Michelle and their kids (who all own the retreat) have not rested on their laurels and have continuously raised the bar for eco holidays not only on the island, but compared to anywhere in the world. There are more options on where to stay (yurts, fisherman’s cottages, eco towers) and Sally and her staff are always on hand to help.
The honesty shop is a God send when you’ve drank that last bottle of wine and it also stocks loads of basics to get you through until your next trip out of the retreat (should you be able to pull yourself away from your lounger or day bed).
All fifteen holiday yurts, villas and cottages at Finca de Arrieta are “off-grid” meaning they are powered by solar and wind energy. They range from Mongolian yurts and traditional cottages to private, luxury villas, and are all very original and offer privacy along with communal relaxation areas and adventures for the children.
Before we visited the retreat for the first time, the word eco filled Mr Muddy with images of kaftans and lentils, but this isn’t the case. There were however a number of MacBook users, leisurely sat around the communal kitchen table chatting amiably as they checked on the cricket store or downloaded e mails (all in an eco friendly way, obviously). If you’re one of those people who likes to get to their holiday destination and have information at their fingertips of what to do, where to go and how to do it, Finca De Arrieta is for you. Three hours after landing on Lanzarote soil, we were at the beach side tapas bar, our office jobs and household chores a distant memory as we listened to tales of the island and quaffed the (surprisingly) delicious wines of Lanzarote.
The retreat is a great destination whether you’re young, old, require peace and quiet or more sociable, shared suppers. The thing about staying somewhere like this, is that you can decide what kind of holiday to make it, and the Finca staff will facilitate in whatever you choose.
We stayed in the Eco Yurt this time but we left the Mudlets at home (naughty us, they were taken care of so no need to call social services). As before, it was spotless when we arrived, big double bed, candles, lamps, radio, bedside tables. The kitchen and loo which were outside but in our own enclosed area were top notch. Big fluffy towels, boutique standard shower room, coffee, tea, milk, cold Cava. What’s not to like?
We had our own gate to the communal area and another gate out to the play area (which has grown and has an amazing built in trampoline) and chickens. It was free eggs all holiday, scrambled, boiled, poached, omelette…but the girls don’t always give them up too easily and it’s a bit of a race to the coops in the early morning sun.
The Finca is very quiet at night, so if it’s all-night bingo and knobbly knees competitions you want, this might not be the holiday for you. We had very busy days so often a night under the stars with a good book, and glass of red was just the ticket. However, sometimes we took the option of visiting La Cantina (excellent food, with a massive range of local wines and superb beers) in Teguise, or else took another of Sally and Michelle’s recommendations for a great tapas place – El Bocadito Tavern (Costa Teguise). Or why not go native and try out the always busy Sociedad in Haria? They know their stuff and that’s for sure, and tapas from 2 Euros.
Back to the retreat. There’s a play room for the kids, a donkey to ride, chickens to feed, a short walk to the beach, a pool, lots of pool toys, and lots of dads to play in the pool with the kids while the mums topped up their tans (in March by the way – when I could have been suffering the Baltic conditions! There’s a garage full of scuba stuff, bikes, spare cars, balls, bats whatever you want or didn’t know you wanted, it’s there.
One top tip we were recommended early in the holiday was a wine tasting with Helena at La Cantina, which set us up brilliantly for the most sophisticated pub crawl across the week. When we weren’t visiting the Bodegas of the Island imbibing we had the option of Scuba diving, sailing, cultural visits and amazing treks up, down and across the Volcanic landscapes. We also went out for the day on a Catamaran, awesome fun and you get to see different bits of the island (the Catamaran trips are run by Catlanza, but just ask Sally what you want to see/do, and she’ll sort it before you can say, Spanish Tortilla)!
Summary. If you want a warm and friendly holiday, with good food, good company and good times, then this really is your bag. We had a look at the luxury accommodation and it’s top notch, but if you’re a bit more strapped for cash, book a simpler yurt and do all that around the pool.
One thing – MOST of the accommodation comes with a car for your use whilst on the retreat. Take advantage of this. There are good markets and grocery stores (and T&M will get you a delivery of fresh fruit, veg, cheese and wine right to your yurt) so cooking is a pleasure rather than a chore. Although on holiday it really is each to their own, we ended up making some very good friends here. This isn’t just a business for Tila, Michelle, their family and the unflappable Sally, it’s a way of life. And when they open up their doors to you, you really do see hospitality at it’s best.
Finca de Arrieta, Lanzarote
phone: 0034 928 826720
First Published May 2017