by Christian Lütjens
Summer and partying all year round: Gran Canaria is one of the most popular gay holiday destinations in Europe.
If you are looking for relaxation after all that partying at Yumbo Center, you will find peace and quiet at the island’s wellness oases and spas. At Playa del Inglés gay Birdcage resort there is a small garden pavilion next to the pool. It is coated in ruby gauze curtains, features a comfortable massage table and is decorated with statues of Buddha and fresh flowers. Holidaymakers can have a thorough massage here that removes the last bit of tension left from stressful work before their holidays. Or the hangover after a night of partying. The masseurs belong to a wellness studio outside the resort, but are on call if you need a massage without pre-booking. It gives a pleasant secure feeling to lie on the massage table face down, a light wind blowing, while strong man’s hands work your body with Canarian aloe vera extracts.
Some fall asleep, others are wide awake, many get a boner, but it doesn’t matter. The birdcage is a safe space. Here, only a few minutes away from Yumbo Center, gay guests can feel totally free. You can be in the nude in the resort (apart from terrace and bar), all seem to be one big family. The massages are a special service with which management pay tribute to the wellness trend that has become more and more important in Gran Canaria in the past years. Two streets down you can find design luxury hotel Bohemia with its Asia-inspired Siamese spa. It fits seamlessly into the chain of wellness oases, thalasso baths and vitality centres along the entire south coast. You can indulge in the full enchilada of wellness there of which the in-house treatment at the gay resort Resort is just a nibble. We begin our relaxation tour at flagship hotel Corallium Costa Meloneras. The four-star hotel is only a stone’s throw away from the famous Faro de Maspalomas and also welcomes to its well-designed spa course also guests from outside.
Although not exclusively gay, the visitor is welcomed by an ensemble of homoerotic paintings at the entrance. Militant gays should be warned though: the actual tour (swimming trunks mandatory) begins in a “birthing room” with waterbeds, whose entrance is an oversized vagina made of pink plush carpet. This is certainly revolting for deep-rooted pussy haters. But also shows where ‘creativity’ has gone overboard in the development of the centre. We waddle on to a Himalayan cave, whose walls and benches consist entirely of salt crystals. If you don’t believe it, lick it. The room is not made for licking its walls though, but for “absorbing electromagnetic currents”, that is said to help people suffering from asthma and migrane. The cave feels cosy thanks to the back-lit reddish shimmering salt tiles. Next stop is a steam bath in which sphinx statues with sparkling green eyes provide an esoteric atmosphere. Then an aqua dome with cold water basin and midget, a warm water grotto with tropical rain, a modern oriental hamam, an African dark sauna, an ice cave with invigorating fog showers and so forth. Design and functionality complement one another at each station. Upper Franconian company Deckelmann that supplies wellness oases with innovative solutions worldwide is responsible for the design.
The highlight is the Lava Float Pool – a sort of Dead Sea in pocket format. You float on ca. 30 square metres of saturated salt water, looking at the cave ceiling where LED lights sparkle. Again you feel sheltered and this feeling lasts until the end of the tour. An outdoor area with swimming pools at different temperatures is the last stage. Sun and shade, palm trees and light interweave to form a large space of tranquillity with you in the centre. Those who still have energy in excess can exercise in the neighbouring gym for an extra fee. But it might suffice to watch the firm staff bsuy with chores from the whirlpool while you plan your next port of call on your wellness trip. It will take you further east along the winding coastal road to the Gloria Palace in Puerto Rico. The healing powers of sea water and its components are the main ingredients for wellness here.
First-class treatments are offered, in which the guest is first massaged with a tingling peeling cream and then pampered after a shower with a gentle pearl lotion that leaves the skin gently shimmering after application. A must for gay beauty queens. A demure indoor swimming pool atmosphere prevails in the wet areas. Guests have to wear bathing caps if they want to use water jets, bubble loungers or hydro jets. These facilities are also quite outdated and need to be replaced. The thalasso baths are healthy, and even Karl Lagerfeld swears by their healing effect, but they are always healthy.
The unobstructed view across the Atlantic from the fully-glazed sea-side front of the Gloria Palace is unbeatable. We move on though. To lovely Puerto de Mogán. The small fishing village nestles at the eastern tip of the southern island road into a dreamy bay and provides relaxation without treatment. If you are looking for romantic atmosphere, this is the place to come to. A leisurely stroll along a small marina with its countless sailing boats, a drink in market square, a dive into the shimmering blue sea – you can do all this in rather a short time. And if you mix in a bit of history, simply go to the “Cordial”.
The hotel resort, surrounded by a lush tropical garden, wrote gay history in February 2008. Spain’s first church wedding of a gay couple took place in the resort’s own chapel, that caused quite a stir win local media. Many local residents were against the gay ‘I do’ in their hometown, but this did not prevent the two men from getting married with all the trimmings. Several gay weddings have taken place in the resort’s chapel since then. Nobody gets upset any more. One could say that the “Cordial” has provided its neighbours with the relaxation in that respect that it normally provides its guests with. Wellness is their business, after all.
Spa manager Auxi’s team swears by “transpersonal work” and give their guests bespoke treatments. Auxi’s speciality is aromatherapy. The guest is presented with ten different samples of scents from which he chooses one or more favourites. The selection reflects how the guest feels, as each fragrance stands for a specific need. Orange means longing for harmony, violets the readiness for a new beginning, white tea the longing for a ray of hope, and so on. Oils of the selected aromas are mixed and this blend is then massaged into the guest’s skin. The treatment is rounded off with some tea, whose blend is in line with the afore-selected aromas.
The body absorbs “harmonisers” and “vital substances” while at the same time stimulation awareness of hidden longings. If you only feel a longing for a shag after all this wellness you should stay at Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort, halfway back to Playa del Inglés, at least for one night. American architects Allen + Philip have designed this resort, nestling high above the sea in an impressive hybrid landscape of an extensive golf course and volcanic rock formations. The roof of the main building is a pool terrace with a magnificent vista of the Atlantic Ocean. Children under the age of 16 have no access, and couples can have romantic dinners served in Balinese four-poster beds. A gay erotic special is also available. Its main feature being a hamper with sex toys and aphrodisiac knick-knacks.
Try them out in your room. It is also a method of relaxation. The hamper also contains massage oil. Not to forget that the Golf Resort also provides excellent spa facilities. Wherever you goon Gran Canaria, wellness is already there.
HOW TO GET THERE
Condor offers several departures per week to Las Palmas from 10 German airports,
i.a. Munich, Berlin, Dusseldorf and Hamburg. Return tickets are available from about 200 Euros. Check the airline’s website for special offers.
All information on the gay scene can be found in Spartacus International Gay Guide or Spartacus iPhone-App