THIS CANARY ISLAND RESORT IS A HAVEN FOR ACTIVE TRAVELLERS – AND SURPRISINGLY GOOD FOR TODDLERS TOO

It’s 21 degrees, the bottom of the Olympic-sized pool is pristine blue, gloriously clean and I have the entire lane to myself. When I take a break I can hear the Atlantic Ocean in the background and as I swim I catch glimpses of the odd palm leaf against the blue sky.

There is nobody ruining my flow by swimming at a different pace, tapping at my feet or doggedly swimming breaststroke in the fast lane – I am able to swim truly in peace. I’m at Club La Santa in Lanzarote, just a four-hour flight from the UK and in the same time zone, which means no jet lag for me or my wife, and no needing to navigate it with our toddler.

After my swim, I speak to an older German man, who tells me he has been coming to Club La Santa since 1987. He always swims in this pool, he says this with real pride – Club La Santa is an institution, and he feels ownership of it. ‘His’ swimming spot is the 50m north pool, part of the original development. Since then the resort, which opened in 1983, has added a further two more 50m outdoor pools complete with a grandstand.

The newer south pool wouldn’t look amiss as part of an Olympic Village; it is seriously smart, clean and sun-drenched. Thanks to the app that all guests use, it is possible to book a lane to yourself at your preferred training time throughout the day. For someone used to battling it out at a busy London lido, this alone is worth the trip.

The day we arrive the resort is hosting the annual Canary Islands Ironman, and it is awash with competitors and staff buzzing from the event. Club La Santa is somewhat of a beacon for triathletes, and throughout our stay we clock several people wearing merch proclaiming them an Ironman ‘finisher’.

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The resort markets itself as having globally unrivalled sports facilities to welcome active families and people of all ages, as well as amateur athletes, elite professionals, clubs and teams. And they flock here in their thousands, rebooking year in, year out. And while it may sound intimidating to find yourself in the gym next to a sports pro, the vibe at La Santa feels totally inclusive, unpretentious and in no way intimidating. People are here to have a good time, train and relax alongside like-minded people.

It is the second time we have visited Club La Santa as a couple, but the first time as a family of three, with our two-year-old daughter now with us. Since we were last there, in 2018, the resort has had a serious upgrade. Everything is just a little smarter, from the new silent spin bike set-up and now spacious gym, to the excellent outdoor training spaces and children’s play areas.

The ability to take advantage of the climate, landscape and training outdoors has been properly and thoughtfully captured at the resort to cater for all needs. The spin class being the perfect example of this; it takes place in the evening sun with the bikes facing out to views of the pool and the ocean beyond.

If you’re into CrossFit, you can either take part in organised group sessions, or train alone by booking a timeslot throughout the day. The CrossFit arena is also placed off the beaten track away from accommodation, so guests are able to blast music and throw around equipment with likeminded people.

If you’re not into CrossFit, but want to use the same sort of equipment there is another outdoor gym with everything from battle ropes and power bags to SkiErgs and rowing machines, lined up at the end of the 400m athletics track. You’re either a CrossFit person or you’re not, and having dedicated space for both camps makes for a more inclusive training environment.

The weather and terrain lend themselves perfectly to endurance athletes, particularly swim, run, bike enthusiasts. The resort abundantly caters for this type of guest with all manner of equipment available to hire as part of the service; there is no need to suffer the rigmarole of flying your bike to the island, or even a bike seat for a toddler.

As a multisport enthusiast, this is what draws me to Club La Santa, but if you would rather not spend hours plodding in the pool or open water lake, the resort has excellent social sports facilities, too. From the extensive padel and tennis court complex, to the five-a-side football pitch, there are plenty of fun activity spaces to use. Booking them is as simple as booking a class, using the app to block out a court. We really enjoyed playing padel as a family and we were not alone – the courts were awash with people having a good time.

Going as a family was a very different experience to traveling child-free, but I enjoyed it in equal measure. For the child-free or solo guest the resort is excellent – it’s large enough to avoid families and social enough to make friends with like-minded people. For solo travelers the resort offers the option of booking accommodation to buddy up with another solo guest with similar interests. Using the app, guests traveling alone can also post that they are looking for a training partner, and in the evening in the main buffet restaurant there is an area called the Social Zone where people can join other independent travellers for dinner.

But if the resort caters for the child-free well, it has absolutely nailed it for families. Everything from the brilliantly designed play areas and creche for the over threes, to the excellent activities for children where parents can either drop them off with a member of the Green Team (think Butlins Redcoat but more athletic), or join in with them. Activities range from traditional sports coaching to family-focused ‘beat the parents’ fun runs. We loved this, it is so wholesome and vital in a world where children can all too often spend holidays glued to their tech. It feels timeless and precious and the perfect way to bond with multiple generations. We met several families who were there with three generations; the grandparents having taken the parents to the resort when they were children, such is the lure of this very special place.

Beyond the facilities, the accommodation is well-suited to a young family. It’s a small thing but the cot for our daughter was a proper wooden one, not a flimsy travel one, which meant she slept properly throughout the trip. There were also an abundance of highchairs in all the restaurants as well as one in our suite. The mix of self-catering also worked well for us as a family. We stayed on a half-board basis, but the kitchen area of the suite would have been perfectly fine if doing entirely self-catering, which is often easier with fussy children. Having said this, the food in all the restaurants is really good and caters for all dietary requirements – we are vegan and found it to be no issue, with a variety of options on every menu.

We stayed this time in a two bedroom suite, in the newer part of the development to the south. We have previously stayed in the original apartments, which are more basic and less luxurious than the newer suites. The recent additions are also significantly quieter and many enjoy views out over the lake and ocean beyond. They are spacious and seriously comfortable; if budgets are tighter, the more basic accommodation is perfectly good, clean and still works for for families.

Travel essentials

Getting there

We flew with Ryanair from Stansted. The flights for three of us with all our bags came in at £436. The alternative flight with British Airways, albeit with more family-friendly flight times from Heathrow, was double the price. Trying to find a parking space at Stansted was stressful, and the shuttle from the car park to the terminal was an unnerving free-for-all, very much more suited to budget hen parties than a harangued family with a stroller. But all in all, once inside Stansted, the airport has far better food options than Heathrow, and we found security with our toddler to be a much more pleasant and tolerant experience. Also, a wipe-clean seat is not to be sniffed at with a toddler in tow.

How to book it

Seven-night self-catering stays in one-bedroom accomodation between 2–30 June 2025 or 13–30 September 2025 cost £979 if booked by 30 November 2024; a three-bedroom suite with hot tub would be £4,543, with the four-bedroom duplex penthouse costing £4,123. For special offers, check out the Club La Santa offers.

Read more: The ultimate guide to holidays in the Canary Islands

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2024-06-24T15:46:41Z dg43tfdfdgfd