Costas permits works to restart on La Tejita hotel in El Médano with new boundaries and fewer rooms … and no less environmental opposition

Updated 28 February 2021: The saga continues, with the hotel approved by Costas though with 60 rooms fewer than planned. Nonetheless, the revised boundaries have been approved and works can now recommence, including the submission of a new architectural project to incorporate the new delimitations. Obviously this has gone down like the proverbial lead balloon in environmental quarters, with the Asociación Salvar La Tejita saying they will continue to try to stop the development through the Courts with any legal channels they can find for their case. One can’t help wondering if now is the moment, in fact, to be planning any new hotels at all … environmentally friendly or not …

Updated 23 June 2020: The Canarian Government has now instructed Granadilla Ayuntamiento to take the necessary measures to ensure the work on the hotel is stopped after the ruling by Costas to suspend the construction licence, and so reduce the financial risk for public funds that any indemnities might involve. Regional minister José Antonio Valbuena, head of the Territorial Planning Dept, has condemned what he called the anomalies and irregularities behind the authorization of the hotel’s construction, saying that he held Granadilla Ayuntamiento and the previous regional Government in particular responsible for them. The developers meanwhile have said they intend to appeal the ruling by Costas.

Updated 22 June: Granadilla Ayuntamiento might say, as it has today, that the work continues because everything is legal, but this evening MITECO, the Spanish Ministerio de Transición Ecológica y el Reto Demográfico (Dept of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge) has ordered a precautionary suspension of works on the La Tejita hotel. The resolution of Costas, part of MITECO, says that although the land on which the works are taking place is not part of the maritime-terrestrial public domain, a still incomplete revision of the coastline could increase its coastal protection rights from 20m to 100m. This is a view that has been expressed time and again by protesters, and it looks now as though nothing will proceed until that revision is completed. If the coastal protections are indeed increased, the hotel would hardly seem to be tenable.

Updated 19 June 2020: A year later, little has changed. Two activists are currently up a crane on site protesting about the works, protests have spilled over onto other islands, and the Canarian Government has demanded that the Coasts Department puts a stop to the project so that the licence can be revised and not proceed in its current form. Meanwhile, environmental federation Ben Magec has denounced that the plans have no sewage treatment system and so waste would end up in the sea … along with many other spills that they are fighting, but today is the deadline for paralyzing the works and no such demand from Costas seems to be forthcoming. Hopefully it won’t be another year before the next update!

Updated 17 June 2019: The Canarian Government has announced that the provincial Costas (Dept of Coasts) has instructed the promoters of the La Tejita hotel, Grupo Viqueira, to stop work within five days (of the instruction on Friday) due to the plans appearing to violate the provisional boundaries of the public coastal area which have been revised. The instruction is the result of a challenge by the pressure group Salvar La Tejita along with the Asociación Tinerfeña de Amigos de la Naturaleza (ATAN), both organizations supplying a technical report which suggests that under the revised coastal boundary, the plans should be themselves revised. Works will have to be suspended, or a fine will be levied, while the Courts hear the latest considerations.  

Updated 10 June 2016: As I said on 18 April: “Now that the Cabildo has given the go-ahead, it is for the Canarian Government’s Environment Department and Granadilla Ayuntamiento to submit their own reports; both are expected to approve the project.” And the expectations have been fulfilled, with Diario de Avisos reporting today that the Canarian Government’s Dirección General de Ordenación del Territorio has sent a report to Granadilla Ayuntamiento confirming its full approval. All that’s left now, it seems, is for the full and final formal technical project to be submitted to the council, which is fully behind the development: this is likely to be in the next few months.

Updated 30 April: The environmental action group Plataforma Salvar La Tejita discovered a digger was operating on the site yesterday, and made a denuncia to Granadilla Ayuntamiento that works were being done without a municipal licence. Subsequently the excavators appeared to stop with the appearance of a couple of Policía Local. Despite a major flurry of activity in social media about the incident, however, things are, as always, not as clear-cut as they can be made to appear.

A photo widely posted on social media. Unknown provenance.
A photo widely posted on social media.

Salvar La Tejita says that the works were clear evidence of the developers trying to remove evidence of “dunes”, the existence of which would involve the Dept of Costas, and make the area a protected one. The fact that the digger stopped working immediately the police arrived is taken as proof that what was being done was illegal and clandestine. The council, however, says that no order was given to stop the works on its behalf, and that although a municipal licence is not yet in place, the project has been completely approved at all stages so far with necessary permits from both the Tenerife Cabildo and the Canarian Government.

Moreover, the council confirmed that the works were to clear accumulated sand blown onto the scrubland, rather than removing “dunes”, and that the land concerned was a privately owned plot, and not a protected area. With apparent support for the developers from the council, Salvar La Tejita is now apparently intent on making a denuncia to the Guardia Civil.

As I said when I started this post in January, the Granadilla coast seems destined to be in the front line of this battle between industry and nature, and between development and simplicity. Logically, though, it is difficult to see the point of continued legal attempts to stop something that has been avowed legal at municipal, insular and regional levels, and which either has all the permits needed, or is in the process of acquiring them.

Updated 18 April: Tourism sources confirm a report in La Opinion today that the hotel is a step closer with the production of a favourable retport from the Tenerife Cabildo. Cabildo Turismo councillor Alberto Bernabé has said that the technicians who carried out the assessment on behalf of the Cabildo have said that the project complies with all legal standards and regulations for 5* hotels, and explicitly confirmed that it does not infringe on protected areas. Now that the Cabildo has given the go-ahead, it is for the Canarian Government’s Environment Department and Granadilla Ayuntamiento to submit their own reports; both are expected to approve the project.

Updated 28 February: Salvar La Tejita says that some 3,500 people joined its protest yesterday in Santa Cruz. Other sources put the number at nearer 1,000, but however many there were, many shouted slogans and carried placards saying “natural spaces should be protected”, “Don’t touch La Tejita beach”, “We don’t want the hotel”, and similar.

manifestacion salvarlatejita
Protest march in Santa Cruz on 27 February 2016. Photo: Salvar La Teijta

The group seemingly concedes that the hotel is not going to encroach on protected land, however, because it argued for what it called “transition zones” between protected reserves and surrounding areas to minimise the impact of such developments, which they say are unsustainable and intrusive when carried out in land adjacent to nature reserves.

Activists say that they are committed to this fight and will continue to make such a noise that the public, political authorities, and commercial enterprises will understand that they are not going to give up until the project is abandoned.

Updated 26 February: The action group Salvar La Tejita has announced a public protest for this Saturday, 27 February at noon in Plaza Weyler in Santa Cruz. The group says that it opposes the planned hotel’s development because it is set to be located next to the iconic Playa de la Tejita and the Montaña Roja nature reserve, which is a site protected at national and regional levels.  Again, the arguments flow both ways, the environmental versus the commercial, with the action group saying that the area’s main natural value derives from its unique volcanic landscape and the home it provides for several endemic bird species like the Kentish plover or flora like the Piña de Mar.

The action group’s petition has received some 100,000 signatures in the last few weeks, and its planned protest this Saturday has received support from environmental names now familiar from opposition to the Granadilla megaport and the proposed north-south rail link, including ATAN, Ben Magec, Podemos, Sí se Puede, Izquierda Unida Canaria, and the Green party. On the other side of the argument are those who support the plans, ranging from politicians, to businesses, and to many locals who say that they see employment possibilities and wealth for the area resulting from the proposed luxury tourist accommodation in an area that is, they argue, already under development.

Original post 13 January 2016: The latest controversy involving Granadilla’s coastline is the Ayuntamiento’s plan for a new beach hotel in the Sotavento area of El Médano. The project, La Tejita Luxury Beach Resort, would see a front-line 5* hotel consisting of 136 double rooms and 33 suites set 276m from the beach, and the plans already have the go-ahead at municipal and regional level, with the necessary licences expected to be in place within the next few weeks. Developers Sotavento Tenerife are set to start construction later this year.

When the project was initially approved a year or so ago, Granadilla mayor Jaime González Cejas said that such touristic accommodation was notably lacking on the Granadilla coast. There is vocal disagreement, however, and the campaign to keep the area in its natural state is hotting up, not least in a petition created by Alejo Pérez, which already has over 11,500 signatures. The petition, HERE, calls for the Canarian Government to paralyse the project, which Pérez says is not only unnecessary but also set within a protected area, the Reserva Especial de la Montaña Roja.

Industry and development versus nature and simplicity: the Granadilla coast seems destined to be in the front line of this battle.


  1. I think that we all have a very long wait, unfortunately.

  2. Good timming (or bad). Is this a demonstration of the new vision/change for this Islands tourism model?

    1. Author

      Rubbish timing … in every respect, not least that of the decades these plans take even just to get to the point where there’s still an eyesore instead of a pristine coast or a hotel of any sort, just a building site, rusty fencing, cranes … . We can at least hope that as time goes on and cheap mass travel and unsustainable development is increasingly unfashionable and irresponsible, projects like this won’t be worth the legal trouble to give licences to, or to be able to sell the land for …

  3. In reply to Sue Lockert, the hotel will not intrude either on the beach or the area around El Medano. The hotel is not high rise and is in an area which is currently fenced off and not part of the beach. Perhaps the protesters are concerned about this being the beginning of mass development and I would understand if this was the case.

  4. Your choice but let those who want to live in unspoilt areas alone

  5. Oh dear I live in a ruin apparently ?

  6. We have spent two holidays in Los Abrigos in the past 6 months and love the peace and tranquility
    which this part of the island has to offer. It would be a great shame to spoil the area around El Medano
    with a large resort. This part of the island is special and should be left alone from development. I first started
    coming to Tenerife in 1982 and have seen how Adeje has become ruined by all the hotels etc.

  7. Author

    To be fair, the council knows the licensing state of play because it’s involved, and it has had reports from the police officers who attended site yesterday about the clearance works taking place.

  8. Despite the absence of a licence the council appears to be exceptionally well informed about work being carried out on private land. Their attitude to this stinks – my neighbour was recently fined several thousand euros for fixing his roof without a licence on his privately owned land. The councils support for working without a licence needs to be explained.

  9. Linda is correct in that she should assume nothing. How anyone can assume because you protest against another 5 * hotel equates to you must be a person who litters the beach. The beach is used by a great range of people some of whom oppose the hotel, others who have no opinion and those who welcome the hotel. There is no relationship between a person’s opinion and antisocial behaviour. History is littered with tyrants who categorise groups of people because of their views. Please don’t accuse me (as a protester) of anything other than opposing the hotel.

  10. As a resident of Sotavento 1 for 10 years, I can assure anyone that Linda´s 2nd paragraph is rubbish. Yes the tankers (as in big ships) sail in once in awhile but Ive never heard them, not even once. So Linda if you really did live in Sotavento (twice) why would you need to get your ” I was told” information from a 3rd party.
    Spouting lies does not help the cause.

  11. Protesters, if they really want to protect the environment around La Tejita Beach, might be better employed cleaning up the rubbish current users of the beach (as in the protesters?) leave behind on a daily basis. If they are averse to getting their hands dirty, they could approach people on the beach to explain the dangers of allowing their garbage to blow around the beach and out into the ocean. (Yep. I did get out the wrong side of bed, but it doesn’t invalidate my comment.

    I do wonder what guests of a five star hotel are going to make of the noise the visiting tankers make throughout various nights, though? I have been told, and assume to be correct (yes I know I shouldn’t assume) that the tankers supply the airport from there. I have lived in Sotovento twice, and the noise can be horrendous.

  12. Can any one tell me if and when the camp site Montana roja will be open.

    Thank you.

  13. As an owner of property nearby I might be considered biased but trust me the proposed hotel will not impact on the reserve any more than the commercial outlet

  14. I hope the clients (if the project goes ahead ) are told about the wind problems at that end of the beach
    El Medano already has a so called 5 star hotel las Arenas situated on Cabezo beach where many clients complain about the wind and the distance from Medano

  15. Since 2013, the new Ley de Costas allows again to construct 20 m. from the sea. The hotel will be just bellow the new shopping centre, in the huge area that is actually surrounded by fences and immediately besides the beach, the coast line, and the protected natural space of Montaña Roja.

  16. It’s planned next to the shopping centre within the ground currently fenced in so will not intrude on the beach. Furthermore if you wish you can see images of the hotel on Sotavento site and it is very sympathetic to the surrounding area.

  17. Ok, thanks Janet. I didn’t realise the law was only around 100m. I still think it’s a shame about the Hotel Médano, it’s a part of El Medano and also helps protect the beach there from the wind.

  18. Author

    No, it is designed to be within the 100m (or whatever it is specifically in that area) allowed by the Ley de Costas. The problem with the Hotel Médano is that it’s actually in the sea, as you say, and the construction anyway was illegal because it didn’t stick to the terms of the building licence.

  19. How come, they are allowing this hotel to be built virtually on the beach front and yet they say the hotel in El Medano centre is illegal and must be pulled down.

    I know the El Medano one is actually half out over the sea but they are using the excuse of the ruling that no buildings should be on the coast line. Surely this new one will be breaching that law too?

  20. Author

    There could be something I’ve not heard about but I don’t know anything about a new harbour next to La Tejita. The only commercial shipping area I’m aware of is the megaport …

  21. Hi Janet, Can you help solve a ‘discussion’ with a neighbour. He says that a new harbour to take commercial shipping will be built next to La Tejita Beach. I think the new harbour is being built further north in Granadilla. Can you help?

  22. This beach for me is one of the best natural beaches on Tenerife and it would be very sad to turn it commercial – not to mention the fact that it is a haven for sea life, snorkelling and wonderful tidal pools at the end closest to the mountain plus the friendly, naturist section of the beach. It would be a shame to see this developed when just round the bend at the surfers beach it is already more developed. I suppose if it were built near the old campsite it wouldn’t effect the other end of the beach so much but then where does it stop… I would like to see a detailed plan and proposal though.

  23. Author

    It’s directly in front of the new roundabout and the shopping centre – not where the camping was. It’s the Sotavento urban area.

  24. Where exactly is it proposed to build? Hopefully not on the site of the camping site which was recently closed.

  25. If it produces jobs for local people go ahead, where is the downside.the land is not good for much else,

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