Supreme Court gives final judgment that Hotel Médano must be demolished

Photo: Turismo Tenerife
Photo: Turismo Tenerife

Costas has been seeking the demolition of the hotel Médano since 2005, and now a Supreme Court judgment clears the way for the entire building to be knocked down. Back in 2010, there was talk that only the terraces might have to be demolished, or that the building might have a public social role, but now the Supreme Court has ruled that the building is illegal because the hotel’s concession to occupy public land is defunct, and the original project approved by Costas was altered without permission, being built one storey too high and with illegal terraces that jut into the sea like the prow of a ship.

The Court rejected the hotel’s appeal against the demolition ruling confirmed by the Audiencia Nacional, which means that all avenues for legal representations have now been exhausted. The Court said that its judgment took account of public opinion and cultural symbolism, but that coastal legislation must apply regardless of claims that the hotel had been built prior to coastal legislation coming into force. As a result of the Supreme Court’s judgment, nothing now stands in the way of the execution of the demolition order issued in 2010.



  1. Why is it still standing get it knocked down it’s a blot on the landscape, house’s have been knocked down so why not this hotel

  2. Terrible decision. To anyone who doesn’t know el Medano (Giorgos, for example), it might look from that photo like an ugly piece of tourist overdevelopment that spoils the beach and stops from being more ‘natural’.
    But it’s nothing of the sort. Behind the hotel there is a small rocky harbour, lined with restaurants and bars. Not a beach. The beach is what you see in the foreground. And the reason that the beach is useable is the hotel.
    Reason being that at least two hundred days of the year the North easterly trade-wind is howling through the harbour, along the waterfront, and is only stopped from turning the beach into a sand blasted wilderness by the shelter of the hotel. Without it, none of the people that you see in the photo would be there.
    How do I know this ? Because I am a windsurfer, and the constant wind is the reason that I moved to el Medano more than seven years ago. Ironically, us windsurfers might be better off without the wind shadow of the hotel, but that doesn’t stop me from protesting at the stupidity of this decision, made by people who clearly have no awareness of the necessity of protecting the town beach for non wind-obsessed people.

  3. Good Bye Hotel and El Medano after 42 years of happy winters.What a wasteful shame. Patrick Baron,Norwich,Norfolk.

  4. Rules are for the guidance of wise men and for the obedience of fools

  5. dear all! goodafternoon from Greece. I came upon this article by accident and -even though i have never been to tenerife and respect all your opinions- i am surprised to see that noone wants this demolished. It looks like an awful, soviet thing in the sea. I think that the coastlines must be strictly protected -both as habitats and landscapes- and not be cemented, just to give visitors a sea-like experience.

  6. i anticipate that once the structure has been demolished that a blot will remain on the shoreline. The site will not be returned to its natural state. I can’t believe for one minute that all traces of the hotel will be removed. It will be done as cheaply as possible. Will they for example dig the piles out, I don’t think so. Such a shame.

  7. I cant believe that they are going to demolish this historic magnificent landmark building which was one of the first buildings to be built in El Medano. I have stayed there on several occasions and love the feeling that you could be on board a ship. As there is nothing structurally wrong or dangerous about the building, and the fact that for most of the year it is fully booked, why are they doing this?
    More importantly, the hotel does indeed shelter the small town beach from the winds and once this has been removed, the beach will be as windy as the windsurfing area at the other end, and may no longer be suitable for regular holiday makers to sunbathe. The removal of this hotel will be a big loss for El Medano, both its visitors and local people that enjoy its calm waters.

    1. Author

      They’re doing it, strictly speaking, because of a legal case brought by the national government’s department of coasts, whose current legislation would make the building illegal even if it hadn’t been illegal to start with because it violated the terms of the permissions given at the time (extra storey, enclosed terraces jutting into the sea).
      Having said that, exceptions can be made, and I personally fail to see why this could not have been one. In my personal opinion, its own iconic status has counted against it because Costas was able to make a point about the need to demolish illegal buildings regardless of all social or cultural factors. If it had been a less “significant” building, it perhaps wouldn’t have attracted such publicity. The simple fact is that it’s illegal and there is a coastal law. The pity is that it’s iconic, part of the entire character of the place, and serves a clear and significant function in protecting the beach.
      Ultimately, there are political considerations (national level coast delimitation and public space considerations, as well as a perceived need to make a point as to where power really lies) behind Costas’ attack, but the final decision has always lain with an impartial judiciary – and at every level of the courts, now including the highest, the law has been held to be more important than all other factors.

  8. A great hotel, what a shame. it also shelters the part of the beach in the photo from the wind, hence the reason why this end of the beach has all the bathers,

  9. Author

    Just to clarify, this is a Supreme Court decision, not a government one.

  10. Agree with all you say. Another town to be spoiled and modernised?

  11. Unbelievable. The people who live here do not want this to be demolished nor the local politicians and it has been a part of El Medano for 40 odd years or more. Indeed, it is not just the Hotel which is going to go – the terraces jutting into the sea protect the beach which is likely to disappear as well! Another case of National Government riding roughshod over local people for no other reason than they can! Rant over!

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