Peace out: EcoHotel El Agua, Tenerife


At EcoHotel El Agua, a health-focused eco-hotel where rough textures and earthy colours dominate, you have to order your lunch by 1pm the previous day. There are three types of food from which to choose. Vegan, of which you’ve heard. Raw vegan, which, for the uninitiated, means vegetables and plant-based ingredients that, to protect their molecular chain (and therefore their nutritional goodness), have been cooked at temperatures below 41°C. And then there’s plain old vegetarian, which, at EcoHotel El Agua, includes organic eggs, sustainable honey, fresh fish and local cheese. You order by filling out a rather long form.

24 hours later, hey presto: a plate of food that not only tastes delightful but has been engineered to boost your energy levels, improve your immune system and make you an all-round happier person. A healthy diet, goes the thinking, will not only improve your physical wellbeing, but your mental health, too.

Nothing on the menu at EcoHotel El Agua will have been treated with pesticides, chemicals or additives; nothing will arrive wrapped in plastic. Instead, everything is organic, seasonal and sourced from as close to the hotel as possible. Such is the laser-sharp focus and science-based commitment of the property to use food to balance both your mind and body, that El Agua will advise you not only on what to eat, but when to eat, and what to eat with what. Indeed, the staff can even tell you how to chew. I kid you not.

You’ll find EcoHotel El Agua in the sub-tropical valleys of southern Tenerife, close to the centre of the historic village of Arico El Nuevo. Between volcano and ocean. It’s a 45-minute drive from the airport: a drive that hugs the island’s eastern coast, offering views of the Atlantic Ocean and Gran Canaria in the distance.

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The hotel is the vision of Anthony Picq, who, having spent 25 years in the sustainable tourism sector, flitting between Tenerife and Barcelona, opened EcoHotel El Agua in September 2022. A former athlete-turned-ecological-farmer-turned-holistic-health-hotelier, it’s fair to say that Picq practices what he preaches. A trained hygienist and naturopath (someone who can advise on natural therapies, like herbal medicine, acupuncture and homeopathy, in case you didn’t know), as well as a learned phytotherapist (someone that aims to improve your health through plants and herbs), many of the treatments – and much of the menu – at El Agua are the invention of Picq. Get him started on any number of wellbeing subjects – from ecology, to spirituality, to anthroposophical, to integrative medicine – and prepare yourself to be schooled.  

Picq’s other passion, as will become blindingly obvious to anyone who visits EcoHotel El Agua, is design. Picq has previously worked as an interior stylist and garden designer. It shows. For the moment, the property incorporates just a single, two-person room – Villa Olivo (there is boutique – and then there is EcoHotel El Agua). The stone villa – built 200 years ago to accommodate peasant winemakers and surrounded by olive trees – has been transformed into something from the deserts of Tatooine, with significantly more water features. Inside, it’s all sand and stone and stylish micro-cement. Minimalist, Japanese, Scandi, Star Wars-y. Outside, there is a private terrace, a Jacuzzi and a heated saltwater infinity pool. It’s all very chic. You won’t see another soul.

As well as the focus on healthy eating, there’s also an emphasis on healthy living. The hotel offers four wellness programmes, each designed to have you leaving Tenerife a better version of the person who arrived. Choose Detox & Regenerate, for example, and you can expect a programme that includes intermittent fasting, a menu of raw and revitalizing foods and juices, and one massage for every day of your visit. Elsewhere, the Water for Health programme incorporates daily breathing exercises, cold baths, hydrotherapy sessions and lymphatic drainage. The Asanas programme is based on yoga activities, and includes mat Pilates, meditation, breathing exercises and art therapy sessions.

For anyone looking for something a little more energetic, there’s the Personal Training and Weight Control curriculum. Each day of your stay you’ll be invited to take part in a sporting activity – running, cycling, swimming – or fitness class. Massages are included, as is nutritional advice.  

You may have visited various wellness retreats before. You may be partial to the occasional spa break. Heck, ‘mindfulness’ may be your middle name. But you’ve never stayed at a place like EcoHotel El Agua, of that we can assure you. It’s an extraordinary place. It will change you, in ways you may not have expected.

You might not take yourself too seriously. Luckily for you, El Agua does.

From €738 per night, visit

Read more: The 2023 Europe travel guide

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