This distinctive mansion, dating back to 1670, was initially built for the Military Governor on the island.
In 1706, following a volcanic eruption at Teide that devastated the nearby port of Garachico, the island’s port operations shifted to Santa Cruz, prompting the Governor to relocate there as well. Consequently, the mansion lost its original role.
The subsequent use of the property remains somewhat unclear, but records show a deed from 1923. Around that time, a small shop selling household goods operated in what is now the Nelson Study.
The house, acquired by the current owners in 2004 after being vacant for 15 years, have dedicated the past 18 years to its restoration. This effort involved reusing the original stone as much as possible and extensively using Tea wood, a durable and termite-resistant type of pine native to Tenerife and La Palma Islands.
The mansion’s ground floor, initially used for stabling horses, is now transformed. The neighbouring houses, once accommodation for the Governor’s staff, have evolved over time.
The main entrance leads to the India Room, adorned with furniture and artefacts from India, collected by the current owners.
Adjacent is the Study, featuring paintings and memorabilia of Admiral Nelson, who was defeated in Tenerife, losing an arm. The room also displays portraits of historical figures like Shakespeare, Henry VIII of England, his six wives including Katherine of Aragon, and the Russian Tsar and Tsarina. A functioning fireplace adds to the room’s charm.
The entrance hall opens to a central patio, now beautified with a fish pond, a fountain, ferns and stone seating.
This area grants access to the India Room, Study, an elevator to the upper floors, and the Gallery.
The Gallery showcases 18 paintings of The Virgin Mary by various artists, each depicting serenity and tranquillity. Additionally, it houses a finely carved cabinet, desk, and chair, assumed to have been owned by a distinguished lawyer on the Spanish mainland, and three Masonic chairs from Masonic Temples in Central London.
At the patio’s end, there are two en-suite bedrooms with shower rooms. A small shaded patio is accessible to the right, adjacent to a sewing room.
Near the main staircase is an unfinished area comprising an office, three more rooms, another large street-facing entrance, and access to the upper level of the garden.
Exiting the patio, you encounter the house’s wardrobe area, complete with a fountain and steps leading to the garden. These steps also ascend to the water tank, fed by the house’s two private freshwater sources.
Nearby is a relaxed outdoor cooking space with a stone table and benches, offering a picturesque garden view. A stone staircase connects this area to the first floor, where there’s a dining setup for casual outdoor cooking, complemented by a collection of blue and white china, similar to the assortment in the main kitchen.
The main Tea wood staircase from the patio leads to a spacious landing, which opens into the three main living areas: the Drawing Room, the Sitting Room, and the Dining Room.
These rooms are interconnected and lavishly furnished with antiques, numerous paintings and chandeliers.
The Dining Room, accommodating up to 12 guests, features a closed Tea wood balcony overlooking the garden. The curtains in these rooms, crafted by the Davila family known for their work in Buckingham Palace and numerous aristocratic English homes, add a touch of elegance.
The kitchen, accessible from the dining room and the main landing, is a blend of antique charm and modern convenience. It houses two antique carved sideboards, a carved cabinet, and a dining table with six antique chairs. The room is equipped with purpose-built storage and marble-topped surfaces. A vast collection of blue and white china adorns the walls. For environmentally conscious cooking, the kitchen boasts all-electric appliances, including two Zanussi ovens, a Samsung fridge/freezer, two Lazer 3-ring induction plates, an electric Salamander, a Bosch microwave oven, and a Siemens steamer oven.
The main landing, adorned with five marble side tables and Chinese pots, also showcases a captivating array of religious statues from around the world. From here, two doors open to a triangular walkway overlooking the central patio. This walkway leads to three bedrooms, two boasting grand four-poster beds and one with a corona, each with its own en-suite shower room. A corridor extends to a fourth bedroom, adjacent to a room currently used as a dressing room but prepared to serve as a shower room and wardrobe.
A staircase and an elevator from the main landing provide access to the library and the roof terrace on the second floor.
The library, spanning the entire length of the house, more than 20 metres, holds an extensive collection of books in English, Spanish, and French. These books cover a diverse range of topics, from history to cooking, gardening, novels, dictionaries, and encyclopaedias, interspersed with art pieces adorning the remaining wall space.
Two doors from the library open onto the roof terrace, offering stunning views of the Drago tree and park, El Teide Volcano on one side, and the banana plantations and sea on the other.
The terrace, embellished with statues of griffins and dragons and plant-filled troughs, provides a panoramic and serene outdoor space.
The house’s garden is designed in three distinct levels. It features an additional street entrance, and the side door might have originally been the main entrance for number 9. Currently, the house is addressed as numbers 7 and 9, though number 9 is no longer in use. Adjacent to the house in the garden, there is a storage room and a pump room for the house’s water system.
The property is classified as urban land, and with appropriate planning permission, it could be developed. The current owners had received, albeit now expired, planning consent for constructing a double garage, which was not realised.
Various possibilities have been proposed for the land, depending on the main house’s usage. If the house remains a residential property, the space could potentially accommodate a garage with staff quarters above.
The surrounding neighbourhood is notably tranquil, situated at the end of a dead-end street. At the end of this street is the Chapel of Las Angustias, home to the renowned statue of Mary of Angustias. This statue had been temporarily displayed in a museum in Madrid last year and has since been returned.
Situated in the northern part of Tenerife, the picturesque town of Icod de los Vinos beckons with its charm, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes. Renowned for its ancient dragon tree and robust wine culture, this town offers a delightful blend of tradition and natural beauty.
At the heart of Icod de los Vinos stands the iconic Drago Milenario, a millennial dragon tree that has become the emblem of the town. This ancient specimen, believed to be over a thousand years old, captivates visitors with its sheer size and mythical presence. The tree’s gnarled branches stretch skyward, creating a canopy that provides a cool respite from the warm Tenerife sun. The Plaza de la Constitución, a bustling square surrounded by historic buildings, serves as the perfect vantage point to marvel at the Drago Milenario and soak in the town’s atmosphere.
Wandering through the town’s cobbled streets, visitors encounter charming colonial-style architecture that reflects Icod de los Vinos’ deep-rooted history.
The Church of San Marcos, a striking example of Canarian Baroque architecture, graces the town with its imposing facade and intricate detailing. Dating back to the 16th century, the church stands as a testament to the town’s enduring religious and cultural heritage.
Icod de los Vinos is not just a town of monuments; it’s also a hub for wine enthusiasts. The town’s viticulture dates back centuries, and its vineyards produce some of Tenerife’s finest wines. Visitors can explore local bodegas (wineries) to sample a variety of wines, including the unique malvasía, a sweet wine that has become a specialty of the region. Wine tours offer a delightful immersion into the art of winemaking, allowing guests to appreciate the meticulous process that transforms grapes into the nectar of the gods.
The town’s cultural richness is celebrated in its museums and galleries. The Cueva del Viento, one of the largest volcanic caves in the world, offers a fascinating underground journey through ancient lava tubes. Visitors can explore the intricate formations that bear witness to the geological forces that shaped Tenerife. The Museo de Arte Sacro showcases religious art, providing insight into the spiritual life of the community over the centuries.
For those seeking panoramic views, Icod de los Vinos offers vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and the neighbouring island of La Palma. The Mirador de la Playa de San Marcos, a viewpoint overlooking the San Marcos beach, provides a breathtaking tableau of the coastline. The surrounding landscapes, characterised by lush vegetation and rolling hills, invite exploration, with hiking trails leading to hidden gems like the charming village of La Cueva.
The town comes alive during its festivals, where locals and visitors alike participate in lively celebrations. The Festival of San Andrés in November sees the streets adorned with colourful carpets made of flowers and dyed salt, paying homage to the patron saint of vineyards and nighttime sees people of many ages flying down the cobbled streets on wooden sleds. The atmosphere is electric with traditional music, dance, and the clinking of glasses filled with local wines.
Icod de los Vinos is not merely a destination; it’s an immersive experience that invites travellers to savour the essence of Tenerife’s northern charm. With its ancient dragon tree, historic landmarks, flourishing vineyards, and warm community spirit, this town captures the heart and soul of the island, making it a must-visit for those seeking an authentic Tenerife experience.