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New-look Los Gigantes square gets festive seal of approval 

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A village square slammed by critics as a potential “grot spot” has been praised for its shining festival spirit.

A giant Tree of Life casts a warm, welcoming glow over the square in the centre of Los Gigantes, flanked by a myriad of sparking lights intertwined with champagne flutes.

And the decorations have been welcomed enthusiastically by residents and tourists who have flocked to the square to share a variety of concerts and even an elegant fashion show.

Initially, locals said major renovation work, costing 374,000, euros has left the village’s pretty plaza unfinished, unkept and untidy.

In their frustrating list of complaints, they cited incomplete walkways and the removal of much-loved, old fashioned Alhambra lamps, which, they said, left the square looking desolate and unloved.

But now, backed by the tasteful Christmas illuminations, the council have installed stylish rails along walkways and festooned banking with vivid plants softening the square’s overall austere appearance.

Community champion, Christopher Goode, a respected authority on design in the UK, said:”The overall concept is very acceptable and gives the square and wider, more active, feel.

“Clean lines have been created, backed by good quality handrails, other fittings and disabled access. And the new Christmas lights certainly lift the square and give it a happy focus at this festive time.”

“However, although the actual covering of the square itself is much lower quality than expected, there will hopefully be room to upgrade in the future.

“But currently some visitors to the square need to be mindful of the new works and stop dropping chewing gum all over the place, spoiling the effect,” he added.

The imposing Tree of Light, hosted by Santiago Del Teide Lions Club, has become a rendezvous point for tourists and locals at steps leading to the square.

Their President, Ken Ward, commented:” “The Square looks pretty good, the invalid ramp is very well done.

“The tree was a new one from previous years, and the lights evening went well, we raised 390.00 euros,” he said, ” All in all, the Town Hall did a pretty good job.”

Over recent years, various improvements and refurbishments were discussed and welcomed as a way to retrieve the square’s image of yesteryear.

A collaboration agreement was reached between Spanish Tourism Institue and the Government Council for Tourism of Canary Isles for the strategic improvement of Touristic Public spaces of the Canary Isles.

The start date of the ambitious programme was set for December 2013 and scheduled to end November 2014.

But in December last year, Tenerife News reported simmering anger over the removal of old fashioned, Liberace-style lamps. Residents and visitors also expressed dismay at the “sluggish traipse” to complete the revamp.

But one UK visitor returning to Los Gigantes for this year’s festivities, said:”The square seems to have taken on a fresh life of its own.

” I do miss the old familiar lamps but the square is gradually settling down and returning as the hub of the village.”