Room Service for Sanity at the Hotel Santa Catalina


‘Twas the night before holiday

and in our mad house

the Crev was a-slumbering,

no sign of our mouse.

The packing was finished,

a taxi arranged,

all was quite organised,

but that would soon change.

The quiet was shattered

by panic above:

‘The Crev’s being sick!’

cried Papa, ‘the poor love.’

So that’s how our Easter break started

this year –

with projectile vomit

glued to our hair.

True enough, that’s exactly how our Easter holiday began: with our toddling daughter being sick through the night. After many pyjama changes, dunks in the bath and emergency loads of washing being done in the wee hours, we managed a few hours sleep. On waking, the Crev was promptly sick, yet again. We cancelled the cab. We spoke with NHS Direct (waste of time). We sat on the phone trying to enquire about cancelling or postponing our flight. After a good twenty minutes we still hadn’t reached a human operator and the Crev seemed to rally, so we gritted our teeth and set off for the airport.

It’s a four-hour flight to Gran Canaria from London. For much of the first two hours, our brave little girl was either sitting with uncharacteristic calm or retching up the few sips of water that she managed from time to time. Eventually, and much to our relief, she slept, taking us to our destination with little trouble. Once there, she seemed fine, interested in her new surroundings, if still a bit too quiet to be true. The following morning, when she started vomiting water again, we took her to an emergency clinic near our hotel in Las Palmas.

This is where the EHIC card gets all my praise. Because we travel so much in Europe, I registered the Crev for her very own EHIC card as soon as she was born. (It’s the card that provides reciprocal state health care for member states of the EU.) At the emergency clinic we were processed quickly and seen within about twenty minutes. Not bad. The doctor did a thorough check, taking at least another twenty minutes – much longer than your usual GP visit in the UK – pronouncing a stomach virus. He prescribed medicine before placing us under hotel arrest for the next six hours. ‘If she still can’t keep anything down after that, take her to the children’s ward at the hospital and we’ll care for her for 24 hours to prevent dehydration.’ Like the embarrassingly emotional mother that I can sometimes be, I cried, but not because the bill was eye-watering; there wasn’t one. The EHIC card covered everything.

Back at the hotel we spent a worrying afternoon monitoring liquid intake and counting doses of meds. Fortunately, the Hotel Santa Catalina was one of those historical establishments with big, old-fashioned rooms, so we had plenty of space for our period of incarceration. We parents, having developed quite an appetite through the stress of the morning, salvaged our sanity with ROOM SERVICE.

For a late lunch we splurged on a triple-deck club sandwich each, with fries. Not bad for €9.00 a head. Room service elsewhere can do a lot more damage than that for a simple club. At first glance I thought I’d never finish mine, but I underestimated my hunger. Every last bit disappeared. It was also very, very tasty.


That kept us going until well into the evening, when, after a siesta and more unappetising feeding attempts, subsequent purges and clean-ups we decided to dial for dinner. Wow. What a treat.

Corn-fed Iberian ham,


with Pan tomaca,


a generous Caesar salad for Monsieur, and an excellent mixed salad for me, deconstructed enough so I could mix it myself,


and for The French Carnivore, grilled veal tenderloin.


A half-bottle of decent vino rosado and some water completed our feast. Here’s what our mini-banquet looked like:


Meanwhile, the medication had started to work on our wee one, although it would be a good few days yet before she was back to her normal, active, babbling self. Through the decent hotel room service we were able to not just get nourishment, but do so knowing that we could jump up from the table as many times as were necessary to tend to her. For the record: we were up and down A LOT.

My thanks must go to the Hotel Santa Catalina staff, who, unasked, but noticing that the babe was unwell, fetched camomile tea and honey to soothe the Crev’s aggravated throat, and who were nothing but attentive and kind in helping us to cope with our ailing toddler.

Useful links:

EHIC – European Health Insurance Card

Hotel Santa Catalina, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

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