Carved into the summit of a 474-metre-high cliff on Lanzarote’s northern tip, the Mirador is almost invisible from the outside. But step inside and a winding corridor leads you up through lava rock into two cave-like rooms, with vast panoramic windows overlooking the “Rio”, a strait between Lanzarote and the tiny island of La Graciosa.
Technically, the Mirador del Río is a cafe and bar, but the reason people come here is to live out their 1960s spy-film fantasies. Created in 1974 by visionary architect and artist César Manrique, it is a perfect example of his impeccable grooviness, as well as his affinity for the otherworldly beauty of his beloved island.
wooden chairs and tables. The bar is renowned architecturally for having no right angles.” />
The Mirador is a Ken Adam set come to life: the widescreen windows make for a cinematic vibe and the flowing, molten interior, with its absence of right angles, adds to the psychedelic, dreamy feel. All of Manrique’s constructions are works of art, but the smaller Mirador, hidden away in its dramatic clifftop setting, is the one you can imagine as your own apartment – swanning around as party host while Françoise Hardy lounges on the curvy sofa and Alain Delon sips a brandy by the cavernous fireplace.
Manrique spent his life resisting the spread of “Lanza-grotty” – the rash of cheap resorts that swept through the Canary Islands in the 1960s and 70s – often physically battling the developers in person. His campaigning paid off – Lanzarote remains high-rise and billboard free, and Manrique’s mind-bending visions of mid-century architecture and design are a defining feature of the island. Come for the cheap winter sun, but pack your best Bond villain outfit for the selfie.
• Lois Pryce is co-founder of The Adventure Travel Film Festival, which has upcoming events in London (12-14 August), Inverewe, and Bright, Australia