Boutique Hotel Plaza No. 18, Vejer de la Frontera

One of the Andalusia’s White Towns, as well as one of Spain’s Most Beautiful Towns, Vejer de la Frontera,  often just referred to as Vejer, is the site for an exciting new Boutique Hotel. You know how much  I love Boutique Hotels from my Only Spain Boutique Hotels portfolio.

Due to open for Easter 2019,  Plaza No. 18 is a new six-bedroom luxury hotel set in a beautifully restored 19th Century merchant’s house. In collaboration with hotel La Casa del Califa, Vejer’s main hotel and designed by Nicky Dobree the award-winning  interior architect and designer.

The project will have turned one of Vejer’s landmark properties into one of the finest hotels in the boutique genre in Andalucía. Located in the heart of  the medieval quarter and next to Vejer’s  palm-filled and ceramic, froggy-fountained Plaza de España.

Plaza de Espana, Vejer de la Frontera

Boutique Hotel Plaza No. 18

Nicky Dobree says of the new hotel “There will be comfort and elegance through every door, a place to feel at home. A place to re-connect and re-discover.”

Dating from 1896 and standing on the foundations of an ancient 13th  century Moorish  house the renovations have used entirely organic building materials, including traditional lime-based mortars, wooden floors with natural stone and marble.

It has a shady central courtyard, typical of Andalusia, where guests can relax in the heat of summer. Or the large, comfortable sitting room with a huge fireplace in less clement days. There’s also a large roof terrace with fabulous views.

All bedrooms, one of them a suite, has views of the town or the Parque Natural las Marismas nature reserve.

Plaza No. 18 will share its reception with Hotel La Casa del Califa and also its facilities will be on offer to Plaza No. 18 guests. Amongst which is the Michelin recommended restaurant El Jardín del Califa with its palm-filled courtyard and stone-vaulted dining rooms.

In 2019 the Califa Group will  be opening a Hammam Baths in Vejer. A Moorish bathhouse or Arab Baths, a tradition which has been lost in many towns and cities around Andalusia and one that is a must when visiting Spain. Read my posts on the Hammam in Granada and in Malaga.

The Califa Hamam will be a blend of the traditional Roman and Moorish baths with cold, warm and hot baths as well as a steam room, domed atrium and a massage room.

Califa Hamam Baths, Vejer de la Ffrontera

Vejer de la Frontera is a popular and one of the best preserved  ‘Pueblos Blancos’  –  a route of White Villages or White Towns.  It’s a historical town with turreted walls, flower-filled courtyards and ancient buildings. It has over the recent years developed a good reputation for its gastronomy. Now it has a large choice of excellent restaurants, cafés and tapas bars where you can pass the time, relax, watch the world go by and eat.

Vejer, in the province of Cadiz,  is 10 kms inland from the Atlantic coast and beaches of El Palmar and Cape Trafalgar. Its only 54 km from Jerez airport, a great, small airport more like a large cafe! Or 95 km from Gibraltar airport, 158 km from Seville airport or if you like driving, which is not at all stressful here in Andalusia, 210 km from Malaga airport.

Campos de Ibiza – Luxury Spanish Cosmetics & Perfumes

The birth of Campos de Ibiza is a story as touching and charming as their growth and their products. From a child making fragrances from flower petals from her garden Campos de Ibiza has now become one of Spain’s best known brands. So how does the story go?

Campos de Ibiza

The story starts in World War II when a young French soldier was captured by General De Gaulle’s troops and imprisioned in Spain. His translator was Baroness Ilaria of Romania who promised she’d take the young soldier to her island if they survived.  Survive they did and the  Baroness took him to Ibiza in the 1950s, where he began a lifelong love and passion for the island frequently taking his family with him.

Campos de Ibiza

His daughter Camilla visited throughout her childhood  and she began making her own brand of scents from the fruit and flowers from their garden in the 1970s.

Campos de Ibiza

Today Camilla’s daughter Aurelie runs the business and has given it a more international touch. They produce over 60 luxury products from perfumes and fig soap to gift box selections and beach bags to mini travel sets. As well as almond scented candles and towels.

Campos de Ibiza soap

All come beautifully packaged and presented from small size to large. Hotels and weddings are catered for too. Visit Campos de Ibiza to see the full range of delightful gifts and products.

Hire Your Golf Clubs in Spain, Don’t Take Them There

Why pay to carry your own clubs, wait to load and collect them as oversized luggage when you can hire golf clubs at various airports in Spain as well as many other locations.

Clubs to Hire offers the latest clubs on the market, both for male and female, right handed and left-handed players. Their range is from leading golf club brands such as TaylorMade, Callaway and hire starts from just €35 per week. You get a saving on luggage with none of the hassle and no chance of damage to your own clubs.

Alicante golf

It was founded by Irish entrepreneurs Tony Judge and Gerry McKernan in 2010 which its first branch at Faro airport in Portugal. Now Clubs to Hire work at the following Spanish airports:

Alicante
Costa Dorada
Girona
Gran Canaria
Malaga Murcia
Palma (Mallorca)
Bahia de Cádiz
Tenerife

Malaga_opt

Clubs for Hire are also in Portugal: Faro, Lisbon and Madeira, Cyprus: Paphos, Morocco: Marrakesh and Agadir, South Africa: Cape Town, Thailand: Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket. Turkey: Belek, the UK & Ireland: Dublin and Edinburgh, the United States: Orlando, Florida, and Scottsdale, Arizona, Australia: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane .

For more information see  Clubs to Hire.

 

See my other golf related posts on Luxury Spain Travel

Luxury Barcelona – Wine, Culture, Gastronomy, Golf or Beach Tailor-Made Tours

Spanish Golf Courses Designed by Seve Ballesteros

Boutique B&B in Spain – Mountains, Live Piano and Poetry on Your Pillow

In the north west of Andalusia, Spain near the Portuguese border lies a mountain range hiding a quintessential English boutique B&B…

…And the story goes on….

When the great, great grandson of William Wordsworth, Charles, was sent by a petro-chemical company to work in Madrid over half a century ago, never would he have thought his retirement would be spent serving breakfast in his own hotel in a Spanish Natural Park often to the accompaniment of his Spanish son-in-law playing and singing popular Spanish and English songs.

Finca la Fronda

My husband and I had the pleasure of discovering this touch of pure England in really rural Spain. Turning off the twisting, tree-lined mountain road the short, almost rough track leads to the delightful, single-storey, terracotta-coloured Finca la Fronda.

Finca la Fronda, Aracena, Huelva

One of Charles’ bilingual children, Alec, who is also the chef, greeted us and showed us around the beautiful Casa Rural Superior, a Spanish term for an upper class B&B. We were on a visit with a view to add Finca la Frona to our personally visited portfolio – Only Spain Boutique Hotels.

Our enormous bedroom, the largest for wheelchair access,  was beautifully and classically decorated with our own little terrace, as do all rooms, surrounded by trees and lovely views.

Finca la Fronda, B&B, Aracena, Huelva

The finca, a Spanish term for rural property, is in the vast Natural Park Sierra de Aracena & Picos de Aroche, on the border of Portugal to the west and the province of Cadiz to the south.

English tea is served in a teapot with cups and saucers, only fitting when sitting  with a portrait of the nature-loving William Wordsworth on the lounge wall and another charming family touch is the verse of Wordsworth’s poetry left on your bed each night.

Finca la Fronda

There’s lots to explore and do in the area if you like walking, running or mountain biking this is a great spot with paths, tracks and trails linking all around the mountains. If relaxing by the pool is your thing, exploring charming towns and stunning scenery or helping yourself to tea or coffee and drinks from the honesty bar and dining while watching the stars light up the black evening sky in this starlight reserve, with oodles of charm, class and culture here, throw in its history, poetry and nature and you’ve a fabulous winning combination.

Finca la Fronda

See Finca la Fronda on Only Spain Boutique Hotels.

Ecotourism & Sustainable Travel on the Canary Island of La Palma

Forgetting the party side of La Palma, this beautiful Canary Island is an ideal place for slow-travel and back-to-nature holidays well away from mass tourism and the hoards. It’s easy to be an ecotourist and follow the sustainable travel code on La Palma, see just a few of its offerings.

Stargazing in UNESCO Starlight Reserve of La Palma

La Palma has an abundance of stargazing  destinations for the casual stargazer or for Astronomy fanatics.

La Palma Starlight Reserve

Llanos del Jable is just one of La Palma’s mesmerizing stargazing locations in the town of El Paso, which is 1,200 metres above sea level. Both day and night it’s worth the asent. During the day there are amazing views over the Aridane valley and the ancient volcano and at night it’s a perfect stargazing spot being one of the UNESCO Starlight Reserves.

Walking and Hiking in UNESCO La Palma

La Palma is well known for its impressive natural landscapes, the whole island became a Biosphere Reserve in 1983, with 706 square kilometres of stunning scenery and over 1,000 kilometres of marked trails, which means it’s ideal for walking and hiking.

Hiking in La Palma

One of this Canary Island’s most impressive natural attractions is the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, a volcanic  8-kilometre diameter crater surrounded by orange coloured waterfalls and springs scattered through the crater, as well as pine forests and indigenous species.

Slowtravel and Slowfood on La Palma

La Palma is a gastronomic hub with many restaurants serving traditional dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, slowfood,  including fresh fish such as moray eels or parrot fish, papas arrugadas (delicious wrinkled potatoes) with the local mojo rojo or verde (green or red local salsa), as well as hearty meat dishes.

La Palma Mercado

Great restaurants to try include La Recova in the capital. The fabulous food market Santa Cruz de La Palma sells local specialities such as cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables and the island’s wines. The farmers’ markets in Villa de Mazo, Puntagorda, Puntallana and El Paso are a must for the slowfood foodie too showcasing local seasonal produce and delicious local pastries.

 

Spain for the Foodie – Taste of Granada Food Tour

Granada has long been a favourite place to visit of mine,  I find the more I go, the more I discover and the better I like it! It’s alright for me, it’s almost on my doorstep. I’m lucky enough to live in northern Andalusia. Jaen is ‘my’ province and nearest Andalusian city, then at equidistance I have the delightful cities of both Cordoba and Granada  which I never tire of visiting.

Corral del Carbon, Granada
One of my Favourite spots – Corral del Carbon, Granada

I went to Granada again this week. This trip was for a special reason – a  food tour run by my ‘online’ friend and Spain blogger Molly who writes a lot about Spain and even more about Granada on her blog – Piccavey. We finally met face-to-face after years of ‘knowing’ each other.

A long-time local to Granada she’s pounded the pavements, got to know the locals, the best (and not so good) places to eat and now has combined her knowledge and joined  with Spain Food Sherpas to create the Taste of Granada Food Tour.

Which is where I was headed when leaving home on a fairly fresh summer morning (20c) I drove southwards into the early morning sun and with the stunning backdrop of the Serra Nevada mountain range welcoming me to the city of Granada. I left my car on the outskirts, took a one-stop tram ride to the bus station and caught the number 33 bus into the city. Easy. Never again (only did it once) will I drive into Granada city centre, it is a nightmare.

Spain Food Sherpa – Taste of Granada Food Tour

I met Molly and the other food-tourers, a lovely French couple at the designated spot and our tour began. This isn’t a fill your belly with tapas tour, but a sample and learn about food experience. Granada has a wealth of diverse produce from its coast – the Costa Tropical to its mountain ranges which create individual micro climates producing everything you can think of.

Spain Sherpa Food Tour, Granada
Molly explaining about the local, prize-winning Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Our first stop a compact delicatessen shop heaving with slowfood. Air-dried jamons from villages high on the Sierra  Nevada slopes. Local, prize-winning extra virgin olive oils, cheeses, wines, jams and chocolates – all sourced from within Granada province. We sampled some great cheeses and olive oils followed by chocolate – I choose one with honey and one with chilli. I now have the chocolate factory on my list to visit!

Olive Oil and Cheese Tasting

Onto the oldest shop in Spain, once an importer of fine goods, now still selling healthy nuts and dried fruits snacks, an all important part of the Mediterranean Diet. The shop remains unchanged since its opening in 1850, such beautiful wooden shop fittings.

 

Oliver's, Granada, Oldest Shop in Spain

Unfortunately the jamon tasting by the local cutter and expert wasn’t possible so we tried some jamon and olives as a tapas with a glass of very good local Granada wine.

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Then on to La Milagrosa, a contemporary-design bar with an award-winning young chef where we sampled Local Artichoke and Organic Tomato with Herring Roe on a Prawn Cracker,  followed by Bull’s Tail Croquette with Kimchi Mayonnaise and Quail’s Egg. Both were fabulous.

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Tapas, Granada, La  Milagrosa

After a quick visit to the shop next door, a wonderful old producer of grass, wicker and wooden goods. Such a treat to see dying trades like this in a city centre. Our French couple bought a beautiful, carved olive wood salad bowl.

Esparteria

Then we headed to the historical La Chikitito, open since the early 1900s, a bar where  writers and poets such as Federico Garcia Lorca would gather.

Terraza Chikitito, Granada

True to their history they serve great traditional dishes. We had Remojon Granadino, followed by Artichoke and Almond Stew and a local desert with an interesting history – Pinonos, I’ll let you hear that story yourself!

Remojon Granadino

Artichoke and Almond Stew

 

Pinonos de Granada

Some of the tapas we sampled are not on the normal menu but made especially for Molly and her groups to share what local food is all about.

Suddenly over 3 hours (we’d gone well past the 2pm finish time) had passed very pleasantly indeed,  repleat,  Molly wished us well and retreated into a part of Granada I’ve yet to discover.

I went off to explore some more…. that will be another post.

 

I was a guest of Spain Food Sherpas Taste of Granada Food Tour, enjoyed it immensely and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. Food tours are very interesting ways to learn from a local about the area, history and culture all in one. I’d be more than happy to join Spain Food Sherpas in Malaga, another addition to my ever growing must-do list.

Read more on Molly’s Spain blog – Piccavey.

Read some of my other posts about Granada

36 Hours in Granada

Hammam Baths in Granada

Hot-air Balloon Flight Over Granada

4×4 Land Rover Off-roading in Guadix

See some lovely boutique hotels to stay in on my Only Spain collection.

Boutique Hotels in Granada

 

Spain’s Beautiful and Longest Beaches

Spain has an incredible amount of beaches which cover its almost 5,000 km of coastline (4,964 km.) From the Bay of Biscay in the north, heading east to the Atlantic Ocean, down and round to the Mediterranean Sea tiny, rocky coves, fishing villages and large expanses of white, sandy beaches adorn the shore.

There are more than 180 beaches in Spain which are over 2km long but there are some even longer. The Guiness Book of Records has three entries for the three longest beaches in Spain. Playa de Castilla is the first, in Huelva province and measures an unbelievalbe 17 kilometres. Can you imagine the view?

Beach Huelva

The second one is Playa El Cofete which is in Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, which is nearly 14 km long.

Playa El Cofete

The third is Playa de Nueva Umbria which is 12km long and is also in Huelva in Andalusia.

Playa de Nueva Umbria

I find it hard to imagine a beach 2km long let alone 17km in length, that must be a sight worth seeing and also make Huelva, one of the lesser touristy, quieter spots in Andalusia, the south of Spain, worthy of a visit.

So if you’re looking for Spain’s most beautiful and longest beaches you know where to go! Huelva sounds like the best spot on the mainland or Fuerteventura for a visit to one of the Spanish Islands.