Malaga’s Botanical Spa by Sisley in the Gran Hotel Miramar

The Gran Hotel Miramar is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and is the first grand luxury hotel in Malaga. The gorgeous historical building had a 65 million euro overhaul last year and is set to place Malaga on the ‘luxury’ map and become one of the Europe’s great hotels.  Surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens the 200-room hotel, opened in September 2017, now offers a two-storey Botanical Spa by Sisley.

Gran Hotel Miramar, Malaga

The Botanical Spa is a holistic haven wholly dedicated to create a feeling of well-being, the new spa blends gorgeous natural plant-based products with Moorish traditions to create a calming oasis in Malaga, an ancient sea-faring city.

Gran Hotel Miramar, Malaga Sisley Spa

The  hotel’s gorgeously appointed spa offers an array of services such as:

  • Thermal circuit
  • Six body and aesthetic treatment cabins
  • Finnish sauna
  • Turkish hammam
  • Ice fountain
  • Jacuzzi
  • Sensations shower pool
  • Relaxation area with hot stone loungers
  • VIP treatment room offering  Champagne and fresh fruit juices.

The Botanical Spa’s  menu features  facials and body treatments from international luxury beauty brand, Sisley. The prestigious Sisley brand is the benchmark in Phyto-Cosmetology and uses the most effective natural plant extracts to achieve the best skincare results.

Gran Hotel Miramar, Malaga Sisley Spa

With signature treatments such as the Expert Phyto-Aromatic Facial and the Phyto-Aromatic Supreme Anti-Ageing Facial  to moisturise, brighten or rejuvenate the skin, as well as multi-sensorial massage rituals from all over the world.  Respecting  local traditions and using power of aromatherapy to reunify body and mind.

Signature wellness experiences include an 80  minutes Happiness Ritual based on
the vitalising properties of fruit to tone and nourish the body combined with essential oils to bring balance, strength and mental clarity.

Gran Hotel Miramar, Malaga Sisley Spa

The Happiness Ritual includes an aromatic body exfoliation, moisturising massage and a personalised facial treatment. The traditional Moorish treatments range from an Alhama Ritual – a Middle Eastern Ritual combining an authentic Hammam to prepare the skin with a body exfoliation using a Kessa glove with Al Andalus aromas. To complete the experience, guests can relax with a moisturizing massage.
Gran Hotel Miramar

Gran Hotel Miramar on Booking dot com.

Unique, Handmade Spanish Leather Bags

Fernando Garcia of FG Bags designs, makes and sells unique 100% leather handbags, satchels and purses in his shop in Grazalema near Ubrique in the south of Spain. Ubrique is a small mountain town in Cadiz province which has a long tradition of making leather goods.

Handmade does mean exactly that. Fernando doesn’t use any machines all his bags are stitched by hand and every item is a one-off gorgeous bag that he produces, each piece begins its life when he chooses a piece of leather. The  top-quality leather, its thickness, its uniqueness is what inspires him.

When Fernando abandoned his stressful job in Madrid and came to the area he brought with him his uncle´s leather-working tools. He´d chosen to live in a place ‘famous’ for its leather-working traditions and so had full and easy access to tools and top-quality animal hides. He started small, selling from home and craft fairs around the provinces. Then he obtained the shop in Grazalema and now he runs a very successful business which supports his family.

“ I never do the same thing! I never repeat a design for a bag. I go down to Ubrique to buy the hides….. I look at them, smell them, feel and handle them. Then the ideas are sown. Every hide is different so every piece which comes from that hide is different.  All my bags are unique….. When I´ve used a pattern to cut out a bag I throw the paper away”

 

Fernanado Garcia Bags

Fernando left his stressful job in Madrid and went to the area around Ubrique with his uncle’s leather-working tools. He’d chosen to live in a place which was famous for its leather-working traditions and top-quality animal hides.

 

FG Bags also has an ‘organic’ range with leathers that are made from natural vegetable tanned cowhide which influences the form, texture, thickness and natural colour of the material.

From starting small, selling at craft fairs and from home around the provinces, he now has a shop in Grazalema, the town next to Ubrique,  and  runs a very successful one-man business.

For gorgeous, individual bags you must check out Fernando Garcia. His unique and bespoke designs can be bought directly from his shop and they can also be ordered online from FG Bags.

 

 

Winery – Bodegas Tradicion in Jerez

Bodegas Tradicion

Although Bodegas Tradicion is a fairly new winery it is the successor of the oldest one in the Jerez wine producing area.

The original winery was Bodega CZ, J.M. Rivero which  dated back to 1650 and was the supplier of the Royal Houses of Spain and Portugal winning many different international rewards.

Art Gallery Bodega Tradicion

Opening in the late 1990s by a descendant of the oldest sherry house the bodegas are open for viewing as well as wine and brandy tastings while viewing the considerable private art collection. It is reported to be one of the best  collections of Spanish paintings  in Andalusia and contains over 300 paintings, some of the works are by Grand Masters Goya and Velazquez  amongst many others 15th – 20th century  artists.

 

There are two types of unique and limited production Tradicion Brandies and six fabulous wines:

Fino
Palo Cortado VORS
Amontillado
Oloroso VORS
Cream VOS
Pedro Ximenez VOS

A trip to this winery will have you taking away a great choice of fine wines and brandy – if there’s any remaining.

For more information or to book visits go to the Bodega Tradicion website.

Local Cheese & Wine in Jaen, Andalusia

I don’t know whether it’s ever happened to you but on a recent outing with visiting family we headed to a local winery for some more of their fabulous Syrah grape red wine. The nicest Spanish Red I’ve had, and living in Spain I’ve tried a few of them – and then we find some great cheese to go with it.

Bodegas CampoAmeno

This winery or bodega – CampoAmeno – in the Sierra Sur de Jaen bordering on Granada province produces four reds, three whites and a rose with locally grown grapes. I’d had one of them in a restaurant in Alcala la Real and rather liked it. Then while visiting the fabulous Fortress La Mota there were a couple of different ones in the shop – we had to try them. My stepfather took a bottle of the CampoAmena Syrah back for a wine conoisseur friend who very much enjoyed it. So we then had to visit the winery shop to try all the reds before his next visit.

Bodegas CampoAmeno

Having sampled three of the reds, both hubby and I liked the same one best (always handy that!) So with stepfather visiting again the winery was definitely on our visiting list. We bought several boxes, not all for us, a presentation pack for said wine conoisseur and happy with our purchases headed into  Frailes for a much needed bar and beer. But as things happen and as wine goes with cheese, there was a cheese factory on the way selling it direct and – Quesos Artesanos de Frailes was open. We had to go in.

After sampling two – a cured and a semi-cured goat’s cheese made on the premises from the neighbouring goat herd’s milk we all liked the smooth and creamy texture of the semi-cured one, which has won many a prize, best.

Quesos Artesanos de Frailes

So back to the wine laden car laden with the cheeses we had the best pairing possible of locally produced and bought slow food and slow wine, both exquisite.

Quesos Artesanos de Frailes

Sadly to say neither lasted long and one of the cheeses took a journey to the UK and so adding a few food miles and making it not so slow. Ours didn’t.  It went from factory to car to fridge to stomach and there it was gone.

The up side of that is we live near enough and so have to go again – the down side we’re probably always going to have to do it now we’ve discovered both!

If you like cheese and wine I know a very good spot to shop.

Visit the Cheese shop website (in Spanish) the winery website  (in Spanish) read about Fortress La Mota and here’s where to stay in Alcala la Real – Atelier 88.

Four Best-located Boutique Hotels in Granada City

Granada has plenty of lovely, boutique hotels so how do you make a choice? My suggestion is by location. The areas that most people want to see are along the River Darro, Sacromonte and the Albaicin. The Alhambra, of course, will be on your to do list but the hotel, so you can enjoy the best of old Granada, should be on or near the river.

Here are four lovely, boutique hotels in prime locations so you can step out of your door and begin to explore the delights of Granada city.

Hotel Boutique Gar Anat

Next to a tiny plaza on the edge of the Realejo district, Granada’s Jewish quarter it’s a great location for exploring on foot. Five minutes from the shopping area, the River Darro and the cathedral.

A charming hotel with a beautiful wooden, inner patio with its own ‘wishing tree’ and flowing fountain. The 16th century house was a pilgrim’s hostel in the 17th century.

Hotel Boutique Gar Anat

The fifteen rooms are all unique and decorated with ‘literary or musical’ themes. The best room in the house and the only one with an Alhambra view is Leyenda de la Rosa de la Alhambra in the turret.

Hotel Palacio de los Navas
In the Realejo district this 16th Casa Palacio, house/palace has an imposing stone surround door leading into a typical patio with original wooden beams, shiny marble pillars and that ever-present Moorish feature – a tinkling fountain, which on hot summer days you will appreciate.

Hotel Palacio de los Navas

Choose the high-ceilinged Deluxe Double at the top as it’s the best room of the house.

Shine Albayzin

This 16th century mansion is right on the River Darro with the Albaicin climbing behind. Choose a front room and you’ll have stunning views of The Alhambra’s Nazari Palace and Alcazaba on the hillside across the river.

Ideal for the Hammam Baths, a short walk to the cathedral and in the most sought-after part of the city.

Hotel Shine Albayzin

Its twelve rooms are all pale chic with splashes of colour and glitter around. Go for the best and ask for the Superior room 103 with two cute balconies for those fabulous views.


Hotel Casa Morisca

Located in the lovely Albaicin district of steep Moorish streets, tiny plazas and gorgeous old buildings Hotel Casa Morisca is in one of the best spots. Only ten minutes walk from the cathedral and a short hop, although uphill, from the gypsy caves of Sacromente.

Hotel Casa Morisca

The fourteen-room Hotel is a 15th century townhouse which has been stunningly transformed into a Moorish style Boutique Hotel. Complete with a typical Andalusian interior patio with pool, gurgling fountain, a well and beautiful floor tiles.

Check out hotels in the best areas in Granada on Booking dot com.

See my Spanish boutique hotel collection – OnlySpain.

If you want to visit the Alhambra with a guide or fancy a walking route around the Albaicin, seeing a Flamenco show in Sacromonte or a photographers tour of Granada look at Visitfy.com if you book a tour and use the discount code – SPANIOLA you will get a 10% discount off many of the tours and I will get a small commision for introducing you.

Rural Hotel Hacienda El Santiscal

There’s nothing I like better than when I’ve seen a hotel that I know I’m going to like very much, added it to my ‘want to visit’ list and then get invited to stay. That’s what happened with Hacienda El Santiscal, I’d already got my eye on it for my growing collection of Boutique Hotels – Only Spain.

So when I was approached by them to be part of my hotel portfolio we fixed the dates and off hubby and I went. It’s always a joy driving in Spain and leaving our mountainous olive-tree covered province of Jaen behind. Heading south-west the land flattens. Green fields, sunflowers and golden wheat plateaus flow into one another.

We touch on the Sierra Norte de Cadiz and head to Arcos de la Frontera one of Spain’s many beautiful villages, one of the ‘Pueblos Blancos’ the famous White Villages which straddle the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga.

Hacienda El Santiscal is not only the oldest Hacienda, dating from XV century, but also Spain’s longest running hotel. With this wealth of experience in a gorgeous historical building with lovely views this is a charming, really rural escape.

Enter the enormous, built for carriages, doorway to a typical square, traditional open Andalusian patio. Around the square there’s a restaurant, reception and bar, through to the back and a sparkling, round pool. With on-going views behind the pool and grassy lawn with sunloungers you instantly feel like relaxing on one.

See Hacienda El Santiscal on my Only Spain Boutique Hotels site.

Hammam Baths in Granada

The Al Andalus Hammam Baths in Granada are just off the famous River Darro with flags fluttering from the Alhambra tower above. Cross one of the ancient stone arched bridges and down a narrow back street the Hammam welcomes you to enter the hefty Moorish wooden door.

Al Andalus Hammam Baths Granada

Greeted by humidity and incense, candles and Moroccan decor you know the journey has begun. Welcomed, given a coloured band if you’re booked for a massage and protective plastic slip-ons to go over your footwear you enter the steamy, dimly-lit, senuous (but hot with street clothes on) changing rooms. Moorish horseshoe arches, candles, Nasri-style  decoration and beautiful tiles set the scene. Silence prevails. Relaxation and pampering begin here.

Hammam Baths, Granada

Head out into the baths and you’re shown the different bathing areas, one cold, one warm, two hot and the sauna. Take a shower in the massage area and you’re ready to float, relax, work your way through the different temperature baths, admire the lovely decor, inhale the incense and drift away to the soft and dreamy  Moorish music. The quietness, the ambient lighting and the romance means you will relax, except in the cold pool if you’re brave enough!

Hammam Baths, Granada

After several rounds of pools and sauna sessions, between hot mint tea which made you actually want to get into that cold pool, and having chosen between four different essential oils for our massage, we were summoned. I chose Lavender and hubby chose Pomegranate oil for ours.

Hammam Baths, Granada

Waiting briefly on a huge hot stone, too warm without a towel, I could have stayed there longer, our masseures beckoned us. Each in our own little cave-like cubby hole our chosen oil and our choice of back or legs or both and soft, medium or hard our Mimma massage began. After feeling clean and cleansed from bathing the massage was the cream on the cake. Pampered? Yes. Relaxed? Yes. Calm? Yes. Content? Yes. Revived? Yes.  Wanting to leave? NO!

I was a very contented guest of Hammam Al Andalus who have four Hammams in Spain in Cordoba, Granada, Madrid and Malaga.

Read some of my other posts about Granada

36 Hours in Granada

Taste of Granada Food Tour

Only Spain Boutique Hotels in Granada

Or my post about the Hammam Al Andalus in Malaga