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.

Miller’s of Frigiliana

Tanya Miller’s recently opened gorgeous ‘Home Away From Home’ hotel is tucked away in the narrow Moorish streets of an equally delightful town, hence its name Miller’s of Frigiliana.

Milller's of Frigiliana

Like Miller’s at the Anchor in Porlock Weir, another charmingly quaint spot and a huge part of my past, Miller’s of Frigiliana is tastefully and comfortably decorated with antiques, charm and style. Miller’s Antique Price Guide books fill gorgeous bookshelves and of course, while there a Miller’s Gin & Tonic is must.

Millers's of Frigiliana

The main door opens to a delightful reception area leading to one of its seven bedrooms, two of which are junior suites and perfect for families or rent out the entire house to sleep a maximum of 18 people.

Miller's of Frigiliana

Decorated throughout in a Spanish/Moorish style and completely in keeping with this pretty, picturesque, white hill town where the sun shines almost every day.

You can breakfast al fresco and chill on the roof terrace while in the hot Jacuzzi and inhaling the calming views. Life slows down in Frigiliana. Relax, wander and enjoy the laid back lifestyle while only a 7 minutes drive from the nearest beach.

Miller's of Frigiliana

It’s also on the edge of the Sierra Tejada and Almijara National Park, a wonderful wilderness for walking or mountain biking or if you fancy skiing then head to the Sierra Nevada only 90 minutes away.

Miller's of Frigiliana

If  being more active is your thing then golf, scuba diving, horse riding, quad biking, jeep tours or even Spanish lessons are all nearby.

Miller’s is also on our sister site Only Spain Boutique Hotels. See Miller’s of Frigiliana on Only Spain.

For more information  visit Miller’s of Frigiliana‘s website.

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.

Boutique Hotel-ing Road Trip in Spain

One of the many things I love about living in rural Andalucia is the quietness. Peaceful countryside, vast vistas and empty roads. Open roads, sweeping views, gorgeous scenery. Mountains, valleys, olive groves and swathes of sunflower fields. Each small white town, lies as if planted in nature and can be seen as a dot in the distance growing larger. Narrow streets, plants cascading from balconies and pots…….. Read More.

Empty Road, Road Trip Spain
Empty Road, Road Trip Spain

Cordoba – Lots to See and Do

At just over an hour from my home in Jaen province Cordoba is a frequent day trip and often an overnighter too. The Casco Historico I know pretty well, but not so the new sprawling town, which is where the train station is. If you’re heading to Cordoba by car there’s lots of on-street free parking on the other side of the bridge from the main monumental area.

Cordoba – Lots to See and Do

Crossing from this side makes a great start to a visit, walk across the Roman bridge that straddles the River Guadalquivir. Although called the ‘Roman bridge’ what we see today is mostly an Islamic re-construction built on the ruins of the 1st century Roman Bridge.

Hotel Viento 10, Cordoba

As you pass over the 9 metre wide 247 metre long bridge into historical Cordoba a first glimpse of the incredible Mezquita is in front you and the Royal Fortress or to give it its full name – Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos (Castle of the Christian Monarchs) to your left. Both are must visits. The Mezquita, an enormous Islamic Mosque has a huge orange-tree-filled courtyard with a minaret tower and an enormous prayer hall. If you can, go at the beginning or the end of the day to it’s appreciate its size and splendour in almost solitude and silence.

Visit the Alcazar fortress and palace with beautiful Moorish design gardens and a great many Roman mosaics recovered from the Plaza de la Corredera. Adjacent to the fortress in the Royal Stables where Andalusian horse shows are regular features. Do try and see one if you can, horse lover or not it’s an incredible display of human and animal interaction which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Hotel Viento 10, Cordoba

For garden lovers the Cordoba Patio or Courtyard Competition at the beginning of May, is a glorious riot of colours and great time to visit. Many private patios are open to the public for two weeks while the competition is on, some are open year- round and you can have a guided tour instead of trying to find them yourself with a map. The range, style, design and flowers of these, unique, patios are stunning, even my non-gardener, flower-ignorant hubby enjoyed it. Although I only took him once, each year would be pushing it! Some of these historical patios give a glimpse into the past, with tiny patios, wells, communal wash rooms it’s easy to imagine neighbours sitting out in the cool of the night singing and dancing flamenco. In recent years some of the patios have opened over Christmas and New Year too.

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One of my favourite spots for coffee, if the weather is fine, is the amazingly large Plaza de la Corredera. Some spots like this can only be seen on foot or possibly by Segway. I have done a Segway tour (great fun when you learn how to stop) and a sightseeing bus tour which we took when we just did not want to walk anymore! I recommend both but enjoyed the segway tour more as we went through the narrow streets (only just avoiding tourists) and saw interesting corners and buildings which we revisted on foot afterwards. It’s a great way of having an overview of the city and getting your bearings.

Segway Tour in Cordoba

Plaza de las Tendillas is another lovely old square, more commercial than Plaza Corredera with restaurants and not just bars, for another refreshment stop. If you like Spanish Tortilla then you’ll love the enormous ones made in a tiny little bar near the Mezquita – Bar Taberna Los Santos, famous for their tortillas made from 30 eggs and five kilos of potoatoes. Where to Eat near the Mezquita. Stop here for a tortilla tapa and a fino wine, if only to see the size of the Tortillas!

Another great eating place is the gastromarket Mercado Victoria in a lovely old forged metal structure dating from 1877. Around 30 stalls provide tapas and rations from Oysters to T-bone steaks. Buy your drinks from one stall and food from others. A lovely way to try lots of different dishes, meat for one, fish for another, and a lively fun atmosphere too. I prefer visiting at lunchtime as the evenings are for the younger crowd and much noisier.

Cordoba

One of my favourite visits is to the Palacio de Marquises de Viana or Viana Palace a gorgeous house/museum dating from the 14th century with, you guessed it, lovely patios! In fact there are twelve unique patios ranging from Roman and Arabic to Renaissance styles and the museum is really interesting too.

Heading Out of Town

Medina Azahara,Cordoba

About 6km to the west of Cordoba by Abd-ar-Rahman between 912- 961, a huge, costly and time consuming project. The restoration and Unesco site, Medina Azahara, are the ruins of an Arab palace, more like a city, buildings are ongoing but it’s an incredible eye-opener to the way and wealth of the times. The on-site museum holds many treasures discovered on site and is the first port of call, then you take the bus up to the ruined city. You can park at the museum, but can’t take cars up to the ruins, a bus runs constantly between the two. There are also buses that run from Cordoba city to the site several times a day, if you don’t fancy the drive.

Hotels I recommend in  Cordoba

With such a choice of hotel in Cordoba it’s difficult to know where to start, but I’ve got two great suggestions for you – Hotel Balcon de Cordoba and Hotel Viento 10 they are both on our sister site Only Spain ~Boutique Hotels and you’re sure to like one if not both of them.

If you have any questions about Cordoba that I can help you with don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the comments box below.

Parador Hotel Routes Around Spain

I expect you’ve heard of Parador hotels but did you know they also have suggested routes around Spain? There’s a huge range of itineraries taking in different Paradors throughout Spain mostly of three or seven nights but you can easily add more routes or just extra nights to your route or trip.

Santo Estevo Parador

My nearest one is the Parador de Santa Catalina in Jaen, a fabulous castle on a hill-style building with incredible views. Some Paradors are modern builds, others fabulous historical buildings.

Jaen Parador

Which route would you choose to go on? It’s hard I know and this isn’t all of them, but personally I’d choose the historical castles or monasteries which are not only gorgeous buildings but usually have beautiful far-reaching views too.

Chinchon Parador

Parador Hotel Routes

  • Palencia Mountains and Picos de Europa Route
  • Caceres, Monfragüe National Park and Jarandilla Route
  • Montserrat to the Aran Valley Route
  • Costa Blanca (White Coast) to Costa del Azahar (Blossom Coast) Route
  • Nasrid Route
  • Don Quixote Route
  • Gredos Natural Reserve and Monfragüe National Reserve Route
  • La Mancha wines and National Park of Las Tablas de Daimiel Route
  • St. Teresa Route
  • Almoravid and Almohad Route
  • Andalusi Legacy Route
  • Castle Route
  • Costa de la Luz Route
  • Galician Wine Route
  • Green Spain Route
  • Kingdom of Leon Route
  • Maestrazgo region Route
  • Mediterranean Route
  • Monastery Route
  • Mozarab Route
  • Portuguese St. James Way Route
  • Ribeira Sacra Route
  • Ribeira del Duero Wine Route
  • Pyranees Route
  • Rioja and Navarre Wine Route
  • Rueda and Toro Wine Route
  • Royal Sites Route
  • St. James Way Route
  • Southern Sun Route
  • El Cid Route
  •  Wine and Monastery Route

 

These routes were chosen to offer not only accommodation but activites in the surroundings too. What better way to visit Spain than having freedom to explore but a framework of what you should see in and around each town, city or Parador.

I would do them all if I had time, driving in Spain is easy, the roads, except in cities, quiet and there are always stunning views.

Top Ten Paradors

According to Trip Advisor the Top Ten Paradors in Spain are:

1. Parador de Santo Estevo, Ourense

2. Parador de Alcala de Henares, Madrid

3. Parador Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos, A Coruña

4. Parador de Cangas de Onis, Asturias

5. Parador de Plasencia, Caceres

6. Parador de Carmona, Seville

7. Parador de Oropesa, Toledo

8. Parador de Cadiz

9. Parador de Alcañiz, Teruel

10. Parador de Chinchon, Madrid

All photos are courtesy http://www.parador.es