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.

Small, Luxury Hotel in Rural Spain

There’s Malaga city and Malaga province, so when booking a small, luxury hotel in rural Malaga you can be sure it’s not in the city.  But only 35 minutes or so drive from the airport into rural countryside, mountains and olive groves you’ll find an enchanting small, luxurious, owner- run hotel that you might just want to stay in forever.

Boutique Hotel Cortijo Sabila Malaga

Hubby and I visited on a rather wild and windy February weekend. We loved the location, decor, roaring log fire, dinner and Airedale dogs. Our trip was to check out the lovely-looking Cortijo Sabila for addition to our Only Spain ~ Boutique  Hotel portfolio of gorgeous little places to stay in our adopted homeland of Spain.

How did we find it? After a little detour, I was driving hubby map reading (or phone reading) without glasses and not being able to check signs, follow the map and communicate with me at the same time (know this one ladies?) we missed it the first time around. But no worries, we got there, approached the rather grand entrance rang the bell and open sesame the gates withdrew. We entered the grounds and gardens of Cortijo Sabila and found it very much to our liking.

Boutique Hotel, Malaga

The day, a little dismal, was brightened by our new furry-friend-doormen who ushered us to the gorgeous wooden door (if you read my Andalucia Explorer blog you’ll know I love wood) which was opened, and we were welcomed, by  the friendly owner and our host Yvonne.

Hotel Cortijo Sabila, Malaga

After seeing several of the lovely, uniquely decorated and laid out rooms we chose the upstairs room with cute terrace and windows on two sides. Brimming with lovely furnishings, tons of details and unique antiques we grabbed our cameras and took lots of photos before our bags were unpacked and things generally became less photogenic.

Boutique Hotel Cortijo Sabila, Villanueva del Rosario, Malaga

The plush purple towels and lovely large wet-room bathroom with his n’hers sink and again lots of lovely touches including big refillable toiletries which the recycling-green-me loves to see and avoids the necessity of taking home semi-used small ones.

See small, luxury Cortijo Sabila on Only Spain Boutique Hotels.

Book Cortijo Sabila on Booking.com (and give me a small comission to keep  writing, exploring and checking out great hotels)

Disclaimer: As the weather wasn’t good and our trip was in February some of photos are  ours and some (it’s obvious which)  the courtesy of our hosts Yvonne and Ray and are on their Cortijo Sabila website.

Private, Gorgeous, Rustic and Romantic Holiday Home

If you are looking for a private and gorgeous rustic holiday home this is the place for you. Just three minutes walk to the nearest small, white Spanish village and only fifteen minutes from lovely beaches, this historical house oozes peace, calm and charm.

La Huerta del Angel

Privacy abounds at La Huerta del Angel which translates as the Orchard of the Angel. You can wander through the avocado orchard and, if ripe, pick your own avocados. This 250-year old Spanish cortijo is rustic, rural and absolutely charming.

Celebrate a family holiday or get together or just as a couple you’re sure to relax and enjoy the peace, quiet and history of this beautiful vacation rental. You’ll instantly feel at home in this house which oozes character.

La Huerta del Angel

Have a bbq on a huge plant-surrounded terrace, take a dip in the pool and enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful countryside. It’s great for walking and cycling, chilling out or exploring this lovely corner of southern Spain and the history and gastronomy of the area.

There are five pretty bedrooms, some with their own fireplace, old wooden roof beams and lots of delicious details, the house can sleep 8 – 10 people.

La Huerta del Angel

Great decoration and attention to details reach every nook and cranny from the 3 bathrooms to the rustic kitchen.  If you like away-from-it-all that is exactly what you get. Away from boring, modern villas, noisy beach fronts to clean country air and idyllic peace.

To see more visit their website La Huerta del Angel.

Historic Castle Hotel in Malaga

Overlooking the Mediterranean sea and city of Malaga the Hotel Santa Catalina has the best view of the city and it’s only a brief taxi ride or short walk down the Malaga’s port, shopping and old town.

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina

Sitting on the hill Santa Catalina in the El Limonar part of town the Santa Catalina castle began life by order of King Felipe IV in 1624 as the ultimate viewpoint to keep watch for invaders.

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina

For a long time the unused castle fell into disrepair and was abandoned, later an Arab-style gentleman’s residence was built on the spot, retaining the castle ruins which lend a romantic feel to the now hotel grounds with over 3,500 metres of gardens and terraces.

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina

After being declared a listed building the hotel has without a doubt the best views of Malaga. History, romance, best views and gorgeous well-preserved mansion make this a wonderful setting for a visit to the Costa del Sol and a great location for a wedding.

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina

My passion is antique Spanish tiles and they were in abundance in this lovely historic castle hotel to which I’d happily return.

I stayed earlier this year with my hubby on an elongated airport pick-up-family trip, which was funded by ourselves. All the photos @Hotel Castillo de Malaga

El Palacio de San Benito

El Palacio de San Benito

The Palacio de San Benito is a quirky, antique-filled place to stay. In the small mountain town of Cazalla de la Sierra about an hours drive from Seville airport through lovely, quiet country roads and scenery reminiscent of the English countryside but with bright blue sky.

El Palacio de San Benito, Cazalla, Sevilla

A private home and converted palace/church make a palatial and welcoming retreat. It’s museum-like decor and time-warped bedrooms bring on thoughts of Pride and Prejudice, lace and crinolines, I didn’t want to leave.

Stay for a night as in a hotel, come for a special meal or family celebration or rent the entire property for your use complete with staff for a private ceremony or family get together.

El Palacio de San Benito, Cazalla, Sevilla

Once you walk through the ancient wooden door and see the gorgeous arched and plant filled patio with trickling fountains, architectural features and lovely old ceramic tiles you’ll be sold. You’ll want to sit and relax. Be drawn into the peace it oozes and shut out the world of today.

 

Charm, style and oodles of character make this just up my street. Dark wooden beams, hefty, cushion-filled sofas and my own tiny patio with its own water feature. I could have moved in or at least stayed long enough to relax and read some of the book collection in the amazing library complete with hand painted ceiling beams.

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My room for the night was Del Infante, the baby’s or child’s room, with four-poster bed festooned with bright chintz and a cot to match. Needless to say I  didn’t need the cot and haven’t needed one for nearly twenty years and actually it’s adults-only, adding to its peace and quiet.

 

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Comfortable on the sofa I perused some interesting sale and antique magazines before taking a spot of air on my small private patio.

El Palacio de San Benito

Part of the original church, now a fabulous dining room with hand-painted walls, hosts dinner parties and private functions in very elegant style.

El Palacio de San Benito

The Palacio de San Benito is a unique stay. Gorgeous, eccentric and definitely worth putting on your list.

 

Read my post about the Bib Gourmand Restaurante San Agustin in Cazalla de la Sierra where we ate while staying at San Benito.

Two Great Castle Hotels in Spain

These two lovely castle hotels are in Malaga province, Andalucia one overlooking Malaga town and port with the Mediterranean Sea as its backdrop. The other in the mountain town of  Monda not far inland from the coast of Marbella.

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina

Wind up from the coast, through a now residential area, and you’ll discover this old summer palace/mansion built on the site of a castle with some romantic ruins within the grounds.

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina, Malaga

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina was built by King Phillip IV in 1624 as part of the city’s defences but it didn’t survive long and by the early 20th century the fortress was in ruins. Manuel Loring, Count of Mieres and local of Malaga  had a summer residence built next to it to catch those cooling sea breezes in the heat of July and August.

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina, Malaga

French architects Levard and Lahalle designed the neo-Arabian style palace which now sits overlooking the bay of Malaga. It was named Castillo de Santa Catalina and is now a 4* star hotel maintaining many original aspects, now shabby-chic decor and of course those fabulous views from its heyday.

With only eight rooms you really do feel like the king of the castle here, we barely saw another guest on our stay.

Hotel Castillo de Monda

Climb up from the coast into the mountains and you’ll find lots of small towns but the most impressive is the town of Monda with its castle atop and town almost surrounding it. The castle with its origins in the IX century was conquered by the Catholic Kings and ordered to be pulled down in 1485 but it wasn’t until an uprising in 1568 that it was practically raised to the ground.

Hotel Castillo de Monda, Malaga

These days there is very  little of the original structure to be seen but the Castle today was designed in a traditional style. The hotel entrance is accessed by a high entry gate and pretty patio, all 25 rooms have lovely views and the salt pool, bar and restaurant on the top floor even better ones.

Hotel Castillo de Monda, Malaga

This is a privately managed hotel and offers relaxation, spa treatments, we had the salt pool to ourselves and it has a very good restaurant so there’s no need to leave your castle at all.

 

Read my review of Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina

See Hotel Castillo de Monda on my Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels site

 

 

 

Two Fabulous, Small, Owner-run, Adult-only, Foodie Hotels

This year I’ve gallivanted around Spain again, covering lots of kilometres, new and interesting places and staying in some really great Boutique Hotels for OnlySpain. Here I’m going to share two  very lovely, small, owner-run hotels that  also cook and serve great food and don’t allow young children.

One at a beach destination but not on the beach and the other a rural mountain village hotel – both are fabulous. Enjoy.

Hotel La Gastrocasa

Gandia is a beach town in the Valencia region on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, not a spot you’d think of for a quiet escape. Hotel La Gastrocasa offers just that, away from the hubble and bubble of the beach but only five minutes or so by free-to-use hotel bike. In a sleepy urbanisation this once family villa is now a gorgeous 5-bedroom adult-only hotel.

Hotel La  Gastrocasa

Hubby and I stayed two nights and couldn’t fault a thing. The service, by the family, the food and presentation, by the family, the individually decorated rooms (yes, I got to see them all) and the fabulous breakfast spread.

Hotel La Gastocasa Breakfast

For a real country-feel escape yet on the coast  with the beach nearby then this charming hotel is for you.

Read more about Hotel La Gastrocasa.

Hotel Los Castaños

Cartijima, a small, white village in the huge mountain range Serrania de Ronda is home to the lovely Hotel Los Castaños. A quiet, sleepy town providing the perfect setting for a step-back in time, relaxing stay.

Hotel Los Castanos

Hotel Los Castaños with only six rooms provides an escape, a base for walking, great hosts and home-cooked food, you’ll feel as if you’re staying with friends, perfectly relaxed and at home-comfortable.

Hotel Los Castanos

Huge rolling mountain views from some rooms and the pretty  roof terrace are to die for, it is impossible to see those views and not take a deep breath of calming satisfaction. Our one-night stay was just spot on, had we stayed longer I, who cannot draw or paint, would have had a go, with the provided artist materials, to capture those enormous views.

Read more about Hotel Los Castaños.

See my post featuring Hotel Los Castaños Hotel Breakfasts are Very Important