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.

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.

Luxurious Andalusian Hotels on Conde Nast List

I’m always looking up and visiting great hotels in Spain, they are my passion and the sole reason for starting my Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotel collection. It’s taking me a while and it’s not easy visiting gorgeous hotels but the portfolio is growing and most quickly in Andalusia the region of Spain in which I live.

Hotel Cortijo Bravo

When I stumbled upon the Spanish Conde Nast list El Lujo es un Cortijo – Luxury is a Cortijo (country house)  I was very happy that I knew about (but have not visited) most of them. The one new addition (Cortijo Los Malenos) to my  list of ‘lovely places to stay that I want to visit for Only Spain’ makes me wonder whether I’ll make it around the whole of Spain when Andalucia is so large and diverse. It’s a huge country to a Brit like me but one I delight in exploring.

Hotel Molino del Arco, Ronda, Jose Salto

How Conde Nast managed to limit their list to eleven  I don’t know but these ones are indeed gorgeous, luxury cortijos which are now small hotels or B&Bs.  I thought the list should be shared in English – if you’re looking for a great place to stay then this list won’t make your choice easy!

Luxurious Cortijo Hotels in Andalusia

Cortijo Carligto – Canillas del Aceituno, Malaga

Hotel Cortijo Bravo – Velez, Malaga

Molino del Arco – Ronda, Malaga

La Amunia – Monachil, Granada

Cortijo Los Malenos – Cabo de Gata, Almería

Finca Las Encinas – Iznajar, Cordoba

Finca La Guarda – Alcala del Valle, Cadiz

Molino Rio Alajar – Aracena, Huelva

Hacienda San Rafael – Cabezas de San Juan, Sevilla

Cortijo El Sarmiento – Mojacar, Almeria

Finca Cortesin – Casares, Malaga

The only part of this list I’m not happy about is that there is at least one hotel from every one of the eight provinces in Andalusia except my home province of  Jaen. How sad is that. I know Jaen doesn’t have the same amount of luxury properties as other more touristy  and famous areas but there are some special places here too! Check out Boutique Hotels in Jaen Province on Only Spain to see.

The only one on the list that is on Only Spain at the moment is Finca Las Encinas.

Finca de las Encinas

The source for this post was this article – Conde Nast Spain if you want to see the original post in Spanish.

To read other posts about Hotels in Spain here on Luxury Spain Travel have a look at the Review page.

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.

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.

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 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