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.

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

If you’re heading to Barcelona and want a trip to remember having a tailor-made tour professionally planned by long-term locals who will help you with every step of your holiday is the key to an incredible experience.

Gran Reserva

Whether you want to visit a winery and sample some cava, enjoy a day playing golf or wander around visiting the best culture and monuments all combined with sampling the great gastronomy that Barcelona offers then Barcelona Inside and Out can help create your bespoke holiday.

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Wine is an essential element of many of their holidays and visitors love to discover the stories behind the wines and just how good Catalonia’s wines are getting these days.
As all their holidays are tailor-made they can include a wine tour  wherever guests are planning to go, although the DO’s they work with  mainly are in Catalonia are Penedes, Priorat and Bages.

Winery Tour Catalunya, Spain
Wine tours can be part of a holiday touring Catalonia or a day tour from Barcelona. The Penedes is a 45 minute drive from the city, while the Priorat is 1hr 40mins and is only really a day option for those who already know the regions’ wines and want to go for a particular reason.

Spanish Catalonia Winery

In the Penedes they work with the very well regarded Llopart winery. Llopart’s vineyards have a special position on the hills above San Sadurni with wonderful views of Montserrat. The effect of the extra altitude on the Maccabeu, Xarello, Parellada and Chardonay grapes is said to give Llopart’s cavas their especially well balanced and rounded character.

Visitors to Llopart are given a complete tour of the installations and vineyards. Followed, of course, by a comprehensive tasting of different varieties of their cavas.

Llopart Cava Winery

There is also the option of cycling through the vineyards on electric bikes provided by the winery and having a delicious homemade picnic lunch, full of good, traditional Catalan fayre and served in individual picnic baskets at the outdoor tables dotted around the vineyard. Alternatively guests are taken to a nearby Catalan masia for a more substantial, great local lunch – whatever you want, they will organise it for you.

Spanish Winery Picnic

If you prefer, you can visit a smaller winery, such as Cava Guillera or Albet i Noya, to provide a contrast. Here you will discover the processes on a more human scale and also some of the regions’ award winning reds and whites, which show how the Penedes is evolving and becoming well known for its wines as well as its cavas.

Hot Air Balloon Flights, Barcelona

Beach days, skiing, seeing Catalonia’s human castles or Barcelona from the air, whatevery you want to include in your holiday plans Barcelona Inside & Out will individually craft your holiday or your tour.

 

Where to stay in Barcelona?

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

Spanish Golf Courses Designed by Severiano Ballesteros

Alhaurin Golf, Spain
Alhaurin Golf, Spain

I’m probably showing my age here but when I was young my dad loved golf and played frequently. Severiano Ballesteros or Seve as he was usually called was a big name in world golf and I enjoyed watching him on TV when a big tournament was on.

Alicante Golf
Alicante Golf

As a child my dad took my brother and I on crazy golf and pitch and putt courses, the odd 9- hole one too, but I never had time or chance to learn properly or play on an 18-hole golf course. I’d love to one day. So when musing over which Spanish golf courses to write about, as there are so many, the Spanish Golf Courses designed by Severiano Ballesteros came to mind.

Los Arqueros Golf
Los Arqueros Golf

Here are  some of Spanish  courses by Severiano, he would probably have gone on to design many more had he not died at only 54 years old.

Real Novi Sancti Petri Golf
Real Novi Sancti Petri Golf

Severiano Ballesteros Designed Golf Courses in Spain

Alhaurin Golf Resort, Malaga

Alicante Golf Club, Costa Blanca

Los Arqueros  Golf & Country Club, Malaga

Real Novo Sancti Petri Golf Club, Cadiz

Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort, Valencia

Oliva Nova Golf
Oliva Nova Golf

As you can see some of the best golf courses in the most fabulous surroundings and designed my favourite player.

All photos @ each golf club.

Best Spa Hotels of the World in Spain

The collection of Best Spa Hotels of the World has two fabulous hotels in Spain, let’s take a peek at behind their doors to see why they are part of this great portfolio.

Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Spa

With forty  rooms and villas Hacienda Zorita on the edge of the famous university town of Salamanca and the impressive River Duero has lovely views. Once a Domincan monastery, its contemporary interior design compliments the solid 700 year-old structure and its long history of hospitality together with today’s modern amenities provides a graceful and elegant yet peaceful and comtemplative escape.

Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Spa

Hacienda Zorita  was brought back to life, after a long slow decline, as the home of Marques de la Concordia family of wines and now restored to its former glory with modern installations it’s now owned by The Hacienda’s Company, and is part of Small Luxury Hotels collection.

See Hotel Zorita on Best Spa HotelsHotel Zorita on Best Spa Hotels

 

Hotel Peralada Wine Hotel & Golf

Fifteen minutes from the Costa  Brava coast and in the middle of a golf course the 56 rooms offer fabulous views in peaceful surroundings. The innovative spa offers a wide range of treatments many of which are grape/wine based. What about a grape oil massage or a four-hand massage?

Hotel Peralada Wine & Golf

An ideal away break for golf lover and spa lovers, sharing both experiences or each to their own.

See Hotel Peralada on Best Spa Hotels 

Off-roading 4×4 Land Rovers on the Andalucia Mountain Tracks

Andalucia is a huge mountainous region. One sierra or mountain range rolls into another across the south of Spain meaning a huge network of tracks and dry river beds ideal for mountain biking, quads or 4×4 off roading.

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I’ve often explored rugged tracks around where I live in my estate car, which is not ideal, so when the opportunity of driving a 4×4 Land Rover defender around the sierras in Granada came my way I happily jumped in behind the wheel. Actually I didn’t jump, they are higher than I thought.

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Three of us were in one Land Rover and we were six vehicles in all. Stage one was the easier bit, partly  road and mostly dry river beds with jutting out tree trunks, large stones and at times slippy wet puddles. I chose to drive first, each stage being about an hour so doing as told and keeping both hands firmly on the steering wheel with thumbs on the outside (in case of jarring) off we went. What fun!

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We stopped for photo calls and driver swaps as the river bed terrain changed and the driving a bit more skilful with the need of a lower gear ratio and careful manoeuvring.

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The river beds became open countryside with stunning surreal landscapes, steep climbs and hairpin bends on the pine-covered mountain slopes.

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Now the back-seat driver I could enjoy the scenery  more and relax between jolts.

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After winding and climbing with no other sign of life around we reached the Vereda de Chirlata, a spot of Natural Interest and at midday a lot of heat  haze too! But what incredible far-reaching landscapes, disappearing into the horizon with no sign of life or habitiation.

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We then wound down to civilisation again, leaving the wild, stunning mountain views behind, an experience not to be forgotten with wishes to repeat it in spring or autumn.

Many thanks to my co-drivers Abi and Jesu,  TurGranada the official tourist board for the GXPerience blog trip especially Raul also known as MisterBackstage for his humour, joie de vivre, planning skills and lack of sleep, Garnata Tours who provide many different types of activities and tours around Granada province  and Sports Adventures who own the Land Rovers and plan vespa, quad, Land Rover, car treks and rallies in Spain and Northern Africa.

 

 

Hot Air Balloon Flight over Granada

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Without even realising  we were airborne. Floating gently, the distance between us and the ground growing. The views over the town of Guadix, 60 km from Granada city, revealing its beauty, calmly we drift upwards. In tandem with a smaller balloon we are at times above it, then below with no sensation of rising or falling – just a steady calm, barely noticeable movement.

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This is the land of cave houses, stunning scenery and mountain ranges. The cathedral captures my eye, a merge of Renaissance and Baroque style, with clay ridges behind and in the distance the mighty mountain range of the Sierra Nevada with glints of white snow still visible at the end of June.

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Higher we go, 360 degree views of uninterrupted beauty. The silence is calming then the flare of the flame a noisy blast and serenity resumes. I could live up here, peacefully drifting the skies, looking down on the hustle and bustle of the city below and the immense expanse of nature far greater than that of civilisation. Never for a moment feeling scared or unsafe.

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And those views go on forever, oh to keep on flying.

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Where to stay in the province of Granada – Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels in Granada

My balloon flight experience  was thanks to GloventoSur and part of the GRXperience blogtrip run by Granada Tourist Board. A big thank you to both. Would I go again? Oh yes. I want to fly over the Alhambra in Granada city and over Ronda and the stunning mountains around it.

All photos are mine except the one with me in the basket! – copyright deMiku

See my Offroading in a 4×4 Land Rover post from the same trip.