Andalusian getaways and retreats

August 3rd, 2020

The enticing Andalusian interior, land of natural beauty and cultural fascination, beckons just beyond the coastal mountain ranges. Now, more than ever, this region of endless vistas, ancient agricultural traditions, fine food and open spaces appeals to those confined in urban spaces.

AndalucĂ­a is a land of rocky peaks, wooded hills and green valleys, where rivers cascade through the landscape creating natural rock pools and marshy breeding grounds for thousands of visiting birds. It is a land of lakes, deserts, forests, pastures and seas of wheat, vineyards, olive groves and orchards. AndalucĂ­a is rich in nature and manmade heritage, and when the two come together it creates an intoxicating mix of ingredients that memories are made of. In other words, venturing into the hinterland beyond the mountain ranges of the Costa del Sol opens up a world of unforgettable getaways and retreats that rank among the most romantic gems in all of Europe. Here is a sample of some of the finest.

Hotel Hacienda San Rafael, Jerez-Sevilla
Once a classic olive-growing estate, this iconic example of Andalusian culture has been meticulously restored and converted into not so much a hotel, as a privately-owned retreat in the rolling countryside between Sevilla and Jerez de la Frontera. This is a land of ancient agricultural traditions where the nearby Guadalquivir River saw Roman barges carry produce to the far ends of the empire.

This location, so private and intimate but surrounded by countryside, farmland and Andalusian villages, is an ideal point from which to explore the region, from its beaches and mountain ranges to the nearby natural wetland reserve of Doñana, one of the largest in Europe. But you’ll struggle to leave, for this is a spot so beautiful you’ll want to linger and enjoy the tastefully styled accommodation, the stylishly authentic décor, gorgeously prepared meals enjoyed in inspiring outdoor setting, and the amenities that make this a personal resort.

Seven acres of cared-for gardens combine with intimate terraces and swimming pools, deluxe rooms and casitas, as well as a restaurant and wine cellar to indulge in. All the modern comforts are of course in place, but here you will reconnect with peace, refinement and the finest elements of AndalucĂ­a. The retreat caters to romantic getaways and groups, as well as offering an unforgettable spot for a wedding, complete with airport collection, massage, yoga and personalised activities and excursions such river cruises and balloon rides. The ultimate Andalusian experience.
www.haciendadesanrafael.com

A private mountain retreat in Ronda
Set in the gorgeous green countryside near Ronda, this five-star getaway offers the luxury and service of a resort hotel combined with the privacy of a personal villa. Like a landed estate, it stands in the midst of a gorgeous valley, surrounded by imposing mountain peaks and views of the verdant landscape of what has become one of the exciting new winegrowing regions of Spain – at less than an hour from Marbella yet far removed, in a world of natural beauty and tranquillity.

It is here that the Ronda Mountain Resort caters to select private groups with luxurious accommodation in the main villa and private casita. The personal service offers a sense of one-to-one concierge in a country retreat environment where the facilities are at your disposal and the range of activities and excursions tailor-made. From fine dining to guided tours, helicopter service and group events, it’s a touch of paradise right on our doorstep.

www.rondamountainresort.com

El Carligto, Málaga Hills
In the hills beyond Málaga there is a private domain that sprawls elegantly across a manicured country garden. The terraces and open air dining areas are intimate and inviting, the lawns and pool decks appear to spill out into a valley full of views, while the lush surrounding greenery provides a sense of privacy from which to survey the mountain ranges and deep blue skies. This is pure Andalucía, from the white-plastered walls of the estate and vines overhanging perfect vantage points to the setting, climate and abundance of fine food.

Just a short distance from Málaga and Marbella, El Carligto offers the authentic ambience of a hunting lodge close to lakes, hiking trails, forests and white mountain villages. It’s popular with wedding parties, family groups and romantic couples, offering the best of rustic delights in a valley of flowers and fragrant herbs. For small and larger groups alike, it offers the kind of spot in which to truly connect with Andalucía.
www.carligto.com

Hotel La Bobadilla
This almost legendary luxury hotel with the feeling of a large country estate ranks among the best resorts in AndalucĂ­a. A little over an hour from Marbella, in the direction of Granada, it occupies an entire valley near the little town of Loja. It has famously welcomed celebrities and royalty, including guests such as Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and indeed, you do feel rather special as you follow the long driveway to the impressive forecourt, or better still, land at the private heliport.

The classic white-plastered hotel with Mediterranean lines looks and feels like a rustic palace inside and out, surrounded by flowing Andalusian terrain but offering the latest in cuisine, luxury and amenities. This includes a dreamy spa where the health and beauty treatments set the tone for fine dining, luxurious suites and a very long list of possible activities tailored to your personal taste. These can range from horse riding and quad biking through the lovely surroundings to visiting nearby sites, lazing by the pool or mountaineering.

Wedding parties come all the way from Japan to enjoy the facilities, service and the private chapel, but this exquisite retreat is also used for conferences and other events. However, it remains best suited as one of the ultimate country retreats in Andalucía, with service and restaurants in keeping with its standing as a reference point of refinement between Málaga and Granada.
www.barcelo.com/en-ww/la-bobadilla-a-royal-hideaway-hotel

Casa Olea, CĂłrdoba
Venture a little further into the Andalusian countryside, a little over two hours’ drive from Marbella, and you enter undulating scenery where a sea of olive groves extends beyond the horizon flanked by wooded hills. Once popular with game hunters, it is now a natural paradise within a short distance of the historic city of Córdoba. A working farm, Casa Olea provides the Boutique B&B experience in the midst of natural, rural Andalucía, where gentle sophistication meets the great outdoors.

Peace and open spaces rule, along with unadulterated relaxation or high-octane mountain biking, hiking or related activities. The food, so lovingly prepared, tastes better than you seem to remember possible, as you enjoy pure, fresh produce in a convivial outdoor setting. For those who wish to recharge their batteries – be it languidly or actively – this wonderful getaway in olive country is the real thing.
www.casaolea.com

Casa La Siesta, Vejer de la Frontera
Tastefully restored and made into an inland resort not far from the Atlantic beaches of the Costa de La Luz, Casa La Siesta finds itself in the beautiful wooded environs of Vejer de la Frontera, a white mountain village just beyond the wetlands near the coastal village of Zahara de los Atunes, famous for its tuna. The finest Japanese restaurants send their chefs here to buy some of the very best blue tuna available anywhere in the world, and it shows in the cuisine available at the retreat.

Stylish, relaxed and exuding that effortless sense of refinement, Casa La Siesta is both sophisticated and natural. For romantic couples, groups, events and weddings, it’s a spot that offers space, tranquillity, service, fine amenities and beautiful surroundings – celebrating the best in Andalucía’s natural and cultural environment, cuisine and service while providing the ultimate getaway experience right on your doorstep.
www.casalasiesta.com

First published in Essential Magazine
Photograph: Courtesy of: Hotel Hacienda San Rafael, Ronda Mountain Resort, El Carligto, Barcelo Hotels, Casa Olea and Casa La Siesta

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