Combining traditional décor and style with full holiday amenities, here we have genuine Andalucia at its most satisfying.
The location is excellent: all on its own within Montes de Malaga Natural Park, where the hilltop setting grants 360⁰ views of Mediterranean forest and the mountains of El Torcal.
The villa is set in a huge private estate of hills and caves that children will love to explore.
Top on our list of ticked boxes: the villa is beautifully fitted out and comfortably furnished in traditional farmhouse style. Bedrooms are spacious, beds are king or queen-size and linen is quality cotton. All bedrooms have a bathroom, four of them en suite.
Kitchen facilities are very complete too.
We say "villa" in the singular, although if there are more than six people, you get an additional property alongside the main villa. You are guaranteed complete privacy whether you take one house or both, as they are never rented separately to different parties.
The main farmhouse (with 3 bedrooms) can be rented on its own (except in High Season when the property is offered as a whole), and then the other house remains closed and unoccupied.
Or the adjoining casita (with 2 bedrooms) can be added to the main farmhouse to sleep up to 10 people. This casita is not rented separately: it's simply a continuation of the villa accommodation.
When the two houses are combined, there is dining room for 9 adults to eat together either inside or out on the terrace. The main house has enough plates, glasses and cutlery for everyone (you might simply need to bring a chair from the other house).
The casita also has its own fully equipped kitchen for independent dining and if you don't feel like cooking one day, catering is available from a good local cook.
For a completely leisurely holiday, groceries can be shopped for you prior to arrival, and during your stay a maid cleaning service can be arranged on request.
Next on our list of likes is the swimming pool. It's gated in case you come with young children and it has a broad sun terrace with lovely views of Axarquia countryside. There's a pool shower and sunbeds are provided. On a clear day, you can make out the snowy peaks of Sierra Nevada from here.
The converted property was once was a respectable 18th century Axarquia winery and you will find the large old earthenware wine vessels incorporated into the design. Thick stone walls keep the interiors fresh even at the height of the Andalucian summer. It must have been a wonderful place to work, pressing the well-sunned local grapes into the typically sweet Malaga wines and sherries in this blissfully peaceful natural setting.
Terraces on either end of the villa provide all-round enjoyment of the gentle hills of protected the Natural Parklands. The hillside reaches down to the Guadalmedina river.
Two rare local features stand out here to make this place very special.
One is the virgin Mediterranean forest, which contains all the major autochthonous varieties of tree and plant, notably the wild olive. There are no pathways, no cleared picnic spots, just wild woodlands, home to rabbit, mongoose, hedgehog and a wealth of birdlife.
Ornithologists may spot up to 40 species in the spring, and others in the autumn and winter.
The other feature is the series of caves, or to be correct, hollows and shelters carved by wind action over the millennia, to be found within the boundaries of your villa’s private estate. Daubed on the walls in red pigment are Bronze Age figures, both zoomorphic and schematic.
Although catalogued and partly conceded into the trust of the Andalucia authorities, the caves are to all extents and purposes private to the villa. The owner is not of a mind to fence off the boundless acres of the hillside that go with the property, so an occasional walker with enough curiosity might make their way to the caves, but generally speaking they are pretty much all yours.
Local Casabermeja (population 3,500), founded itself in the Bronze Age, is these days a small, quiet Andalusian town. Here you can eat out at restaurants that specialize in fish, grilled steak or traditional stews. Outside at the villa, there’s an unusual, wood-fired Moorish oven which guests may try out if they wish. It’s quite an art, so a little impractical, but they say that roasts come out exquisitely delicious. This oven is, of course, supplementary to normal kitchen facilities.
The track to the villa is not too long at 2 km, making it just 15 minutes from good restaurants in Casabermeja and an easy drive from Malaga beaches and airport.
A leisurely drive will take you to fascinating El Torcal for well-marked paths through the magical rock formations (an interesting spot for a picnic), and to beaches of the Costa del Sol for sea and sand.