A wooden door opens to the scent of rosemary and a hint of lavender and honeysuckle. Up the garden steps and all of a sudden, you feel you’re on top of the world.
You’re standing on a perfectly private terrace above a sleepy, whitewashed Andalusian village and the views of the Grazalema Mountains are fantastic. Behind you there is just the pine-forested hillside.
Next to you is a small but sexy infinity pool with the same views.
The main surprise comes when you open the front door: the interior of the villa, sculpted into the rock of the hill, is an immense space. It's clean and white, set off by colourful rugs and paintings.
It's all brightly illuminated by sunlight from the huge windows, draped in white curtains and somehow the furnishings seem dwarfed by the size of the room, which opens up and extends further in like a white cavern, decorated with the colours of ethnic art and artefacts.
It’s smart and ethereal at the same time, a smooth white floor reflecting natural light from an overhead skylight, which is semi-covered in summer to gently filter the Andalucia sun.
As you move further in, you come to a side room provided with a desk and iMac computer.
Opposite is an impressive rock feature from which plants grow here and there, quite at home in their interior garden.
French windows open to the terrace which is a marvellous, shaded place, set with with comfortable armchairs and a table to eat al fresco with mountain views of Grazalema.
Walkers may already be familiar with Grazalema Natural Park: it's great limestone rambling country with caves to explore and only a short drive away. Another Natural Park, the Sierra de las Nieves, doubles the interest for walkers. As for walking guides you couldn't be in a better place: the villa owner is the author of the very best local walking guide book and this, along with a wealth of additional information and maps, is provided here for your use.
The infinity swimming pool by the terrace is maintained year-round at this very warm, south-facing Ronda location, but not heated, so we would recommend swims no earlier than May or later than October. Having said which, when we were there in late October, the weather was still very warm.
Returning inside, the main room ends in a spacious kitchen with all mod cons and a dining area. A black slate floor here contrasts effectively with the airy white elsewhere.
Although this is a perfect hideaway for a couple, there are two double bedrooms, and plenty enough space and comfort for four people. Simply bear in mind that the Master bedroom is distinctly superior to the other, perfectly nice double room.
The Master bedroom is down some stairs from the main room and has a deep red backcloth depicting a Moroccan wedding. The mattress and linen are what you would expect of luxury accommodation and the window is set deliberately low so that you have a view of the Sierra de Grazalema from the bed itself. There’s netting on the window to deter any stray insect from disturbing you.
The rock garden feature is continued in the bedroom and even more so and to greater effect in the bathroom directly opposite. A large round tub is sunk into a massive rock in such a way as to give the impression of a hot tub in a natural mountain setting. It’s a big tub, designed for two to share, by candlelight perhaps.
The second bedroom is two floors away, reached up wooden steps from the living room. It enjoys the same fine view and can be made up double-bedded or twin-bedded to suit. Because of the distance from the Master bedroom and the nature of the steps, it is appropriate for older children or another couple.
There are plenty of opportunities for eating out both in Montecorto and nearby villages and we’ll send you our recommendations in a local guide as one of your holiday documents.
Ronda, one of Andalucia’s star cities, is just 20 minutes up the road. A stay here wouldn't be complete without seeing the gorge, the old bullring and other sights.
Seville, Jerez, Cadiz and Marbella are other intriguing day trip options.
Local activities run from horseriding and mountain biking to paragliding and canoeing in the nearby lake.
The Virgen del Carmen local fiestas in Montecorto normally take place around the 16th of July; if you stay at the property during those dates you will be able to enjoy plenty of events, music, dance and shows in the village, especially on Friday and Saturday.
Winter bookings are definitely suitable here and the house is well-heated, with air conditioning units switching to warm air blowers. There are also radiators, and a wood-burning stove in the living room.