We first visited this villa in late spring and were very pleasantly surprised. Less than an hour from Malaga Airport, yet how beautifully green and unspoilt it was, here in the Sierra de Las Nieves.
Looking out to this eastern range of the Ronda mountains, which turn golden later in the summer sun (it’s a very warm, sunny part of Andalucia), the villa is a quality property, the kind of place where swims in the pool are complemented very nicely by excellent barbecue facilities.
The villa is spacious, well-built and well-appointed. Plenty of attention has been paid to detail. It’s relatively modern in style but does retain natural warmth. Living areas are inviting as well as comfortable, decorated with good taste and stylish touches include some traditional features.
To the rear of the villa, separated by a patio and facing away, is a cottage where the caretaker lives. She lives courteously apart, professionally conscious of the importance of guests’ right to privacy, and there is no need for you to have any contact unless you wish and require anything.
The accommodation is almost entirely at ground level, although bedrooms are spread out somewhat.
One of the bedrooms is something of an oddity, being accessed up the rungs of a wooden ladder; we offer this gallery room for one (agile) person only, bringing the total capacity of the villa 11 people.
Rooms have thick curtains so that you’re not unnecessarily woken by the sun on your holiday, and ceiling fans (or standing fans, if required) keep you gently refreshed.
The living room and two main bedrooms also have air conditioning, but it’s not generally needed and charged as an extra (see Booking information).
The kitchen is designed and equipped for easy self-catering. It’s very neat and practical.
The open plan kitchen and dining areas allow you to both cook and dine indoors with views of the beautifully rugged mountain scenery.
A breakfast area for six people by the kitchen is the modest alternative to the main dining table for twelve in the long conservatory overlooking pool and grounds.
There are two indoor sitting areas, also.
The main living room has leather sofas to seat 9 people.
The other sitting area is in the conservatory. This runs along the front of the villa, with french windows that slide open to the views. We very much liked the way this conservatory room with its comfortable, chunky seating can be opened to the vibrant nature outdoors, allowing you to relax in contact with the natural surroundings.
A clear, cloudless sky is the norm at this Ronda mountains location in the Malaga interior. Sunny days and the warm climate are an open invitation to spend more time out-of-doors than inside.
The the water temperature of the pool is raised by a solar heating system. As long as the sun shines, swims may be possible in early spring and well into autumn.
The poolside is attractively finished with paving and river pebbles.
Like the rest of the villa, the pool is completely private and not overlooked. The caretaker comes to tend the pool in the early morning, only to disappear again. If you knock on her door or phone her, she is happy to help with information or provide additional services such as babysitting or cooking (she can also arrange a professional cook on your behalf), otherwise you are completely on your own here.
Outdoor areas are designed for enjoyment and relaxation.
The barbecue area is one of the most complete we’ve seen at an Andalucia villa. In addition to a large double grill, there’s a paella pan that works on gas, a normal gas cooker and a sink. The entire barbecue corner, which is right by the swimming pool, is shaded with local cane and there are two sitting areas.
You can also sit or lie out under the shaded porch on the broad pool terrace, or under olive trees. There’s no lawn, but roses and other flowering plants give colour and life to the terrace areas.
The views of the Sierra de las Nieves are positively uplifting. These Ronda mountains are popular for walking, birdwatching amd horseriding. The surroundings of the villa itself are very natural and the landscapes always interesting, whatever the time of year. As we approached the villa, driving past the village of Casarabonela, we understood why the Sierra has been declared as Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. There is a healthy balance here between farming, village life and nature.
A few minutes’ drive brings you to a mountain pass where a summer bar-restaurant offers meals and refreshments in a pretty rocky landscape by the woods.
From El Burgo village you can delve further into the mountains for walks among the Mediterranean woodlands.
It’s the same distance to three villages: El Burgo, Casarabonela and Ardales, at all of which you can eat out at well-priced, uncomplicated Spanish restaurants. Continue from Ardale and you’ll come to a lake where you can swim or hire pedal boats and rowing boats.
At Ardales campsite on the river bank you can dine inexpensively at a restaurant terrace with a view of the lake.
Continue another 10 minutes and you’re at Gaitanes and the dramatic gorge of El Chorro. A very special attraction here for the more adventurous is the Caminito del Rey. Once dubbed the most dangerous walkway in the world, and apparently clinging improbably to the cliff at a great height, it has been completely repaired and made safe for visitors and is open for the 2015 season.
For a more placid, seaside experience, Torremolinos is an hour away.
Generally speaking, we’d recommend this holiday property to a family who want to have a villa-based holiday in rural Andalucia enjoying significant comfort, a good swimming pool, barbecue, unspoilt views and dramatic scenery.
The only disadvantage would be for people with reduced mobility as the pool area is down steps from the main accommodation.
We couldn’t find any hazards and consider the villa to be suitable for young children, simply bearing in mind that the pool is not gated. Access to the pool can be restricted by locking the conservatory door, however, and the pool terrace is fenced round for safety.
Children will be quite at home here and enjoy playing ping-pong or badminton on the rear patio.
Catering is available at this villa.