Cortijo El Guarda – Alcalá del Valle
El Guarda is a gorgeous 500 year old Cortijo in a lovely rural setting with stunning far-reaching views, conveniently located close to the whitewashed villages of Alcala del Valle, Setenil and Olvera and within easy reach of one of Europe’s most beautiful historic towns, Ronda.
The history of the place dates back many centuries during which time it had several functions, for example being the gate-house to a huge neighbouring estate once owned by the bishop of Seville.
Between 2008 and 2011 the Cortijo was sympathetically and extensively restored, and modernized where needed, by excellent local artisans. Utilising reclaimed materials and with preserved antique features, combined with modern pieces of furniture and art, this tranquil retreat is a perfect example of an Andalusian ’finca’ – exuding true warmth and comfort, surrounded by the intoxicating peace of nature.
At the green and rolling heart of the Serrania de Ronda, where fighting bulls are reared and trained, Hans and Miranda have brought their Dutch mastery to a 500-year-old cortijo. Once part of the property of the Dukes of Alba, this former guardhouse is a blaze of alabaster walls and mellow terracotta roof tiles and through the archway everything radiates from the cobbled courtyard, the perfect spot (as is the terrace beyond the pool) for an al fresco breakfast of homemade breads, jams and fruit.
You can be as private as you like here and slip into the feeling of remoteness without actually being so, and the marvellous communal dining hall will always welcome you each morning beneath a chestnut-beamed ceiling.
After an excellent dinner in the village, retire to the library, admire the collection of Asian necklaces or cosy up to the log-burning estufa in winter; then retreat to luxuriously unfussy bedrooms.
Combining the best of modern Dutch with authentic Andaluz, each is artistically themed and the plump Colombian lady in Room 3 beneath the mirador will do her best to distract you from the ravishing views.