Old Friends and New Additions

I always find this time a year a little sad. We’re now into the last fortnight of August, the weather is starting to cool just a bit, especially in the evenings which is bringing to an end the long lazy evenings outside as Autumn will soon be upon us, pools will be closed up and generally life will pick up to a strolling pace again.

If you know Andalucia, the heat it gets and the manaña attitude, because of the heat, you will know how difficult it is to get anything done when it seems like everyone is on holiday. Businesses and shops close and frustration reigns if you’re trying to progress as normal.

Our travelling has been very limited lately with one thing or another so I’m very happy to be off next weekend to check out a gorgeous looking establishment not too far from home. It’s always a joy for me to be able to add boutique hotels and B&Bs in my own province. But saying that I can get to Malaga airport in 2 hours ten minutes – practically every trip takes that long. No long queues of traffic here. Having recently been back in England and driving there I found it horrible and quite stressful, it is not the case here in inland Andalucia. Driving is a joy, many empty roads, very little traffic and always fabulous views.

So watch out for our lovely new addition an check our the gorgeous Finca la Fronda because it is almost one year to the day when we first visited this beautiful rural Casa Rural.

As always if you want to recommend a hotel to us please do or if you want us to check one out for you again just get in touch with me via our Contact Us page.

Spanish Boutique Hotels Articles

As a promoter of lovely boutique hotels in Spain one of my greatest joys is heading off to discover another Spanish hotel or B&B. I always do my homework first to try and make sure they fit into the guidelines for our portfolio.

What Makes a Hotel Boutique?

That’s a tricky one, if you haven’t read my post What is a Boutique Hotel why not pop over and do so. What is it that makes them special to me? Unique, owner-run and small are the main things  I look for, add to that charm, cosiness and elegance. Not all establishments are accepted into our portfolio of special Spanish hotels.

Only Spain Boutique Hotels in Spain on Other Sites

As well as Only Spain I have two other blogs Andalucia Explorer and Luxury Spain Travel where I often write about the hotels and B&Bs that I visit. I also to some freelance writing and promote the Boutique Hotel portfolio through other websites and sometimes magazines. I also write a fortnightly column about living in Spain for B-C-ing-U where establishments I’ve visited get a mention. The most recent articles that can be found online are:

A Little Bit of England in Andalusia, Spain for Journeys, Jaunts and Junkets

Beautiful Boutique Hotels in Andalucia for Flush the Fashion

Your Own Wellness Holiday in Andalucia for Viestra Magazine online and print

If you have a boutique hotel or B&B in Spain and would like to be part of our growing portfolio, have visited a lovely place to stay and want to recommend it or even if you want us to check out a hotel for you before you visit just get in touch here or via our Instagram page OSBhotels.

Spanish Weddings in Small Hotels 

I’m very excited to be working with an American wedding and trip planning company which is visiting Spain in September and travelling around some venues. I hope to accompany them to some of our lovely hotels so that they can promote Spanish weddings in some of our beautiful small hotels. Watch this space.

Or have a read of this post Your Own Boutique Hotel for a Wedding in Spain. Four Fabulous Private Small Boutique Stays

Wedding Season in Spain

It’s now the long hot lazy days of summer down here in southern Spain. Andalucia literally melts with pretty much dawn to dusk sunshine. I suppose really it is still spring and not officially summer yet. There’s an old Spanish saying which translates something like ‘ don’t take off your long sleeves until the 40th May’ which is, 9th June when the weather is more settled and it’s vest and shorts hot morn ’til morn.

Swimming pool and views

Weddings Season in Spain

That also means it’s wedding season for both  locals and those from abroad wishing for a Mediterranean wedding. June is a lovely month, hot but not as hot as July and August and not so busy either. Schools break up around 21st June so earlier in the month is perfect. September is also has great weather for outside weddings.

But with a climate averaging over 300 days of sunshine a year really wedding season is all year round in Spain!

Bridal basket

Hotels in Andalucia for Small, Intimate Weddings

As a portfolio of Boutique Hotels we have several gorgeous ones for small intimate weddings in my area of Andalucia. If you want any help or advice on wedding planners or wedding locations just give me a shout via my Trip Planning page. You can use the form or book a free no-obligation phone call with me. I’ve personally visited all the hotels in Andalucia on Only Spain. As a trip planner I know of a lot more properties and private estates that aren’t hotels and so are not on here, some you may find on my Luxury Spain Travel Blog.

Cortijo Sabila, Boutique Hotel, Malaga, Spain

I can’t think of a better location than Spain, especially Andalucia, for the balmy, Mediterranean wedding of your dreams.

 

 

Cortijos & Haciendas in Hola Magazine

One of our recent blog posts was Spanish Haciendas and Cortijos – What are They? So I was very happy to come across this old post with stunning photos in Hola Magazine – Cortijos y haciendas donde respirar la belleza de Andalucía – Cortijos & Haciendas where you can breathe (or inhale) the beauty of Andalucia.

Of course I had to pour over the list of beautiful hotels in my part of the world and was absolutely delighted to find that we have four out of the eleven beautiful establishments in our portfolio. Which is constantly growing as we travel Spain visiting gorgeous places in which to stay and add to our collection – Haciendas and Cortijos, Fincas and Palacios and just plain Casas too!

These are the list with fabulous photos which you can see via the link above and those with links are the ones on Only Spain Boutique Hotels, clicking the links will take you to each hotels page here on  Only Spain.

 

Haciendas & Cortijos in Andalusia in Hola!

Hacienda San Rafael, Sevilla

Cortijo El Sotillo, Almeria

Cortijo Los Malenos, Almeria

Hacienda de Oran, Sevilla

Cortijo Ramon, Jaen

Finca Cortesin, Malaga

El Carligto, Malaga

Cortijo del Marques, Granada

Finca Buen Vino, Huelva

Finca la Fronda, Huelva

Hacienda El Santiscal, Cadiz

 

Boutique Hotels in Cordoba and Malaga

So it’s May tomorrow, another month has rushed passed and spring is well and truly here in Jaen, inland Andalucia. April saw us visiting two lovely hotels one in my favourite cities – Cordoba and the other a repeat visit to mountainous inland Malaga.

At the beginning of April and with very pleasant weather we visited Cordoba again, at only 1.5 hours from home it’s a common visit but it isn’t very often that we stay overnight, so with a visit to the Hammam Baths and our stay being one of the best hotels in town it was a great trip.

Las Casas de la Juderia

Las Casas de la Juderia

In the historical Jewish Quarter of Cordoba just a minute or two’s stroll from the Mezquita is the fabulous Hotel Las Casas de la Juderia, a collection of five ancient houses combined into one lovely hotel.

Each house is painted a different colour and linked via patios and corridors with original tiles, floors and gorgeous wood work. You’ll have to pop over to Casas de la Juderia to see why having each of the houses painted differently helps.

 

The run up to Easter was bedlam as hubby had been doing renovations on our holiday home and we had guests arriving for the Easter weekend, so days and days of painting and cleaning kept us busy. It’s now ready for the season if you prefer self-catering to hotels and want to explore the olive growing province of Jaen have a look at Casa El Reguelo in the Sierra  Sur de Jaen.

Casa El Reguelo, Fuensanta de Martos, Sierra Sur de Jaen

Casa El Reguelo

After the madness of Holy Week we popped down south into Malaga province to Cortijo Sabila a lovely, antique-filled modern villa in the north of Malaga province surrounded by stunning scenery. This was our second visit and it was great to see the improvements they’d done and the new projects of Yurts going up in the grounds.

Cortijo Sabila

Cortijo Sabila

Then after a few days in Glasgow visiting family we’re back to welcome May in and waiting for the abundance of spring flowers to appear after the spring rains. There is always a beautifully stunning colourful tapestry of wild flowers between the olive trees and on the verges.

So here’s to and cheer’s to May – the best month of the year here in Jaen, Andalucia ( and it’s also my birthday month!)

May Flowers

 

Read about Hotel Las Casas de la Juderia and our Hammam Al Andalus Baths experience in Cordoba on my Luxury Spain Travel blog.

 

Spanish Haciendas and Cortijos – What are They?

Both Haciendas and Cortijos are traditional farmhouse complexes found in arable land in the south of Spain, particularly Andalucia. Both are the descendants of Roman Villas and Muslim farmhouses built between the 16th and 19th centuries.

With mechanisation in the early 20th century the need for so many workers and lots of heaving farming equipment was declining and farm labourers began to live outside the hacienda or cortijo in nearby villages. Farming production began to decrease and many of these elegant and historical haciendas and cortijos fell into disuse and disrepair, dying away as had the farming industry.

Haciendas, mainly in Seville province, were the usually centres for olive farming and Cortijos centres of cereal and cattle farms, but there is no hard and fast rule on that. That is why today there are so many fabulously restored haciendas and cortijos which are now used for holiday rental homes, wedding locations and rural boutique hotels. It’s all in the name. If it’s called Hacienda or Cortijo is has to be (or was) pretty rural.

Hacienda and Cortijo Boutique Hotels on Only Spain

In our portfolio of boutique hotels and B&Bs with have a few haciendas and cortijos scattered throughout the region of Andalucia from Seville to Jaen.

They listed in alphabetical order of the provinces they are in:

Hacienda El Santiscal in Arcos de la Frontera in Cadiz province. A gorgeous, ancient hacienda and Spain’s longest running hotel.

Cortijo del Marques in the plains of Granada. A beautiful, still really rural and excellently restored Cortijo with its own chapel, built for the landlord and workers.

Cortijo de Ramon in the heart of Spain’s largest Natural Park in the province of Jaen. Really rural and surrounded by trees for lovers of pure peace and escapism.

Cortijo del Arte near Pizarra in Malaga. An ancient Arab dairy farm which different buildings for accommodation, bar and excellent restaurant.

Cortijo Sabila near Villanueva del Rosario in Malaga province. A modern build in extensive grounds with stunning views, as it’s called Cortijo I’ve included it in this list.

What is a Wellness Retreat

It’s in the headlines, it’s all the rage but what is wellness and what is a wellness retreat. I’ve seen the same thing being asked by journalists ‘shouting out’ for quotes or expert help.

It seems to be the ‘in’ thing or phrase and has me thinking it’s only the term ‘wellness’ that is new.

The Merriam Webster dictionary says:

the quality or state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.
Another says:
“the measure of a patient’s progress toward wellness”

Clear as a bell isn’t it. Is it a state or is it a journey? If it’s a journey then a five-day retreat isn’t going to cut it. Maybe as the beginning of a new routine or lifestyle but if it’s about life changes then surely they should start at home where life happens and not as a break or holiday.

The best thing I’ve read recently that spoke to me is this by Marcus Aurelius:

People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills….

There is nowhere that  a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind…..

So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself’

Casa El Reguelo, Fuensanta de Martos, Sierra Sur de Jaen

Patio View

This suggests its not about where we go or what we do. I’m lucky I know. I can go out onto my patio, under the Andalusian sunshine, listen to the birds singing and inhale the peace and fresh air. I connect with nature, potter in the garden, dehead my flowering plants in their pots, watch my three scatty chickens, stroke my dog and just sit in silence and be mesmerised by the views of unadultered nature – it’s impossible not to relax.

This is my retreat. Peace and the outdoors. I imagine living in a town or city that peace is something that needs to be sought. Something that requires time away from the home and workplace. A retreat from the noise and busyness of life and it there we have the necessity … so constantly give yourself this retreat and renew yourself!

My rambling of the day.

Don’t forget to check out our hotels that are surrounded by nature for your own wellness retreat.

 

The patio photo is actually my holiday rental house Casa El Reguelo, which is even more peaceful than home.