Well December has arrived but my climbing rose doesn’t seem to realise and is blooming and budding again. Nice and cheery, certainly not as profuse as its spring flowering but should I tell it that it is almost winter now?
Red Roses taken on 1st December, Jaen, Spain
Friday night saw hubby and I on our last escape of 2019, except the works Christmas ‘do’ in Fuengirola, does that count? This being our first year working with Inland Andalucia estate agents in the Martos office up in the north of Andalucia in my home province of Jaen.
I keep saying one of my favourite cities, I seem to have a lot but this one really is special! Granada touches my soul. The steep, narrow, characterful and full of characters Albaicin area is one I can explore and explore. I think I could live there – if I had to live in a city. On this trip we actually got to drive the car into the ancient area of the Albaicin to get to the hotel car parking, think ‘No Entry’ signs that you ignore and automatic bollards that you hope will stay down!
Practising Guitar on Mirador de San Nicolas with Alhambra Views
The gorgeous, ancient Hotel Santa Isabel la Real is right next to the monastery of the same name. A beautiful small hotel with an wooden-gallery patio. Charm and warmth, cosiness and age mellow into one delightful little place to stay. Family owned, lovely staff, good breakfast, big comfortable bed and shutters onto our internal patio window, as well as a bar crawl up and down those streets for supper meant one of the best nights sleep I’d had in a long while.
Hotel Isabel la Real, Granda
So, keep watching this space – very soon Hotel Santa Isabel la Real will be live on Only Spain, the last one for this year. I’m plotting and planning, researching and drooling over some fabulous little places to stay for the coming year – Let’s see what 2020 brings and roll on spring time! I am not a fan of winter at all. The roses are helping though!
Many of the lovely establishments we have here on Only Spain do weddings on a small scale so we were delighted when an American wedding planner got in touch and asked if we would partner with them.
September and October saw them visiting several of our hotels and travelling around Spain. Not only do they plan wedding but they also plan and advise on any type of holiday and especially anniversary and special occasion trips. So that is the latest news and we look forward to working with them and introducing more hotels and Bed and Breakfasts to them.
The not so great news is that the clocks have gone back, the hours of daylight decreased and we’re rapidly heading into what isn’t my particular favourite time of year. Saying that we took a brief escape this weekend to a small city I like very much – Guadix. We didn’t stay at Hotel Abentofail but went in for a pre dinner glass of local wine. It is a lovely little hotel and it was great to be back there, if only briefly.
So what is next? A little reminiscing first – it is crazily over a year ago now since we headed across almost to the Portuguese border and the lovely Finca la Fronda and the town of Aracena from where we have lots of great memories, even more photos and my well-loved leather handbag in use nearly every day came from.
Next? I fancy heading coast-ward and investigating another hotel or two down Malaga way. As much as I love the mountains and olive groves where I live for an escape at this time of the year I like to head to warmer climes.
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.
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.
Cortijo del Marques
Casas de la Juderia, Cordoba
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.
Casas de la Juderia, Cordoba
Hotel Viento 10, Cordoba
La Casa Grande de Zujaira
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
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.
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!
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.
I can’t think of a better location than Spain, especially Andalucia, for the balmy, Mediterranean wedding of your dreams.
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!
Cortijo del Marques
Finca la Fronda
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.
Hacienda El Santiscal
Cortijo del Ramon
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
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
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.
Las Casas de la Juderia
Las Casas de la Juderia
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
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.
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!)
Read about Hotel Las Casas de la Juderia and our Hammam Al Andalus Baths experience in Cordoba on my Luxury Spain Travel blog.