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“Parallel Universe”

Review of DDG Retreat

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Overview
Tented camp -
3 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, Sleeps 6
Casares, Costa del Sol, Province of Malaga, Andalucia

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Excellent - based on 242 reviews
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Reviews from our community

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Mister_Pi...
London
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Lots right but room for improvement”
Reviewed July 31, 2012 for a stay in July 2012
2
people found this review helpful

Firstly I just wanted to make it clear that we had a great stay at the retreat and found that on the whole they have created a lovely environment to stay and rest and recuperate. We spent 2 nights in Casa Oleandro which was perfect and loved dinner so much on the first night that we returned on our second night, so highly recommend the food.

But the reason for the low score is because we had a few gripes along the way. Firstly there are two pictures on the website for Oleandro that show a day bed with uninterrupted views over the mountains. This was a selling point for us so we were disappointed to see that it did not exist. There is a different day bed that features in another photo but our first impression of the place was that we were disappointed and felt slightly duped by the pictures.

We were then surprised that the casa was not as secluded as we had hoped with another casa adjoining ours. It meant we heard our neighbours chatting and their music meaning that we felt compelled to whisper when in the area next to their accommodation. It just didn't feel as private as we'd hoped and because they are separated by a thin bamboo fence we even saw our neighbour walking around topless!

Then we were a bit peeved that breakfast wasn't included in the price. Baring in mind that it is an isolated retreat miles from anywhere, being charged 19 euros for two eggs and some pastries when there are no alternative options seems a lit unfair, especially when you're paying over 300 euros a night.

That feeling continues inside the casa which is equipped with a Nespresso machine. Nice touch until you realise that they charge you 1 euro 50 a cup! Now you can go to a travelodge on the M25 and get complimentary coffee in your room so why should I be charged to make my own coffee here. I bit tight we felt.

The last criticism is their frankly bewildering policy of making their guests take their rubbish with them. I've never heard of this before but worse still was that this wasn't mentioned in person but was on a rather well hidden note that said that anyone who fails to do this will be fined 50 euros!! This didn't exactly make us feel 'relaxed' in our retreat!

So, to reiterate, there is plenty that we loved about the place but it is definitely let down by these things listed above, which we feel are all unnecessary anyway. Take the misleading photos down and the casa is still delightful. Throw in some fruit and pastries at breakfast and don't charge for the coffee and we'd feel more looked after.

It's just a shame that rather than our lasting memories being the amazing views, the delicious food or the fantastic private plunge pool, instead it will be driving around Casares with a big bag of rubbish trying to find an appropriate place to dispose of it. Doesn't exactly scream 'luxury retreat'...

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Plunge pool
Liked least: Taking rubbish with us.
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Your age range 25-34
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   No.
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Jul 30, 2012
Dear Thomas,

Thank you for finding time to write a review about our Casa Daria. We are sorry that you didn't enjoy your stay with us..We are glad that you have enjoyed your dining experience and we are happy that our guests enjoy a great variety of our local restaurants that we are always happy to recommend.

Regarding your complaint about outside bed at Casa Oleandro we would like to remind you that upon your arrival and your question about it - we have offered to prepare it for you just like on the photo if you do like to sleep outside and feel comfortable with it. You said that you will think about it and let us know. We never heard back from you about this issue so we thought that you have decided against it and felt more comfortable sleeping inside. We apologize if we have wrongly interpreted your silence about it.

We appreciate and understand that Retreat itself or anything else at it maybe disliked or found unsatisfactory but we do not wish to tolerate twisting the real facts just to publish a negative review. We are not sure what you meant about a breakfast 'consisting of 2 eggs for the cost of 19 euros' and you were not able to go to a nearby restaurant because of ' isolated retreat miles from anywhere'? Maybe due to your extensive travel throughout Andalusia you have mistaken us with another place? The nearest restaurant La Terraza is located 2 minutes from our gates, restaurant Casa Curro and mi Cortijo are located 3 minutes away and at least 10 more restaurants just up to 7 minutes drive away. You can check this information via google.

Where did you see the information that the cost of all Casas include breakfast, when our website clearly states Room only and the word breakfast is not even mentioned there. Further more you have received our booking confirmation confirming your chosen Room only Basis and you didn't raise any questions prior to your arrival about it. Our website clearly explains all of the booking conditions and Room only basis clearly states that: 'Clients take care of cleaning and other maintenance personally including rubbish disposal' and you have accepted these conditions when you have booked your Casa. This is a standard self-catering practice at least throughout Spain. This is due to the hot temperatures in Spain especially during high season when if rubbish is left around it will begin to decompose and smell attracting mice. It is also unclear why you drove around for miles around Casares when the rubbish disposal bins are located 1 minute away from the gates of Casa Daria and if this one is missed there is another one 200 meters away.

We do not understand why you have found upsetting that guests can walk around topless on their private terrace. We are not in Iran and it is their private territory where they can feel relaxed and walk around topless if they wish to and unless you stand there and stare through the wall you cannot see anything and we have never had other guests complaining about this.

All of the photos presented on the site are real. Furthermore vast majority of our guests tell us that that photos don't do the justice and the real look of Retreat and Casas are much better and more special than the photos and the reality exceeds their expectations. But of course we appreciate that you may have a different expectation and feeling about it. We do our best to ensure that the information and photos provided explain clearly everything about us to avoid any disappointment or misunderstanding so we always encourage our guests to spend a lot of time reading terms and conditions before booking.

We always aim at providing the best customer service possible and to provide exceptional service to our guests. During your stay, despite being fully booked and you wanted us to provide more sun loungers to the pool and your tone was far from friendly - within 10 minutes they were provided there for you. Then you have ripped our hammock in bits and never apologized about it.

We always listen to our guest's feedback and comments but they have to be objective and justified and not be left out of because of some disappointment you have experienced.

Thank you for your visit and we wish you all the best.

Kind Regards,
Regards

PS Maybe you are right and it it will be more comfortable for you to book a room at travel lodge on M25.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElmParkRo...
Reading
Level 6 Contributor
294 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
“Parallel Universe”
Reviewed July 28, 2012 for a stay in June 2012

This establishment seems to have a peripatetic existence on TA, often disappearing then re-emerging, and usually supported by gushing unattributed reviews.

So I was rather intrigued to see what the real thing was like, because it sounded fab and looked even fabber on its website, although veering somewhat to the spa/romantic/ambient/inner peace concept. However, the hook for me was the guaranteed peace and quiet in a natural atmosphere - with no kids.

Couldn't fault the correspondence beforehand to secure the booking, At the other end, Daria was prompt, efficient, friendly and helpful. She seemed so pleasant that we were sorry not to meet her

So, with eager anticipation, we waited to be sherpa'd in from just outside Casares (DDG is impossible to find otherwise), and undertook a vertiginous, death-defying drive into the Sierra Crestellina. However, one last push up through the golden security gates and then we were into some kind of parallel universe.

The shrub lined banks of a well-paved drive (sigh of relief) curved ever upwards, although we paused initially to sign in at the midpoint open air public area. Not a lot of administrative fuss from our hostess Olga, and we were then conducted onwards and upwards, again, to the highest and probably the most private establishment in the DDG enclave on the mountainside.

One of five residences scattered amongst acres of impressively natural landscaping, the Casa Pino was a kind of terra-cotta, butter-dish shaped cabana with some external aztec-styled hieroglyphics which housed a high-beamed studio- suite plus. We'd booked on a hotel basis, but the place was well equipped to deal with the more usual self-catering if required. Coloured burnt orange inside, with matching tiles and high cross-beams, it was very logically designed, and fronted by a large, wide, picture window with a classic mountainside view. With a sofa facing the window and then up a step for the large comfortable bed behind that, it was always a pleasure to draw the curtains and drink in the vista ahead. Above the bed was a most effective and quiet aircon unit. Screened behind were double sinks with a wide and deep marble top; usual freebies and an excellent hairdryer were also to hand And then further back again was the walk in closet/laundry room which had the clothes rails, hangers, portable safe (!) open shelves plus washing machine and ironing board. Plenty of space but no cupboards or closing drawers. Flanked to each side of this was a very sunny loo to the left and a capacious shower room, with a rather single-minded rain head fitting to the right, and that was the basic layout. Around the room were lots of Balinese and far Eastern artefacts, and an all-time first was the well-stocked electric wine cooler, Also in the "lounge" area was a TV/CD Player set up for DVD's only in order to conform to the inner calm principle. Perversely, stacks of shrieking "Friends" DVD's, amongst others, were always available from the DDG supply. Separate and accessible from the outside was a tiny. but ample, kitchen which happily included a fridge stocked with a supply of beer and soft drinks.

The Pino had quite a bit of walled-off garden with plenty of shade, mainly due to the aforementioned and mature pino (pine) tree, but there was also sufficient sun availability to position the two ergonomic (i.e. not flat) loungers as required. Because of the lofty position, as said before, the views were excellent and the local celebrated griffon vultures were often in evidence from a variety of distances. The vegetation was getting into a somewhat "natural" state so the small plunge pool/jacuzzi in the garden's midst usually got a bit of debris by the end of the day. Not that we expected gardens like the Palace of Versailles, though. Directly overlooking the pool, and to the front of the Pino's picture window was a covered shaded area with a pair of day beds, plus table and chairs, so this was a handy point for a spot of lunch in the shade or a quiet evening drink.

We had become quite fond of the Pino by the end of our stay- almost proprietorial, in fact. A mass ant incursion one night was annoying, but we couldn't fault the managerial effort to eradicate the problem to a satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible afterwards.

Big positive mention to the lovely blonde lady who diligently and spotlessly cleaned and resupplied the whole casa on a daily basis, and then doubled up with table duty at mealtimes. And she got to use the DDG golf/service cart up and down the steep drives

Elsewhere in the DDG grounds was a splendid swimming pool/gym/sauna area. Clean, bright, well equipped and surrounded by mature landscaping - it really was an excellent place. And there was a bar area with a stocked fridge operating on an honesty basis. We were also given a tour of the spa cabin located deep in the woods and which seemed to have all that was required in both a pleasant atmosphere and natural surroundings. Also dotted around the place were random daybeds and hammocks amongst the tropical greenery - an edge for the honeymoon market maybe!

Meals were taken in the attractive open air reception/communal area where we had originally signed in . Each casa had its own separate, and private, platformed dais with a smartly laid table for two. Breakfasts were fairly basic but quite ample - e.g. yogurts, muesli, mixed fruit, pastries, coffee/tea . Egg variables also available.
Dinners were far more interesting, Olga had a range of home-cooked options which were both wholesome and generous (as an aside, the batter-free deep fried water melon starter was rather wacky) with a good complementary and reasonably priced wine-list. Accompanying mealtime sound track somewhat on the drippy, jazzy side though

DDG also recommended some local restaurants about10 minutes drive away which were all safe bets, all fun and all full of very wearing expats. A driver and BMW X5 could be supplied at E12.50/each way and we used this facility several times in order to enjoy the local vino without worrying about driving down the mountainside on the way back.

We went out to explore each morning; the road between Casares and the coast to the south, or the more hilly interior to the north was fine, if somewhat uneven (to be polite) in the initial stages. A visit to Ronda was a real standout and highly recommended.

We enjoyed our stay and it suited us perfectly. Totally peaceful and relaxing, with our own little house to potter around in, and some good food and wine in the evening. We stayed well over a week and saw only two other pairs of guests during that time. The DDG appeared to operate with an active staff in residence of three, maybe four and our contact with them was quite minimal. Didn't worry us in the slightest - we're quite self-sufficient. When we left it was made very clear that cash was the preferred option to settle the bill.

In summary, I can imagine that anyone who needs vibrancy and interaction might find the DDG rather a shock, but those that like privacy, quietness and relaxation in mature landscaped surroundings will find the DDG a very happy and adventurous choice indeed

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How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
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Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
  • Was the property as advertised?
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  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrogate
Reviewed July 28, 2012 for a stay in July 2012

Value Rooms
Location Cleanliness
Check in / front desk Service
Would I recommend this vacation rental to my best friend?  
Recommended for:
A romantic getaway Older travelers
Luxury-minded travelers
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Napoli
Reviewed July 25, 2012 for a stay in July 2012

Value Rooms
Location Cleanliness
Check in / front desk Service
Would I recommend this vacation rental to my best friend?  
Recommended for:
A romantic getaway
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
La Nucia
Reviewed July 25, 2012 for a stay in May 2012

Value Rooms
Location Cleanliness
Check in / front desk Service
Would I recommend this vacation rental to my best friend?  
Recommended for:
A romantic getaway
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Aberdeen
Reviewed July 10, 2012 for a stay in June 2012

Value Rooms
Location Cleanliness
Check in / front desk Service
Would I recommend this vacation rental to my best friend?  
Recommended for:
A romantic getaway Luxury-minded travelers
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
casares
Reviewed July 9, 2012 for a stay in July 2012

Value Rooms
Location Cleanliness
Check in / front desk Service
Would I recommend this vacation rental to my best friend?  
Recommended for:
A romantic getaway Luxury-minded travelers
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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