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“Our kind of luxury - perhaps not everyone's”

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 239 reviews
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Reviews from our community

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AlPanPan
Belgium
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Our kind of luxury - perhaps not everyone's”
Reviewed June 20, 2013 for a stay in May 2013

We stayed 9 nights in early May 2013 (we had planned 7 nights but quickly decided to extend our stay). Our holiday more than matched the expectations of a very independent-minded couple (in our 30s and 40s) looking for a relaxing, active stay, with sport, beautiful landscapes and good weather in a really special place.

You have to know what to expect and you will not be disappointed. Some people may be misled by the word "luxury" and expect abundant staff, valet service, waiters, busboys and a piano bar, like in a grand hotel. This is not that kind of place. It is a literally a "retreat", and you are getting accommodation only (unless you take "hotel service" option). It is a family business run by the owners, who live there (Alex and Olga, a charming couple who really love the place they have created). Bookings and information requests are efficiently handled by e-mail in perfect English by their daughter Daria, who apparently does this from Moscow ! (very XXIst century).

This is a large property perched high on the mountain (steep drive up, not for the faint of heart), a few kilometers from the sea and less than one km from the picturesque village of Casares. A few (five or six) independent little houses ("casas") are spread far apart from each other, amid luxuriant vegetation; you don't even see the other "casas". The houses are tastefully decorated in a Moroccan-Asian mixed style, overall the atmosphere is very exotic. Our house (can't remember the name) had its own garden, bubble pool, a washing machine and a tiny kitchen outside, lounge chairs and day beds in the terrace. The flat-screen TV doubles as a stereo (strangely, we never managed to get TV reception). there is no internet access in the houses, although in teory you can go down to the area of the owner's residence and get wifi, we did not try. For an extra charge you may have breakfast and dinner made for you, I can't comment much because we only had breakfast one day (it was very nice), otherwise we opted for accommodation only. You can prepare light meals in your house (groceries in a supermarket in the area) or take the car and dine in one of the restaurants along the road to the coast, there are four or five, most of them good (ask Olga and Alex for advice; we especially liked the chiringuito La Sal on the beach).

There is a central common area: large, heated swimming pool with lounge chairs, a small gym, sauna, steam bath, solarium, gorgeous views; you can borrow books, CDs and DVDs. All this is free of charge. Tennis court (also basketball and table tennis), but you should NOT play if it is wet, the artificial turf gets very slippery and dangerous. We played tennis practically every day. You can help yourself to coffee, a drink or a refreshment in the common area, there is a reasonably priced "honor bar" (write down what you take, pay when checking out). You can also make an appointment for a massage or spa treatment, and this will happen in a wooden treehouse with gorgeous views.

My only quibbles: the gym equipment was not good, in particular the treadmill felt dangerous and unstable. And the cooking stove in our "casa" was slow to the point of being unusable; we knew that the kitchen was not intended for cooking full-fledged meals but we expected to be able to fry an egg :-)

The rest was perfect. The surrounding landscape is extraordinary: views of Gibraltar, mountains, majestic vultures flying overhead. Since we were there in early May there were practically no other guests, the pool and tennis court were "ours" and we felt like we had rented the entire estate for ourselves. In those conditions, although the price is not "cheap", it actually felt like a bargain. But even in high season, there must never be more than 12 to 15 guests overall. Although we had initially planned many day trips, we only visited Ronda (a must see!), Marbella and a couple of villages, Gibraltar. But since we liked the place so much and the weather was great, half of the time we chose to stay in the swimming pool, play tennis, relax in our terrace, cook for ourselves and dine 'al fresco'.

We felt privileged to be there and enjoyed our vacation tremendously. If you want lots of people, urban facilities, luxury hotel-like services and, say, a nightclubbing scene...obviously you are in the wrong place. If you are active, independent, want to relax, enjoy nature, sport, beautiful views and you have a car...then I don't think you will find anything better than this. We would certainly recommend the place to our friends (in fact, we have already), and we plan to return.

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: everything, the nature, the sports facilities, the house itself, the terrace, swimming pool area.
Liked least: cooking stove, treadmill, no wifi/TV reception
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Older travelers
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Reviewed May 30, 2013 for a stay in May 2013

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.
Management Response
May 30, 2013
Dear Stuart, thank you very much for the kind words. Oustanding service to our guests prior to arrival is paramount to us and we always try to assist with any information that could help you plan your trip and stay with us. We truly believe that attention to details is what makes the difference. We sincerely hope that despite the short stay, we have managed to create that perfect setting for your Honeymoon:) Kindest Regards, Alex, Daria and Olga
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Finland
Reviewed May 26, 2013 for a stay in May 2013

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.
London
Reviewed May 9, 2013 for a stay in April 2013

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.
Nick B
London
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
“Beautiful hillside retreat”
Reviewed May 6, 2013 for a stay in April 2013

My wife and I stayed here for four nights and absolutely fell in love with the place. Even though we were very unfortunate with the weather as an unexpected cold snap covered the mountains, we still had a great time.

The retreat is in a stunning location, high above the incredibly picturesque village of Casares. The fantastic views and complete peace and quiet instantly made us feel relaxed and about as 'away from it all' as you could get. DDG has great facilities with a perfectly heated pool, a gym which is small but well equipped for the size of property, sauna and steam room. The house we stayed in (Casa Olivo) was very roomy (2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room and kitchen) and was well equipped with TV, DVD, coffee maker, etc.

We ate in the restaurant on one night and had a lovely meal with great wine in a very cosy, romantic setting.

Finally, the service was exceptional. Sasha and Olga were incredibly warm and welcoming and went out of their way to make sure we had a perfect holiday. The whole property is their labour of love with hundreds of antiques from their worldwide travels adorning every corner and their passion for their new venture shines through. We'll be sure to return.

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: Peace and quiet
Liked least: Wifi only available in reception area and was a bit patchy
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Your age range 35-49
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • 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.
Paris France
Reviewed May 1, 2013 for a stay in April 2013

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.
Wallingford
Reviewed May 1, 2013 for a stay in April 2013

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.
Management Response
May 1, 2013
Dear Larissa, it was a real pleasure welcoming you with us on your special occasion:) We hope we have managed to create a perfect setting for you and you have managed to relax and celebrate despite the short break:) Kindest Regards, Alex, Olga and Daria
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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