El Amparo ticked all the boxes for us.
The hotel sits on a hillside not far from the sleepy town of Alhama, and 40 minutes from Granada. The views from its position are simply breathtaking, as you take in rolling hills, olive groves and further away the peaks of the Sierra Tejeda.
We're particularly fussy when it comes to booking a summer holiday. Peace and quiet are a must - and to be away from the annoying throngs of tourists. Nestled in the hills of rural Andalucia, the only noise you hear is from the wildlife - whether the distant jangling of cowbells as a farmer moves his goats, to the chorus of crickets during the night. You are far enough away from the tourist spots and really get to experience Andalucian life here. In the local town of Alhama, English was barely spoken, which is always a good sign.
The guesthouse itself was stunning. It was so peaceful sitting in the courtyard reading a book, listening to the trickle of the fountain, or lounging by the pool, or in the hammock-style seat on the veranda, taking in the views with a glass of rioja. Jeff and Sally have designed and built such a peaceful retreat, and no matter where you are you have your own space and privacy (we even had the place to ourselves for a few days). Our double-room was spacious, with a super-comfy bed, and a large bathroom with fantastic shower. The pool was huge, with stunning views of the nearby hills. Tucked round the corner from this was the hot-tub, which was lovely and became part of our routine each evening (post-pool) by the end of the holiday. There was an honesty bar round the corner for mid-afternoon drinks. Later in the evening we'd have a drink at the bar inside, before wandering out to take in the views from the veranda.
Food was fantastic. Breakfasts were vast - Jeff set out a platter of locally baked bread, cakes and croissants, along with meats, cheese, fresh fruits and cereal. For lunch we'd have a tasty chorizo baguette and some freshly squeezed orange juice. In the evening, if we'd decided to stay in, they would then conjure up a 2-course meal. These were always delicious, with something different each night.
Jeff and Sally really were fantastic hosts. You could really see how much work they'd put into El Amparo - from the design and architecture, to the many small touches. Jeff was always on hand, making sure we were ok, and always offering expert advice and suggestions. What really sets this place apart, is that they really make you feel like you're part of the family. When we went off to Granada for the day, Jeff had made us up a delicious packed breakfast. Their recommendations for places to visit, and particularly places to eat were always good.
On our first night, after a nightmare journey (8 hour flight delay...), we just happened to arrive at the same time as some of their friends from the local village, who were there to celebrate Sally's birthday. We were invited into the group, and treated to homemade sangria (the best I have ever tasted), and then some quite unbelievable impromptu music from their friends, who happened to be professional flamenco musicians. Not bad for a first night.
What we'd recommend:
- Alhama de Granada, the nearby sleepy town, is lovely. The walk along the foot of the gorge, all the way to the Ventorro cafe is worth it - but unlike us, make sure you go early and avoid doing that midday. Not pleasant in 40 degree heat! Seguriya restaurant in the town is brilliant, run by the wonderful Paco.
- Granada. The Alhambra is a must (go early to avoid the crowds), and it's great just wandering around the town. Bodegas de Castaneda was incredible for lunch - a tapas bar favoured by locals, where we had the greatest ham ever (Jamon Iberico de Bellota Reserva - trust me, it is pricy, but worth it). You get free tapas with every drink.
- Sitting watching the sunset at El Amparo, and then the shooting stars, you'll be hard pressed to find a clearer nights sky.
El Amparo really is incredible, and we intend to become another one of Jeff and Sally's repeat visitors as soon as we can. What a find!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- El Amparo is a relaxed Luxury Bed and Breakfast run by Nick and Jody Day, set in rolling countryside close to Granada and the Spa town of Alhama de Granada it offers lovely rooms, a large pool area and great food. It's a great place to stay to enjoy local activities such as Mountain Biking, Hiking, Horse Riding or swimming in the local lake at Los Bermejales. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- El Amparo ( 2 Night Min ) Santa Cruz Del Comercio, Spain - Province Of Granada