This small B&B and vegetarian restaurant is tucked away in the pretty village of Mecina in the Alpujarras. There has recently been a change of management – the new owners Brigette and Michel are warm, generous people who have created a relaxed and charming place to stay. I have put this review in both the ‘Restaurant’ and the ‘B&B’ sections as it comes under both. We stayed as a couple for 4 nights.
The restaurant and the 2 B&B rooms above are housed in an ancient and beautiful Moorish building. The bedroom we stayed is rustic, airy and very large. You can choose twin beds or have them pushed together to make a double (as is typical in Spain). The beds do move apart a little bit which is slightly annoying, but don’t let this small negative put you off staying at this great place. The mattresses are very comfortable – smooth and neither too hard nor too soft. There is a powerful ceiling fan that cools the room and traditional wooden shutters to do the same, and to ensure guests aren’t woken up by sunlight at 4 in the morning! There is plenty of clothes storage space in the room.
There is a table, chairs, kettle, tea and coffee provided in the room (a kettle in the room is uncommon in Spain so I really appreciated this). There is also a small kitchenette area with hotplate, microwave, fridge etc that you share with one other room if you need it. There is free Wifi and you can use a desktop computer if necessary. The ensuite bathroom is clean and functional, although the lighting could be improved a little. Brigette and Michel plan to ‘sympathetically modernise’ some aspects of the B&B/restaurant – so maybe this is one of them.
The breakfast included in the price is delicious and filling. There is good quality muesli, tea or excellent coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice followed by fresh bread and huge portions of the best homemade jams and marmalades. There are classics such as Raspberry and more unusual varieties such as Orange & Cinnamon or Pumpkin. I have been converted into a jam fiend! Brigette understands what ‘vegan’ is, and even makes her own soya and nut milk, enriched with black sesame (very tasty).
You can dine at the vegetarian restaurant in the evening or at lunchtime if you want, at extra cost. The food has an international flavour and a there is a cosy, relaxed ambience. The portions are generous and you can taste that good quality ingredients are used. Personal food highlights for me apart from breakfast, were the Wakame Salad, mouthwatering Mixed Mushroom Fried Rice and the finest humous this side of the Middle East! I also like a restaurant where the waiter knows what’s on the menu and what’s in the food
There are lots of short and longer walks directly from the village, many of which are ancient tracks away from roads. If you do need to walk on the roads, they are very quiet. The tracks link up peaceful and attractive whitewashed villages full of geraniums and bubbling fuentes (fountains), where you can fill your bottle with cool mountain water. Because the villages are perched on hillsides there are impressive views around every corner. There are also a surprising number of tracks that go through shady woodland/tall scrub – ideal for those ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen’ walks at noon! The Alpujarras smelled magnificent in July – of clean breeze, sun dried wild lavender, thyme, chamomile, gorse and grasses. The agriculture seems to be mainly olive, cherry and nut trees - I think the almonds might be a good reason to come back in autumn!
L’Atelier – a lovely place to stay in a beautiful area. Thank you Brigette and Michel!
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