We spent a relaxed and happy week in the slightly barmy and beautifully balmy setting of Cloud House Farm. It redefines ‘getting away from it all’, in the best possible way, in an eco-friendly environment surrounded by woods and wildlife. Everything is open to the environment. Birds are everywhere, but when we were there in late May, insects were not around in enough numbers to be a nuisance. If you like having to evict brightly-coloured lizards from the bathroom sink before you brush your teeth, then this is the place for you!
Cloud House Farm is reached by a dirt track off a mountain road. We’d suggest that a 4x4 is essential at any time of year, if only for the ground clearance and industrial-strength shock absorbers. We hired a Suzuki Jimny from Marbesol at Malaga airport: Marbesol were ok, but very slow to serve customers, and we’d recommend something with a bit more poke than the 1.3 we hired, it struggled occasionally on the dirt roads.
We stayed in the Woodland Yurt, which was comfortable, and spacious enough, especially considering you’re going to be spending most of your time out of doors. There’s even a docking station for an iPod, and nobody around to complain if you play it at full blast! Cooking and food-preparation facilities are basic but do-able, especially if you keep your meals simple and rustic. There’s no fridge, but there is a cool-box, which is adequate if you’re not too ambitious.
The farm is situated in the Serrania de Ronda, in the area known as the Pueblas Blancas, or White Villages, three of which could be seen from the Woodland Yurt, clinging to the mountainsides in a very picturesque manner. The nearest is Genalguacil, to which we walked there and back: a cracking cardio-vascular workout! It’s a beautiful village, where an artists festival is held every other year in August, and as a result of which there are various pieces of street art around the place. We also liked Jubrique, less picturesque but a bit more energetic. We didn’t like Algatocin, though, but it does have a decent supermarket.
But the place we really liked was Ronda. There’s no shortage of glowing stuff written about Ronda, so we won’t repeat it here. Just a suggestion, though: a pony and trap ride is available from the plaza by the bull ring, and takes about 45 minutes through the old town (La Cuidad). It’s well worth the 25 euros if you’re pushed for time, and would like to see the main sights. The pony we had looked well cared for. A word of warning: especially if you’re driving, the tourist maps they hand out don’t show all the roads, and don’t indicate the one-way system. We stayed overnight in a hotel in the centre of the new town, and got completely lost trying to find the hotel’s lock-up garage. We ended up having to reverse the wrong way down a one-way street, but we didn’t feel too bad about it ‘cos the locals seemed to be doing that sort of thing all the time!
Back at the farm, we found that apart from the two days spent in Ronda and walking to Genalguacil, we didn’t feel especially inclined to do anything energetic, or stray very far. The environment had a very tranquil effect on us, and we found the whole experience refreshing and restful. We brought our hiking boots, but that turned out to be a mistake, as we didn’t use them at all. The mule track to Genalguacil was do-able in a decent pair of trainers. We tried the swimming hole at Venta San Juan, which was nice, but you’ll need mossie repellent. We also had a meal at the restaurant there. The food was okay, but the service was lousy. We’d heard good things about the place, so maybe we just got there on a bad day.
Hosts Dan and Juss were cheery, chatty and helpful. They’ve put a lot of time and effort into creating the place practically from scratch, and they’ve produced something unique, charming and environmentally sensitive. We loved our week at Cloud House Farm, and would recommend it without reservation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Cloud House Farm is a secluded mountain yurt hideaway located deep within the hills of the Rio Genal Valley, close to the Andalucian white washed village of Genalguacil and set against the spectacular backdrop of the Sierra Bermeja Mountain range. Set within 17 acres of mountainous cork oak forest & perfectly located for adventure and discovery, Cloud House Farm offers a unique holiday experience way off the beaten track. ... more less
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