You wake up right before the sun; while the skies still sport the last stages of blue before the dawn breaks. You get yourself out of that warm, cozy bed to step out of your room. And the first thing to greet you in the morning is the majestic and absolutely breathtaking Sierra Nevada with the rising sun gently lending to the sky every shade of pink and orange imaginable. You feel the cool breeze on your face and there’s not a sound but for the smooth ruffle of the trees all around or maybe the birds in the distance singing to celebrate the arrival of yet another glorious day in beautiful Andalusia. This is just the beginning of what La Almunia del Valle has to offer.
It is not the best kept secret that both the husband and I are real suckers for luxury. Couple the luxury with reasonable prices, minimum tourists, serenity, nature and wine, you’d have found two very content souls. It is with this objective that we realized that boutique hotels in quaint, unheard of locations are where our hearts are the happiest and it is with this reason that we try to stay the farthest away from the cities, the noise, the glitz and the glamour every time we can. The experiences at the Marriotts, the Hyatts and the like have always felt like the run of the mill when placed in comparison with the experiences we have taken back from quaint, family run boutique hotels in many parts of the world; experiences that we relive and rewind in our heads over and over again and which make for great conversation while we lay in bed every night, right before we drift off to sleep. La Almunia del Valle is no exception and let me tell you why.
La Almunia Del Valle is nuzzled somewhere on the hillside in the dreamy village of Monachil. The village is straight out of a picture book. Green, sprawling mountains all around; low branches of trees hanging lovingly over the little stream gushing impatiently by; narrow, winding roads lined by primroses and yellow wildflowers aplenty; olive trees exuding their beautiful scent; cute cottages right out of a fairy tale with sloping roofs, traditional chimneys with silvery wisps of smoke wafting out and well-kept gardens where chickens pecked around; the crisp and cool summer breeze; the glorious Sierra Nevada all around for as far as the eye can reach.
Location and property:
The hotel is the definition of charming with a side of homey and picturesque. Situated in a breathtakingly beautiful spot on the hillside, overlooking the Sierra Nevada mountain range, La Almunia Del Valle is everything your mind, body and soul needs.
The hotel has a pretty spacious property, every corner of which speaks volumes about how well it is cared for. The trees, the lawns, the gardens with all the flowers, everything. The pool overlooking the mountains with pool chairs lined all around deserves a special mention. Especially for all those days you want to take a dip and relax by the pool, reading a book and sipping on cold beer after. And each time you look up from your book, you have the mountains steadily gazing back at you. Heaven.
Their terrace overlooking the mountains was indeed my favourite spot and with good reason. You can sit for hours at a stretch there, sipping on a glass of incredible Spanish wine and watch as the sun bids goodbye to the day. You can sit in absolute silence punctuated occasionally by the sound of church bells that comes drifting by with the evening breeze, or the murmur of a pick-up truck engine somewhere on the other side of the mountains that will reach you long after it’s gone on its way.
Interiors and decor:
The rooms are extremely comfortable and minimally and tastefully decked up. Be it the large, comfy bed or the soft pillows, the books (both English and Spanish!) stacked by the bed side, the warm lamps, candles, it was evident how much thought had gone into each of the aspects.
Something else about this hotel that caught my fancy was that there is no dedicated restaurant. It is just a large common space/room with wooden floors and furnished with comfortable arm chairs, sofas, a beautiful fireplace, book shelves stacked with books of all kinds, and few tables and chairs for when it’s meal time; adding even more to the “feel at home” vibe.
Food and drink
The breakfast in the hotel is complimentary with the room. Get yourselves some warm bread, homemade cakes, chorizos, eggs, bacon or sausages and grab a glass of that divine orange juice and settle into the comfy nook on the terrace. The breakfast is simple, homemade and tasty; not with a million options but everything made with love and care.
Dinner is available only on request. The menu is preset and they prepare the meal only for the exact number of people who place a booking. The dinner is available only for house guests and is prepared with ingredients freshly and locally sourced from the village market. We had the in house dinner one evening and it was as tasty as what you would expect out of a home kitchen.
Now for the drinks. The in-house bar keeps a list of carefully handpicked Spanish wines and Cava among other liqueurs. Needless to say we went to town with some glorious Spanish white wine while chatting away about old times and new, while comfortably seated facing the mighty mountains, and even a bottle of Cava which was on the house.
It has been more than a month since we visited this absolutely stunning hotel and I still feel like I am living in the hangover from the mesmerizing experience it was. I still feels like I have left a part of my soul somewhere in the countryside there- with the wildflowers and the olive trees; in the wilderness; in the mountains. This is the place to unwind, to get a grip of your own being, to calm your soul, to be one with nature and to make memories.
PS: They have the cutest dog, Fermin and the priciest cat, Clyde in the history of time. Those two were the highlights of our visit and we miss those snuggles even today.