From April Paffrath, Cambridge, MA
From Sevilla, we drove to Ronda, making our way into the mountains and driving past Pueblos Blancos on our way to Hotel La Fuente de la Higuera (Partido de los Frontones, Ronda; 34-952-11-43-55; www.hotellafuente.com). The hotel is very relaxing and well appointed without the trappings of pretension or gloved service. Everything is casual and you feel it as soon as you arrive. The owner-designed building is not a pastiche of Spanish design. It feels like you’re visiting someone’s country home. It’s outside of Ronda on country (dirt) lanes among farms and olive groves. Since most properties in the area are walled, it’s not really suited for scenic walks. However, once you’re in the property, you don’t care. We stayed in the suite on the second floor (room 2) with a living room, a bedroom, a bath, a private sunning patio and views on three sides of the surrounding valley and olive groves. The property’s own lemon, orange, and olive trees are right out the window. We originally booked just for two nights but immediately decided to stay for a third night because it was so calm and pleasant. There is no TV – far better was the open fireplace and the CD player (the owners have hundreds of CDs to borrow). We visited when it was still chilly, so we didn’t get to use the pool, but it looked wonderful.
Even though it’s a small place (about eleven rooms), they have a cooking staff and you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the hotel. We chose to eat dinner there, just so we could already be “home” and relaxed at dinnertime and spend quiet time with our daughter. The cooks are a real treat – during the growing season, they harvest food from the organic garden just for your meals. At breakfast, you are given your dinner choices and you make your selection, including vegetarian options. The rocket soup was perfect, the red peppers in the artichoke dish were sweet as candy, and the lemon tart was made from the lemons right outside our window. They made special meals for our daughter so she would have some of her favorite foods. Pom and Tina, the owners, are laid back and creative and their staff are all friendly and at ease. They took special care of our daughter, taking her in to “visit” the kitchen, or on a special trip to choose her own dessert or pick a lemon from the trees. It was a true vacation spot for her. When we returned from exploring nearby towns like Grazalema and Zahara, we put her to nap in the room and went down the half flight to the common patio area. We left the door open so we could hear her and Tina brought us coffees and tea cake made with eggs from their own hens. We’re definitely going back some time. (Tip: The hotel has wi-fi connection in the dining room.)
Ronda itself is impressive. It’s built right on the edge of very high cliffs and the famous bridge crossing the gorge is imposing and amazing. A nice walk takes you right along the cliff top, giving you fantastic views of the countryside. Wander around the old town and walk along the gorge a bit and cross over back into the new town. A quick zig-zag will take you by the famous bull ring—modern bullfighting was born there and Hemingway was a frequent visitor.
Read about this member’s trip to Seville
Read about this member’s trip to Granada and Córdoba