Casa Convento La Almoraima

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Address: Finca la Almoraima, Castellar de la Frontera, 11350, Spain

Star rating:
4 star hotel

4.6

A 14,000-hectare inland hunting estate, creaking with the weight of history.

Built in 1603 by the Duke of Medinacelli - one of Spain's grandest noblemen - Almoraima later became a monastery and was eventually sold to a private bank in the 1970s. Recently renovated, this seductive retreat has maintained most of its historic charms. It sits in deep woodland up a long private drive and is said to be the hotel with the largest grounds in Spain. Aside from being a productive farm, with cotton, maize and oranges, there is some of the best hunting to be found in Andalucia.

Location
4.8
90%
Eating/drinking
3.9
90%
Leisure facilities
4.7
90%
Service
4.6
90%
Value for money
4.6
90%
Bedrooms
4.7
90%
Public areas
4.8
90%

Location

Just 15 minutes' drive inland from Sotogrande, you are on the edge of the stunning Alcornocales Natural Park and close to atmospheric old town of Castellar de la Frontera.

Bedrooms

What really enthuses me is that contrast to its historical fabric; the 23 bedrooms are contemporary in style, comfortable and calming, with bright, original touches. They all have plasma TVs, WiFi and some interesting photographic prints. There are also extremely big baths and showers with hydromassage.

Best of all are the historic touches, such as old wall tiles or doors, that have been conserved. Some rooms have access to a big long terrace at the front, while the three junior suites and deluxe suite are enormous - but I don't think they are worth the extra cost, given the size of the normal bedrooms.

Public areas

The balustraded fascade and 19th-Florentine belfry make for a grand arrival and you are soon sucked through into its timeless cloistered patio, a magical and intimate spot, full of plants and the scent of orange blossom and birdsong. It is incredibly calming and I happily relaxed, admiring its original flagstone floor and the hibiscus and banana palms that thrive here. Off the courtyard is its own chapel, with some moving paintings and uplifting wooden angels.

Eating and drinking

The hotel has a restaurant, but it looked decidedly unexciting to me. You're much better off heading to one of the good venta (or typical roadside inns) nearby on the road towards Estación San Roque, such as Venta del Conde, or indeed in the town.

Leisure facilities

It has all the facilities you would expect of a four-star hotel, such as a big pool, tennis court and excellent grounds for walking. But Almoraima is also a great holiday destination if you like hunting, with the availability of shooting three types of deer and mountain goat, as well as partridge. There are also wildlife tours available, bicycles provided, and horse riding possibilities.

Service

Attentive and professional. They welcome you as though you've been invited to stay the weekend at a grand stately manor.  

Who stays there

Apart from Prince Andrew, who has been here to hunt, it is just the sort of private secluded spot ideal for businessmen to bring their mistresses or for well-heeled European aristocrats to unwind/let of steam. But equally, families would also be happy here.

Price advice

Booking in advance normally means significant discounts, so get booking.

Amenities

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Families with teenagers
  • Families with younger children
  • Sporty types
  • Escaping the crowds
  • Great views / scenery
  • Relaxation
  • History
  • Nature / wildlife

Pros & Cons

  • Enormous countryside estate
  • Atmospheric journey back in time
  • A few too many "hunting types" at various times of the year
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