Tucked away on a back road between Sotogrande and Jimena, the hotel takes a bit of finding. See their website for details.
The 21 bedrooms have all the expected trappings of a four-star hotel. Subtly decorated, they have matching fabric curtains and bedspreads, attractive wooden furniture and romantic recessed lighting. The flooring is natural terracotta tiles and the best of the rooms, downstairs, give onto their own private terraces, where at night you can admire the stars in total silence. Everything has been carefully planned and the bathrooms have big baths, although I was disappointed at the poor display of products on offer.
Hidden in its own private oasis full of tall palm trees, pines and olives, the landscaping shows a real passion for gardening and style. You arrive through huge wooden doors into the bosom of the hotel, the main sitting area on one side, a restaurant and bar area on the other. From here you head into a charming central patio, full of fountains, giant palm trees and the smell of jasmine in summer. I particularly like the seductive view from here into another hidden garden at the back, where the swimming pool can be found.
Eating and drinking
The restaurant is as charming as the rest of the hotel and has a short, but enticing menu, mostly tapas style and only really functioning when the hotel has a lot of guests. I'd recommend heading out to the restaurants in nearby Sotogrande port, or the nearby ventas (coaching inns).
The enormous sunken pool – in a cross shape to keep with the monastery flavour - sits seductively in a walled garden behind the main patio. The hotel is becoming known as a venue for yoga retreats and activity holidays, with numerous groups coming at various times of the year.
Friendly and laid back. Manolo and the team have a passion for the area, meaning they'll offer genuine advice and tips on where to go.
Who stays there
Celebrities wanting privacy, media types and romantic couples.
Out of season, from October to April, you can pick up some terrific rates, but the hotel may be closed if there are not at least half a dozen rooms booked, so don't just turn up.
- Culture vultures
- Mature travellers
- Seasoned travellers
- Escaping the crowds
- Chilling out
Pros & Cons
- Amazingly well designed hotel that feels 200 years old
- Stunning grounds
- A bit out of the way
- Idiosyncratic opening times