Earlier this month I traveled to Spain to attend a friend’s wedding in Malaga. To make the trip worth it, my boyfriend and I decided to spend an extra few days in the Andalusian mountains. We wanted to explore the beautiful countryside and include a trip to Ronda, which my parents had recommended to us. When looking for hotels, we were disappointed at the prices of accommodations in Ronda itself. So we decided to look a little further and found this charming little hotel not too far from Ronda. I had no real expectations for this place but was absolutely blown away by its charm, comfort and the friendliness of the owners. I also did not plan to do a review of this hotel. But after my stay there, I was itching to share this little gem with the world.
The hotel is situated in a beautiful little town in the Andalusian mountains, called Cartajima. The only way to get there is by hire car (or a very expensive taxi ride). Since there is so much to do in the area, this should be no problem. Finding the exact location of the hotel within the village was a chore though. The owners of the hotel had sent us a lovely email, offering to pick us up at the entrance of the village to show us the way. We over-optimistically decided to find our own way and got terribly lost within the (tiny) village. Because the streets are so narrow in some parts of Cartajima we also managed to scratch our rental car. Thank god we opted for the additional ‘super’ insurance, which had us fully covered for the scratch. Life lesson: if someone offers you help, take it!
The hotel itself was beautiful and oozing with the tender loving care that the owners had put into it. We stayed in room 1 on the ground floor. The room was rustic, yet comfortable and was impeccably clean. I was particularly impressed by all the little details that made the room so unique. A little artisanally-made light holder contained a candle with some matches, which meant we could enjoy some cosy candlelight at night. The bathroom held locally made shampoo and body oil. The coasters were made of simple regional tiles, that added a personal touch.
It was clear straight away that this room had not been decorated by a massive corporation. Instead, it felt homely and inviting. But even with all the personal touches, it still did not lack in basic necessities. The bed was comfortable to sleep in, the shower worked and towels were clean.
My favourite element of the room were the art supplies that were provided by the owners. I had never seen this in a hotel before, but I thought it was such a neat idea. I spent a few hours painting on one of the days and it was so incredibly relaxing.
The hotel comes with breakfast that is included in the price and I was pleasantly surprised by the options. The buffet is simple, yet delicious. It consists of cereals with milk and fruit and bread with different toppings. What stood out again were the personal touches of the owners. One day, the owners asked my boyfriend if he would like some scrambled eggs. The owners also knew I was vegan, so ended up making their own almond milk for my cereal. That kind of care made the stay really special for me.
On request, the owners also provide a three-course dinner. We took advantage of this on our first night and enjoyed the hearty, home-cooked food. It was simple and rustic food that went perfectly with the ambiance of the area.
What to do in the area
The main attraction of the area is obviously Ronda, which is about half an hour from the hotel. This town is famous for its medieval bridge that sits between two cliffs. I must say that Ronda did not disappoint and the beauty of the bridge lived up to my expectations. The other activity I would recommend is the Cueva del Gato (or Cat’s Cave). The cave is only 20 minutes away from Ronda and is not as touristy as Ronda. However, the cave is definitely worth a visit as it provides a stunning pool of fresh mountain water. After a hot day of sightseeing, we were excited to dip into the water, only to find out it was freezing. That explained why the pool was so empty on a hot summer’s day. We only had one full day available for exploring the area, so, unfortunately, we were not able to see more. However, our room came with a little booklet full of personalised recommendations. The area really has so much more to offer and I would love to go back one day.
Our stay at hotel Castanos definitely exceeded my expectations. We had booked it mainly because it was a little cheaper than some of the places in Ronda. But we got so much more than just a place to sleep. We got a beautiful home to stay at, with fresh local foods and a view to die for. If you are ever planning to visit this area of the world, I can highly recommend staying at hotel Castanos.