I arrived at Barceló La Bobadilla at the end of tiring couple of weeks, and was desperate to get away from it all. As my taxi puttered slowly up the drive, past olive groves and holm-oak woods, I knew I’d picked the right place to do exactly that. This 1,000-acre finca is surrounded by miles and miles of peaceful countryside, and beyond them, the Sierra Nevada Mountains stand sentry. Although touristy Malaga is less than an hour away, it all feels wonderfully remote and unspoilt.
Andalucia has a colourful history, and the hotel’s designers have tapped into its rich architectural heritage to create a magnificent resort in miniature. With all the lofty ceilings, ornamental fountains and open brick arches, being here feels like having the run of your very own Moorish palace. And there’s none of the bland uniformity you so often find in hotels of this calibre. All 70 of the rooms (each of which has a glorious view) have been individually decorated, and come with thoughtful touches – I arrived to find a bottle of sherry waiting for me, which I sipped on my balcony as the sun set, looking out on the Mediterranean woodland below.
Barceló La Bobadilla is big on sustainability, and during my stay I discovered that the hotel runs largely on the energy produced by burning leftover olive stones, taken from its own groves. But this isn’t the only good use olives are put to here. Food is the focal point, and with three excellent restaurants to pick from, I was spoilt for choice. The candlelit courtyard of La Finca, one of Granada’s smartest restaurants, regularly wins awards for its cellar. For gazpacho made the traditional way, paper-thin slices of jamon Iberico and other Andalucian classics, there’s El Cortijo. And during the summer, you can tuck into barbecued fare at the alfresco Mirador.
Although the hotel has become a destination for gourmet globetrotters, the service is relaxed and unfussy – all the staff knew me by name by the end of my stay, and not just because I kept asking for refills of Rioja.
Barceló La Bobadilla’s sun-dappled courtyards are perfect for reading, snoozing or enjoying a quiet drink. With two pools to choose from (one indoors with spa facilities one outdoors fringed with palms) and lush gardens to lose yourself in, you could easily spend a happy couple of days here simply unwinding in the grounds.
But if you fancy venturing a little further there is horse trekking, or you can take a quad bike for a spin around the estate’s miles of sandy tracks. And for a day-trip with a difference, you can even arrange for a hot-air balloon to take you as far as the Alhambra.
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