If you’re the sort of traveller that prefers to explore a new destination each time you go away, you might think that the family ritual of visiting the same place every year means that you’re missing out on something. Head to La Bobadilla, a Royal Hideaway Hotel, in Andalusia, Spain, and you’ll soon understand how and why families fall in love and never look back.
By Susie Thorne
An easy hour’s drive north from Malaga Airport on the Costa del Sol, an hour west of the historic city of Grenada and two hours east of Andalusia’s stunning capital, Seville, La Bobadilla is nestled into a real sweet spot – convenient for family day trips to the city whilst still feeling like a genuine hideaway in the Spanish hills.
Andalusia is known for its natural beauty, with olive groves and vineyards rolling over hills, tumbling down into rivers and farmland. Arriving in Loja and driving up the long road to the hotel, you’re transported into an oasis. Spot the donkeys and horses on your left grazing in the field whilst you wind through lush green scenery. The hotel lobby greets you with peace, tranquility and beauty. The legacy of the area’s Moorish history is still clear in the architecture of its buildings, something that La Bobadilla has featured prominently in its design. Soaring ceilings, cream-coloured walls, rustic tiled floors and iconic terracotta roofs make this beautiful hotel both distinctive and a seamless part of the landscape all at once.
As the hotel says, “just like its guests, each room is unique at La Bobadilla, a Royal Hideaway Hotel.” Each exquisitely designed room and suite has its own personality combining stone floors, fine wood and different styles of marble baths. Ours, on the top floor, had a small but lovely terrace with a table and chairs, and daybeds with views over the mountains, whilst similar rooms on the ground floor had spacious gardens full of native flora and fauna but without the same panoramic view.
Outside of the hotel, the grounds are immense. The central focal point is the large pool area, complete with sun loungers, umbrellas and poolside service. With a very shallow side for small children to paddle in, then deepening gradually into a lovely deep pool for swimming lengths, children of all ages will enjoy their time in the clear blue water (heated in April and October, and lovely and cool for the warmer months).
If you’re an active family, you can make the most of the outside tennis courts, fitness suite and on-site bikes, or ask the hotel to organise horse riding for you. Definitely make the time to pamper yourself at the spa – we personally recommend the olive oil treatment which leaves your skin so unbelievably soft and nourished and your whole body (and mind) completely relaxed.
For foodies, La Bombadilla is paradise. . For true indulgence, La Finca is renowned as one of the best restaurants in the Granada province, fusing flavours from across the world and matching them with carefully selected local and international wines. Sit outside on El Patio amongst the geraniums in the warm evening air, or get cosy in La Chimenea, a room with high sloping wooden ceilings and terracotta floors.
Take part in an olive oil or wine tasting and learn about the products of the region before heading to El Cortijo Restaurant, which celebrates local and regional cuisine with a strong Andalusian influence. It has a beautiful outdoor space – La Terazza – with impressive views of the olive groves and Loja mountain range, and head to to the winery for views of the surrounding vineyards.
La Bobadilla is committed to respecting its natural surroundings, both in its design – made to be a part of the landscape rather than dominate it – and within its eco philosophy.
Using olive stones as an energy source for heating and hot water, the hotel ensures minimal impact on the environment – with zero pollution – whilst also creating a by product to fertilise the thriving greenery around the hotel.
How to get there
Flight time from London Heathrow or Gatwick to Malaga Airport is 2 hours 45 minutes. Once you’ve touched down on the Costa del Sol, it’s an easy 50 minute drive through lush green olive groves to La Bobadilla, A Royal Hideaway Hotel.
Families with kids of all ages who want a mix of outdoorsy activities like cycling, tennis and horse riding, and relaxing poolside.
Older kids and parents can enjoy learning about Andalusian culture through food, with cookery classes, olive oil tastings and more.
Best time to go
The resort is open April to October. July and August will be the hottest months so if you prefer a cooler climate (but still lovely and warm!), choose a time before or after this summer holiday period.
Prices at Royal Hideaway La Bobadilla start from 160 euros per room per night in a Deluxe Superior Room on a bed and breakfast basis.
Family package options
A 5-night trip to La Bobadilla for a family of four – two adults and two children under 12 – in May half term, 2019 (last week in May), costs from £3,950.
This includes two deluxe superior rooms with breakfast, return economy flights to Granada from London City and car hire with Exsus Travel.