It’s no secret that I love a sun-drenched hideaway that’s as indulgently luxurious as it is secluded, so I’m delighted to bring you my latest hidden gem: El Carligto in Malaga, Spain. This wonderfully private Andalucían hideaway is perched on a hilltop with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean right across to the Moroccan coast.
El Carligto is not a luxury hotel or villa, but an exclusive, private estate that brings a new standard to luxury villa rentals. Offering the accommodation, views and attentive service of a five-star hotel, this luxury estate has the added bonus that you don’t have to share it with anyone else as you’re the only guests! The estate is made up of Cortijo El Carligto, a stunning farmstead built on the site of an even older Andalucían farmhouse (sleeps 8) and the Hunting Lodge which has been recently renovated into a rustic-style bohemian villa (sleeps 6). You can rent one or both of the private properties as they are walled in and set far enough apart to be completely private, but still close enough to be shared should you so wish.
Cortijo El Carligto is an elegant, rustic retreat that’s full of lovely design details like over-sized indoor and outdoor fireplaces. The sprawling interior is decorated with tapestries and French and Spanish antiques throughout, and outside you are met with seemingly endless private terraces and beautifully landscaped gardens perfect for moments of private contemplation (with a delicious glass of local wine in hand of course!). Alternatively, you can bask in the Andalucían sun at the edge of the pool with views you could stare at for days, as the land falls away beneath you leading into valleys and out to meet the Mediterranean Sea. Note: If you’re going away with friends, make sure to win the argument over who gets to stay in the master bedroom as you won’t regret it once you set foot inside your airy and spacious accommodation with hammam-style bathroom and private open air shower.
Alternatively choose the smaller, but more contemporary Hunting Lodge offering a private, heated pool and numerous secluded garden terraces framing incredible views. The décor in the lodge has more of a bohemian style, including art deco furniture, local art and modern touches adorning a wonderfully large and sociable open plan living space. The property also features an outdoor kitchen and dining area as well as a lounge and cinema – what more could you need?
You can choose a fully self-catering stay or, and I would thoroughly recommend this, the hosts can provide a private gourmet chef service with three excellent chefs (one Michelin rated) for personal, in-house dining. Some might feel that the property is too isolated for self-catering (25 minutes to the nearest large supermarket), but I mark this as a plus, after all you’re here to escape from the hum-drum weekly shops so let the hosts take excellent care of your every need while you do what comes naturally.
To add to your Andalucían experience, the hosts offer unrivalled access to a refined network of local contacts that arrange anything from private tastings and “show cooking” demonstrations with some of Andalusia’s top chefs, to private Flamenco performances and workshops. They can even bring a little spa pampering right to your doorstep, nothing is too much trouble, it’s no wonder El Carligto has been given three consecutive Conde Nast Traveler Gold List nominations! For those that insist on hopping in the hire car to explore, though I see very little reason to live this tranquil idyll, the estate is within easy reach of the historic cities of Granada (1.5 hrs), Cordoba (2hrs) and cosmopolitan Malaga (under 1hr) and the Sierra Nevada ski resort is under 2 hours away.
So if you fancy a secluded morning coffee by the sparkling turquoise pool as the sun comes up over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, or a glass of wine at sunset warmed by the gentle heat of the outdoor fireplace interrupted only by the gently swaying ancient eucalyptus and palm trees then this serene escape is surely for you.
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