Stylist editor Susan Riley discovers a joyful hidden gem on the plains of Andalucia
With wind turbines rotating in the distance and hazy fields where dust and heat meld together, I might describe the surroundings of Casa La Siesta as like the backdrop to the final scene of Se7en. Or, for a more nostalgic comparison, it’s all very Don Quixote. Actually let’s go with that one. Cervantes would have loved it here.
Crudely translated, Casa La Siesta is the nap house, a serene slice of Cadiz countryside imploring you to relax the second you step through its sandstone arch. And my god, do you.
Be it the muted interiors (it’s owned by the couple who launched tile company Bert & May, so you’re in excellent hands), or the abundance of daybeds and discreet shady nooks, this rustic cortijo is the location equivalent of a strong shot of Nytol.
Everything is done at a slower pace here: breakfast finishes at a lazy 10.30am; lunch, served anywhere you wish, is between 2 and 3; dinner is after 8pm, pre-empted by a sundowner from the honesty bar.
In between meals, you pad around the property (there’s a ping-pong table! And a beer tap!) or down to the 17m saltwater lawn-lined pool, where showers sit tucked behind laurels and trays of cucumber water and freshly pressed juices do the rounds twice a day.
The food is delicious – simple gazpachos, local cheeses, Bellota jamón and imaginative salads – while festoon lighting, citronella candles and the smell of jasmine everywhere makes the courtyard a very romantic place to be come dusk.
The dinkiness of the hotel (it’s got seven ensuites and a three-bed villa) means it’s a common treat to find yourself dining or sunbathing solo like you’re the only ones there. And did I mention it’s adults only (save for a few family weeks dotted throughout the year)?
Although bedroom layouts require you to know your plus-one reasonably well. Ours, with high ceilings and shabbychic shutters, had an open shower and a bathtub in the middle of the room, leaving zero room for prudes.
The other heads up: if you want to take the delightful wicker basket from your room on longer jaunts than to the pool, you’ll want to hire a car. Be it for beach days at nearby El Palmar or wandering the whitewashed streets and eclectic boutiques of Vejer de la Frontera, where we picked up a particularly epic Frida Kahlo embroidered pillow. Kite-surfing mecca Tarifa is 40 minutes away, while cycling and beachfront horseriding are also hugely popular.
We preferred to revel in Casa La Siesta’s ranch-style remoteness, eschewing a hire car for airport transfers from Gibraltar and back to Jerez (just over an hour). It was a good strategy; we felt no pressure to do, or see. We just wafted happily around our almost-private finca like the very welcome house guests we were.
Casa La Siesta is an adult-only hotel for most of the year. Doubles start at £304 a night on a B&B basis; casalasiesta.com