Spend a weekend recalibrating at this sun-drenched Spanish hotel.
Costa del Sol. The clue is in the name.
The Andalusian wedge in the south of Spain is a sun-drenched and sunny spot, one of the most beautiful parts of the country, if you ask an Andalusian. Landing at Málaga airport on a day that reached a scorching 35°C, I wasn’t in any position to contradict them. Not only because what they said was true, but because I had never been to Spain before.
A long weekend at La Bobadilla, a Royal Hideaway resort in the Andalusian hills, drinking spicy red wine in the shadow of the olive groves, was the perfect introduction.
Situated in between Seville and Granada in the Andalusian countryside, La Bobadilla is about an hour’s drive from Málaga airport. Leave the party towns of Málaga and Marbella in your dust as you head north towards the hotel, which is tucked away on a sprawling estate studded with olive trees.
The word of the day at La Bobadilla is slow. The hotel is dedicated to resetting and recalibrating and its very design screams calm. From your welcome drink at the check-in desk (a cooling lemonade) to the private terraces attached to the rooms, here is a place to unwind.
In that sense, the hotel is a location in and of itself. Boasting two connected pools with plenty of sun lounges, a full service spa, two restaurants and grounds for walking, bicycling, running and forest bathing, many guests like to dig their heels in and stay within the resort’s grounds over the course of their trip.
If you do want to explore, La Bobadilla’s location is perfect for day trips. The hotel is within easy driving distance of Seville, Cordoba and Granada, with each city offering interesting sight-seeing points of their own. In Granada there’s the spectacular Alhambra palace and Spanish history, while Seville offers soaring cathedrals and fantastic food.
Closer to the hotel, the small town of Riofrio offers enough for an afternoon out. Head first to Caviar de Riofrio, where local sturgeon are farmed for caviar (and you can even try some of their certified organic offerings for yourself). Afterwards, head to the town for a long lunch at Meson Riofrio, where you can sample local delicacies like smoked sturgeon or fried milk, a delicious pannacotta-esque dessert.
Or you can sit by the pool at La Bobadilla with a good book and a cocktail. No judgement here.
Built in the traditional finca style, the design at La Bobadilla is airy, bright and full of light. Walk into the lobby and you’ll be met with a wall of arched windows held aloft by soaring white columns, creating a fluid marriage of the outdoor and the indoor.
You’ll see this a lot, actually, throughout the hotel. La Bobadilla is a twisty, turny maze of a place featuring spiralling staircases, indoor courtyards and curved walkways that lead to terraces overlooking the rolling Andalusian hills. Don’t worry, you won’t get lost. The resort is well signposted and there are plenty of friendly staff who are more than happy to point you in the right direction. But as you amble along the terracotta-tiled corridors there is a sense that you’re about to embark on a fun adventure
Every single one of the 67 rooms at La Bobadilla is different, which means that each stay is unique. Some, like the hotel’s suites, feature indoor jacuzzis and private dining rooms. But even the smaller rooms, which are still spacious by a hotel’s standard, create a sense of luxury through their sitting areas or their marble bathrooms.
Like the communal spaces, the vibe at La Bobadilla is traditional. Walls are white, wooden accents are dark and the floors are all terracotta tiles. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor terrace, many of them feature private sunbeds for soaking in as much sun as possible.
In the cool basement of the hotel is a subterranean wellness wonderland: saunas, Turkish baths, hydrotherapy pools, a state-of-the-art gym and a full-service spa. U-Spa offers massage, beauty treatments, hairdressing and make-up with a range of treatments that draw their inspiration from the natural environment of the hotel, like the salt scrub that uses locally produced olive oil and rosemary.
If it’s sun you’re looking for, you’ll want to head outdoors and down a twisting path to the two interconnected pools. With one heated pool, and one unheated, there’s a space that will suit all personalities, as well as plenty of lounges, cabanas and seating areas for all guests. There’s also a pool bar for those looking to purchase food and drinks while they loll about.
And if you’re after an extra special experience, a roped-off area featuring Balinese beds and a personal hot tub is available for reservations. This is one for those looking for total, blissful privacy.
In terms of other activities, the hotel also offers things like an introductory olive oil tasting and forest bathing. The traditional Japanese practice involves a mindful walk through nature and a short meditation, during which you contemplate the environment around you. Even on one of Andalusia’s warm, sunny days, sitting in the shade of a tree and listening to the rustling leaves is a simple pleasure.
Food and drinks
Set across a sprawling outdoor terrace, La Finca is fine dining under the stars. The restaurant prides itself on offering a true gastronomical experience to all diners. Each menu is designed to give guests a taste of the cuisine of each continent – dishes could include everything from zingy ceviche to a Japanese-inspired tuna tataki. International wines are offered to match your degustation meal, which – weather permitted – can be eaten on the outdoor terrace as the sun sets around you.
More casual than its neighbour restaurant, El Cortijo focuses on traditional cuisine and dishes from the region of Andalusia. With both an alfresco terrace and an indoor dining room, the restaurant offers fresh salads, grilled meats and seafood and rich desserts.
How to get to La Bobadilla Royal Hideaway
La Bobadilla can be reached from Málaga, Seville, Cordoba or Granada, so you have your choice of airports to fly into. All will require at least an hour’s driving to reach the hotel, so it’s really about thinking of the most sensible flight options or, alternatively, deciding if you want to pair a restorative weekend at La Bobadilla with a city break as well.
British Airways, Ryanair, Norwegian, Vueling, easyJet, TUI, Jet2, Blue Air, Primera, Flybe and Aer Lingus all fly direct from the UK to Málaga, so you really are faced with a wealth of choice when it comes to access. From Málaga you’ll need to arrange a connection with La Bobadilla or hire a care to drive just over an hour to the hotel.