“A pair of ocean-facing hideaways with shared garden, set high above one of the Atlantic Coast’s most pristine beaches (sleeping 2-6, self-catering)”
Though each house varies in size, decoration and design, their shared ethos is outdoor living, drawing focus on that vista across sand, sea and forest to the hazy outline of Morocco’s coastline: gazing and lazing are what come easiest here.
The Casita (sleeping 2-3)
The smallest house is best suited to couples, but the sofabed downstairs can serve as a third bed. A big sweep of south-facing terrace, where you’ll find an outside shower and barbecue, leads to an all-in-one living room with a wood-burner, small kitchenette and a corner shower room. The open-sided stairs that lead up to the bedroom increase the sense of space, as do walls of light-coloured stucco, off-white floor tiles and the lack of decorative clutter. Up in the bedroom a huge window, coupled with a mirror backing the double bed, brings in light and the glittering waves of El Cañuelo beach.
Stone House (sleeps 2-8)
This house is aptly named, with huge sandstone boulders serving as the back wall. In the open-plan living area you'll find a swish kitchen: to one side is the dining table, to the other a door to the terrace and your alfresco meals. We loved the floor-to-ceiling tapestry from Burma, and phrases made from painted wooden letters reflect the owner's pacifist/Buddhist take on life. A wood-burner and central heating keeps things warm in winter, and there's a private pool for summer. Our favourite bedroom is the rooftop double, which has a huge, sea-facing terrace and an ensuite shower room. Two walls of glass, one facing the sea, the other the rock garden, meet in one corner. The second double is in a barrel-vaulted attic: it's much smaller with a futon bed. This hidey-hole room is best suited to kids but it has a private terrace overlooking the garden. The third bedroom is to one side of the open-plan living area with a double bed and views down to the sea. These latter 2 bedrooms share a huge bathroom with a Philippe Starck bathtub and rain shower.
The houses have all the kit for preparing your own food, as well as indoor and outdoor dining tables and barbecues. You'll find a small selection of spices, but will need to shop for everything else yourself - be sure to buy bottled water as you can't drink from the taps here. In Tarifa there are masses of great little shops, 2 or 3 supermarkets and a wonderful covered market - this is the place for fish fresh from the sea. Down in Bolonia, 10 minutes away by car, there are a couple of sell-everything shops as well as excellent locally baked bread.
In summertime there's a big choice of places to eat in Bolonia. This is when the chiringuitos (beach bars) open up - Los Troncos, the nearest to the sea, is our favourite. Further along the beach a friendly welcome and excellent seafood await at Las Rejas and El Albero, whilst a little further out of town there's a great roadside pizzeria, El Tropezón. Close to the tiny hamlet of Betis, El Tesoro is the place for a memorable supper-with-a-view.
Tarifa also has numerous restaurants. Our favourite place for fine dining is Casa Lola, whilst El Picoteo is great for tapas. The Hurricane Hotel does a good lunchtime buffet in its beach-bar restaurant, which includes plenty of interesting veggie options.
The rocks, the garden, the forest, dunes and beach: this is the stuff of adventurous kids' dreams. Children of all ages are welcome but it's probably not ideal for toddlers, given the number of steps and the distance between houses and gardens. Baby cots and a high chair are available, but there's little else in the way of kiddie equipment.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The Casita sleeps up to 3, with a double bed + single sofabed or space for a baby cot; Stone House has 3 kingsize beds, 2 single futons in a loft (ladder access not suitable for young children) and space for a baby cot - plus it has a private swimming pool.
The water here isn't drinkable, be sure to stock up on bottled water when you go out.