Casa Rural Las Chimeneas

Mairena-Nevada, Granada & Sierra Nevada, Spain Book from

Delectable, relaxing guesthouse and casitas in a village at the eastern end of La Alpujarra, reachable from Granada and Almeria - an ideal base for hiking
You probably won’t have heard of the tiny village of Mairena on the southern flank of the Sierra Nevada, just a few miles from where Gerard Brennan wrote ‘South from Granada’. You’re as likely to encounter a donkey as you are a car on your way to the village square: that fabled ‘old’ Spain is still alive and kicking. Emma and David, entranced by the sweeping views to the south, bought a huge village house and adjacent buildings here and have created a harmonious, organic and soothing series of living spaces and rooms that strike just the right balance between authenticity and comfort.

Light floods into the living/dining room through high windows: the view to the south, out across steeply terraced hillsides to the distant Mediterranean, is enticing. This is the sort of place where you slow down, pick up the novel you’ve been meaning to read, and fantasise about making that move to Spain. Fabulous hikes go straight out from the house; you can book an all-inclusive week of hiking, cookery or even yoga. And if none of those appeal, this is a great place to just kick back.

Highs

  • This 800-year-old house breathes simple, solid comfort, it feels good to be here
  • The food is really varied, and the excellent Alpujarran cooking means vegetarians are in for a treat
  • Blissfully quiet Mairena is far less touristy than some other villages in the Alpujarra
  • Emma and David are relaxed, caring hosts who have all the maps and documentation you'll need for a blissful week of exploration. You’ll enjoy your stay more at La Chimeneas thanks to their help and advice

Lows

  • Mairena is well off the beaten track and you’ll need a car to get the most out of a stay here. But its isolation is a big part of the attraction
  • Don’t expect much in the way of gadgetry; this is a simple B&B and has no pretensions to provide the sort of creature comforts that you’d expect in a hotel
  • In the colder months the combination of radiators and woodburners only just manages to keep the cold at bay

Best time to go

Because of the height, you can walk in La Alpujarra throughout the year apart from when the snow is down. Between December and March you may need to trade in walking boots for cross-country skis if you want to tackle the high peaks; between 800-1500m the snow is quite rare in winter.

Our top tips

The Illsleys have gradually gained a reputation for Las Chimeneas as being one of THE places to stay amongst the walking community. Other guests come for the authenticity, and peacefulness, of this part of Andalucía. Lots of guests are on their second or third stay.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 3 rooms, 3 casitas
  • Breakfast (+ dinner on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

Guests at Las Chimeneas get to choose between an ensuite room in the main house or one of 3 adjacent small village houses (or casitas) each with 1 or 2 bedrooms and kitchen-living area with wood-burning stove. All of them feel utterly in sync with the local architectural style. The wooden windows and doors are painted in the traditional bluey-grey colour of the region, some rooms have period deco-ish tiles whilst others make use of locally quarried slate. Whitewashed poplar beams, antique lamps, marble-topped bedside tables and some lovely old prints imbue the rooms with an air of Times Past. And terracotta tiles have been used to provide attractive corner up-lighting. Beds are either standard or queensize with decent cotton sheets and white counterpanes.

Bathrooms are simple, rather spartan affairs, but nothing is missing. Some have half-length tubs but you’d be better off showering here.

In two of the casitas you get your own private terrace with the same gorgeous views. Given the choice, we might opt for a casita in the winter, as these bedrooms can be particularly cosy because they're smaller, and a room in the main house in the warmer months as they're big, light and airy although there are plenty of radiators and one of the bedrooms has its own fireplace.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Plunge pool
  • WiFi

Eating

All meals are served in the adjacent restaurant.

The evening meals are prepared by Soledad who has been part of the Chimeneas family for many years. The menu is a delicious blend of traditional Alpujarran and North African cuisine with recipes handed down over generations. One big plus is that an interesting vegetarian option is on offer every night, along with a choice between fish or meat. And the 3-course set menu is remarkably good value. You'll have the chance to see the chef at work, whether it is to learn the secrets of marinading your own olives or preparing the locally dried peppers and tomatoes for a delicious soup, the food here is prepared with love and attention. At certain times of year the Casa holds dedicated cookery weeks with demonstrations from guest chefs. Sam Clark, for example, writer of the acclaimed Moro cook books, is a huge fan.

Soledad uses local meat and veggies whenever possible and a real effort is made to source organic products, some of which come straight from David and Emma’s own smallholding beneath Mairena. Wine, too, is locally sourced. The house red is Vega Camacin, from nearby Laujar, an appealing full-bodied red. And there are bottles from further afield should you prefer the better-known Spanish tintos. You’re welcome to BYO - indicative of the relaxed approach which seems to permeate Las Chimeneas.

Breakfast, included in the price of your room, is a simple affair. There’s always a big bowl of fruit on the table, natural yoghurts, chunky bread and pot-fulls of coffee. Ask if you would like an egg or cheese.

And walkers are provided with a really good picnic to take on their rambles. Light lunches can be provided: raciones of cheese or ham, chilled gazpacho, bread, olives.

The 3 Casitas have their own kitchen facilities so you can go self-catering if you like.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • In house cook
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Walking is the main activity, with route notes and maps provided; hike the GR-7 straight out from the house, or any of a host of other trails
  • Emma and David frequently organise foodie weeks and cookery classes which local and international bakers and chefs
  • Cheese making and soap making with the help of a local expert
  • Olive bashing during the winter months. Help out around the gardens and get a feel for the sustainable nature of the place
  • Mountain biking is also popular
  • Day trip to Granada to see the Alhambra
  • Organised visits to a local winery
  • Saddle up and explore the Alpujarra by horse. There are stables just 20 minutes away
  • Birdwatch from a secluded hide on Emma and David’s farm - expect to see bee eaters, hoopoes, rollers, golden oriels and birds of prey. Walkers can also expect to see ibex in the high sierras and wild boar. There are also foxes and genets in the area.
  • From December to March this is a great area for cross-country skiing
  • Visit the cave houses and Cathedral of Guadix, less than an hour’s drive away, on the other side of La Ragua pass. And stop off at the extrordinary Calahorra castle
  • Dog walking. Mollie and Maya are always available, and willing, to accompany you on a hike - Emma and David can also organise huskie dog sledging (in winter)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Trekking
  • Wildlife

Kids

Extra beds are available on request. David and Emma have 2 children themselves so they have books and toys for kids as well as baby paraphernalia. A few times a year they run children's activity weeks devoted to specific kids' workshops such as circus skills or soap making.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The two large family friendly double rooms in the main house have terraces and views, and the 2-bedroom Casita also has a terrace as well as an open-plan living room/kitchen.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available on request, see Rates

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Baby backpack
  • Three-wheeler buggy

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Books and toys
  • Foraging and cooking over the open fire
  • Camp craft skills
  • Local treasure hunts
  • Spanish games and conversation classes
  • Family yoga and introduction to massage
  • Circus skills

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Horse riding
  • Exploring the hills, whether walking or cross-country skiing
  • Day trip to Granada
  • Mountain biking

Distances:

  • Airport: 1hr20m (Almeria), 1hr45m (Granada)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for Casa Rural Las Chimeneas