“A fabulous hideaway for 2, looking out across the Straits to Morocco; at La Laguna you’ll have just the ocean and the stars for company”
Paul and Mei Ling built the casita to celebrate an amazing panoramic view out across the Atlantic breakers to the North African Rif and, at night, to the twinkling lights of Tangiers. The open-plan interior is pure rustic-chic, embellished by decorative Moroccan objets, whimisical paintings and masses of candles. Outside, there's a covered and open terrace with loungers and chairs so you can sit and gaze out to sea all day. Thanks to an eco-building brief (electricity is from wind and solar energy, water from springs), the cottage is cool in summer and warm in winter, plus there's a romantic wood-burner to keep things snug. And - the cherry on the cake - a narrow footpath leads from down to a small pebble beach, which is virtually deserted for 10 months of the year.
- The utter tranquility and privacy of the place - all you hear is the sea and birds
- A massive 40 m2 terrace with sunloungers and a BBQ for seafood feasts
- Mei Ling is delightful; there if you need her but utterly unobtrusive at other times (she pops in to clean when you're out for the day)
- Guided horse riding along the beach and into the surf, and excellent wind and kite-surfing nearby
- A great restaurant yards along the track (open every day in July and August and weekends at other times of year), plus excellent eateries in Tarifa
- You’ll definitely need a car
- There's no oven for self-catering, but when we revisited in 2013 we were happy cooking on the BBQ and hobs
- The owners' house is on the same property but it is over 30m away and your terrace is completely private
- Paul and Mei Ling have an enormous, very friendly dog called Beethoven who loves to hang out with guests. However, if you don't want him to, they can kennel him away
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Beach Villa
- Self-catering, restaurants nearby
- Unsuitable for children
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
Expect to sleep deeply at La Laguna - just about all you’ll hear will be the disant thumping of Atlantic breakers and the cry of the gulls wheeling overhead. The whole house seems to exude a fresh, cared-for feeling: this is a place that stimulates both body and soul.
The small open-plan living area consists of a bed, sofa, dining table for 2 and a kitchenette, with big windows and French doors capturing the ever-changing light of the ocean. There are bright Moroccan cupboard doors and bedside tables, a wood-burner, various lamps, and a collection of guidebooks plus an iPod dock.
The queensize bed is clad in great linen and a fresh white Indian bedspread. For ablutions, you choose between a shower room inside or, perfect for your arrival back from the beach, a second outdoor terrace shower.
You'll spend most of your time lounging on the big open terrace and soaking up the view, or shaded from the sun under the covered terrace with its cushioned chairs. But if it gets cold in the evening, retreat to the sofa inside and light the wood-burner.
- Basic ingredients provided
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Food blender
- Hob or stove
- Ipod dock
- Mosquito net
The small kitchenette has loads of equipment for self-catering (pans, lots of crockery, good knives, a blender), and is sparkling clean with a dining table indoor and out. There's a small fridge and a 2-ring hob but note there is no oven or grill. Mei Ling supplies a great selection of basic ingredients, including olive oil, balsamic vinegar, loads of herbs, various teas and coffees, plus a bottle of wine and some local tuna and olives.
Head into Tarifa for various supermarkets and a covered market. The choice of fish is staggering and there are stalls laden with vegetables, herbs and spices. We bought seafood or fresh meat daily, and cooked it up on the BBQ along with baked potatoes and roasted vegetables. For lunch we ate wonderful Spanish cheeses and meats with fresh breads from the panaderia in town. There are picnic spots along the coast if you want a day of walking.
If you’re not that big on self-catering, no need to worry. Just a 5-minute stroll away is a great fish restaurant. Much of what’s on the menu will have been pulled straight from the sea that same day by one of the brothers who run the place. The restaurant is open 7 days a week in July and August but only open weekends for the rest of the year. It is closed during the Tarifa Feria week which runs from the first Sunday in September.
In Tarifa, which is just a 15-minute hop away by car, there's a big choice of eateries. You can choose between sushi, Moroccan, Italian, vegetarian and Tex-Mex, and there are a couple of great Andalucian restaurants. Ask Mei Ling for advice.
- Coffee / tea making
- Food blender
- Hob or stove
- Restaurants nearby
- Mei Ling has Andalucian horses ready and waiting to be saddled up, a couple of which were strays before she rescued them. Her guided rides will take you out through the pine forests and along the beach, perhaps to Bolonia, where you could break for beer and tapas. Experienced riders can head off on their own
- Punta Paloma, 5 minutes' drive away, is one of Europe’s most popular kite and windsurfing destinations. Beginners can book lessons with a number of different schools
- Explore Tarifa, a small, authentic Spanish town with a labyrinth of narrow white streets, colourful fishing harbour, a castle, and miles of really unspoilt, golden beach
- Hike through the pine forest to Bolonia, with its beautiful beach and Roman ruins - an hour each way
- Morocco can be easily visited as a day trip out from Tarifa. Fast hydrofoil ferries leave the port every couple of hours and take just 45 minutes to make the crossing, so you can go shopping in the souks plus whale-watching en route
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Horse riding
- Plantlife / flora
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
- Whale watching