Casona Granado

El Pilar, Almeria, Andalucia, Spain Book from Book from £81 per night

A charming small hotel and excellent restaurant in the heart of El Pilar, a traditional Andalucian hilltop village
The extremely comfortable Casona Granado perches in the ancient village of El Pilar, 5 minutes’ drive from popular Lubrin. Once the family home of owner Clayton, he and wife Rachel have lovingly renovated the traditional 'big house' to retain its beautiful character but fill it with light and contemporary charm. Step into the garden and you’ll find a saltwater pool and hot tub, plus a sauna and loungers to sunbathe and read.

The ground-floor Albar restaurant serves fantastic regional fare, expertly sourced and prepared by chef Clayton and his skilled team. It’s one of the best restaurants in the Almeria province, and extremely popular with locals. El Pilar itself is pretty and untouristy, with a church perched at the top, and whitewashed houses spread along its sleepy, steep lanes. Although guided walks, bike hire and day trips are on offer, we were very content to just stay put. If you want to relax, disconnect and experience traditional Andalucian village life, this is the place to do it.

Highs

  • Gloriously peaceful and off-the-beaten track with stunning views
  • The fantastic Albar restaurant serving modern twists on traditional Spanish recipes; open every day
  • Amazing rates include a delicious breakfast
  • Rustic charm: each of the 8 bedrooms is different, and all feel homely and welcoming
  • Friendly staff

Lows

  • The roads up to El Pilar are windy and steep; not for the faint-hearted
  • No rooms have TVs or baths
  • The village is quiet so don’t expect any bars or other restaurants; Lubrin is only 5 minutes’ drive away
  • The Spanish eat late so you may experience a little noise from the restaurant, though we weren’t disturbed

Best time to go

We visited at the beginning of October and the climate was perfect — warm days and fresh evenings. Spring is similar; come in February and March for stunning flower blossom. In July and August temperatures can get balmy, but rooms have air con, and the fresh mountain air keeps things cool. The hotel is open all year and has underfloor heating for the colder months.

Our top tips

  • The drive up from the coast is stunning so have your camera at the ready (or stop regularly if you're driving!).
  • Time your stay to coincide with El Pilar's annual fiesta (October). We had a blast, partying into the night, eating a huge village paella, and watching colourful processions.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 8
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Comfortable kingsize beds, spacious wet-room bathrooms and great views are the order of the day. There are just 8 bedrooms, each uniquely decorated in a simple contemporary style with a hit of traditional character — perhaps an exposed original wall, impressive vaulted ceiling or cooling polished resin floor.

Most rooms are upstairs, offering exquisite views of the surrounding hills, and several have balconies. We found it refreshing not to have a TV, although you could borrow a tablet if you can't tear yourself away from modern life. Organic toiletries are handmade by a friend of Rachel's, and available for sale on request.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Pillow menu
  • Toiletries
  • Underfloor heating
  • WiFi

Eating

The fantastic Albar restaurant is the social heart of the village, with a real buzz about it. The creative menu offers an inspired take on Spanish and fusion dishes, many of which are slow cooked in a wood-fired oven. Trained chef Clayton is passionate about using local produce and it really pays off - everything we ate was delicious.

Try as many things as you can, especially the chicken with a fig sauce, the baby goat marinated with rosemary and white wine, and aubergine chips with wildflower honey. There are wood-fired pizzas, too, featuring homegrown tomatoes.

Breakfast is also exceptional, offering far more than your regular pre-packed Continental offering. Delicious jamon, excellent cheeses, enormous croissants, homemade granola with fresh fruit salad, pan tostado con tomate and various cooked options.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Borrow maps and go walking and cycling through the valley; you can hire bikes locally. The hotel runs guided Almond Blossom walks during February and March, and Spring Wildflower walks in April and May
  • Or gallop along the riverbed on horseback; there's a nearby stables
  • Visit neighbouring village Lubrin and admire its winding streets, the Abajo Public Fountain (home to the 18thC public laundry) and terraced houses with Moorish-tiled roofs. Visit in late January for their quirky 'Bread Fiesta'
  • Shop for regional produce: almonds, goat’s milk cheese and wild honeys. There's a Wednesday market in Lubrin
  • Sorbas is home to over 1,000 caves and sinkholes, and a traditional pottery for colourful ceramics
  • The arid Tabernas Desert has been the setting for many Spaghetti Western films, as well as Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade
  • Swim in the sea at Agua Amarga (45 mins), or drive a bit further to Cabo de Gata National Park, which has some of the loveliest beaches in Spain, with deserted strips of fine white or dark volcanic sand
  • Day trip to Granada's Alhambra
  • Back at the hotel, Albar restaurant has a gallery room, which showcases cultural work by local artists

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are warmly welcomed. 0-4 year olds stay for free; 5+ year olds are charged a small supplement.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Family Room has a kingsize bed, an alcove with twin beds, space for an extra bed/baby cot, a shower bathroom and a private terrace. All other rooms can fit a baby cot

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots and bedding
  • Pushchair to borrow
  • Night light
  • Mobile signal
  • Baby monitors
  • Bottle warming

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

Children's meals:

Highchairs to borrow and a kids menu in Albar

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool
  • Kids books / toys

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Bird watching

Families Should Know:

The pool is not fenced

Distances:

  • Airport: 50 mins' drive (Almeria)
  • Shop: 10 mins' walk
  • 24-hour medical centre: 15 mins' drive
Kid Friendly:

Location

Casona Granado is in the heart of the Almeria countryside, in the charming traditional village of El Pilar.

By Air:
The closest airport is Almeria (68km), around 50 minutes by car. Murcia airport is 2 hours north, and Malaga is around 3 hours by car. Book a transfer or hire a car (recommended).

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Almeria 68.0 km LEI
  • Murcia 168.0 km MJV

Other:

  • Beach 30.0 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 4.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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