“Moroccan-style self-catering apartments for 1-5 in Tarifa’s Old Town; great value and a warm welcome”
Wrapped around 2 inner courtyards (or opening directly onto the street), are 9 lovely apartments. Although each is independent of its neighbours, the mood here is highly sociable. Life tends to gravitate naturally upwards to that stunning roof terrace - where there is an eclectic collection of sculpture - to share wine and conversation with fellow guests. There are regular morning yoga sessions up here, too. Top-spec insulation of walls and windows mean that, despite being close to the buzzing centre of hip Tarifa, this is a peaceful place to stay, and beds are super comfy. But the best thing about Dar Cilla is its decor. Inspired by the Maghreb, expect intricate iron lanterns, colourful ceramics, beautiful tiles and bright cushions - plus wood-burning stoves and electric blankets for the colder months. A fabulous bolthole on the Atlantic coast.
- Friendly owner Zoe and manager Martina fill the place with their energy and enthusiasm for the region. They can give you all the tips you need, but they scrupulously respect your privacy if you prefer to be independent
- Well-equipped kitchens for self-catering, and Tarifa has masses of good bars and restaurants
- The Old Town is infused with a young, bohemian energy, especially at weekends - this is, after all, Andalucia's surf capital
- Those views across to Morocco may well inspire you to hop across to Tangiers for a daytrip
- Great value for money
- All ages welcome in La Reserva only, the rest of the property is only suitable for children aged 12+
- This is not a hotel, so reception is only manned for a few hours a day, although Zoe lives in the building in case of emergency
- Things aren’t nearly so relaxing when the levante wind is blowing; the roof terrace no longer has the same appeal and you can go for days without a glimpse of Morocco
- Tarifa can be heaving with visitors during the summer months and parking can be a real problem
- No pool - but long, golden-sand beaches line the Costa de la Luz
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Apartments
- Self-catering (restaurants nearby)
- All ages welcome - restrictions apply
- 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
- Concierge Service
Some apartments are big, some are much smaller, but all are comfortable and welcoming. Zoe has beautifully orchestrated the fusion of Moroccan and Andalucian elements through endless trips to Tangiers for lanterns, ceramics, tile-topped tables and wall hangings. Bedrooms have more than a hint of riad, too, with Berber bedspreads, colourful kilims, draped mozzie nets and attractive applique lamps. Bedding is all pure cotton and there are olive-oil based toiletries in your bathroom.
Couples will love Palmar, Paloma and Jerez - or the bigger and more luxurious Zahara (during our stay, we loved lounging on its long sofa in front of the wood-burner). Taller folk may find Paloma's bed a bit short, and Palmar's a bit narrow, but they are both beautiful in design.
Twin-bedded Zafra is handy for friends travelling together, while pretty single-bedded Jimena offers great-value for solo travellers or makes a handy add-on to Jerez. Amadeus is very different in style - modern with a high, beamed ceiling and a large private terrace with impressive views over the Strait of Gibraltar.
For families, there’s the 2-bedroom Zagora maisonette (with private terrace and board games) or the more modern La Reserva apartment, which has a mezzanine bedroom, sofabeds and a private entrance leading directly off the street. It’s well sound-proofed so you’ll have added privacy and plenty of peace and quiet.
All seasons have been considered, apartments have air-conditioning or portable units available on request)
, and all apartments have electric heating panels and luxury cotton electric blankets - 3 apartments have wood-burning stoves, too (Amadeus, Paloma, Zahara, Zagora).
- Coffee maker
- Coffee tea making
- Electric heating + air con unit on demand
- Extra beds
- Full kitchen
- Hob stove
- Mosquito net
- Pre-loaded iPod and dock
Each of the apartments has a well-equipped kitchen or kitchenette with a fridge, microwave, kettle and hob, as well as heaps of beautiful ceramic crockery. Zahara has a larger kitchen and an open-plan dining area for 4, as does Zagora (plus a dishwasher and BBQ in the latter).
Basic ingredients (olive oil, balsamic, herbs, tea and coffee) are provided, and there are 3 supermarkets in town (avoid Lidl unless you're happy to queue all day). You'll also find the makings of a fabulous supper in Tarifa’s colourful covered market - the fish stalls are fantastic, and there are good vegetable and fruit stalls.
Being the epicentre of Europe’s surfing world, Tarifa has a surprisingly cosmopolitan restaurant scene, so make time to eat out, too. Zoe has written a brilliantly detailed booklet of recommendations, as well as options further afield. We followed her advice and had an excellent Moroccan meal at Mandragora; flash-fried tuna, stuffed red peppers and rack of lamb with couscous, followed by a Mojito sorbet. Service is terrific and friendly. We also enjoyed the colourful Cafe de la Luz for breakfast.
- Coffee maker
- Coffee tea making
- Full kitchen
- Hob stove
- Restaurants nearby
- Tarifa is home to fabulous beaches and every conceivable watersport, including kite-surfing and surf schools (this is the mecca of wind!). Dar Cilla can recommend places and arrange lessons; equipment can be rented as part of a lesson or separately
- Wander the plexus of narrow alleyways that make up the centre of Tarifa’s Old Town and visit the lively covered market, the castle and the fishing harbour
- Go whale and dolphin watching - boats leave from Tarifa’s harbour, just a 5-minute walk away
- Head for the port, jump on a fast ferry to Tangiers and haggle in the souks - it's only 45 minutes and Martina can organise guides and suggest restaurants
- Ride along the Tarifa beaches with Zoë’s daughter-in-law who has 4 horses stabled at their nearby house (see Rates)
- Rent bicycles in Tarifa and head to the Roman ruins at Bolonia, then spend the afternoon lazing on the golden beach
- The nearest 18-hole golf course is at Montenmedio (a 45-minute drive towards Vejer de la Frontera)
- Treat yourself to a massage or treatment in Dar Cilla's wellness centre. There are regular rooftop yoga sessions, too
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Roman ruins
- Scuba diving
- Shopping / markets
- Wellness centre
Children over 12 are welcome in the entire hotel; La Reserva is suitable for all ages and has its own entrance. The many steps and roof terrace make the hotel unsuitable for younger kids.
Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
La Reserva is suitable for all ages and has a sofabed for 2 children (or 1 adult) plus space for a baby cot.