“An unforgettable hideaway-for-2, sculpted around a rocky outcrop, with plunge pool and soaring mountain views (weekly rentals only)”
Screed steps wind down through the rocks to the master bedroom and bathroom. Decorated in a warm yellow wash, your sleeping space at Dar Hajra comes with a big twist of romance. A velvet wall-hanging from Morocco, in rich tones of green and red, provides an eye-catching backdrop to a queensize double bed, whilst framed prints from Fes and bright hexagonal bedside tables from Tangier evoke the same mood-of-the-Mahgreb. There's a huge, walk-in wardrobe with space aplenty to spread your gear around and still have shelves and hanging space to spare.
Waking to the sound of a passing flock of sheep we flung our shutters open to the oak forest and distant peaks of the Grazalema mountains then gazed out from beneath our Indian quilts. We didn't feel an ounce of remorse about spending the whole morning lazing in bed.
The bathroom is just as festive. Topped by a high rain shower, the hand-crafted ovular screed bathtub, easily big enough for 2, wraps organically around the rocks. A huge window leads your eye out to that big view through the silvered venetian blinds. You get a chunky bar of soap as well shampoo, shower gel and conditioner, and there's a big sweep of surface to either side of the freestanding sink. Halogen spots highlight the crevasses of the rocks, hanging plants and antique photographs of Indian maharajahs.
If you fancy sharing your mountain idyll with friends or family there's a smaller double bedroom at the top of the house, reached via a second staircase which climbs up through the rocks from the sitting room. This room is also decorated in chalky, Moroccan blue and green washes and has a small antique dresser and hand-painted bedside tables. You'd all have to share the bathroom though; we'd rather stick to the 'just for 2' formula and make use of the top bedroom for siestas.
The big, slate-floored kitchen will encourage you to stay at home and cook rather than venturing out to the local ventas for every meal. It has all you need to self-cater as comfortably as you would in your own home: there's an electric oven, a gas hob, a microwave, a toaster, a juicer, a kettle, a dishwasher, masses of glasses, crockery and cutlery as well as all kinds of pots, pans, woks, tagines and kitchen instrumentalia. The swish, silver Italian fridge would be a godsend in the summer months: it's plenty large enough to store all that you'll need to eat and drink for the duration of your stay. There's masses of cupboard space and a long marble work surface. The hob is backed by a peacock mosaic which was crafted in Tangier.
The black, angular dining table can be pulled out to sit 8 - and there's another large table on the terrace for alfresco meals - so should you invite friends to supper, you won't be short on seating.
Arriving guests will find a big range of spices, balsamic vinegar and olive oil waiting for them as well as tea, coffee and sugar. If you let the owners know in advance, a hamper of food can also be put together according to your own needs (additional charge). Alternatively you can pick up your goodies en route to Dar Hajra: shops in Ronda are open until 10pm on weekdays and Saturdays. Those in Montecorto sell all the basics, too, and a fair portion of the fruit and veg is grown in the village, much of it organically. A detailed booklet listing who-sells-what will be waiting at the house.
If you choose to eat out, don't expect a gourmet experience in the village - rather simple restaurants offering traditional Andalucian cuisine. There are 2, La Piscina and La Parada, within walking distance of the house, both very reasonably priced.
Ronda offers far more scope for foodies. As well as a huge number of cheap-and-cheerful tapas bars it has several excellent eateries. Best of the bunch at the time of writing (2012) is Almocobar, hidden away in a quiet square in the San Francisco quarter, just a short stroll from the gorge. Think trad' Andalusian cuisine with a twist, a cosy dining room and a great wine list which includes a superb selection from the bodegas close to Ronda.
There's a good information booklet in the house. Along with sight-seeing suggestions and information on walks, it lists the best restaurants and tapas bars in the area with a price guide, location and contact numbers.
Babies under 2 years are welcome. This house is not really suitable for children or toddlers. With so many stairs it's a nightmare for toddlers, and for older children the daybeds in the siesta room are not really big enough for comfort.
However if you're a couple with baby (pre-toddling age), it would do very nicely: there is a small cot available, which could be placed in the main bedroom or upstairs, and some baby gear too.
Babies (0-1 years)