“Mountain retreat and eco-chic guesthouse, where the views are magical and the service is sublime”
Follow a small mountain road through the foothills of the Picos de Europa to reach El Gran Sueño, a cossetting 5-bedroom guesthouse set in a picturesque hamlet. The delightful owners, Javier and Dave, decided they'd had enough of city life in Brighton, so headed for pastures new here in Javier’s ancestral region. Not only have they built something surpassingly comfortable and stylish, but everything has been done with the utmost love and care - from the eco-friendly ground source heating deep under the garden, to the quirky record player (and great vinyl collection) in the communal living room. This is absolutely not your standard Spanish hotel. El Gran Sueño means The Big Dream, and with the blissful getaway they have created here, it is indeed hard to imagine a sweeter dream than this one.
- Breathtaking views towards the jagged peaks of the Picos de Europa mountains: a true hiker's paradise
- Warm, welcoming bedrooms with spoiling extras and very friendly prices
- Javier and Dave are natural hosts who put their heart and soul into their work - and it shows
- Dave’s home cooking: organic, seasonal and restaurant-quality, with excellent vegetarian and vegan options
- This part of Asturias has it all - mountains, coast, culture, food, tranquility
- Strict no children policy (a plus for many!)
- Although the hotel is full of creature comforts, this is rural Asturias; there are no shops or restaurants within walking distance
- Only one room (Jardín) has a bathtub
- The climate here is wetter than other parts of Spain, but the reward is green, green, green!
- Apart from your hosts, almost no English is spoken locally (which is why we love it) - learn a few phrases before you come
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Breakfast and dinner (booking required)
- Over 16s only
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
El Gran Sueño offers 5 immaculate double rooms, each large enough for leisurely lounging.
We stayed in Terraza (Deluxe Double with Terrace), which is seriously worth splashing out on. Its large furnished terrace has a breathtaking mountain and pastoral view, where you can watch the sunrise. Terraza connects to Jardín (Deluxe Double with View) via a private corridor - useful for groups (but no under 16s). Inside, it boasts original features, a bathtub with overhead shower, and dreamy country views. Both the Terraza and Jardín rooms can be set up with twin beds.
All the rooms are full of light, but Galería (Deluxe Double with View) has a traditional galleried window that is particularly bright. Loft (Deluxe Double) overlooks picturesque barns, and has a seating area under the eaves (the cosy mezzanine reached by a ladder) plus a skylight view of the stars. Plaza (Deluxe Double), overlooking the rustic hamlet, has a gorgeous bathroom with an exposed brick wall.
Expect nothing but the best high-quality mattresses, top-notch linens, super-soft towels and posh toiletry sets by La Chinata. There are characterful touches, such as salvaged wood for bathroom shelves and framed records for art. Lovely extras include Bose speakers and underfloor heating.
- Bose bluetooth speakers
- Central heating
- Internet access
An all-organic breakfast (included in the room rate) is served at crisply dressed tables in the dining room, or on the terrace in sunnier months. The standout feature of breakfast is the love and care that goes into the food on your plate; almost everything is homemade - cakes, jams, freshly squeezed OJ and even sourdough bread (Dave rises early!).
Their set three-course dinner has a real posh dinner party feel. The daily-changing menu is based on the market choice that day: fresh, seasonal, and unwaveringly local. We loved our starter of tiger prawn and monkfish salad (salpicón), followed by French favourite coq-au-vin and a vegan chocolate brownie for dessert. Wines are all Spanish and carefully chosen. The whole experience really felt like a lovely evening in with friends. Book dinner well ahead, and note that in August the restaurant doesn't offer 3-course meals, but light bites and raciones (tapas) are available instead.
If you fancy heading out, your hosts know the best little eateries nearby, from simple bars in Infiesto (7km) to a Michelin star restaurant in Arriondas (25km). Our top pick is nearby eatery Pusáki, who offer a sublime 7-course Asturian tasting menu.
- Dinner by arrangement
- Room service
- You're on the edge of wild, snow-capped Asturian mountains: circular walks from the doorstep lead through rolling green hills, chestnut and apple orchards, and you may spot vultures or semi-wild Asturcón ponies
- Kayak down the River Sella, or try horse-riding, canyoning and potholing with local operator Frontera Verde (Dave and Javier can advise and book)
- Check out the luscious beaches of the emerald coastline - sandy sweeps, pebbly coves, great surf, no crowds - stopping off in the villages of Ribadesella (45km, stamping-ground of Queen Letizia) and Lastres (40km, densely-packed fishermens' houses)
- Nearby Infiesto (7km) is an authentic, gentle town with cafés, markets and sidrerías, where you can try locally brewed cider, poured from a great height
- See the Romanesque churches of Santa María (Villamayor) and San Juan de Berbío (Infiesto), which line a stretch of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Horse riding
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours