“A lovely old guesthouse in a tiny village wrapped up in idyllic hills close to ancient Pamplona”
Rooms are scattered over 2 floors with the original 300-year-old staircase to sweep you up in style. There are 3 suites, 3 double rooms, a junior suite and a self-catering apartment.
The suites are gorgeous - all the character of a grand old house, all the comfort of a smart hotel. All are on the first floor and 2 have separate sitting rooms; the other is simply enormous. We especially loved the one to the side of the house. You’ll find four-poster beds, painted wood ceilings, off-white colours to soak up the light. Pretty sofas turn into beds for children, smart wood floors are nicely varnished, super-comfy beds are dressed in Sunday best linen.
There’s always something beautiful to catch the eye, be it an old leather armchair, a 500-year-old chest or chunky timber frames painted grey. Those at the front face south and have the view, but the big suite at the back is probably the loveliest. All have colourful bathrooms with gilt mirrors hanging above alabaster sinks and good showers over big baths. The junior suite is up on the top floor and has the same beautiful style, but even though it’s big, there’s no room for a sofa or bath.
The 2-bedroom apartment on the first floor is for those who wish to self-cater, either a little or a lot. It’s perfect for small families as one room has bunk-beds for children. The main room - an open-plan kitchen/diner - has a long dining table under a painted wood ceiling; there’s a sofa here too, but no separate sitting room. The master bedroom has a huge four-poster which dominates the room. Both rooms share a pretty bathroom with a bath and shower. It works just as well for couples as for families. Breakfast is not included, but you can partake on request.
The 3 double rooms at the top of the house are smaller and simpler, but 2 have the view and if you’re passing through on a budget, then they’re absolutely fine. Like the other rooms, you'll find stripped wood floors, whitewashed walls, painted beamed ceilings and pretty linen. Each has a small, colourful shower room.
Breakfast is a feast. You can eat in the big dining room, the small conservatory or out on the terrace. You get fresh orange juice, croissants and pains au chocolat, then rustic sticks of freshly baked bread. There’s lots of fruit, plates of cured meats, cheeses that are hard to resist. Arantxa’s homemade jams are delicious: rose petal syrup on fresh bread was a good way to start the day. If you are off to walk in the hills, packed lunches can be arranged, too.
Dinner is served by arrangement, so make sure you book if you want to eat in. You dine off a short menu, perhaps smoked salmon or stuffed peppers, then baked crab or lamb from the valley. Cheesecake for pudding is followed by coffee on the terrace.
If you're staying in the self-catering apartment you'll find that the kitchen is well equipped - fridge, freezer, hob, oven, microwave - but you’ll have to leave the valley to find some shops. Best to stock up on your way here, though basic ingredients (salt, pepper, oil, bin bags, washing up liquid) are provided.
If you want to eat out, there are a couple of restaurants a short drive away in the valley, which are open in summer (July to October); Arantxa can advise. You’ll eat well - grilled fish and meat - but if you want something fancier, you’ll need to head into Pamplona (25 minutes by car). Here the world is your oyster. If you want the best fish in town head to La Mar Salada, a very popular eatery just south of the Plaza de Toros. You could also try Café Iruña in Plaza del Castillo for a good steak. This was a favourite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, who loved the city. Rodero, a family-run restaurant close to the bullring, is considered one of the best places to eat in Navarre, but it’s quite formal and the prices are high. If you want to keep it simple, then head into the Old Town for excellent pintxos (tapas with attitude, a religion up here).
Children are very welcome. The hotel has a couple of baby cots (free of charge), and there are sofabeds in the suites (extra charge), which can be curtained off for privacy. The apartment has a room with bunk beds.
Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
The suites and the apartment
Younger kids will love the small farm in the village; older children will enjoy walking in the valley, swimming in the river and horse riding or mountain biking.