Finca Buen Vino

Aracena, Seville, Spain Book from Book from £95 per night

Scotland with sunshine and sherry: an elegant, family-run guesthouse in the wooded Aracena hills
With all this global warming around, it seems a bit unfair that Scotland is losing the gulfstream and getting even colder than it already is. Perhaps that explains why Sam and Jeannie Chesterton, an energetic, multi-talented couple who had run shooting lodges in the highlands, moved to Andalucia. With uninterrupted views over undulating hills covered in dense oak and chestnut woods, and the little-known Moorish hilltown of Aracena at its doorstep, they found the perfect location for their new home. The only snag was there was no house. So, in 1986 they built one (indeed multi-talented).

The result is a large pink affair sitting atop a hill, with a tiled roof, castellated walls, a panelled drawing room, a sweeping central staircase and characterful guest bedrooms. At this stage most people would sit back, pour themselves a sherry and enjoy the view from the shady terrace, the conservatory or the nearby open-air pool. But to keep themselves busy, Sam renovated 3 family-sized cottages in the valley below, while Jeannie uses her Cordon Bleu skills to run summer cookery courses. Scotland's loss is Spain's gain.

Highs

  • The family atmosphere was a highlight of our stay, it's as if you are staying with friends
  • The lovely dinners - cuisine and company alike
  • Jeannie also runs cookery courses for individuals, couple and groups of up to 8 people
  • The setting, which feels in the middle of nowhere but is only an hour from Seville
  • Wonderful walks straight out through the estate and some of Andalucía's prettiest villages right on your doorstep
  • Whole house rental available

Lows

  • If you seek undisturbed privacy, the friendly, personal atmosphere may not suit, and bear in mind that guests and family all dine together at one table
  • If you dislike dogs and find nature dull then look elsewhere

Best time to go

Whenever you go you can enjoy nature’s calendar. In April the nightingales sing in the poplar groves; in May and early June the wildflowers are in full bloom; July and August sees the cork harvest (but most of this time is reserved for house rentals); during September and October chestnut pickers load their waiting mules as the leaves turn yellow; and in winter, if you are willing to chance the weather, you can enjoy homely log fires and some crisp, clear days.

Our top tips

If you choose to explore the woodland look out for mongoose, badgers, deer, moufflon and wild boar; and, in the skies: black vultures, imperial eagles, hoopoes and more. But don’t tread on the spring flowers - peonies, bugloss, cistus, blue pimpernel, iris, orchids and a rare brown bluebell. And rest assured that there are beautiful walks awaiting you.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Eco
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 5
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • 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
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Come bedtime, it's easy to forget you're in a hotel. Packed with novels, photographs, watercolours and assorted bric-a-brac, the bedrooms feel very lived-in. Bright wallpaper and rugs add to the welcoming atmosphere, while in the bathrooms you'll find large towels and a huge range of Pecksniffs 'Mood Therapy' products: gel, conditioner, shampoo, moisturiser and soap as well as sewing, nail care and vanity kits.

In some ways it's like being at your favourite aunt's. Only here, if you want to sit back against the hanging pillow-rail and work your way through the entire fiction library, no-one will come and ask you to do the washing up. The endless view of woodland from the Standard Rooms might give it away too; particularly in the twin bedded Pink Room - the bathtub is perfectly positioned for the calming vistas. Of the other Standard Rooms, the double bedded Yellow Room has views from its small sitting-dressing room and a private shower room across the hallway. While the freestanding Pool Room has an ensuite shower room and is set alongside the infinity pool - this room is only available between June and September inclusive.

There are also 2 suites which work well for families: each has a double bedroom, an ensuite bathroom and a small study which converts into a second bedroom. The Corner Suite, has a shower room and a single sofabed, while the Blue Suite has a bathroom and a twin sofabed - both have a good level of privacy as they are set on their own levels.

You can also rent the Whole House, sleeping 12-14 people, with a cook and domestic help. Being so secluded and homely, it would be perfect for a family get-together or celebration.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Honesty bar
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

As soon as the gong summons you from the depths of a fireside armchair to a candlelit wood-panelled dining room, you know you're in for a treat. Sitting around a long, neatly laid table in the stimulating atmosphere of a smart-casual dinner party, you can enjoy the delights of Jeannie's Cordon Bleu training applied to Andalucian country fare.

A little ramekin of creamy bacalao and scrambled eggs sets you up for succulent slabs of duck with crisp-roast potatoes and crunchy broad beans in a tomato and herb sauce. Round it off with a chocolate mousse suffused in rosemary and red wine, then adjourn to the fireside for a camomile infusion or something stronger. And although it may not be strictly local, what better way to start the day than with fried eggs and bacon to supplement freshly squeezed Seville oranges and homemade crabapple, apricot or raspberry jam on toast?

Let Jeannie know the day before and she'll happily prepare lunch for you, too. Expect scrummy salads, local cheeses and Buen Vino's own chorizo and saucisson whilst nearly all the veggies are organically grown on the estate.

Jeannie also offers impromptu lessons in Andalucian cuisine, although for the full treatment check out their 3- to 5-day cookery courses (ask for details).

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Communal dining
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • In house cook
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Cookery courses
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The Aracena region and Picos de Aroche Nature Reserve make ideal walking, kayaking or mountain-biking country; Sam can give you maps and advice on routes through the woods to forgotten villages and crumbling castles

  • Horses are available by the hour or for the day at 2 centres nearby (difficult to pre-book; best to ask on arrival)

  • Jeannie is happy to give impromptu lessons in Andalucian cuisine as well as 3- to 5-day cookery courses (ask for details)

  • You can go fishing for coarse fish in the Lake of Aracena with a current fishing permit

  • In summertime, head to one of the surrounding towns for the regular weekend flamenco fiestas: if you're in the company of Sam and Jeannie expect to be greeted with affection by everybody you meet

  • Climb up through Aracena's warren of narrow streets to its 13th-century church built by the Knights Templar atop the remains of a hilltop Moorish castle, and don't miss Spain’s largest cave system in the 'Gruta de las Maravillas' (film location for Journey to the Centre of the Earth). Afterwards you can sample the prized jamon serrano or wild mushrooms at a buzzing local bar

  • Seville is only an hour or so by car, allowing a day trip to the home of tapas bars, carnivals, flamenco, and the Giralda and Alcazar

  • For a real change, you can visit the nearby Rio Tinto mining area, which includes Roman works, a cemetery, a steam engine and mining museums, not to mention a rather unlikely Victorian housing estate. Guided tours are available

  • Don't miss the extraordinary 9th-century Moorish mosque in Almonaster la Real, one of the prettiest local villages

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Wildlife

Kids

A great place for older children who enjoy walking, cycling and exploring. The rates are significantly reduced for under 12’s, and even more so for under 6’s (see Rates). Cots are available for toddlers, though pray that they don’t disturb the civilised atmosphere.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The Corner Suite and Blue Suite have sofabeds (twin or single) making them the best choice for families. Though all rooms have space for baby cots.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

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

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 8 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Rooms
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Beautiful place, wonderful food and unforgetable moments at dinner time with the hosts and the other guests. Can't wait to go back.

10/10, , September 2016

Had a great time with Sam and Jeanie. Thank you for a wonderful break.

10/10, , September 2016

The word unique can certainly be applied to Finca Buen Vino. It really is a unique place, both in hosting, location and welcome feeling. The hotel is situated on top of a mountain overlooking a nature resort. Sam and Janine are excellent hosts, with Janine being a fabulous cook. The house has a special atmosphere full with books and art and the infinity pool is a must. Highly recommended!

10/10, , August 2016

Very comfortable stay, we wanted a nice quiet break and that's what we got. The house is in a great location offering great views of the surrounding hills, and oh so quiet. Sam and Jeannie where very hospitable and made our stay very pleasant. Wholesome food and plenty of it.

8/10, , April 2016

Finca Buen Vino is a place that everyone must experience. Unforgettable. The farmhouse is stunning, the food is divine, Jeannie and Sam are exceptional hosts and the walking and views in and around the farmhouse are breathtaking. We met wonderful people staying here that we will stay in touch with. We couldn't recommend this place enough.

10/10, , April 2016

A gorgeous place - maybe we ought to have known about the lovely antique furniture which makes it a little hard to relax when you have twin toddlers on the loose! On arrival we thought this would be a disaster - but it all worked out beautifully and we ate extremely well - and heard some great conversation around the communal table.

10/10, , September 2007

Excellent overall, but the house was too cold at this time of the year

9/10, , February 2015

We very much enjoyed our stay in this lovely rural retreat. We liked everything and Sam and Jeannie were great hosts. It was just what we wanted.

8/10, , May 2014

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Rates for Finca Buen Vino