Finca el Tossal

near Bolulla, Valencia & Costa Blanca, Spain Book from Book from £73 per night

A traditional casa rural, 8km uphill from the Costa Blanca, with great views of the Marina Alta mountains and the Med
A stone and terracotta villa with wrought-iron balconies, it looks like it’s been here for a century or more, but Thorsten and Sonia Herrmann built this place from scratch - everything, even the furniture. There was nothing here, says Thorsten, except goats, ruined farmhouses, a ledge of wooded hillside and a sensational view. They opened in 2005 with just one guest room and have since added 6 more, plus a cool pool terrace and chill-out area, and an intimate dining room and bar. It’s a very personal space, drawing influences from the Herrmanns’ globe-trotting past: German-born, they have lived in Italy and California; Sonia was brought up in Spain.

Their country retreat is a hybrid of Italianate villa and mini Moorish palace, set in a tranquil Spanish landscape where craggy mountains overlook a haze of coastal plains and a patchwork of lemon, almond and orange groves. In the gardens, trees cast pools of shade onto pristine lawns; you can smell the pines, and watch a light Mediterranean breeze ruffle the palms. Don’t be put off by the crowds of Benidorm tourists who pour into nearby Alicante airport. Up here in the mountains, nature is the big draw, and opportunities for hiking, biking and fresh air open up a wild side to the Costa Blanca that tourists rarely see. You can see a glint of Benidorm in the distance, but you couldn’t be further away.

Highs

  • The wonderful views across mountains and valleys, down to the coast. You're high in the hills, surrounded by wonderful hiking and biking; there are mountain bikes to borrow
  • The rooms, all Junior Suites, are large and sunny with handmade four-poster beds
  • A relaxed house-party atmosphere - spiced up by the mix of nationalities
  • Fantastic set dinners on the terrace at sunset, served with a gentle evening breeze, candles on the tables, cocktails, and a glass or 2 of Rioja
  • Great value

Lows

  • It’s a bit out of the way so you'll need a car, and the access is steep via narrow lanes
  • Dinner is only available 5 nights a week (and no lunches) though there are restaurants in Bolulla, a 3km drive away
  • A maximum of 5 children area allowed to stay at a time (a high for some!)

Best time to go

Finca el Tossal is open all year round and, in an area that attracts visitors in or out of season, it claims 320 days of sunshine a year. In winter it can be cold, cosy and very quiet; spring and autumn are great for hiking, biking and the outdoors. Come in late spring for orange blossom, and in summer for lazing by the pool in the hot sun or day trips to the beach.

Our top tips

Guadalest (20 minutes by car) is a spectacular mountain village, speckled with the ruins of ancient Islamic castles. Reached via a rock tunnel, the castle village offers tours, souvenir shops and amazing views, but try to avoid peak-season crowds.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Eco
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Rural Hotel
  • 7
  • Breakfast (+ dinners 5 nights/week; restaurants nearby)
  • 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
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

There are 7 Junior Suites - 3 on garden level, 3 above, and one studio room which is set to one side of the main building. All have a sitting area furnished with armchairs, and all are south-facing with mountain views from a Juliet balcony or doors opening onto the garden (the studio has a small terrace).

Each has its own quirks and touches (one upstairs room features antique Indian pillars and an unusually high-beamed roof), but they all share a basic Mediterranean style: a combo of earthy colours (ochre, terracotta, lavender, coffee, cobalt blue), rugs and kilims on cool tiled floors, Moorish arches, Moroccan lamps, brass, coloured glass and dark wood. The handmade four-poster beds are draped in floaty muslin and there are shutters to keep out the glare of the sun. Bathrooms are simple and rustic, with a shower and toiletries.

One double converts to a twin, and the studio room - which has a mini kitchen with a hob, fridge and kettle - would make a good family room. All rooms are equipped with satellite TV, DVD players, security safes and heating for the cool winter months. There is no air-conditioning, though there are fans on request and, if it’s really hot (rare up here in the mountains), an external air-con system can by plugged in on request.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan (on request)
  • Hairdryer
  • Honesty bar
  • Internet access
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The dining room is the hotel’s social hub, with tables set inside and out (or by a log fire in winter), and the food is fresh, seasonal and locally sourced - the kitchen garden provides some of the salads and fresh herbs. A 4-course set dinner is offered 5 nights of the week (usually not on Monday or Tuesday, though this isn’t set in stone). During our visit, it began with a delicious tomato pâté served with homemade bread, followed by a fresh fig salad with goats' cheese, slow-roasted leg of lamb with vegetables, and a tangy fruit compote with lemon cream. Menus are chalked onto a board during the day, giving guests a chance to make alternative arrangements if any of the dishes don’t suit diets or palates.

The bar offers a small wine list - including good Spanish wines at reasonable prices - and there’s usually a cocktail of the day on offer. There's also an honesty bar - a fridge stocked with drinks and mixers, where guests can help themselves to wines, spirits and soft drinks at any time of day.

Breakfast is a generous buffet of cereals, homemade breads, cakes and pastries, cheeses, cold meats and homemade yoghurts, served with freshly squeezed juices, teas and coffee.

For lunches and dinner on Monday/Tuesday nights, you'll need to drive into Bolulla (3km); Thorsten and Sonia can advise on restaurants.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Go walking: there are numerous mountain paths, suitable for all abilities. Thorsten can provide maps and routes
  • The area is popular with cyclists (particularly serious, lycra-clad roadsters). Bolulla has often been a stage of the Vuelta de España (Spain’s Tour de France) thanks to its access to a classic ride: up the Coll de Rates, which zig-zags through the Marina Alta mountains. Lower down there are gentler routes as well as numerous tracks for goaty mountain bikers. The hotel has mountain bikes to borrow
  • Stroll around Altea: 15 minutes’ drive, it’s one of the most attractive towns on the Costas, a labyrinth of white-washed streets, designer shops, galleries, a smart beach promenade, seafront restaurants and the blue domes of its distinctive church, La Mare de Déu del Consol (Our Lady of Solace)
  • Visit waterfalls: the Font Algar is the area’s biggest tourist attraction and it’s only 5 minutes downhill by car (you can walk it in half an hour). Go early in the morning before the day-trippers arrive, or ask Thorsten to direct you to a lesser-known waterfall
  • Hit the beach: the Costa Blanca is home to some of the finest, cleanest beaches in southern Spain. Suggestions include Portet de L’Olla (sand and shingle at Altea) or the beaches at Oliva (65km). The Herrmanns can also guide you to hidden pebble coves (the 5 Les Rotes bays near Denia are beautiful), and tell you where to find scuba diving, surfing, sailing and other watersports
  • Day-trip to Valencia, Spain’s 3rd largest city and the home of paella. Must-dos include the cathedral, the Museo de Bellas Artes (paintings by Goya, El Greco and Velázquez), the 15th-century Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange; now a World Heritage Site), the old town, the beaches, and the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences (designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Climbing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kitesurfing
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming

Kids

Children are welcome - the bedrooms are large enough to accommodate an extra bed or baby cot, and there are high chairs in the dining room.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

One of the bedrooms is a studio, which has a mini kitchen with a hob, fridge and kettle

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs

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

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 14 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

Beautiful views, the terrace and pool are wonderful. Nice cool rooms. Rooms cleaned everyday but we would have appreciated a change of towels after a few days. It was great having dinner on the terrace in the evening, food was fab. We found the food in the Finca was better than nearby restaurants that we visited.

9/10, , September 2015

Sonia and Thorsten run a superb hotel - with wonderful helpers (and a great Chef). We were there 7 days and it was not long enough with each night a different and delicious four course dinner. We have seen the reviews that warn about the narrow uphill approach but in our 14/16 drives along this we only met one other vehicle. We have used i-escape recommendations over many years - this one comes out top on value and enjoyment.

10/10, , September 2015

Good day, we have just ended our three night stay at Finca el Tossal. Our rating for the room, food service and overall value would all be excellent. We felt very welcomed by the owners. The room was very clean, comfortable bed and impressive detail to the room, given this was all constructed by the owners. The breakfast was delicious and the cappuccino was perfect! We had dinner at the B&B every night and were not disappointed. I do not eat fish and the owners and chef made something vegetarian for me every night. <br>We had difficulty finding the B&B at our arrival, and the owner met up with us in his car to show us the way, which was very much appreciated and kind of him. Once you drive the route, you are ok for the rest of your vacation. We thank again the owners for their welcoming feel and we would not hesitate to recommend this B&B to anyone wanting to discover beautiful nature and serenity.

10/10, , September 2015

We had a truly fantastic week at Finca el Tossal. The setting is amazing. It is high up in the mountains and well worth the scary drive up! Sonia and Thorsten have created a beautiful guesthouse with lovely bedrooms. There are so many places to sit and relax and enjoy the spectacular views. The pool area is great and has lots of comfy recliners and a raised platform with mattresses. There is a lot of foliage which is great if you want to sit in the shade. <br>Probably the highlight for us each day was sitting on the terrace and enjoying the very generous help yourself breakfast which was always beautifully presented. We enjoyed the 4 course set evening meal on 5 occasions. Vincente the new chef who started a few days before our arrival prepared a fantastic menu. Each evening there was a different homemade bread to go with the first course. My absolute favourite dish was the cold soup which was a taste sensation. There was plenty to eat and if there is something on the menu not to your taste you only have to ask and the chef will prepare an alternative for you. <br>We booked a couples massage whilst there which was very reasonably priced and so relaxing, especially as we opted to have ours on the grassed area in front of our room which was very atmospheric with the soft music and the warm sun. We highly recommend it! <br>We enjoyed the mix of people of all different nationalities and being able to have a chat with other guests without losing any personal privacy. The staff who work there are so welcoming and helpful. <br>If you want a chilled retreat in a stunning location then this is the place for you. <br>One word of advice, if you can afford to hire a car with a decent engine, it's worth it in order to cope with the steep incline of the road to the hotel. <br>We would definitely like to return here someday. Our thanks to Sonia and Thorsten and all the staff at Finca el Tossal.

10/10, , August 2015

Incredible place although difficult access by car. Well kept decoration and atmosphere. Very good wifi. Incredible views and very friendly owners. Only room for improvement: breakfast could be more authentic for the region (pan con tomate, fresh orange juice, nispero etc), the showers of other rooms can be heard.

10/10, , August 2015

We had a lovely couple of days at Finca el Tossal. The setting is lovely, and it's a really relaxing place to be. We thought the food was amazing - super tasty, and wonderfully presented.

9/10, , July 2015

The hotel, the owners, the cook and the employees were all so nice. This is a place that really has a soul. A place where you can truly relax and enjoy the stunning views. Where you can unwind in the lovely garden and enjoy the pool area. And yes, do stay for dinner: their mouthwatering dishes prepared with love by the talented cook with fresh local ingredients are exceptional. With good weather you can eat on the roof top terrace, which is great too!

10/10, , June 2015

In our experience as travelers, we always look for the best. Finca el Tossal exemplifies everything you would ever want in a place to enjoy life and travel together. Excellent design. The views across the mountains to the ocean are truly breathtaking. The food is simply the best. And Thorsten and Sonia are, quite simply, amazing operators and people. There was no detail they were not concerned with. As an architect and travel writer, I look for flaws. Not at Finca! It is perfect in every way. From the architecture to the food to the great canopy beds, this place has it all. In the U.S. A place like this would be 4-5 times more, so it's a bargain too. And lastly, the other guests were so very interesting and enjoyable to socialize with. I think Finca brings out the best on all who go there. So, in my book, Finca el Tossal is an eleven out of ten.

10/10, , May 2015

We were in paradise at Finca el Tossal for a few days at the end of September. Situated between orange groves is the fantastically beautiful finca with breathtaking views of the valley. The house has only seven lovingly furnished and very clean rooms. It is quiet and relaxing, the Finca really looks exactly like the pictures. We were received as friends. The loving hosts were always available for questions. In the morning there was a very tasty breakfast - and the best coffee in the area. From the finca you drive a few kilometers to the sea, and the area offers many hiking trails, biking trails and destinations. 5 nights a week, Lucio cooks. The excellent 4-course menu was always prepared with exquisite quality and attention. And incredibly delicious. For those who want to make relaxing holiday, we can only recommend the Finca. It really is a little piece of paradise!

10/10, , September 2014

Lovely secluded place. A place to enjoy the view and the calm atmosphere. Bring some good books and sit back and relax. <br>I liked the attention to details - regarding rooms as well as the food. A tomato on your breakfast plate is not just any tasteless spanish tomato and there's just a small sprinkle of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a bit of fresh thyme. It's that kind of place.

10/10, , September 2014

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Rates for Finca el Tossal