Hotel La Fuente de la Higuera

Ronda & the White Villages, Spain Book from Book from £173 per night

One of the brightest stars in the Andalucian hotel firmament, a sophisticated 'small-is-beautiful' hideaway in the hills near Ronda
You cut up through ancient olive groves to a beguiling wysteria-clad facade, enter a high atrium-topped lobby - and instinctively you breathe more deeply. After all those look-alike Andalucian hotels, here is a truly mellow symphony of architecture and décor by Dutch owner-decorator Christina Piek.

So out goes rustico style and in comes handsome hardwood furniture, unusual art and exotic objets. Terracotta tiles make way for floors of Indonesian sandstone and white planks, and instead of clichéd prints of Ronda you get an eclectic mix of paintings and sculpture, many brought in on Christina’s lap from her years spent travelling the world. You get a lot of space for your Euros in Fuente’s 11 rooms and suites, all decorated with cool, uncluttered panache. The 'Fig-tree Fountain' teases all 5 of your senses: scents of rosemary, honeysuckle and lavender; top-notch cuisine on a terrace above rolling hills; finest cotton bedlinen against your skin; over 1000 CDs from Pom and Christina's flamenco, jazz, rock and blues collection; nights set under myriad stars.

Highs

  • Despite being so close to Ronda, it's a real hideaway; returning here after sightseeing with the hoi polloi is a breath of fresh air
  • Huge rooms and suites, all with private terraces and open fireplaces
  • Magical and delicious summer-night dinners: fresh produce, aromatic gardens, glorious vistas
  • Staff are extremely caring, but don't intrude on the laid-back atmosphere
  • Sister property The Lodge Ronda is perfect for families, hidden in 22 acres of grounds with a large pool and panoramic views

Lows

  • Though all ages are welcome, the refined atmosphere and high-quality furnishings aren't ideal for small children
  • Some may find dinner a little quiet, but it's all about experiencing unique cuisine in peaceful surroundings
  • The rural setting means it's a drive to other restaurants
  • No TVs in the bedrooms, but you get a CD player with a selection of great sounds
  • Expect a few wasps at your breakfast table in late summer

Best time to go

Spring is always spectacular in Andalucia when Fuente’s olive grove is cloaked in wild flowers. Summers in Ronda are HOT but Fuente is 700m up and so you’ll stay cool even in July and August. In autumn and winter you may see some rain.

Our top tips

Save your trips into Ronda until the early evening. By then the coaches and their contents will be heading back down to the Costa, and you'll get to see a much more charming side of town.

Great for...

Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 11
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • Best for older children
  • 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
Room: Standard Room

Rooms

The overall feel of the bedrooms, like the communal areas of the hotel, is light, spacious and uplifting. The predominance of white on wood-planked floors, walls, and cotton bedspreads provides a perfect backdrop for the dark, hardwood furniture from Indonesia. Mosquito nets and Casablanca fans impart a colonial feel: Graham Greene meets Raffles in contemporary Andalucia.

The Junior Suite has a sitting area and its terrace overlooks the pool and valley beyond, while the Artist's Suite is similar, but it has its own entrance at the side of the hotel. The grander suites have lots of space and separate sitting rooms. The largest is the Double Suite, which has a rooftop Jacuzzi and a second bedroom accessed via a spiral staircase into the tower. Our Luxury Suite was huge, with a deep copper bathub and stunning valley views from the private terrace.

Bathrooms are big and have attractive yellow limestone floors, which were also shipped in from the Far East. There are top-of-the range toiletries and fluffy bathrobes. This is the sort of place where you’ll find it hard to drag yourself out of your bathtub.

All rooms have private terraces overlooking the gardens, valley or olive grove, and most have open fires (as well as central heating), ensuring that it's equally romantic in winter. And the distance between rooms means that privacy is total. There are no TVs but all rooms have CD players (the owners have a huge CD library which you can dip into). You’ll be tempted to grab a bottle of wine from the cooler, slip back to your room and enjoy your gorgeous space to the full.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

Dinner is a culinary treat to remember. Each morning guests are offered a choice between 2 menus for the 3-course evening meal (one vegetarian or even vegan if required). Alternatively you can ask for just one main dish (fish, meat or vegetarian). The culinary philosophy is that ‘less is more’ and the reduced menu means that everything is prepared with fresh ingredients, many of them from the organic garden. Starters could include carrot soup with cheese and honey or goats cheese salad; choose from main courses like Andalucian wild boar, grilled John Dory with pesto and local veggies, or vegetarian pasta. Finish with cheese plates or molten chocolate lava cake. There’s an interesting selection of wines, both local and imported, all reasonably priced. Wine is one of Pom’s passions and you should heed his recommendations.

The lunchtime menu stays light - club sandwiches, gazpacho, salads, perhaps a home-made burger - but breakfast is a big buffet affair. Freshly squeezed orange juice is de rigueur, as are delicious local cheeses, homemade croissants, cold meats and really good whole-meal breads - a real blessing in this part of Andalucia. Just ask if you’d like it brought up to your room.

For the nights when you’re not indulging in Hotel La Fuente’s exquisite cuisine, head to good-value El Muelle restaurant in nearby Arriate village, whose strong ‘field-to-plate’ ethos means that everything is fresh, vibrant, and simply delicious.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity: Ronda

Activities

  • You’re just 10 minutes from Ronda. Don’t miss the bridge, the Arab baths and Mondragón Place
  • Hike in the Grazalema park. Fuente can arrange a guided walk
  • Visit the nearby Pileta cave, home to some of Europe’s most fascinating troglodyte art
  • Head off to the Roman settlement of Acinipo and marvel at the acoustics of its theatre, sculpted into a limestone hillside
  • Drive just an hour down to the coast and San Pedro to feast on sardines, John Dory and chilled tinto de verano by the glittering Med
  • Grab your binoculars and head for the mountains. You’ll see eagles, vultures and a whole many more feathered things
  • Adrenaline junkies can try parapenting, mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, spelunking and 4x4 ecoroutes which Fuente organises through a local company; participants will be collected at the hotel
  • There are horse riding stables just 5 minutes from the hotel or you can rent bicycles and jaunt around the area
  • Back at the hotel, lie in the sun or the shade of the acacia tree at the pool with a good book, or have a massage in your room (yoga can also be arranged)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Tennis
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga

Kids

We feel the hotel is best suited to older children, due to the high-end furnishings, precious antiques and quiet atmosphere. However, sister property The Lodge Ronda is ideal for all ages.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Double Suite with 2 bedrooms is good for older children but not toddlers because of the spiral staircase. All suites can hold at least one extra bed or baby cot.

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Available on request.

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

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 19 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Fabulous place! Beautiful setting and the room was gorgeous. Food was fantastic and we ate in every night. We were so well cared for on our first holiday with our baby daughter, couldn't have asked for a better experience. We would definitely like to come back.

10/10,

Our spacious suite, with a large, private, first floor terrace overlooking the landscaped gardens and the rolling countryside beyond, was a real pleasure to return to each day. Every comfort has been thought of and the owners are keen to stress that guests should ask if there is anything else required. Dining is delightful, with meal choices being presented at breakfast time. The meals were beautifully presented, varied and with interesting, fresh, local ingredients . Christina and Pom, the owners, took time to talk to guests and they, and other staff, were happy to offer advice about local activities and attractions. This is a wonderful, relaxing and luxurious place to stay.

10/10,

Only (very small) improvement area we could think of was that the pool beds didn't had umbrellas against the sun. Rest was really excellent! I would highly recommend the hotel to others.

9/10,

Wonderful service. Landscape is fantastic. La Higuera is perfect stay to see the surroundings. We enjoyed Ronda and a drive to 4 pueblos blancos.

10/10,

Best service I've experienced including from 5* hotels - very friendly and welcoming and everything was perfect. Stunning views and excellent food.

10/10,

Don't change a winning formula, the mix of a relaxed atmosphere without loosing the attention to detail is perfect. Will visit again.

10/10,

Well run, family run hotel in a nice location just outside Rhonda. Seems far at first but it is quite convenient to historic Rhonda. Also on the road to Sevilla which is handy if you are touring the area over two days. Very relaxing not being in the city surrounded by congestion and noise. Especially nice to wake up and enjoy breakfast with a wonderful view of the valley. Dinner was great as well

9/10,

The staff were very helpful and so sweet with our children.

10/10,

Lovely location, perfect for families and those wanting a good base from which to travel. Rooms were beautiful, simple but elegant. We had room 7 - double suite, slightly scary spiral staircase for small children but a real gem. Room 9 was also very nice. Hotel felt cosy without being too rustic and the staff were very friendly.

10/10,

We had an absolutely lovely time at the Hotel La Fuenta de la Higuera. The location is stunning and the hiking in the nearby mountain areas is excellent. The hotel is exceptionally stylish and a calm, friendly atmosphere prevails. Staff were extremely friendly, food was absolutely delicious and everything had been carefully considered, so that guests could just relax and enjoy themselves. We hope to be back one day!

10/10,

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Rates for Hotel La Fuente de la Higuera