Hotel San Gabriel

Ronda & the White Villages, Spain Book from

Reviewed by Nikki Tinto
To experience true Spanish charm, San Gabriel in the heart of Ronda’s medieval town is the place to go
Tucked down a side street in Ronda's charming historical quarter, the Hotel San Gabriel is an 18th-century townhouse with bags of character and elegant good looks. Following a fire many years ago, the Perez family carefully restored the building retaining many period features, while adding a few extras such as the huge wooden staircase bought from the old town hall. Originally their family home, they first opened the doors to paying guests in the late 1990s. Chandeliers, family portraits, stag's heads, carved wooden beds and an exquisite salon create a stately Spanish splendour. But its small scale, friendly owners and congenial staff create a welcoming and cosy atmosphere.

The pièce de resistance is San Gabriel’s own miniature cinema where you can sink into plush velvet seats (originally they sat in the town theatre), to watch old black and white movies or perhaps Zeffirelli's Carmen which was filmed on location in Ronda. Other features include a pretty interior courtyard, a library, a cafe and a cellar bar.


  • Value for money and its position in the old town, close to the main square and the spectacular bridge spanning the Ronda gorge
  • The elegant Spanish furnishings
  • The delightful Perez family - brother and sister Ana and Jose - who are utterly charming, young and enthusiastic
  • Watching Carmen in the hotel's charming little cinema room


  • No pool or garden but there is a small courtyard with seating
  • Many of the bedrooms are rather dark but this is in keeping with Spanish style
  • Parking in the old town is usually a nightmare but there’s a public carpark 5 minutes away and hotel guests receive a special daily rate
  • The hotel closes at certain times of year, including Christmas (21-31 December)

Best time to go

Any time as Ronda is a city of great interest and beauty. Spring and autumn are the best months for walking. At the height of summer it can be very hot whilst the weather in winter is unpredictable, although by travelling at this time of year you'll escape the day trippers who come in droves during the town's peak season.

Our top tips

Concentrate your sightseeing activities immediately after breakfast or from about 5pm in the afternoon. By doing this you'll avoid the crowds of day trippers who pitch up in droves from the nearby Costa. You could dedicate the middle part of your Ronda day to a hike on one of several waymarked routes leading out from the town or a trip out to see a few of the surrounding Pueblos Blancos.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 22
  • Breakfast only
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Courtyard


The Perez family has taken great care with the conversion of their old home into a fine hotel. Each room is different but has an unmistakable air of Spanish elegance. The beds, some four-poster, some tucked behind Moorish-style arches, have richly carved wooden headboards, the colour of darkest ebony. All have tiled terracotta floors, air-conditioning, their own bathroom, a TV, a minibar and perhaps a comfortable sofa to relax into after a hard day's walking round Ronda. Most of the simple but spotless bathrooms have bathtubs, some just large showers, and you can hook up to WiFi throughout the hotel.

As is typical of most Spanish townhouses, the rooms are rather dark - overlooking either a narrow lane or the pretty internal courtyard (as did ours, Room 7, with the added bonus of a small balcony). The 22 rooms are categorised according to size. Standard Rooms come as both twin and doubles as do the Superior Rooms which have a few additional square metres of space and the added bonus of a writing desk. Those looking for a spacious room should book a Junior Suite - they're large enough for 1 or 2 extra single beds to be slotted in. Or for something particularly special we recommend opting for the spacious and ornate Honeymoon Suite which has its own sitting room and a really swish bathroom with twin sinks and a big round tub - it's plenty big enough for 2. This is the only room with an open hearth where you can light a fire and cosy up in the colder months.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


A continental-style breakfast is served in the cafe any time between 7.30am and 10.30am. Expect coffee, bottled orange juice, a selection of breads, homemade jams and honey, cereals and cakes, soft cheese and pate, as well as olive oil and tomato for your Andalusian-style tostada. Breakfast is charged as an extra but it's excellent value and leaves you with the option of strolling across the bridge and settling down to breakfast-in-the-sun at one of the gorge-side cafes.

The Spanish love to eat out and Ronda's no exception to the rule with bars and restaurants on practically every street. There is something for everyone: from atmospheric bars selling traditional tapas such as the excellent Bodega San Francisco or Lechuguita, to more refined dining at Carmen La de Ronda - just round the corner from the hotel - or at Almocabar next to the old city gate of the same name. Don't miss a couple of great new bars which are making waves for their selection of local wines and more modern take on the tapas theme - Tragatapas is next to the bridge whilst Tapas Locas is at the far end of the old town next to the old town wall. The hotel has its own map with all of these eateries clearly flagged up.

In San Gabriel's bar/cafe, open throughout the day, you can help yourself to a cold drink or make yourself tea and coffee surrounded by signed photos of former guests and the cloaks of some of Spain's most renowned bullfighters. Or enjoy a glass of sherry in the tiny cellar bar where you'll also find a small selection of local Rondeño wines: this is a great spot for a pre or post prandial moment whilst in summer you can sit out in the shaded courtyard.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby


  • Wander through the winding streets of Ronda, discovering galleries, antique shops, mansion houses and pretty squares

  • Walk across the main bridge that spans Ronda's famous gorge and visit Spain's oldest bullring and its museum

  • Go on one of the carriage tours around the old part of the city - located by the bullring

  • Have a glass of wine in the hotel's cellar bodega then watch a movie in the hotel’s cinema

  • Take a train for a day visit to Granada and the famous Alhambra

  • A day's hiking in the mountains, routes and maps can be provided by the hotel. Guided walks (4-7 hours) with native English-speaking guide also available in the Grazalema Park

  • Day trips to Seville and Jerez, only 1 hour and 30 minutes away

  • Go horse riding in the nearby national park

  • Choose a book from an extensive collection of English tomes. You're welcome to take it home with you so long as you replace it with one of your own

  • Just an hour's drive away, via the spectacular road that connects Ronda to the Costa del Sol, you'll find half a dozen excellent golf courses

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures


The hotel is furnished with precious china, antiques and furnishings so well-behaved children are welcome. Babies are welcome and the hotel can provide cots (free of charge) whenever necessary though there are no high chairs at present. There is a charge for extra beds. Babysitting can always be arranged.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available


Babysitting can be arranged on request.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available free of charge.

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

Kid Friendly:

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