“An 18th-century hill-top house with huge views over the countryside and a front door that opens onto the old town of Arcos”
Big old rooms do just the job; they are not overly-trendy, but nor would you want them to be. A sense of the past lingers - old beams, ancient walls, a tiled floor in yellow and red that’s been here at least a hundred years. Old stone steps lead up to a gallery around the courtyard. Plants are scattered about the place, candles, too. The Suite has handmade Moroccan tiles in the bathroom, a wood-burner in the sitting room and a kingsize brass bed in the bedroom. Here, you can open up the windows and gaze out on San Pedro, teetering on top of the cliff. The Standard Rooms (Alcoba, La Penultima) are up on the second floor - more of a schlepp with your cases - and both have small balconies that give you the best view in town. They’re lovely rooms, with walls washed in pale green and simple but pleasing furniture: voile curtains, a nice chair, old stone shelves.
Tumble back down a couple of flights and you find the 2 Terrace Rooms (Cuarto Bajo is twin, Cuarto y Mitad a double). Good beds are prettily dressed, but French windows draw you out. On the terrace, you’ll find a table, chairs and an umbrella to shield you from the sun. Hurtle back up to the very top of the house - there are 5 floors in all - and you find a couple of fine rooms. One is the Junior Suite (huge), the other Superior Double. Expect old beamed ceilings, terracotta-tiled floors, wooden shutters and a rug on the floor. One has a sofa, the other comes in lemon green. Both open onto the roof terrace and the courtyard.
You get bathrobes, flowers, beams, rugs and tiled floors. Shower rooms tend to be on the small side, but they’re perfectly functional and prettily designed. Some are decked, some are tiled, one is in a cupboard. You'll find a framed haiku which was inspired by your particular room - an individual touch that mirrors Elena's artistic sensibilities and her love of her ancient house. All rooms have CD players and hairdryers - but if you want the view, be sure to request it.
Breakfast, charged as an extra at La Casa Grande, is served on individual butler's trays at marble-topped tables, amidst the plants and columns of the ground floor patio (for a little extra you can have it laid up in the sunshine on the roof terrace. You get a delicious Spanish breakfast served at your table: freshly baked molletes (a semi-leavened roll), honey and jam, tortas de aceite, coffee and tea, fruit and yoghurt, cheese and cold meats as well as fresh orange juice. Best of all are the eggs, which come scrambled in olive oil. The gentle strains of classical music help make this event like a really great beginning to your Arcos day.
La Casa Grande is a small homely place, serving up a tapas menu at night up on the roof. This is the chance to sample Elena's delicious homemade croquettes, fine Iberian ham and saucisse or a plateful of ecologically produced local cheeses served with anchovies.
If you prefer to dine out, the old town has a good supply of bars. If you want a pizza or a steak, you'll find it. Elena is a lover of fine food and has written her own guide to the best places to eat in Cádiz province - so you can pay good heed to her recommendations.
Children are welcome, but it's worth noting that the house is on the edge of a sheer cliff and is spread over 4 floors, so adventurous toddlers will need supervision.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available