La Casa Grande

Arcos de la Frontera, Ronda & the White Villages, Spain Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
An 18th-century hill-top house with huge views over the countryside and a front door that opens onto the old town of Arcos
This is an ancient town that balances impossibly on the crest of a high hill; one side is a sheer cliff. You get narrow streets, ancient alleyways and rather good views. La Casa Grande is right at the top of it all; open your window and there it is - half of Andalucia laid out before you.

You potter up to the top of the hill, park the car in front of the church, then wander along a cobbled alleyway past the 16th-century convent of Mercedarian Nuns and arrive at the house. The street is named after the family that built this house in 1729 and you can see their crest carved into the stone pediment above the front door. Inside you find a quintessentially Andalucian home: a central courtyard with an ancient well, a roof terrace where you breakfast with 20-mile views, and a clutch of delightful rooms, most of which look the right way. Tapas suppers on the roof let you make the most of that extraordinary view. Wonderful Arcos is on your doorstep, Jerez is just down the road and the beautiful mountain trails and Pueblos Blancos of the Grazalema Park are just a shake away. Don’t miss it.


  • A majestic position at the top of a cliff with views that stretch for miles
  • Simply-furnished, stylish rooms, that offer fantastic value for money
  • When we revisited in 2013, we fell in love with the old town of Arcos - narrow lanes, labyrinthine alleyways, ancient bricks and mortar
  • A cultured and multilingual hostess who will help unlock the secrets of this beguiling hilltop town


  • You have to leave your car in a public car park up a very narrow and steep street a few minutes from the hotel
  • If there is only one person on reception, you won't receive assistance with luggage, although there is a trolley
  • Driving through the narrow and labyrinthine streets of the old town of Arcos can be quite hair-raising

Best time to go

You can come all year. Summer can get hot and the tiny lanes can clog with cars. Spring, early Summer, late summer and early Autumn would all be perfect.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 7
  • Meals on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 7 Jan 2017 - 31 Jan 2017
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Courtyard
  • Yoga classes


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.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Terrace
  • WiFi


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.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu


  • The feria (fiesta) takes place at the end of September and the folk of Arcos know how to throw a party. Easter is celebrated in the usual fervent style, with parades and all-night celebrations

  • The town is a great place to wander. Old alleyways snake around the hill. You can stop off at the castle, Santa Maria and San Pedro. If you get tired out, rest your feet at one of the cafes in the square and watch life pour by

  • If you drop down the hill you're just a half hour drive away from both the Parque Natural de Los Alcornocales and that of Grazalema. In both parks you can walk your socks off, jump on a horse or just meander your way from one stunning hilltop village to the next

  • Jerez de la Frontera is right on your doorstep with bodegas galore and Spain's most famous riding school where you can watch Andalucian thoroughbreds being put through their paces

  • The beach isn’t on your door step, but if you’ve got a car, you can get down to La Costa de Luz in about an hour. Long, sandy beaches, bars and restaurants await

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Traditional cultures


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.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Our guests' ratings...


{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for La Casa Grande