La Fructuosa

Gaucin, Ronda & the White Villages, Spain Book from Book from £61 per night

Cheap & chic: a friendly, art-filled little hotel with great views in the heart of a pretty hilltop village
There's something magical about La Fructuosa. Back in 1998, Spaniards Jesus and Luis visited the tiny hilltop village of Gaucin, and immediately fell in love with this abandoned 19th-century inn. They upped sticks, restored the building to its former glory, and over 20 years gained a reputation for a friendly, down-to-earth welcome, great food and buzzy vibe.

In 2017, it happened afresh. After falling under its spell during a visit to the Art Gaucin festival, new owners Catherine and Daniel (she is a sculptor and ceramicist, he ran a B&B) moved from Brussels to start a new life here. You can expect a warm multilingual welcome, cheery paintings and sculptures on the walls, a convivial atmosphere and hearty Spanish food in the old wine cellar.

Upstairs, 5 cheerful and unique bedrooms make a restorative base for overnight guests, and the views of the distant coast are fabulous. By day, the area is ideal for relaxing, walking in the mountains and exploring Andalucia's iconic pueblos blancos (white hilltop towns).

Highs

  • Its location: perched in a pretty mountain village with views out to Gibraltar and beyond
  • A window into traditional village life: the restaurant is a firm favourite with locals as well as weary travellers
  • The shared roof terrace with fabulous views to the coast, where you can happily while away the hours with a bottle of red
  • Original chestnut beams and wine press add an authentic sense of history
  • It's brilliant value for money

Lows

  • The restaurant is only open 4 nights a week (closed during winter) and lunch offerings are restricted to weekends
  • Staff are lovely and helpful but they’re only on site for part of the day, so it’s best suited to more independent travellers
  • There's no swimming pool or garden, but there is a large roof terrace
  • At the time of visiting the WiFi was patchy, but the hotel assure us this has now been improved

Best time to go

Come in spring and autumn for walking, April/May for wild flowers and migratory birds. July and August can be very hot and there is no swimming pool, although being high up in the mountains always ensures it is a few degrees cooler than on the coast. Artistic types should come in May for the Art Gaucin Open Studios event.

Our top tips

Although Gaucin's chaotic maze of tiny cobbled streets and whitewashed houses can seem daunting at first, after 24 hours in the village you will be navigating them like a pro. Don’t miss a sunset walk up to the castillo (castle), with a warm, ‘Hola’ to every friendly villager who passes by.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Foodie
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 5 guest rooms
  • Breakfast (+ restaurant 4 nights per week and lunch on weekends)
  • 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
Room: Albero (Twin with Jacuzzi)

Rooms

This old house is decorated in a traditional Spanish style, using bright warm colours to create 5 light, spacious and cheerful rooms. Each is unique, though stunning views are guaranteed in all.

The tiny top-floor Soberao room was our favourite, despite being the only option without a Jacuzzi tub. Here, an antique clock-face, originally displayed on the village’s central tower, hangs proudly above the bed. Architecture buffs will like the Doña Concha room, where guests can sleep beneath the house’s original roof (an additional storey was later added to much of the property) while outdoorsy types are likely to gravitate towards the sunshine yellow Pension room, where French doors and a Juliet balcony overlook open panoramas.

Well-stocked and reasonably priced minibars are handy for evening tipples, plus there are fans to keep you cool in summer and heating for winter.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is an array of fresh local pastries, Andalusian salami and Spanish cheeses. Be sure to say yes when offered the fresh juice is offered: it was some of the best we’ve tasted. In summer, the jasmine and honeysuckle laden terrace has magical views of the surrounding mountains and the Mediterranean coast in the distance. In cooler months, guests eat in the converted wine cellar dining room with its intimate alcoves, vases filled with arum lilies and walls adorned with local art.

Open on Wednesday to Saturday night and weekend lunchtimes (in summer), the La Fructuosa restaurant enjoys a good reputation for no-nonsense Spanish and Mediterranean food. Try the presa iberica - a tasty cut of meat from forest pigs who feed on wild acorns.

When the restaurant is closed, Gaucin has a number of other great small bars and restaurants. El Zorro was our favourite for local specialities such as fried aubergine drizzled with wild honey and garlic marinated aceitunas (green olives).

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore Gaucin village and get a taste of local life
  • Dine on the restaurant terrace overlooking the mountains
  • Go walking in the surrounding mountains
  • Play golf on one of the region's many golf courses
  • Visit the beautiful windswept, but unspoilt beach at Bolonia (60-90 minutes away)
  • Drive to Ronda with its spectacular gorge, bridge and bullring (45 minutes) or Jimena de la Frontera (25 minutes)
  • Take the fast boat from Tarifa to Tangiers for a day trip (45 minutes each way) or stay a couple of days in the laid back village of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

This is a typically Spanish hotel where children are welcomed with open arms. Under 3s stay for free.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Pension (a Twin with Jacuzzi) has a double sofabed and space for a baby cots; Almagra (a Double with Jacuzzi) has a single sofabed plus space for a baby cot. All rooms can hold a baby cot.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots

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

Children's meals:

The hotel restaurant is child-friendly, although it's only open 2 nights per week.

Kids Activities on site:

  • TV
  • WiFi

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Walking in the Andalusian hills
  • Horse riding
  • Beaches (around an hour's drive)

Distances:

  • Airport: 45 minutes (Gibraltar), 1.5 hours (Malaga)
  • Hospital: 45 minutes
Kid Friendly: common area

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Rooms
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Possibly the best hotel breakfast I've ever had.

10/10, , April 2016

We managed to acquire the last room in the hotel at short notice. The meet and greet was excellent. The room was clean and comfortable and the staff very polite, friendly and efficient. Our stay was for 3 days and the room was cleaned daily. We usually rent self-catering in the village so this was a new experience for us and one we would do again with the hotel and via iescape whose process and service was impeccable. The only thing we missed was the option of a kettle in the room to enable us to have our early morning coffee; this was swiftly provided when we asked it if was possible. The whole experience enhance our stay in Gaucin.

10/10, , March 2016

Amazing accommodation there. A particular advice for clients is do not miss an afternoon at their restaurant.

10/10, , May 2015

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Rates for La Fructuosa