Looking to get off the beaten track in Andalucia? We’ve scratched beneath the surface of this exciting, historic area of Spain, asked local experts and come up with a list of little-known things to…
Marbella’s well known for attracting A-list celebrities and VIPs, and the paparazzi are often out in force snapping shots of the latest famous arrival. Getting away from the paparazzi in Puerto Banus or Marbella can be challenge, but there is somewhere you can stay in complete privacy and still enjoy all that Marbella and Puerto Banus have to offer.
Where is La Madroñal?
La Madroñal is in Marbella, in Malaga province in southern Spain. It’s a huge gated country estate in the foothills of the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park.
El Madroñal also sits above the Guadaiza River valley on the mountain side forested with pines, cork oaks and aromatic shrubs. Carpeted in wild flowers in spring and in a riot of colour in autumn, it’s home to a long list of fauna – wild boars, deer and mountain goats – as well as numerous species of birds.
Proximity to the Coast
Although a countryside setting it’s just a short drive from Marbella old town, its beaches, Puerto Banus and Nuevo Andalucia coast.
Puerto Banus is under 10kms away and just 11 minutes’ drive. Marbella historic centre is 20km and approximately 20 minutes’ drive.
It might be close in distance, but this tranquil refuge is a world away from the bustling luxury Port that’s Puerto Banus. Here, you’ll find yourself in the heart of typically Mediterranean landscape with the Mediterranean Sea and Strait of Gibraltar stretching beneath you.
This natural paradise rubs shoulders with neighbouring La Zagaleta, one of the richest postcodes in Spain, and has been earmarked by the rich and famous as somewhere to get away from prying eyes (and the cameras) since the 1950’s when the first millionaires built their exclusive retreats here. The development has been designed to provide space and privacy. All come with sweeping views – on clear days, you can see the different peaks that make up the Rif Mountains in Morocco on the other side of the Mediterranean.
Luxury is key to describing homes in El Madroñal – alongside spacious living go sumptuous furnishings and fittings, infinity pools, manicured gardens, state of the art technology, staff accommodation and room for several cars. All within natural surroundings where the silence is only broken by birdsong.
How to Get There?
The nearest airport is Malaga – Costa del Sol Airport which is 66km away and about a 45 minute drive. Transfers and car hire can be arranged directly through us. Alternative airports are Gibraltar (68km and just under an hours drive) and Seville (180km and 2.5hrs drive).
Security and Privacy
High security on the complex translates into total privacy. Numerous high-profile politicians, executives and businesspeople have escaped from their daily grind here for a welcome break. And plenty of celebrities have taken holidays in El Madroñal far from the long lenses of the paparazzi. But discretion is absolute so you never know who’s staying until they’re long gone – as fans of One Direction has just discovered.
Celebrities and La Madroñal
Celebrity homes on the development include the estate belonging to the film star Madeleine Carroll, known as the ‘iceberg maiden’ and star of Hitchcock’s ’39 Steps’. Her magnificent El Madronal home was one of the first to be built and she spent her retirement here. You can get a taste of a Hollywood retreat by renting the large country mansion, Hacienda Madroñal 2.
El Madroñal was also home to El Cortijo recording studio where singers and musicians have taken inspiration from the tranquil surroundings to compose and produce. Icelandic star Bjork composed her iconic track ‘So Broken’ here in 1997; Cher, Roxette and Mariah Carey stayed while they worked on albums as did the Swedish group The Cardigans.
There really is no limit to restaurant options in and around El Madroñal. In Benahavis, San Pedro, Puerto Banus and Marbella their is every type of eatery. Two good restaurants very nearby are Pedro Halcones and Nuevo Reino.
Prado Halcones in Benahavis just a short drive away and consistently serves good quality fine dining. If you fancy a meal beside the sea Nuevo Reino in San Pedro Alcantara is a great option, it’s one of the oldest restaurants on this coast. It’s very traditional so order fish cooked over hot coals it’s their speciality and very typical of Malaga province.
What Is There To Do Nearby?
As well as relaxing and soaking up the panoramic views from your terrace and pool, you may want to explore some of Andalucia during your stay at El Madroñal. The bright lights of Marbella and Puerto Banus are, of course, just a short drive away as are some world-class golf courses and sandy beaches. But venture a little further afield and you can sample some of the very best Andalucia has to offer.
Continue up the mountain road and you’ll find yourself in Ronda – one of southern Spain’s most stunning white towns with its plunging river gorge, typical Andalucian architecture and monuments such as the Arab Baths and one of the oldest bullrings in Spain. Be sure to try some of the local Ronda wine at the excellent restaurants and tapas bars in the town or visit one of the vineyards.
Sierra de los Nieves
A UNESCO protected national park including mountains, caves, Ibex, eagles and lots of flora and fauna is right on the doorstep of La Madroñal. Often between January and March the peaks of the mountains are capped with snow hence its name Sierra de los Nieves – ‘snow’. For outdoors enthusiasts keen hikers like to conquer the Pico Torrecilla at 1919m and for those who like to explore down rather than up there’s good caving like the GESM which goes 1101m in depth. There’s also great cycling routes for those wanting a challenge, all rewarding with incredible views.
The vibrant city of Malaga is also just a short drive away with plenty of things to do and see including the Moorish fortress, Baroque cathedral and art museums including the Picasso Museum. Leave some time for shopping – don’t miss the local produce at the Atarazanas market – and go then for a leisurely lunch at one of the many fine restaurants in the old quarter and on Muelle Uno in the port where you’ll find Juan Carlos García’s Michelin-starred restaurant.
Our Favourite Villas in El Madroñal
With its unique location and magnificent properties, El Madroñal allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds on holiday – you can relax in total peace and quiet or pop out to nearby resorts and tourist attractions. And as one of the most private places in Spain, no one need ever know you’re there.
For more places to stay in and around El Madroñal contact us today for an availability check and quotation.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 139603 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2020-12-11 09:50:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-12-11 09:50:40 [post_content] => Looking to get off the beaten track in Andalucia? We’ve scratched beneath the surface of this exciting, historic area of Spain, asked local experts and come up with a list of little-known things to see and do for our guide to hidden Andalucia...
If the bird's eye view of the inside of the cathedral looks spectacular, then to cap it off you emerge outside with 360-degree rooftop views of Malaga. [email protected]
Visit Malaga Cathedral's Roof
The top tip of Lindsay Gregory, Director of The Luxury Villa Collection: “Stroll around Malaga historic centre, take a hammam at Mammam Al Andalus and finish with cocktails at a rooftop bar.” https://malaga.hammamalandalus.com/en/
RELAX IN A HAMMAM
A rather lovely town with a Moorish fortress complex and no fewer than 30 churches. Don’t miss having tapas in the impressive Plaza de los Escribanos.
Meander in Antequera
Just outside Antequera, these are some of the largest and most complete megalithic structures in Europe. Museosdeandalucia.es
Visit Three 5000-year-old Dolmens
The ruins of a 9th-century church carved out of rock are the highlights of a larger fortified town complex. Anything 9th century and still standing is incredible in our books.
Wonder at a 9TH Century Church – Bobastro
A house with a garden in the Albayzin (the oldest part of Granada city) is known as a Carmen. These Carmens look out towards the Alhambra Palace, often have wooden balconies, plant-filled patios, babbling water features and decorative tiles.
Nose Around the Carmens of Granada's Albayzin
This 17th-century abbey and college comes complete with holy caves/ancient catacombs. The view of Granada alone is worth the walk.
Visit the Abbey of Sacromonte, Granada
This village has stately houses gripping onto the edge of a gorge, cobbled streets and spa credentials. Our top tip is to escape the summer heat in Granada and visit Alhama – it has a unique microclimate where summer nights cool to a comfortable level.
Take a day trip to Alhama de Granada and its Natural Hot Springs
Once part of several fortifications, the castle that sits on this tiny island dates back to the 13th century.
Find Out the Mysteries of the Island of Sancti Petri, San Fernando, Cadiz
This pristine white village, sitting high on a rocky hilltop, really comes into its own at sunrise and dusk. Aside from the dramatic light, there are lovely boutique shops, great restaurants and, during the summer, look out for their candlelight festival.
Experience the Beautiful Light in Vejer de la Frontera
While it's got a great beach with some decent Atlantic surf, it’s the laidback-hip bar vibe in El Palmar that makes it stand out from other stretches of southern Spain's coast.
Surf and Sip in El Palmar
David, chef at De Tako's top tip is, “One of the best ways to experience a country is through its food and an even better way is to enjoy perfectly cooked food is in an incredible setting surrounded by friends". We entirely agree – hire a private chef at your villa for the ultimate in convenience.
HIRE A Private Chef
One of our top hidden foodie treats in Andalucia is delicious Retinto beef from Cadiz. Much is spoken about fried fish, olives and olive oil, jamón ibérico and Sherry but this meaty option is also a real gastro-standout.
Taste Riotinto Beef
Hire a boat and hit the sea - you’ll almost inevitably come across a pod of dolphins in the Mediterranean.
Take to the Sea – Dolphin Watch
This forgotten about 12th-century arched gateway and wall was the main entrance into Seville, and is certainly off the beaten path.
Puerta de Macarena/Walls of Seville
You'll never have experienced a bar like Garlochí, a homage to Easter in Spain. All year round there's incense burning and procession music playing – they call it the cathedral of bars. Don’t miss their signature cocktail: Grenadine, whisky and Cava.
Drink at a Bar Dedicated to Easter in Sevilla
There’s a succession of beautiful waterfalls running over some interesting limestone formations in Sierra Norte de Sevilla Nature Park.
Wild Swimming at Cascadas de Hueznar in Seville Province
Fiona Flores Watson, Telegraph Travel Writer and Seville resident recommends: “The summer outdoor concerts held in the Alcazar Palace… a magical setting for live jazz, flamenco or classical music by moonlight.” Alcazarsevilla.org
SEE LIVE MUSIC IN THE ALCAZAR PALACE
The castle of Castillo de Almodovar del Rio was built in 740. You can join theatrical tours, do some medieval combat training or spooky storytelling. Castillodealmodovar.com
Visit Highgarden, the Tyrell’s House in Game of Thrones
Manni Coe of Toma & Coe Tours' top tip is: “One of the most consistently excellent restaurants I know in Andalucia is located on a little-known street, in the little-known town of Lucena. It's called Tres Culturas and it's also a handy stop off en-route to Cordoba." Tresculturasrestaurante.com
TRAVEL TO EAT AT TRES CULTURAS
In the Sierra de Cazorla natural park this castle was built at the start of the 16th century. A beautiful monument in an even more beautiful part of the world.
Marvel at the Castle of Iruela, Jaen
The colours of autumn over the vast landscape of rural Huelva is the perfect way to disconnect. Local people flock here to experience the change of the season.
Reconnect with Nature and See Autumn in Aracena
This breath-taking beach near the charming village of San Jose feels like another world.
Genoveses beacH in Cabo de Gata, Almeria
A bit of a cheat but do a tour…
Our top 5 are: Most unusual is in Segura de la Sierra in Jaen province: this square bullring is the old courtyard of a castle and was built in the 18th century. Ronda bullring is the second oldest and the biggest. Seville bullring is the oldest; Antequera's is famed for appearing in Madonna’s Take a Bow video; Mijas has spectacular views and is simply charming. Archidona usually erects a bullring inside its eight-sided main square during the summer season. Like this and want to know more about visiting southern Spain? Check out our 50 things to do in Andalucia and our guide to the five best cities to visit in Andalucia [post_title] => Hidden Andalucia [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hidden-andalucia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-01-31 15:25:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-01-31 15:25:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=139603 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 133379 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2020-10-03 15:27:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-10-03 15:27:14 [post_content] =>
See Andalucia through its Bullrings
(As of Nov 2020)Since the global pandemic reached our countries in early 2020 there has been restrictions in one way or another on the way we live our lives. With the sheer amount of press on Covid-19 it’s difficult to see the wood from the trees. So we wanted to reach out to our guests and give you a clear idea of what it’s really like to be in southern Spain in 2020. As we become used to Covid-19 not going away we’re getting better at carrying on with our lives but with safety measures in place. Obviously, those who are at high risk may adopt a more stringent approach to their activities but for the rest of us we’re getting out and about responsibly. While we at The Luxury Villa Collection welcomed guests during 2020 we realise that clarity on what it's like in southern Spain is needed.
What restrictions are there in southern Spain?Shops, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, events, museums and art galleries all have capacity limits to ensure social distancing can be adhered to safely. Businesses all have hand sanitizer at the door so customers can clean their hands upon entering and leaving an establishment. As of 25th October there is a curfew between 22.00hrs and 07.00hrs. Further restrictions have been put in place to limit the movement of people outside their municipalities. Face coverings must be worn at all times if over 6 years old, other than:
- People playing sports do not have to wear a mask whilst engaged in the sporting activity.
- Masks do not need to be worn by customers who are eating, drinking, or smoking.
- In the sea or swimming pool.
- In a designated household sunbathing area on the beach.
Do I have to wear a face covering?The use of face coverings is mandatory for anyone over the age of 6 years old at all times unless during one of the points stated above. This includes in all forms of indoor and outdoor public spaces even if social distancing can be applied. For countries that haven’t adopted this measure, face coverings seem a huge inconvenience but what they have allowed people to do is enjoy their holiday as normal with face coverings and social distancing being the only restrictions.
Are restaurants open?Yes, restaurants and cafes are open with limitations place upon their capacity to ensure tables are spaced out enough so customers can remove their face coverings while drinking or eating. Serving staff and chefs must wear masks at all times.
Are Beaches open in Andalucia?Yes. Once on a beach in your own sunbathing area and in the sea you may remove face coverings. The sunbathing areas must be 2 metres apart and social distancing must be adhered to in the sea. Some beaches have allocated sunbathing areas others are flexible but there are personnel checking that people adhere to social distancing rules while enjoying the beach. No distancing is necessary within your family unit. The norms that local governments put in place over summer 2020 worked to great effect and people could enjoy the beaches of the Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz and Costa Tropical.
Are tourist sights open?Yes. Restrictions on numbers being allowed into famous landmarks, tourist attractions and galleries has meant some sights have never been so quiet. Achieving the perfect photo of the Alhambra Palace or Real Alcazar de Sevilla without other sightseers is actually possible.
Does a face covering need to be worn while driving?When driving alone or with your household no face covering needs to be worn, but if there are passengers or a driver from a different household then everyone must wear a face covering.
What’s the general mood in southern Spain?Summer 2020 saw fewer parties for sure: the dancing all night in a club and watching the sunrise from a buzzing rooftop bar was and is not on the cards at the moment. However, long lunches beside the sea, visiting theme parks, historic sights, galleries and museums, beach days and outdoor activities are all there being enjoyed. It's really business as usual with the some sensible parameters in place. Some of our guests used our villas with entertainment rooms, cinemas, spas and abundance of space to organise private experiences from chefs to talks to spa treatments and live music. Bringing the wonderful Spanish culture into the safety of their private villa.
What is State of Alarm and What Does it Mean?The phrase state of alarm sounds very official and, well, alarming however, it is really just an administration step for the government and helps regional governments put in place restrictions. This phase allows the government (if necessary) to limit the movement of people at specific locations and times, temporary use private industries (such as private hospitals), limit the use of services and ensure the supply of necessary goods and services. In 2020 during Covid19, the state of alarm has meant limiting the movement of people between different provinces and curfews been implemented (from 23.00-06.00hrs). In no circumstances does state of alarm mean visitors aren't permitted to travel back to their home country.
Air travel – Is it safe?So far there has been little evidence of in-flight transmission of coronavirus, but there have been a couple of examples of transmission early on in the pandemic before more stringent controls were in place. Shaun Fitzgerald, Royal Academy of Engineering visiting professor at the University of Cambridge said, aircraft ventilation systems are unique, the “replacement rate” - the number of times a volume of air equivalent to the volume of the cabin is removed each hour - can be four minutes in a aircraft. Compare this to 20 or 30 minutes in an indoor environment on the ground and it’s very brisk. The air filters themselves on aeroplanes are sophisticated and much more effective than filters found in indoor venues on the ground. Most airlines say face coverings are mandatory, limit food and drink services and don’t allow queuing for the toilet. The airports themselves are being diligent ensuring social distancing is in place as well as temperature controls in some. As from October 2020 if traveling from Europe or the UK:
- You must complete a health control form - which includes a HCF - a negative PCR test within 72hrs of your arrival to Spain.