Re­view of the Month: La Bobadilla, in Loja, Spain

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The area around Seville and Cór­doba in An­dalucía is known lo­cally as the sartén (fry­ing pan) for the un­re­lent­ing 40°C heat over the sum­mer. Far bet­ter to visit when the sea­son is on the wane, and the pan has been taken off the fire and cooled to a more bear­able 30°.


Bliss­ful seclu­sion. Royal Hide­away La Bobadilla has the feel of a ram­bling an­cient Moor­ish palace or a pue­blo blanco: a mass of white­washed, red-roofed build­ings and tur­rets, sur­rounded by olive groves and the sun-parched Loja moun­tains. It’s a sur­prise then, to dis­cover the ho­tel was con­verted from a mod­est finca in the 1980s. The lobby evokes Cór­doba’s 10th-cen­tury Mezquita – mar­ble colon­nades linked by brick arches soar up to a dou­ble­height ceil­ing. Else­where, foun­tains trickle in court­yards and dark-wood fur­ni­ture dots the cor­ri­dors. There’s plenty to do, with a huge pool, spa, ten­nis courts, and miles of marked walk­ing and bike routes (bikes and hel­mets are avail­able for guests). We en­joyed a run through the olive groves, fol­low­ing a trail to hill­top views of La Bobadilla with the hol­i­day sounds of ci­cadas and bees.


The 70 rooms and suites are each unique, and many have a gar­den, ter­race or bal­cony. Even the ho­tel’s most ba­sic cat­e­gory of room – the Deluxe Su­pe­rior – is lux­u­ri­ous, with large wooden shut­tered win­dows, a whirlpool bath, fluffy bathrobe and beau­ti­ful-smelling toi­letries. The dé­cor is tra­di­tional with­out be­ing stuffy – all stone flag floors, four-poster beds and cream linens. If money is no ob­ject, book in to the exclusive Rey Boab­dil, a 200 square me­tre apart­ment com­plete with a huge sit­ting room, hot tub and a sun­deck, and a favourite with King Juan Car­los of Spain when he’s pass­ing through.


The ho­tel has two restau­rants: gourmet La Finca, one of the best restau­rants in An­dalucía for its re­fined and cre­ative dishes, such as our favourite, succulent braised Ibe­rian pork cheek with Oporto sauce; and El Cor­tijo, serv­ing rus­tic re­gional Span­ish cui­sine – ex­pect dishes such as gaz­pa­cho, or ham and cheese cro­que­tas.


La Bobadilla sits in a tri­an­gle be­tween the re­gal cities of Granada (one hour’s drive), Seville (two hours) and Málaga (50 min­utes). The nearby na­tional park of Tor­cal de An­te­quera is a great place to spend a day walk­ing among lime­stone peaks and cac­tuses.


La Bobadilla is a good 20 miles from the clos­est town. If you plan on ex­plor­ing fur­ther afield, you’ll need to hire a car.


Rates at Royal Hide­away La Bobadilla start at £145 per night for a Deluxe Su­pe­rior Room. The Ju­nior Suite costs from £268 (barcelo­

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT The Al­ham­bra suite at La Bobadilla; the sun ter­race, part of a Ju­nior Suite with spa ac­cess; a view of the ho­tel from one of the marked walk­ing trails; roasted young goat leg, glazed with sugar-cane honey on a yucca and quinoa purée served at La Finca

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