Review of the Month: La Bobadilla, in Loja, Spain
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°.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
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.
WHAT’S MY ROOM LIKE?
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.
WHAT AM I EATING?
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.
WHAT’S IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD?
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.
GOOD TO KNOW
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.
WHAT’S THE DAMAGE?
Rates at Royal Hideaway La Bobadilla start at £145 per night for a Deluxe Superior Room. The Junior Suite costs from £268 (barcelolabobadilla.com).
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