This has to be one of the most outstanding, beautifully crafted and characterful properties anywhere in Spain, lavishly and lovingly furnished in a splendid Moorish theme ...
"Just a brief e-mail to say that what a lovely stay we had at ZC44 last week. Despite the wet start to the week, the sun came out and we are able to make full use of the facilities including the pool (crazy brits that we are!) which warmed up a little. Please also pass on our thanks to Victoria and the house team who cooked up a delicious supper on the day we arrived and ensured the bedrooms and bathrooms were clean and tidy throughout the week. It was a wonderful location for all the family to celebrate my Mum and Dad's 'significant' birthdays and we will have many happy memories to look back on. "
Seven (five doubles and two twin bedded).
Please note that maximum occupancy is 12 guests.
Private swimming pool
15.5 m x 11.0 m, 0.75 m - 2.0 m deep plus circular (shallow) part for young children.
1 km from Gaucín in the Ronda Mountains region (Province of Málaga).
From 4,550 € to 6,760 € per week.
Just a few minutes from pretty Gaucín village, this has to be one of the most outstanding and characterful properties anywhere in Spain.
In as peaceful a spot as it's possible to find, set within its own glorious 11 acre estate of cork forest, wild woodlands, olive and almond groves on the mountain slopes of La Serranía de Ronda, a huge panorama of magnificent, mountain majesty spreads out in front of your eyes. It's absolutely wonderful.
The vast, craggy outcrop of the Crestellina Ridge rises up on one side of the horizon; in the other direction, the floodlit ruins of Gaucín's Moorish castle, Castillo del Aguila (Eagle's Castle) stand proud on their rocky promontory at the summit of Hacho Mountain.
Between them, the mountains open up to reveal the deep valley of the Rio Genal, which leads all the way down to the Rock of Gibraltar and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea. Beyond, the peaks of Africa and Europe merge under a deep blue sky.
Views are stunning, whichever way you turn.
The owner knows a thing or two about home-making; she is a Baroness and her primary residence is a truly magnificent stately home - a medieval castle - in the Cotsworlds. As she said of this, her Spanish retreat, purchased 15 years ago, "There is an amazing energy about the place that makes one feel so well. I fell in love with it straight away".
A traditional farmhouse which wraps around a huge central courtyard on three sides, she has transformed it into a wonderful country house full of beautiful art, antiques and Moroccan artefacts. If a house can be an adventure, this one is. Both fascinating and fabulous in equal measure.
Lavishly and lovingly furnished, the Moorish theme is very much to the fore, both inside and out. Colour-washed walls, doors and windows in bright ocean blue, colourful rugs and rich fabrics combine effortlessly with all modern comforts.
But let's start outside ... the gardens on the slopes all around the house are fantastic, immaculately maintained throughout the year by the gardener.
Little walk-ways weave through mature trees and colourful shrubberies to hidden terraces and delightful, secret corners.
You will come across little fountains, flower-covered walls, shady sitting areas and what seems like every indigenous flower and shrub in Andalucía. Divine, wild woodland gardens which are complemented, of course, by the fabulous mountain views.
One of these pathways leads down the slopes to one of the most spectacular infinity swimming pools it's possible to imagine! Glistening gloriously blue in the sunshine, its chemical-free, salt waters are utterly irresistible.
Beyond, and all around, sublime nature, richly forested hillsides and dramatic terrain, the Crestelina Ridge rising up proudly in the distance as if standing guard over the sandy beaches of the Costa del Sol just beyond. Closer to home, enormous palm trees oversee the idyllic scene. One rises as though from the azure blue waters of the pool itself.
It's a huge pool, an irregular shape but more or less 15 m x 11 m with a circular, shallow kiddies bit as well. There's solar-powered heating to extend the swimming season and the whole area is securely walled and gated.
Stunning at night, too, with a thousand stars twinkling up above.
The large poolhouse is equipped with a fridge, changing room and shower room and also provides shade. There's a ping pong table for a little frivolous fun, plenty of sunloungers, seating and space for all.
Set on its own terrace about 30 metres below the house, it's a magnificent pool complex in an outstanding natural setting. Oh happy days ... we suspect that you may spend quite a lot of your time here!
The extensive courtyard terrace at the heart of the property is another lovely outdoor space, calm and tranquil with lots of trees and huge pots of flowers and shrubs. Shaded sitting areas are dotted about here and there amongst the leafy greenery, the scent of orange and lemon filling the air. It's the hub of the house as the three wings of the farmhouse wrap around the courtyard. Many of the rooms have direct access to it.
On the other side of the house, the main living rooms opens to another massive terrace, this one a splendid, covered al-fresco dining area with an enormous Moroccan dining table and chairs, two huge brick barbecue / fireplaces at either end.
Steps lead down to more terracing below and out into formal gardens. Views from here up to the castle, high on the hillside beyond, are splendid. And there are several other terraces around and about the property; many of the bedrooms have their own private outdoor spaces.
The house itself is huge, seemingly going on for ever! One of those places where it's neccessary to go on a voyage of discovery and then go around it all again, just to be sure that you know where you are. Luckily it all connects together both inside and out so you won't get lost!
The kitchen is big and very attractive with a pleasing, old fashioned, country-style. Mind you, there's nothing old-fashioned about how it's equipped; it's fully functional with absolutely everything one could ever need to conjure up a banquet. There's plenty of workspace too, both on the worktops around its perimeter and on the lovely wooden kitchen island in the centre of the room.
This leads through to the main living / dining room which is ... simply enormous. Its size is matched only by its comfort and relaxed ambience.
There's a spacious dining area at one end, sofas and easy chairs gathered around the fireplace in the centre of the room, Moorish-style bench seating beyond. Wonderful things are everywhere - beautiful artefacts, books, lovely lamps, prints and wall hangings. A chair carved out of solid wood in the shape of an elephant is but one example ... there are many more.
It's all delightfully colourful, comfortable and casual, a room to relax in. Modernity is provided by a 42" flat screen TV and a good audio system.
There's lots of light too. It opens through huge double doors to the central courtyard on one side; through french windows to the dining terrace (and those castle views) on the other.
Next along this wing comes a second living room, if anything even more serene and only a little smaller. As everywhere in this marvellous house, it's full of exquisite things. The owner calls it her 'winter' living room and it's certainly cosy, the perfect place to escape to read a book perhaps, away from the TV and music next door.
Moving on, there's a study (the computer is available for guests use) and then we reach Bedroom 1, a roomy double with a queen-sized bed elegantly draped by a mosquito net. There's also a day bed. Doors open to its own private terrace. The Moorish-style, en-suite bathroom has a huge walk-in shower (no bath tub).
Swinging around into the middle wing of the house, first along is a room with gym equipment installed (there's a multi-gym machine). To call it a fully functional gymnasium would be an overstatement but if you want to flex a few muscles, have a bit of a work-out before breakfast, then it could come in handy.
This is followed by Bedroom 2, another beautiful room, delightfully furnished in Moroccan style with a king-sized double. The en-suite bathroom has both a walk-in shower and a bath tub (with shower over). It also has its own private terrace behind.
The third wing begins with a little (and quite basic) kitchenette / diner / living space.
Next comes Bedroom 3, twin-bedded (the beds are pushed together) with an en-suite bathroom (shower over a bath tub).
Bedroom 4 is just a little apart, a few steps up behind the kitchenette. It has a canopied queen sized double bed, doors opening to the gardens and an en-suite walk-in shower room (no bath tub).
Returning to the main wing of the house (where the living rooms are located), grand staircases sweep up (from both sides of the huge wooden entrance doors) to the first floor suites.
One of these stairways takes one up to Bedroom 5 which is the Master Suite and, needless to say, really amazing! It must rank as one of the most beautiful bedrooms we have ever seen, spacious, sumptuously white, exquisitely furnished, very Moorish in style. Its graceful arches open through to fabulous, picture-window views across to the castle. It's divine!
The en-suite bathroom is equally gorgeous. It has a walk-in shower and bathtub.
At the top of the stairway there is also access to the terrace outside which extends all around two wings of the house.
And stairs (unguarded) will take you up to more roof terrace space above these first floor bedrooms and to views far and wide.
The other stairway leads up to Bedroom 6, another beautiful, king-sized double room with a huge en-suite bathroom (walk-in shower, bath tub and dressing area). Doors at the top of the stairway also open to the terrace outside.
Bedroom 7 is between these two principal bedrooms, accessed from the terrace.
This is a twin bedded room with a lovely style all its own, the beds either side of a classic Moorish archway which leads through to the en-suite shower room. One's eye is immediately caught by a splendid blue Arabic dome in the bedroom ceiling, beautifully offsetting the serene, white colour scheme. All very pretty.
Countryside glory and tranquillity is the order of the day here. Whatever the time of year, this is a natural paradise, an impressionist painter's palette of wonderful colours: brilliant brush strokes of red poppies, yellow mimosa and wild orchids, cool green olive groves and the deep hues of the cork-oak forests, an occasional splash of vivid pink and white almond blossom.
Sheep's bells clink gently in the distance, an eagle or a kestrel soars high overhead; birds singing happily in the trees - here there are just the wonderful sights, scents and sounds of pastoral bliss to keep you company. It's peaceful, serene - and majestic.
But it's not remote. Reached via a fairly steep and unsurfaced 700 metre track, this blissful and unseen retreat is just a few minutes drive to the village. The farm track which climbs up the hill to the village does get a bit rutted after the winter rains but is generally kept in pretty good 'nick, negotiable in an ordinary car with appropriate care.
From Gaucín, the world is your oyster - the Costa del Sol, the Costa de la Luz, Ronda, Sevilla, Morocco beckon ...
It's just a 10 minute walk to the village for anyone in reasonable condition - and even quicker on your return as it's all downhill. So, an evening stroll up to town is certainly in order. And well worth it too because it's a lovely village, a classic pueblo blanco, one of the prettiest in all Spain with good amenities, bars, restaurants etc.
Prices include four hours maid service each day, seven days a week (provided by lovely Victoria, the housekeeper, who lives with her husband in self-contained, private accommodation beyond the central courtyard on the other side from the main house. She is completely devoted to the property and its upkeep and cleans, makes beds etc. each day. She also provides an advance shopping service so you have some provisions in the house ready and waiting your arrival. A simple supper is also provided on your arrival evening (fresh sweet red pepper soup, spanish tortilla with salad and a selection of fresh seasonal fruit).
Extra maid service, laundry, lunches etc. can be arranged for a small supplement (see notes below). The property’s English speaking manager is also on hand to assist guests with all aspects of their stay.
Dinners can also be arranged with advance notice. An excellent chef from the village comes down to prepare these.
All in all, a very special place. It’s easy to see why celebrities such as Liz Hurley love coming to stay here.
Weather permitting, the swimming pool (which has solar heating to extend the swimming season) will be open from April to the end of October
Please note that although there are seven bedrooms, the maximum occupancy is 12 guests
Rentals for this property run from Saturday to Saturday in July and August. At other times of the year extended bookings will be considered (for example, a 10 day booking) but we ask that it either starts or finishes on a Saturday
A weekly change of linen and towels is included for rentals of more than one week
Prices are inclusive of four hours housekeeping each day (Monday to Saturday), a simple supper on your arrival night and a shopping service (in the local Gaucín shops) prior to arrival (items purchased to be paid for to the housekeeper)
Guests are, of course, welcome to use the washing machine etc. but if they prefer, the housekeeper can provide a laundry service (8 euros per hour, payable directly to her)
An additional four hours housekeeping per day (to include daily shopping and lay-up of breakfasts) can be arranged for 225 euros per week (plus reimbursement of shopping costs), payable to the housekeeper at the end of your stay
Lunches can be arranged for 76 euros per day plus food. Payable locally to the housekeeper
Dinners can be arranged (using a local chef and assisting staff) for 18 euros per person plus food costs and €25 for assisting staff. Payable locally to the housekeeper
Advance notice is required for these additional services (as described above)
Prices are inclusive of four hours housekeeping each day (Monday to Saturday), a simple supper on your arrival night and a shopping service prior to arrival (items purchased to be paid for to the housekeeper).
This property is not available for winter rentals (between November and March inclusive)
Other (optional) extras - additional maid service, laundry, lunches, diners and shopping purchases are payable locally to the housekeeper
A 600 Euro security deposit is required on each booking. This is held against your credit or debit card and will be cancelled one week after your holiday, subject to any reductions for breakages or damage. See Terms and Conditions for full details.
Gibraltar 1 hr; Málaga 1½ hrs; Jerez 2 hrs; Sevilla 2½ hrs.
See our Links Page for web sites of airlines traveling to Andalucia from the UK.