Gardens, free WiFi, mountain bikes (and children’s cycles) for hire (€10 each or €25 for a family of four). In rooms: free bottled water and La Chinata toiletries.
El Torreón, in the old tower, which boasts wraparound windows for all-angles surveying of the olive trees plus scrumptious red mosaic tiles. Up a flight of stairs in the tower is El Mirador, which has attractive high-beam ceiling and a roll-top bath from where you can peep out over the Cortijo’s rooftops to the surrounding hills via a wall-length window. All rooms have beautiful old tiling on the floors and many have wonderful views from oversized, old-fashioned windows. Rooms in the main house are lighter and a touch more luxurious, but if it’s quirks you’re after (like the old pigeon niches in the middle of the El Palomar Suite, say) then book one of the outhouses.
A little door leads to the unheated outdoor pool, open from early May until late October. There’s a shaded seating area with loungers for crashing out with a paperback or iPod and beyond the low stone walls rolling hills are visible all around. At the other end of the garden, the chapel’s outer walls provide a striking backdrop.
Laidback and lovely, the Cortijo is quite the perfect place for losing track of time in a paperback. Explore the Spanish theme with something old-school (Don Quixote perhaps) or something to make you laugh (Tim Moore’s Travels with my Donkey).
Tablet-tappers should note that WiFi stretches throughout the hotel and grounds.
Babies and children welcome. Extra beds and cots can be added to parents’ rooms free of charge for under-2s (cots are free, extra beds €32 a night during high season and €29 at all other ti). Babysitting is available for €20 an hour (minimum three hours).
Kids from nappies up – although, without endless entertainment onsite, older ones will probably get itchy feet after a day or two and need taking on trips beyond the estate.
Most rooms will accommodate a Baby Smith in a cot as well as the two of you. La Casita is a small duplex with a sitting room, master bedroom and second bedroom with two singles, there’s ample room for a cot. Los Aljibes and Los Olivos are spacious too.
Beyond the pool, little ones can run (contained) riot in the front courtyard with its pretty fountain as you keep watch and order a heart-starting cortado coffee. Roaming the Cortijo’s grounds is like exploring a vast secret garden and outside the gates, acres of land provide a natural playground to scale on horseback or hotel bike (older children can hike with you along endless dirt tracks with majestical mountains as a backdrop). If you visit in winter, it’s all about skiing the slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
The outdoor pool is self-contained and has a 125cm shallow end (good for kids) but is unheated (less so). Watch them splash around from your lounger while also surveying the rolling hills beyond. The hotel has a clutch of armbands and floats.
There’s a rotating collection of children’s dishes on offer including spaghetti bolognaise, croquettes or Spanish omelette and staff will always heat up baby food or bottles, too. Note there are booster seats and highchairs in the dining room. If you’re travelling with a baby and making up formula, there's free bottled water in the minibar, replenished daily.
Babysitters can be arranged for €20 an hour (minimum booking: three hours, book in advance).
No need to pack
The hotel can provide travel cots and bedlinen, potties, booster seats, highchairs, soft toys, books, puzzles and board games as well as bicycles and helmets for kids of various ages.
A word of warning: this is the countryside so you’ll be sharing it with all creatures great and small, including, potentially, wasps near the pool and mosquitoes after nightfall. Take the requisite lotions and potions, including jungle juice for the kids. Extra beds for littles are €29 a night (€32 a night during high season – 10 days of Easter and the months of July and August).