Set within its own 800-acre estate, the whitewashed La Bobadilla family-friendly hotel near Loja offers a taste of authentic Andalucia. Lounge poolside en famille or lose yourself among verdant olive groves while little Smiths are at the kids' club; a never-ending to-do list keeps young guests busy, and there's a hi-tech spa and gong-garnering dining, too.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of local mead and one spa day pass an adult for each stay (worth €22 each)
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £225.96 (€264), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates include breakfast (à la carte and buffet).
Book ahead for spa sessions, dinners and activities, all of which are in high demand during peak season. Private cooking classes must be booked a week in advance. Some suites can accommodate extra beds: the Junior Balcony suite can sleep either two extra children or one extra adult; the Junior Solarium suite can sleep either one extra child or one extra adult. The charges vary. In low season (3 March – 11 April; 17 April – 27 April; 2 May – 22 June; 10 September – 10 October; 15 October – 26 October; 1 November – 18 November), it’s €80 an adult each night, and €40 a child each night. In high season (12 April – 16 April; 28 April – 1 May; 23 June – 9 September; 11 October – 14 October; 27 October – 31 October), it’s €110 an adult each night, and €55 a child each night. Most of the hotel is accessible for those with reduced mobility (including ramps at the entrance), and two of the rooms have been specially adapted.
La Bobadilla shuts its doors from mid-November to mid-March.
At the hotel
A spa, gym, three swimming pools, four restaurants, a bar, free WiFi throughout, bikes to borrow, a kid’s club and playground, games room, tennis courts, petanque pitch, library, kitchen gardens and a lake. In rooms: LED TV and DVD player, sound system with a USB port and Bluetooth connection, minibar, free bottled water on the first night. Higher room categories have Nespresso coffee machines.
Our favourite rooms
We love a Superior Deluxe with Terrace or Balcony for the intimate leisurely breakfasting and afternoon reading opportunities; the views aren’t shabby either. To really spread out, opt for a spacious Deluxe Suite.
The main pool is a lengthy, 1,200sq m outdoors number, surrounded by shady palms. It's open seasonally, from April to October (in these two months it's heated), weather permitting. There are ample sun-loungers, plus Balinese day beds and parasols to hire on the adjacent manicured lawn (a soft drink and a Jacuzzi session are included). It’s open from 10am to 8pm, and manned by lifeguards in high season; poolside drinks and snacks can be ordered from 11am to 8pm. Kids have their own unheated, shallow pool.
Classical baths-style U-Spa is all tiles, exposed brick columns and high, arched white ceilings; there are four treatment rooms (including a couples' suite with two massage tables and two whirlpool baths) and a hydrotherapy zone incorporating a heated indoor pool with body jets, hydro-massage pool with neck massages and waterfall, plus a solarium, Finnish sauna, hammam and steam room. Book a primp (waxing, mani-pedi) or a pamper (seaweed wrap, anti-ageing marine facial or olive oil body treatments) then relax on roomy day beds by the pool. The spa is open daily from 10am to 2pm and 4pm to 8pm; it's €22 a person to use the spa, including its indoor pool. Kids are allowed in the spa, but only 1pm–2pm and 4pm–5pm daily. There's also guided forest walks for those who would rather get out and explore the hotel's impressive surroundings.
Pack your breezy summertime best for lounging about the estate.
There’s also a workout zone with all the standard cardio kit, weights and treadmills, and a hair salon too.
Pups are welcome for €38.50 a day, which includes a bed, bowls and an extra treat for your four-legged friend. We'd recommend opting for the Superior Deluxe with Terrace or Balcony if you have accompanying pets. See more pet-friendly hotels in Andalucia.
Under-3s stay free in cots; extra beds for under-12s are charged at €40–€55 a night; extra beds for over-12s are €80–€110 a night. The kids club is usually open over Easter and in July and August.
Children of all ages are welcome.
Under-3s stay free in cots; extra beds for under-12s are charged at €40–€55 a night; extra beds for over-12s are €80–€110 a night.
All reservations with children under 12 with a maximum stay of three nights will receive: one day's free spa access (during children's hours); a daily afternoon snack for children; guaranteed olive oil tasting for adults; bike ride through the state, petanque for children and special welcome amenities.
Children aged 4–12 can stay and play at the summer-only (July and August) mini club unaccompanied (free, no booking needed, usually open 10.30am–1.30pm and 4pm–6pm), so parents can lunch, spa or dine quietly on their own. However, younger kids will need an adult in tow. Outside, there’s a gated playground near the pool (open seasonally, May to September) with slides, rocking horses and plenty of shade. Inside, staff supervise story time or colouring-in and additional activities are organised according to different themes (past themes have included ‘Magic’ Monday, where your little ones might make wands, capes and cast their own spells); expect bowling, board games, painting and more. Be aware that if you leave the little ones at the mini club for the 10.30am-1.30pm session, they won't get fed. Tweens and teens have their own (unsupervised) lounge, La Bodeguilla, which is open 24 hours a day for games of pool, and racing Sonic the Hedgehog around a digi PlayStation dirt track; there's even a piano in there for some impromptu ivory-tinkling.
This main pool is open 10am–8pm; in high season, it's manned by lifeguards all day. Kids have their own unheated, shallow pool (BYO floats and toys).
El Cortijo and provides highchairs, beakers and bowls plus mini pasta and fish dishes on kids’ menus that go beyond the standard sausages or burgers (it’s the same menu in all the restaurants, though); and chefs are happy to whip up baby purées on request. La Finca is a more grown-up affair.
Local English-speaking babysitters are available for around €35 an hour, excluding tax at 21 per cent; minimum bookings apply. Book at least two days in advance.
La Bobadilla is an eco pioneer, being the first luxury hotel to use ultra-sustainable olive-stone biomass fuel as an energy source for its heating and hot water; this has allowed the hotel to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent and to cut its energy consumption by 45 per cent. It’s committed to water efficiency and the reduction of waste and the structure of the buildings allows them to maintain constant temperatures. Local products and artisans shine in the menu options and there’s an organic kitchen garden too.
And a local focus? You bet. All of the employees are local hires from small villages nearby and the hotel donates unused furniture and other goods to local social organisations. Guests looking for green activities can visit Antequera Dolmens Site or book a local olive oil experience or an eco caviar tasting.
La Finca is set in the famed La Capilla building, with a candlelit courtyard that’s the perfect foil for romance.
Channel summertime staples from the Golden Age of Hollywood: polished, but not over the top.
The hotel has four restaurants: La Finca, El Cortijo, La Plaza and El Mirador. Well-loved La Finca has been awarded a Michelin Star on account of its traditional Andalusian fare, cooked up with locally-sourced and fresh ingredients. The wine cellar at this destination restaurant wins awards. El Cortijo is closer to the main building and both white-tablecloth and family-friendly. Breakfast (included in your room rate) is served in La Bobadilla's lounge: a lavish buffet of fruit and yoghurt, local cheeses and jamón, made-to-order eggs, waffles, pancakes, plus chilled cava to kick off a cosseted day of doing nothing.La Finca is set in the famed La Capilla building, with a candlelit courtyard that’s the perfect foil for romance.
A gin and tonic in the attractive square of La Plaza’s bar (in the shadow of the bell tower) is a peaceful way to round off the day. The bar is open from 4pm to midnight, and the laid-back pool bar is open from 11am.
Breakfast is served 8am-11am. El Mirador is open for lunch in the summer. La Plaza, La Finca and El Cortijo are open all year for dinner. In March, El Cortijo will also be open for lunch.
The 24-hour room service menu includes both staples and more elaborate creations. Rooms don't have kettles, but staff will happily bring you hot water or milk when needed.
Carretera Salinas-Villanueva de Tapia, Km 65.5
Finca La Bobadilla
Set on some 900 acres of private land, La Bobadilla is in the heart of Andalucia and the middle of nowhere, flanked by rolling countryside, distant mountains and fragrant olive trees. Despite this, Granada is a family-friendly 40 minutes away.
You've got two options, both within a 50-minute drive: Malaga's international airport is 60km away and served by British Airways, EasyJet and Aer Lingus, among others; and Federico García Lorca (aka Granada) Airport, 55km away – British Airways operates a few flights a week here from London City Airport, or you can fly with Iberia from London Heathrow. Transfers can be arranged for €115.50 each way.
Santa Ana station in Antequera is 35 minutes away from the hotel and has AVE rail connections to Seville, Madrid and Barcelona. The hotel can pick you up and drop you off for €77 each way.
If you want to get about independently you’ll definitely need to hire a car: the hotel’s private driveway alone is 3km long. Onsite parking is free. From Granada, take the A92 towards Granada-Seville until exit 175 and head towards Villanueva de Tapia. If you’re coming from Malaga, take the E902/N341 towards Antequera-Granada, then head towards Granada (A359) until exit 1 (Salinas). About 5 km after this exit, heading towards Iznajar/Villanueva de Tapia (A333), you’ll see the main entrance to the hotel on your right. An alternative route from Malaga is to take the A45 main road then turn right towards Granada, Seville, Cordoba (A92M). Take exit 1 towards Fuente Camacho, Salinas/A333/Villanueva de Tapia then keep left at the junction and follow signs towards Loja/Granada (A92). Turn left and continue on the A7200 until you reach the A333 main road towards Villanueva de Tapia/Iznajar.
If you want to make like Marine One you can arrive with a fanfare and touch down on the resort’s helipad; make arrangements in advance.
Worth getting out of bed for
Andalucia is the soul of real Spain – drive for around 40 minutes to Granada and your journey takes in distant rugged mountains and fragrant orange and almond trees. Malaga and access to the Costa del Sol beaches beyond are also about 40 minutes by car. Granada houses the Alhambra (+34 (0)958 027 971) – a sightseeing must. This Unesco World Heritage site (Spain’s number-one tourist honeypot) has a day's worth of wonders, including the 9th-century Alcazaba fortress, Nasrid Palaces and Generalife gardens. Intriguing history, beautifully landscaped grounds and spectacular feats of water engineering make for a fascinating archi-tour, and the converted palace stands today as one of Europe’s most important historic records of Moorish architecture. Book tickets well in advance to avoid lengthy queues (or the possibility of not getting in at all). The site is enormous, so pick your priorities.
Support wolf conservation and learn a bit more about el lobo itself at Antequera’s Lobo Park Wolf Reserve (+34 (0)952 031107), about 40 minutes from La Bobadilla by car. All the animals that roam free here do so in an entirely natural environment – most were reared within the park so they’re used to being around humans. This is a unique opportunity to observe these wild animals and their social practices – you can even visit for a Full Moon Party with a difference and watch the reserve’s residents howl at the proverbial moon.
Ski trips to the Sierra Nevada range (including transfers) can be organised by the hotel, on request, and Seville and Cordoba are both a couple of hours' drive away.
If you'd rather stay on site, take advantage of the thrice weekly olive oil tastings and guided tours around the area.
There's a cache of eateries en route to Malaga: in Antequera there's Restaurante Plaza de Toros (+34 (0)951 469 333), an old-school, stone-walled eatery with traditional dishes, including Milanese-style chicken and hake. Nearby Arte de Cozina (+34 (0)952 840 014) is a petite tapas joint.