A gorgeous 10 bedroom villa in Spain surrounded by leafy grounds, delicious food and beautiful people – not ITVs ‘Love Island’ but Casa La Concha, Marbella. Last week, I partnered up with The Blogger Programme for a 2 night stay at the hidden retreat on the Golden Mile of Costa Del Sol.
Take a flight to Malaga Airport before making a quick journey along the highway by car. You can take a taxi or rent a car as we did, which gives you the flexibility to explore a little more freely when you arrive. Just make sure you have driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road covered, especially when it comes to the numerous roundabouts…
A Home away from Home
We were warmly welcomed to the family-run boutique by Alex, Marie and the resident pooch. The house is a renovated Andalucian estate, with all rooms decorated by the owner herself. Walking through the courtyard to our room, we discovered we had our own gated entrance which made the bungalow feel like a separate apartment, complete with its own sun terrace.
A beautiful Buddhist water feature trickled outside our front door and the inside was spacious, light and immaculately clean. The bathroom is fully stocked and a chilled bottle of Cava awaits in the fridge. As each room is named after a member of the family, the mantle pieces are littered with household photos, adding a very personal and homely touch. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing you could be a kid again, enjoying the comforts of your own home whilst being waited on hand and foot, this is the place.
Just around the corner is a gleaming pool area where fresh towels are always available and there’s never a shortage of beds, sofas and chairs, whether you’re a sun chaser or a shady character. It’s also open 24 hours a day for that morning butterfly or midnight dip. That was one of the nice things about Casa La Concha, although it is fully staffed and someone is always to be found should you seek them out, you are mostly left in peace to get on with things as you wish.
The snack bar in the garden is fully stocked with teas, coffees and lemon water which you simply help yourself to throughout the day. Should you feel peckish between the hours of 12 and 4, you can source some hummus and vegetables or other various cold items off the menu on the wall. However with the old town just a 10 minute drive away, it’s a perfect excuse to explore all that the local area has to offer.
The Golden Mile
On our first night at La Concha, we ventured out to Sisu Restaurant in Puerto Banus for dinner, which came highly recommended along with the Tuk Tuk Asian Fusion Restaurant and the Playa Padre Beach Club.
Sisu is great if you’re looking for an Ibiza vibe and a good night out. We had hoped to get to the top floor and watch the sunset but it was closed on a Monday evening, nevertheless the downstairs seating doesn’t disappoint. Furthest away from the bar is an outdoor area complete with raised hot tubs and large screens to rival the Superbowl. A far cry from our peaceful little retreat in the hills.
Inside, the decor is a colourful explosion of the quirkiest corners of East Asia. I recommend the Skate Board Sushi platter for 2, served on an upturned skateboard without the wheels so that your rolls won’t roll. They also serve the creamiest, frozen piña coladas which work as a mains accompaniment and stand-alone dessert. I would have had them for breakfast if they available.
On our way home, we picked up some snacks and drinks from the local garage and lit the candles on the terrace for a quiet movie night in the cool outdoors. The temperature was perfect and the sofa came with blankets and pillows for snuggling up. Just remember to pack mosquito spray, as one clearly decided to have a midnight feast all over my left knee. There’s also some citronella oil by the bed which you can apply generously before safely enveloping yourself within the mattress itself.
The next day we awoke to breakfast being served on the main patio by the house. This is one of the few times you will catch a glimpse of most of the other residents at the villa, as you all help yourselves to a healthy Mediterranean buffet of boiled eggs, bread, olive oil, cuts of meat and cheese as well as fresh fruits and granola. I made it my staple to have the traditional Pan Con Tomate and was told you’re not doing it right unless you rub the slices of tomato into the bread before dousing in olive oil, to release the flavours.
At 11.30am, our yoga instructor came to peel us off our sun loungers for a morning stretch on the lawn. It’s from here that you notice just how breathtaking the surrounding views are, from the mountainous landscape towering over the house to the resident rabbits running wild amongst the bushes.
Yoga in the heat was not the sweat fest I had expected, we were saved by the shade of a large tree planted tactfully in the centre of the garden, although you did have to keep making minor adjustments to catch the shadow as the session wore on. Our instructor was infectiously zen and informative, explaining that placing your hands together for ॐ (‘ohm’) is not actually a form of prayer, but a means of pushing your shoulder blades apart so that the vibrations of the sound can fully resonate within and open up your body. Aside from plunging straight into a rather chilly pool first thing in the morning, it’s the perfect way to gently wake yourself up – ready for the strenuous day of relaxing ahead.
Casa La Concha also offers customised yoga retreats, spa treatments such as a masseuse or facialist and even art therapy in the grounds. For more active guests there is the option to do pilates, train with a personal trainer, trek, mountain bike, go horse riding and fishing or play golf in the numerous courses nearby. There’s also no shortage of sightseeing opportunities, a full list of which can be found on their website including Iznajar, Tarifa and Sevilla.
That evening, we had planned to go to the Mosh Fun Kitchen 2nd anniversary party (actually we had planned to go to dinner but discovered the event was on whether you liked it or not). The dress code was black and having packed for Spanish weather, it was the one colour we didn’t own, so we popped into the Old Town and local Corte Inglés for a spree. There are also a few local market stands in the main square just outside that are worth a visit should you want a few trinkets or to pick up some ice creams.
The Mosh Fun Kitchen lives up to its name. Making our way up the stairs we were greeted by what looked like the cast of Cats the musical, swinging about in hoops from the ceiling or cartwheeling across the lawn. Settling into our table, that perfect view of a sunset behind the hills we had been chasing was directly in front of us, made all the more stimulating with chilled wine and a variety of seafood, noodles and sushi – very Spanish… Soak it all in for as long as possible (2 hours max actually, before they need the table back) with some Apple Shisha and a Cocktail (Piña Colada).
Hasta La Vista
Checkout the next day was at 9am so after saying our farewells to Alex and Marie and thanking them for their hospitality, we made our way down to Nikki Beach and spent the day there until our flight at 9pm. The timing was perfect as the lounge shuts around 7-8. Having been careful not to spend too much time out of the shade during my time away, I decided to go all out and full on burn, with the worst tan lines imaginable, as a souvenir on my last day. Surprisingly, Nikki Beach is right by the beach – which is immensely windy so you won’t notice when your skin is scorching despite feeling deceptively chilly. SPF 50 is the takeaway.
All in all it was a shame to return to the concrete jungle after 3 solid days in the sunny mountains of Spain. Thank you so much Casa La Concha for having us and to The Blogger Programme for organising such marbellous memories of Marbella.