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Villa Turistica de Priego
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Aldea De Zagrilla, Cordoba 14816
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VILLA TURISTICA de PRIEGO
Scotland, Scotland, United Kingdom
August 27, 2011
Best of IgoUgo
After we had tramped the streets of Córdoba's Judería to dust, our next port of call was Granada and the much vaunted, and possibly vaulted, Alhambra. Well, that's not exactly true. We reckoned that a couple of days of relentless sightseeing in ...
After we had tramped the streets of Córdoba's Judería to dust, our next port of call was Granada and the much vaunted, and possibly vaulted, Alhambra. Well, that's not exactly true. We reckoned that a couple of days of relentless sightseeing in Córdoba followed by more of the same in Granada might just be overload. We therefore decided to rest up somewhere between for a day and do nothing much but lie by the pool.
The hotel we found was conveniently situated a short drive from both cities and lies in, or more accurately, near a small village called Zagrilla in a beautifully scenic area of the Sierra Mágina Natural Park close to the town of Priego de Córdoba. It's not quite the middle of nowhere...it's about 7km west of it!
It's not a place that's well served by public transport, in fact it's not all that well served by decent roads either and, were it not for the multitude of small signposts which guide the unwary stranger through the myriad junctions on the narrow country roads, it would remain forever hidden and un-reviewed.
It's not your usual hotel building, that's for sure. I think it must have been a farmhouse at one time - it certainly gave me that impression. The main building (which has been extended) houses the reception and public buildings - restaurants, bar, many courtyards and meeting rooms etc. Around this there are extensive gardens and terraces adorned with fountains and water channels, with a large swimming pool affording wonderful views of the surrounding olive tree-lined hills to one side, and dramatic, craggy mountains to the other.
The hotel's accommodation is built into the hillside below the gardens and pool area and is designed to resemble a typical Andalucian village, which it does quite effectively. Each room is designed as a small house (some of the rooms are in fact villas with 2/3 bedrooms and their own pools). There are 4 or 5 streets and no two buildings are exactly the same. Water is channeled throughout the streets, with some fountains at certain focal points and a couple of fish ponds just to add a bit of wildlife to the scene. There are an abundance of flower-filled hanging baskets and pots everywhere and all the rooms have balconies or patios.
Check-in was relatively easy, although a trainee dealt with us and there were one or two mix-ups. However, another member of staff was on hand to oversee the situation and we were soon in possession of our room key.
The reception area was bright and airy, with a few sofas conveniently placed for anyone suffering delays. There was plenty of tourist information on hand, and a good number of cabinets displaying local produce and crafts which, surprisingly enough, were available to buy.
Our room was on the first level directly below the pool. This involved negotiating a flight of stairs, or walking the long way around following the 'streets' of the village. No cars are allowed - although the hotel will deliver your luggage to your room if you require. Being a big, strong, muscular type, it was easy for Mrs m to 'humf' our luggage to the room.
The room was very large, though sparsely furnished in what can only be euphemistically described as 'rustic-style'. As the room was built into the side of a hill, the highest point at the back must have been over 25 feet high - although a lack of basic measuring tools and a paucity of skills in the field of trigonometry left me only guessing.
There was a wood-burning stove in the corner - a pot-bellied affair just like in the Westerns - but it looked more ornamental than functional, either that or the cleaners were doing a splendid job. Perhaps it never gets cold enough here? The room had AC, which wasn't great (referring to my notes, the actual description I used to describe the quality of the AC rhymed with sprite). This was a bit of a disappointment, as the temperature was hitting the 40's and with the clouds of insect life swarming around, opening the windows didn't seem the cleverest option.
A small TV occupied a stand with around 15 channels in a variety of languages, and we had a couple of comfortable enough twin beds, a built-in wardrobe and a chest of drawers - all in solid, chunky wood. The walls were a brilliant white and the floors tiled, presumably in a futile attempt to keep the interior cool and the room faced north so not a lot of direct sunlight ventured in. This made the room gloomy, rather than cool.
The bathroom was pretty large with a tub, shower, bidet, WC and plenty of toiletries in a goody basket, likewise the towels - plenty of them, I mean, not that they were in the goody basket. The shower was fairly good, at least it was good for cooling down in! Everything was clean, but as the bathroom was at the back of the room, there was no window (only an xpelair fan) and therefore even gloomier than the room.
We had a decent-sized patio outside our room which was raised above a large pond which was well stocked with fish. This was very pleasant, but it also had its downside. Apart from the fact it was an insect magnet, or maybe because of it, the pond was also home to a large colony of rambunctious and raucous frogs who croaked merrily away all night - if'n I could've got hold of them, they would've croaked alright, but in a more permanent way.
We didn't eat in the restaurant as such, but did so on the terrace which was very nice - much nicer than the restaurant in fact, especially with the sun setting behind the rocky outcrops in the distance behind us. The meal was very good although a little fussy, but no sign of frog's legs on the menu...unfortunately. Of course you're not tied to eating here as there are a couple of bars and restaurants in Zagrilla, a five minute hop away.
It may seem that I'm slating the place a little, and to a certain extent I am, but it's all a matter of context. We had spent the previous 6 nights staying at 4-star hotels which were very well equipped (and had good AC) and the Villa Turistica de Priego is designed with the needs of ramblers in mind, rather than soft, lazy gits like me (my hill-walking days have long since taken a hike).
Speaking of hiking, this place is ideally situated for that particular pastime with any number of trails leading directly from the hotel. In fact, I wish I'd known about it when I did do a bit of hiking, it would've been perfect
Having said that, we really only wanted somewhere quiet, where we could lounge by the pool, have a nice meal, and perchance sink a few beers without breaking the bank. In that respect the hotel fulfilled all our requirements.
And although I found the room to be on the spartan side regarding creature comforts, it was very clean and well looked after.
So, if you're looking for some home comforts in a bright and airy room with excellent climate control and the very last word in luxury, you're obviously reading the wrong opinion, aren't you?
But, on the other hand, for a quiet break in a secluded and tranquil, not to mention stunningly scenic setting, with direct access to some undoubtedly fantastic hiking trails, you could do a lot worse. It's also only around an hour and a half drive from either Granada or Córdoba, so it's quite well situated for touring.
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