I’ve finally discovered ‘Glamping’, the magic of a night under canvas, with a few home comforts
Just north of the Sierra de Mijas mountains one still finds old orchards of fruit and citrus trees, reminders of a time when the fertile plain of the Guadalhorce river valley was once one of the most important agricultural areas in Malaga province.
Amongst one of these orchards, on the edge of the white town of Alhaurín el Grande, shaded by citrus, avocado, pomegranate, fig and plum trees, one finds vintage style canvas tents. This is ‘Casa de Laila’, a place where guests enjoy the magic and romance of a night under canvas, yet without leaving behind some of life’s little luxuries.
Created by Anne Marie, previously an advertising executive in her native Netherlands, together with her husband Benjamin, a former professional athlete from Australia, this retreat is part of the growing ‘Glamping’ phenomenon, embraced by those wanting unique, experiential travel.
Said to be first coined ten years ago by US author, environmentalist and farm-style B&B owner MaryJane Butters, ‘Glamping’ is the notion of camping with a touch of glamour.
At Casa de Laila, it is the chance to experience the romanticised beauty of a night under the stars but also with the home comforts that many of us are unwilling to give up, like a comfy bed, Wi-Fi, great food, hot showers and real loos.
No sooner had I caught sight of my tent, tucked under the branches of orange and persimmon trees, with the smell of lavender filling the air, I was smitten. Well, for a start the tent was already pitched, and then looking inside, it was furnished with a full sized double bed!
Carpets & chandeliers
The new, vintage-style tents are based on the 19th century ‘Bell Tent’ once used by the British Cavalry, a classic canvas design that offers plenty of space, with room to stand up. In the centre of the circular space is a bed, with a thick comfortable mattress with crisp white linens that could easily be in a posh B&B. The style is pared back, simple yet with evocative Bedouin and North African touches, such as colourful kilim rugs, Moroccan lanterns and woven cotton carpets, whilst hanging from the centre of the tent is a rustic, metalwork candle chandelier.
As the sun set over the Sierra de las Nieves, the branches of the orchard were silhouetted against the canvas, creating an hypnotic, natural shadowplay of subtly moving leaves that couldn’t help but relax me.
In fact it’s fair to say the calming ambiance of Casa de Laila seems to embrace you upon arrival. Anne Marie and Benjamin are both vegetarian and offer wholesome, organic evening meals three times a week on the terrace, as well as a programme of yoga, meditation and massage for those seeking more of a traditional retreat.
Otherwise, one can unwind with a book or e-reader in your own private hammock, play backgammon on the outside table by each tent, splash about in the lagoon-shaped swimming pool, or help yourself to a fine wine or cold beer from the honesty bar.
From log cabins, vintage boats and rustic lodges to shaded tents and wondering campervans, the options for a Glamping break in Andalucia increasingly delight and inspire stylish travellers to discover the beauty of southern Spain.
To find out more, contact Anne Marie and Benjamin
Tel: +34 655 84 34 54
I was hosted by Casa de Laila but this has not influenced by piece. Please bear in mind that this site and my articles are intended as entertainment only and not a definitive resource for purchasing decisions. Before making any travel or purchasing decision I recommend that you seek as much information as possible from various sources including review sites, guide books and other blogs. If you act based on my writing you do so at your own risk. If you wish to add anything to this piece, simply comment using the WordPress or Facebook plug-in.