Huelva province boasts some of Europe’s most spectacular beaches. Its unspoilt coast is lined with ancient pines that spill down to the broad sandy shores of the Atlantic.
Yet this time, my trip to this beautiful south western part of Spain was not to visit the sea but instead explore the interior and in particular the tranquil and unspoilt countryside around Aracena.
It’s a sleepy corner of Andalucía, with expansive oak forests, carefully tended as part of large country estates, ‘cortijos’ and ‘dehesas’. It’s close to Spain’s border with Portugal and makes for a fascinating holiday or short break.
Yet, once one heads away from the coastal resorts or the larger towns one might be tempted to believe that it’s not possible to find good accommodation. Yet, in Aracena, a picturesque white town with cobbled streets and historic churches there is a very noble residence indeed.
Aracena is a beautiful town, with an ancient fort on the hill, and historic churches and properties – a testament to the time when Seville’s wealth spilled out to the regions.
One of these unique properties from this golden era, is ‘La Casa Noble’, now an upscale, boutique guest house. It offers a child-free environment for guests that want to enjoy the best of the area; great views, great wines, tasty gourmet ham and local tapas and then relax and unwind in a luxurious suite.
Melanie, the lively and welcoming host bought ‘La Casa Noble’ in 2004 and then set about painstakingly restoring the historic property and all its original features. For example, the walls feature extraordinarily detailed frescoes that transform the house itself into a vibrant historical canvas.
Guest rooms retain the charm and elegance of a by-gone age, but set a high standard in decoration and facilities. I managed a sneak peek of the suites, each with a distinctive, individual style, showing Melanie’s design flair.
The beds are large and embracing. For example, our bed had a thick mattress with soft downy, pillow top that made for a real feeling of abundant luxury. High thread count linens, thick towels, plush bath robes and attention to detail with generous Molton Brown toiletries completed the feeling of pampering.
I was eager to try some of the local acorn fed ham, so Melanie arranged for us to have a tour of a local estate. Melanie explained that her small team at ‘La Casa Noble’ can put together a variety of activities for guests, from a visit to the nearby staggeringly impressive caves, the ‘Gruta de las Maravillas’; tours of local gourmet ham and cheese estates; hiking, horse riding and more.
After our ham tour we couldn’t wait to return to the house, and settled down on one of the terraces to watch the sun set over the town. A couple who also checked-in earlier in the day, joined us. Melanie helped the conversation flow with glasses of Manzanilla sherry that perfectly complemented the tasty ham. This led to a fun evening of tapas in the town, with plenty of laughter.
I really admire people like Melanie who have put their soul into saving a historic Andalusian building, and then share it with people from around the world. Not only has she preserved a wonderful house, but she is helping showcase the great things that Andalusia has to offer, from amazing scenery, gourmet foods, as well as a relaxed, friendly atmosphere that brings out the best in people.
I was hosted by this Guest House 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.