It’s not hard to find casa rurales and mountain hotels in Spain where you can sink into a deep sofa in front of a warm fire in the library or lounge, but if you want a flickering fire you can enjoy in your pyjamas and the privacy of your own room, read on.
Hotel Consolacion, Teruel
WHERE is Teruel? Fair question. Not many people live here, few people visit, and hardly anyone has heard of it. A wild province, it belongs to Aragon in Spain’s northeast (halfway between Valencia and Barcelona, then in a bit) and, despite its splendid mediaeval villages, gorges, waterfalls and river trails, Consolacion is probably the best known thing in it – aside from the truffles and truffle hunters. The hotel is modern with striking, minimalist design and the most in-demand accommodation is in standalone cubes (called Kubes) offering uninterrupted views of nature, sunken baths, and hanging woodburners.
Arantza Hotela, Navarra
THROUGH the massive windows of this warm, calm, light and modern, ‘adults-only eco spa resort’ you can see wooded hills to be explored on foot or by bike. You could even drive to Biarritz, Pamplona, or San Sebastian as none of them are far. But if you are in one of the apartments, with a deep bathtub and wood-burning stove, you may not care to – especially as the hotel also boasts a well-stocked wine cellar and gourmet restaurant.
Encis d’Emporda, Girona
IT’S hard to beat a 17th century stone-walled, ivy-covered Catalan farmhouse for charm, especially when it’s well-heated. This is another adults-only escape, this time with accommodation offered in charming, art-filled suites, all of which have views, terraces, deep baths, and the all-important wood-burning stoves. There’s a fire in the library, too. The hotel is in the Emporda countryside, just 20-minutes from the beaches of Costa Brava.
Hotel Nabia, Avila
LOCATED 190 km west from Madrid, just south of the winter playground that is the Sierra de Gredos National Park, this is a popular and rather romantic weekend break spot. To keep that loving feeling, do make sure to book one of the suites with a fireplace in the living room. And, if it’s a special occasion, try to get the Valley suite which has floor to ceiling windows looking out over oaks and chestnut trees and one of those hydro-massage baths, as well.
Hotel Vella Farga, Lleida
ANOTHER charming Catalan house – this one from the 11th century, with atmospheric mediaeval architecture, antiques, paintings and many personal touches combined with contemporary, luxurious mod cons of a luxurious retreat. All rooms are gorgeous but one third of them – the Deluxe and Suites – are rendered heavenly with massive windows, open fireplaces, strategically positioned sofas and a supply of wood. This gem is located in 300 hectares of farmland and forest in the pre-Pyrenees.
La Montaña Mágica, Asturias
STRIDE along the beaches of nearby Llanes or climb the mountains of Covadonga Natural Park or borrow a bike and explore the local villages, then come back and recover at this cosy place. Some rooms at the hotel have fireplaces, as have each of the apartments (just 400 metres away); there are views of the Picos de Europa – and you can even bring your dog. Perfect.
Casa Muria, Huesca
IF you want snow (and it’s winter), you have a good chance of finding it here in Aragon’s high Pyrenees, 1230 metres up and just 20 km away from the ski slopes of Cerler y Benasque. The thick-walled 18th century house is exactly as a winter getaway should be, with wood-panelled rooms, plenty of charm. The multilevel suite El Torreon has its own cosy living room and fireplace as well as a hydro-massage shower, and there’s also a good place for lolling in front of the fire with a glass of wine in the shared areas. The hotel (its full name translates as The Holly Tree of Maria’s House) is set in the beautiful glacial landscape of the Benasque Valley.
Jardin Vertical, Castellon
NORTHEAST of Benicassim (as a reference to all rocking hipsters) in the lovely village of Vilafames, in the Valencian Community, this lofty 17th century manor house has been lovingly converted to preserve its architectural features and character. Among the nine rooms are three suites with wood-burning stoves visible from the beds. The hotel looks down from ivy-covered city walls across plains of ancient olives and almonds (in flower in January) to the weird and mighty Penyagolosa mountain and natural park.
Finca el Cabezo, Cáceres
PICTURESQUE though the other entries are, if you tried to imagine the perfect rural farmhouse, there’s a chance it would look like this family-run gem, with its old tower, and stone walls smothered in ivy and jasmine. It’s equally enchanting inside with flagstone floors, beamed ceilings and lovely rooms, several of which have fireplaces. The huge farm is in the Sierra de Gata in the western region of Extremadura (close to Portugal and within visiting distance of Salamanca, Plasencia and Caceres). It’s excellent walking, riding and birdwatching country, but you may want to just sit and gaze into space.
Convento Santa Maria de la Sierra, Sierra de Cazorla
SUNK deep in a valley carved by the Guadalquivir, this old-fashioned but special place is surrounded by a magical world of forests, deer and snuffling boar – and sometimes snow. The winding drive to the Sierra de Cazorla Natural Park in the under-visited province of Jaen is worth it: In summer, there’s swimming, camping and kayaking, while in winter it’s a top spot for long walks though the river valley, spotting birds, boars and deer – and over-eating hearty campo food at numerous cheap and cheerful bars. The Convento is very Spanish and very atmospheric, with fireplaces in many of the ground floor rooms, and ecclesiastical touches.
All photos courtesy of respective hotels