New home, ancient hills
In the eastern most tip of the Andalucian province of Malaga lies the little known region of La Axarquia, where in the white-washed towns above the coast, time seems to have passed a bit more slowly than elsewhere in the territory.
Preserving the historic culture and tradition of a people so rooted in their customs as to be almost unaware of the changing world around them.
La Maroma, the tallest peak in the province at over 2000 meters, dominates the landscape and in the hills below the people still cultivate this highly agricultural land in the old tradition, by hand and with donkey.
In these timeless pastoral hills lies my home, a luxury house, Cortijo El Carligto, near the charming village of Canillas de Aceituno.
With the romantic idea of renovating an Andalucían property to develop a luxury rental business, my partner and I began searching near Marbella and inland near Coin without satisfaction.
Heading eastward, watching the foothills of the Sierra Tejeda mountains rise before me that feeling of belonging, though in an unknown place, began to overtake me as we delved into the heart of La Axarquia, passing the basin of Lake Viñuela and ascending into the hills.
By the time we spotted El Carligto, perched out on its own private promontory with the Mediterranean glistening beyond, I was completely sold on the property without having stepped foot inside the house itself.
Luxury house in paradise
I hope and I imagine that our visitors have this same feeling of excitement and intrigue as they approach El Carligto today.
We managed the renovations within a year of arriving, putting all of ourselves into converting a simple farmhouse in a stunning location into a stylish and chic cortijo with all of the comfort and luxury that the surroundings deserve for maximum appreciation.
Locally sourced and natural materials such as terra cotta flooring, antique doors and furniture plus natural wood beams maintain the rustic and characteristic Andalucían feel of the cortijo, while such features as a step in, marble clad hammam style bath and exquisite hand-stitched tapestries maintain a state of luxury.
With four bedrooms and as many reception and living rooms, all on one level hugging the central courtyard and surrounded by covered and open terraces on all sides, there is enough space to get lost in and enough space to get lost inside yourself while taking in the views of mountains, hillsides and the sea beyond.
A stairway leads a short distance down the hillside to the south where the pool area appears like a bonus surprise and beyond the land falls away into the valley, out to the Mediterranean, offering the invariable tranquil feeling of being on top of the world.
On either side of the pool, grassy areas with citrus trees and regal palms offer shade and lounging, highlighted by the covered massage cabana and water garden at the far side. The covered poolside summer kitchen with a barbecue and marble dining table is where the fiesta seems to never end, at least for us.
Though the renovations moved quickly on El Carligto, we’re still looking forward to completing the work on the companion house, The Hunting Lodge.
After two years of developing the outside terraces and gardens to give them a chance to mature ahead of inaugurating the villa itself, we’re finally set to carry on with the actual renovations on the interiors just this winter, giving it a slightly more contemporary, artistic and perhaps ethnic feel.
It’s exciting and daunting at the same time as anyone who has renovated a property will know, but I can’t wait to have it all finished and then we’ll have combined space for larger groups of up to 14 people between the two houses.
Fab food and anything else you could ask for
If the décor, facilities and silent tranquillity of solitude aren’t enough of luxury for you, you can enlist our team of service personnel to pamper you to your heart’s content.
Relax with spa and beauty treatments in the shade of the massive eucalyptus tree poolside as our licensed child minder looks after your little ones and your private concierge ensures everything runs smoothly, for example, while our first rate private chef cooks up a gourmet feast with plate after plate of modern tastes of Spain.
Active types will love the proximity to the mountain nature park with endless hiking and our certified trail guide to point out the wonders of the Axarquian mountain wilderness.
While anything is possible with a bit of an advance notice, the culinary services are really at the core of our offerings for the simple fact that we ourselves can’t get enough of the fine food and wine of our adopted land.
We’ve scoped out every local bodega and food market and perhaps every restaurant worth sampling between Almeria and Malaga at least!
The Carligto chef can share all of this and more with you on experiential tours to give you an insider’s guide to the best of the local cuisine, while our onsite vineyards and olive groves offer opportunities for participatory harvest holidays.
Did I mention I love it here?
I’m no less enamoured with the property and the region today than I was on that first day; if anything my appreciation has grown as I’ve learned the language, the ways of the locals and adapted to the pace of life.
All of the culinary and cultural explorations for the sake of passing on knowledge to clients has been more pleasure than business and I’m only too eager to help people get the most out of day trips to the Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Cordoba, the cosmopolitan delights of Malaga and the seemingly endless local fiestas.
The only problem is that most of the time when I go out to explore and relish the local area, culture, cuisine, people and nature, no matter how much I enjoy it, at some point I already begin to feel homesick and I can’t wait to return to my luxury house, my own gardens, my own pool, my own views and my own kitchen…my home.
Now, We’d love to hear from you.