Far removed from the tourist hotspot of Malaga, Posada Los Cantaros sits a few minutes away from the remote, tiny village of Gibralgaia, perched on a plateau at the top of the Guadalhorce Valley and overlooking the Sierra mountains. The Posada can claim to be one of the most romantic rural hotels in Andalucia.
The building itself dates back to the 19th century, and has been restored with clear love and devotion by its owner Patrick. Many original features have been kept - beamed ceilings, exposed-stone walls and clay tile floors - and have been balanced by wonderfully vibrant, traditional decoration. Colourful armchairs, wrought iron candlesticks, guitars, pot plants and hunting equipment are all crammed into the orange and yellow lounge whilst the library is packed full of games, books and over 400 DVDs.
The six bedrooms are equally bright, with locally made iron or wooden furniture, canopies over the beds, and beautifully tiled en-suites. When we visited, "Orquidea" was the most spectacular, with a private terrace overlooking the mountains and a Jacuzzi. A new luxury room, "Jazmin", has since been added, boasting a private spa; we look forward to hearing our readers' reactions. The more basic "Lavanda" is just as pretty: pink and lilac with cute, wooden window shutters.
The restaurant reportedly offers a good choice of top food: Patrick uses only local, fresh ingredients to create a range of dishes. Guests should note, however, that there is little choice elsewhere: Los Cantaros is remote and so restaurants, along with many other things, require a longish drive. The owners, though, go out of their way to keep guests entertained and satisfied: they happily arrange outdoor activities for their visitors, and are outstandingly welcoming, with one guest remarking that 'straight away, I felt that I was with friends.'