Purpose-built as a hotel in 1994, up a narrow approach road in the straggling mountain village of Hoyos del Espino, this hotel nonetheless has a charm all its own. The rustic stone exterior is in deliberate contrast to the interior, a triumph of eclectic interior design. Downstairs, the style changes at a brisk pace between the comfortable traditional-rustic galleried sitting room; the two more contemporary dining rooms; and the central patio. Even the garden offers variety, one section being for drinks, the other, with a rocky waterfall and pond, for contemplation. Upstairs, the bedrooms could hardly be more different, and each has its own aromatherapy scent. In Gredos the air is laden with thyme; in English, lavender; in Japanese jasmine; in Manhattan, not exhaust fumes, but apple. All except a couple have the bewitching 180-degree view of the heights of the Sierra de Gredos.
There's a library, an observatory, charming corners for slumping with a book in front of windows looking out on to the mountain view, and a cards/chess room. Teresa Dorn (American) and Francisco Sanchez Rico started in the hotel business from scratch and are wise hosts. Food is well above average and the cellar has an astonishing 500 wines. There's also a new spa with an indoor swimming pool and a range of beauty and massage treatments.