Hotel of the week: La Escondida, Penáguila in Spain
A rich combination of rustic Spanish charm and luxurious living, La Escondida Hotel & Restaurant is an elegant boutique hotel set in an exceptional location. Set on 500 acres of olive and almond groves in the midst of a national park, La Escondida offers dramatic views, smart interiors and superb cuisine prepared by a Michelin-star trained chef. Constructed as a hunting lodge in 1881, the charming property includes 10 well-appointed bedrooms with two lodge suites situated just steps from the main hotel on the wonderfully secluded edge of the pine forest.
Owners Terry and Yvette Venables are delighted to throw open the doors of La Escondida and welcome guests. It’s been a long journey for the couple who first fell in love with Spain during Terry’s days as Manager at Barcelona FC. But it was their visit to La Escondida that would ultimately permanently alter their lives. Says Terry, “The beauty of the area was breath-taking. We are always in search of places that are off the beaten track and La Escondida was certainly that, yet such a short distance from the coast.”
Indeed, La Escondida is exceptionally peaceful. Located just 35 minutes from the beach in the community of Penaguila, it is perched on the doorstep of the Font Roja National Park. The stunning land surrounding La Escondida’s estate is completely protected “The only sounds you are likely to hear after a peaceful night’s sleep are distant bells tinkling from the local shepherd’s goat herd.” says Yvette.
Over the past two years, Terry and Yvette have painstakingly and lovingly restored the 500 acre estate, retaining original features of both buildings, from hand-painted tiles to oak wooden beams. Staying faithful to its 17th century architecture, interiors are rustic in style and all the furniture is hand-made especially for the property, combining stunning fabrics with original wooden beams and stonework. Each room is distinctive with fresh classic/contemporary design and bringing nature indoors with fabric prints of wild flowers, birds and playful stag heads. Authenticity is maintained but the luxury is in the detail: think sumptuous, large beds with crisp, high quality linens, fluffy towels and cashmere blankets.
La Escondida Hotel & Restaurant is incredibly proud of its cuisine, prepared by their Michelin-star trained chef. “We’ve eaten some exceptional food in our lives but the best is always simple cooking beautifully presented using the freshest ingredients,” says owner Terry Venables. He adds, “Most of the herbs and vegetables are grown on our land by our gardener and the breads and pastries freshly baked in our kitchen. We plan to have a bee hives so guests have fresh honeycomb for breakfast.”
A fantastic array of activities are available. An indoor swimming heated pool with a lovely spa and a full range of treatments, two stunning terraces and an outdoor pool set in manicured gardens are just the basics. There is also a jogging track around property’s 500 acres; beautiful horses waiting to whisk guests off to a chef- prepared picnic lunch; hiking and mountain biking in the National Park, extraordinary bird life, hot air ballooning, shooting, golf and some of the best fly fishing in Spain. A delightful place for an event or wedding, La Escondida promises privacy and exclusivity with every detail carefully noted and all tailor-made to your taste and requirements.
The product of careful planning and renovation, La Escondida Hotel & Restaurant was also aided by renowned experts in the field. Luxury boutique hotel market advisors, Suite DNA (www.suitedna.com) headed by Katy McCann, worked closely with the owners to ensure that no detail was overlooked. As the former Global Head of the hotel collection at Mr & Mrs Smith, Katy has personally visited over 2000 hotels across the globe. Katy set up Suite DNA in January 2013 and worked closely with the Venables to ensure that La Escondida Hotel & Restaurant was the fulfilment of their extraordinary vision, surpassing their wildest dreams.
Deluxe Double Rooms start from €140 per night and included local taxes and breakfast. For reservations tel: + 34 619 812 612 or email: email@example.com.
How to get there:
La Escondida Hotel & Restaurant is 30mins drive from Alicante and 1 hr from Valencia Airports. The train from Madrid to Valencia takes 1hr and 40mins.
Alcoy is the closest town to the hotel and hosts the most famous festival in Spain, celebrating the battle between the Moors and Christians.