The white oak mountains of Southern Spain hide an eco resort called La Donaira. There, amid the old-world luxury, we found unique design and architecture most unexpected.
The 15th-century whitewashed farmhouse hosts a renovated nine-room getaway. It’s an unforgettable experience to rival any in Spain or elsewhere. The eco-resort sits at the top of the Serranía de Ronda mountain range with views of the Spanish countryside that is home to 70 lusitano horses. Proprietors have re-envisioned the farmhouse into seven individual luxury guestrooms and two high-end glamping yurts. The uniquely designed and furnished resort rooms are a feast for the eyes. There is a pleasing mix of traditional and modern interior design.
While keeping a seemingly rustic and original look of sandstone and wood, clay, and metals, it shelters ultramodern facilities. The resort includes a spa and a series of customized activities centered, of course, around equestrian pursuits.
For us, the highlight of the resort was the nine guest rooms. Natural elements pulled from the region create the design of each room. Decor adheres to the structure of each room and the surrounding landscape. The entire estate is one of refinement, old-world tradition, and balanced use of technology and luxury. With all of this, it features an infinite list of tailor-made activities focused on health, wellness, and nature.
In keeping with the relaxing, natural design, everything on the farm is a part of the environment. Space co-mingle from the hiking trails and meditation areas to the spring-fed pools and gardens. Indoors, a yoga platform overlooks the mountains, and the spa’s dark stucco walls supply the feeling of shelter. Likewise, a large indoor pool overlooks the landscape; meanwhile, an icy cold spring-fed plunge pool awakens the senses outdoors. Moreover, the interior design keeps Spanish authenticity while blending modern touches with antiques. There are a grand piano and rustic pieces such as freestanding tubs and custom furniture.
Rustic, modern charm
For instance, the resort has plastered walls, exposed wooden floorboards, and ceiling beams. Rich mosquito netting drapes the large, plush beds, and fixtures are designed with stone, brass, and copper. Each room, including the yurts, have a unique look and feel. The only similarity is the hand-crafted, locally sourced, organic spa products.
The vintage furnishings mix with contemporary elements along stone-lined walls with floor-to-ceiling windows. Spanish light floods the rooms. The indoor pool includes a sauna and a steam room. Outside, on a terrace sheltered by the rocky hillside, is a large swimming pool. The pool, fed by mountain spring water, sits near the yoga platform overlooking the gardens.
Outdoors, La Donaira has many horse trails, all affording views of the landscape. Guests can visit with the horses in the arena and trails on the 1700-acre mountain property. Aside from horses, there are many other outdoor activities. Guests hike through the oak forest and meditate in the medicinal garden or creative “bee-bed.”
Like the horses, bees have pride of place at the resort. For instance, the resort practices sustainable beekeeping and agriculture. The farm helps the bees and educates the guests. Every part of our visit included organic fair and wellness.
Food as art and design
The estate grows and prepares all of the elements of each meal. Meals focus on being healthy, organic, primarily vegetarian. Additionally, when the seasons allow, the resort hosts private gatherings. There might be music festivals, wellness weekends, to wine tasting. They also host art and horse shows and concerts, and weddings.
The La Donaira eco resort is a sustainable, eco-friendly design model and the perfect blend of the old and new Spain. Truly an ideal place to disconnect from the world and explore Spain outside of the main cities.