We first visited here with Simply Travel 7 years ago and have just returned from our third visit.
The casas are not your typical luxury villa with pool - the luxury for us is the privacy, peace and relaxation you enjoy when you're here.
A slow fifteen minute drive along a dirt track once you come off the main road it's easy to think you're going the wrong way. Some points to consider - the road is literally a rocky track - do go slowly as we burst a tyre on a precious visit. When hiring a car, do not therefore go for the budget model. 1.5hr drive from Seville or 2hrs from Malaga. We usually fly to Malaga and stop off on in Ronda for a large shop and stock up at Super-Sol and Aldi on the outskirts. Shopping is very limited in El Gastor itself so you will need to stock up. (All supermarkets closed on Sundays so beware!)
On arriving there's a slightly shaded parking spot, one per casa. Keys are usually left in the door - once you get the shutters up - wow! A huge VERY private sun terrace with the most stunning mountain views. The terrace has two Sun loungers and a large dining table with two chairs.
The Casa itself is simply furnished with finding table, sofa bed coffee table, TV and a fairly basic kitchen.
The bed is incredibly comfortable, a request for an extra pillow (1 per person as standard) was answered the following day and high quality pool towels, bath sheets and hand towels are provided.
The bathroom (certainly in Casa Jasmin) has a modern shower and is spotless on arrival. There's an iron (no board) hairdryer and shared washing machine available.
The pool area is simply stunning, we have seen the mountain goats visit for a drink several times on a hot afternoon - can be quite frightening at first but they run away as soon as you move so relax and enjoy this rare sight.
Despite sharing the pool with five other casas we rarely see anyone there - other guests seem very respectful of each other and you could easily end up having to yourself for an entire day.
The kitchen has a decent size fridge with small freezer compartment. The kettle is a hob-top affair so be prepared to wait. There's a microwave and small grill cooker. We found what's provided more than adequate to prepare simple meals (although we did manage to roast a whole chicken in the grill this time).
El Gastor itself is a gorgeous village - although not our favourite of the Pueblos Blancos (don't miss a visit to Olvera and Setinel) the streets are very narrow so maybe leave the car at the top of the hill and walk in. Very little English spoken here so maybe bring your translator app if you don't speak much like us. It gets lively quite late so expect to be the only one eating if you head in to town before 9pm. We struggled getting cash from the one ATM so be sure to have cash with you before going rural.
We have always felt safe and had incredibly happy holidays here and it's the perfect escape from London life for us.
Esther who works in the offices was contactable via whatsapp throughout our stay to help with any questions we had and also chipped in with some useful tips about things happening in the village.
I would recommend this incredibly special place without hesitation and we look forward to another visit in a year or two.
An amazing place hidden in the mountains
A true rural retreat in fact. The accommodation is well proportioned and facilities well thought out.
Be prepared for a 10 minute drive on dirt tracks, dusty when I visited in October so not a major problem for the hire car. Can imagine how it might be less easy in the rainy season.
The peace and quite is deafening.
Views spectacular both day and at night with clear skies.
The pool area is in need of some TLC with broken pavings creating trip hazards, could be hazardous for young children. The furniture was a mix of new, old, ancient and broken. Not as displayed, totally, in the luxury in the sales images, then what is. There were insufficient loungers had everyone decided to use the pool. Small break out areas were available for sunbathing but none had loungers. The pool was in need of cleaning and had broken tiles and growth on the walls. This accommodation is part of a complex of secluded chalets and houses. I visited a neighbouring property where poolside furniture was better but the pool itself was also poorly maintained and with dirty moss encrusted walls.
Overall I score it high as a 3 star and for the solitude.
After the initial drive up to find the place I doubted the claim it was possible to walk to the village in 45 minutes. It can be done. Bear in mind it's steep and certainly you need to be prepared for a very steep incline down to and up from the local village El Gastor.
The site is visited daily and the staff are really helpful and attentive.
Stayed for a week and had to negotiate clean towels after 5 days, normally no change is permitted.
It was dusty, dry and hot. It was peaceful and a complete switch off. wi-fi is available should you want to keep in touch with the outside world. The Buzzards on the escarpment make interesting viewing and goat bells can be heard most days. The local farms have cockerel alarm clocks if required
El Gastor is a brilliant small town with several eateries. Try the local Pork dish, Cheek in Sweet Wine. Hidden shops make for a fun experience finding provisions.
October festivals including the Bull Run along the narrow streets. No bulls were killed during the event.
With TLC it could gain extra star rating, but wouldn't want to attract hordes, it's not that kind of place.
As a keen advocate for recycling I was dismayed by the complete lack of interest here. Everything goes in one bin, METAL, PLASTIC, PAPER.
Maybe waste is recycled centrally after collection. It would be worthwhile explaining this to guests.