Day Trip to the Carratraca Hotel

Carratraca is a small town about 50 kilometers northeast from Malaga in the Guadalhorce Valley, on the A-357 road. The town has been known for its sulfur springs since Roman times. King Fernando VII had a spa and hotel built here in 1855, the hotel being built in Neoclassic style. After that the king and other members of European royalty and high society would go to the spa because of its curative powers. Among these were the Empress Eugenia de Montijo (wife of Napoleon III), Lord Byron, and Alexander Dumas. With time the spa and hotel deteriorated, but a few years ago it was bought by the Villa Padierna Hotels and remodeled. This remodeling finished in November, 2007, and the new hotel and spa opened, but with little advertising.

The new hotel is called the Hotel Villa Padierna Thermas de Carratraca. The hotel is a luxurious 5 star boutique hotel, with only 43 rooms. The English architect and designer Ed Gilbert (who designed the Villa Padierna Hotel near Marbella) has outdone himself in the design of this new hotel and spa. The results have been fantastic and this hotel is now one of the most beautiful hotels in Spain. He has had to work with the constraints of the old building, but the new building seems to have been designed from scratch. It has the grace and charm of Andalusia in a modern context.

The Count of Villapadierna was a great Spanish aristocrat, with an extensive collection of Roman statuary, from Italy and Spain. His daughter, the present countess, inherited his vast sculpture collection and part of this collection can be seen in the new hotel. One can see the beautiful Roman statues at the ends of hallways, in hotel corners, in the spa, at the rooftop pool. The rooftop pool has a magnificent view of the mountain nearby and all of the town.

People working at this hotel are very friendly and professional. One feels right at home in the hotel. Beside the reception desk is a large and beautiful patio, with little round tables surrounded by wicker chairs. The overall impression is one of pink and white. The walls are painted a shade of pink and the chairs have bright pink cushions. There is a little round modern fountain in pink. There are white columns at one end of the patio. There are also small trimmed potted shrubs everywhere that give this patio a very elegant look. Anyone who sees this patio falls in love with its design.

The main salon is done in blue, white, and gray. There are very comfortable chairs beside cocktail tables. At the end of the room is a fireplace faced with blue and white tile, and decorated with Andalusian plates. There are blue and white Chinese ceramic vases, and the table lamps are also in blue. The overall impression is very homey, yet elegant and relaxing.

Another salon is done in shades of green and orange. At one end is a bar and it has a beautiful painting of the Empress Eugenia de Montijo. There is another room for taking cocktails, also with a bar. This room is done in tones of orange. The two doorways have giant statues of women on each side of the doorway, done in black and carrying jugs on their heads. The formal dining room is done in tones of beige and white and at one end is a statue of a Roman goddess. This room is very elegant also. There are large French doors leading to the patio.

One of the hotel corridors has a large reproduction of Picasso’s Two Women on the Beach. Most of the artwork in the hotel uses reproductions of Picasso, Miro, and Matisse. There are also many simple drawings done in black and white of Roman statues.

The bedrooms are ample in space and are done in blue, white, and beige. They have very large bathrooms with separate showers and bathtubs. These bathrooms are done in black and white. The impression of the rooms is one of comfort and elegance. The beds are huge and comfortable, with blue headboards.

The reception desk of the spa is adorned with a huge crystal chandelier. There are statues of Roman goddesses everywhere. There is a little round pool that is surrounded with white marble columns and is topped with a skylight. The spa has plenty of light everywhere and elegant touches. Sometimes one sees modern paintings in bright colors that enliven the spaces. There is a rectangular pool outdoors that has its walls painted a bright orange and with a big potted tree at one end. The top floor of the hotel has an outdoor pool beside an outdoor terrace with white chairs and tables to take the sun.

In the spa is a beautiful health bar and behind the bar is a glass cabinet that has all the glasses for taking healthy drinks, such as juices. Every 15 seconds the color of the glass cabinet changes, in tones of pastel colors. This is very relaxing and very unique.

In conclusion, this hotel is a design masterpiece. It is one of the most gorgeous small hotels in Spain and where guests will enjoy their surroundings. Every single detail has been thought out to please all the senses. The hotel is very discreet and quiet and one can enjoy this tranquility. The hotel would be perfect for honeymoons and for people who want to use the spa to improve their health, or for people who want to take a break from their ordinary work lives. The spa is complete and has many different treatments, as well as having a small gym. People who want to see the hotel and have lunch or dinner should call the hotel for reservations for the meals, because one cannot just walk off the street and eat at the restaurant without reservations.

The hotel is at Calle Antonio Riboo, 11, Carratraca, Malaga 29551. The phone no. is (34) 952-489-542. Here is the website of the hotel:

http://www.thermasdecarratraca.com