Vejer, a beautiful white village in Cádiz, is now home to Plaza 18 – a luxury boutique hotel designed by renowned architect and interior designer, Nicky Dobree – who specialises in the design of homes, villas, and luxury hotels.

In 2003, Nicky converted a 300-year-old alpine farm and her work was documented in a BAFTA-award-winning show called Grand Designs Abroad. More recently, Plaza 18 saw Nicky working alongside Vejer’s biggest hotelier group – Grupo Califa (which also owns La Casa del Califa).

Plaza 18 is the ideal choice for a getaway in which rest and relaxation are your prime requirments. With only six rooms, it grants guests the privacy that such a unique, exclusive venue can afford. Plaza 18 is actually a restored 19th-century mansion adjacent to the emblematic Plaza de España. Balconies, terraces, and a roof terrace make for a very special hotel which also boasts views to rolling mountain ranges, sparkling blue seascapes, and the North of Africa.

The hotel was built upon the foundations of an old 13th-century Arabian house. A stunning 19th-century home was brought back to life through painstaking restoration. Nicky and the team behind the project sought to preserve the spirit of the building by relying on classical craftsmanship and exclusively organic materials like traditional mortar made with lime, wooden floors, natural stone, and marble. The hotel’s white and black tiles are original and were carefully lifted and repositioned. The enormous skylight was delicately dismantled and repaired and now boasts its original splendour. The stone staircase and balustrade were also meticulously restored.

The incredible details and artistry that abound are married to a firm commitment to comfort and elegance. Each of the six rooms has a story to tell and each bears pieces from all over the world, carefully selected by Nicky. For instance, room nº5 has a beautiful 19th-century kimono on the wall, while the entrance is home to a grand black and white mirror, created by African artisans. Room nº6, meanwhile, is home to a wooden-beamed ceiling and the loveliest curving staircase imaginable. The rooms also boast hand-made textiles by Welsh craftspeople, and Italian bed linen.

Bathrooms are decorated with Spanish tiles and the marble washbasins were cut by hand to order. All rooms have ample showers and radiant floor heating. Accessories are by Lefroy Brooks. Nicky worked alongside a prestigious perfumer to create products specifically for the hotel. These bear the orange, bergamot, lavender, and geranium fragrances inspired by Vejer de la Frontera itself.

Staying at Plaza 18 is a bit like hiring a private home. The check-in and reception areas are located in the adjacent hotel (La Casa del Califa) – a peaceful place where guests can use the lounge, patio, and terraces as required. Clients of Hotel Plaza 18 can also head to the larger hotel’s massage facilities, cocktail bar (boasting panoramic views) and the Jardín del Califa – a restaurant ensconced in an enclave of buildings dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.

The hotel has a luminous lounge, with a bar decorated with various works of art. Surrounded by artistry of such beauty, it is easy to feel cosy and comforted. One work is a replica of a painting found in the National Gallery of London. It is a portrait of the Lord of Saumarez – one of Nelson’s right-hand men during the Battle of Trafalgar (which took place not so very far from the hotel). Beautiful touches of carpentry also abound – tables, benches, and additional items are the work of local carpenters.

If a visit to Vejer is in the works, Hotel Plaza 18 sounds like the perfect getaway if luxury, design, and service are your priorities. Vejer has plenty of sites worth visiting, including Playa de la Hierbabuena, the La Breña y Marismas del Barbate Nature Park, and the Plaza de España route. The good news is after being out in the arms of nature, you have a wonderful hotel to come home to – one that combines the comforts of home with the pampering of a top-class establishment.