Marisa Cutillas recently stayed at the Hotel Fuerte Grazalema. Enjoy her scoop on this charming countryside hotel.

Ronda is a world-known destination for tourists seeking to experience the authentic Andalucía but what many travelers don’t know is that around 45 minutes away is Grazalema: a stunning village situated in the foothills of the Sierra del Pinar mountain range. Grazalema, officially part of the province of Cádiz, is home to the lush Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, the Majaceite River, and countless spots where families can kayak, swim, canyon, trek, and cycle. It is the perfect spot for a hotel such as the Fuerte Grazalema, since the Fuerte Group has always been renowned for its respect for the environment, and its conservation and sustainability efforts.

The Fuerte Grazalema is ensconced between ancient, verdant pines and its most spectacular spot is undoubtedly its terrace, from which guests enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner, while overlooking a spectacular mountain range that extends as far as the eye goes. Right beneath the terrace is the pool and Jacuzzi area, a big draw for families who spend all day lying on hammocks beneath sunshades. Just a five minute walk from the pool you will find a host of animals in their pens: chickens, donkeys, and the cute Hotel pet: an Andalusian water dog. To the left of the hotel is the organic garden, where staff grows produce that is later used by the restaurant.

The hotel is country-like in spirit, with wood, dark hues, and a cabin-like feel throughout. Rooms are comfy and welcoming, boasting a view of the mountains. The bathrooms are well-equipped, with a hair dryer, shower, and bath. Cleanliness is next-to-none and the cleaning staff friendly and accommodating, ready to change your towels or provide you with an extra blanket if you feel chilly. We recommend asking for a room far from the common/play areas, since the Hotel is big with families who enjoy using the games room. There is also a kids’ monitor onhand, who leads a host of fun activities for younger guests.

If you are travelling with kids, ask for a first-floor room leading out to a small garden area. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cup of tea while the kids play in the grass. The Fuerte Grazalema is pet-friendly, which is great news for travelers like myself who don’t like to go anywhere without their four-pawed friend.

The Fuerte Grazalema works in close conjunction with Experiencia Outdoor, with whom I recently engaged in a trekking adventure (featured in this month’s Travel section). Upon our arrival, the receptionist handed us a map of the area’s most famous walking routes. There are so many you won’t be able to complete them all in one stay. My family and I stayed for three nights and managed two routes, which is pretty good considering each route can comprise a total of over 10kms (five going, five for the return).

After an adventurous day out, it was a joy to come home to a hearty dinner. When booking, you can opt for the breakfast and dinner buffet option, which is super well priced and certainly value for your money. Both breakfast and dinner provided a wealth of options… freshly grilled fish, pasta, homemade soups, fresh fruit, yoghurts, naughty desserts… there was also a cook on hand to freshly cook everything from pancakes or fried eggs and bacon in the morning, to a freshly grilled steak at night.

At midday, guests can dine on an à la carte menu. As we were away on treks during the day, we stopped in the pueblo for lunch. Grazalema is home to a host of great tapas bars and restaurants, so it is definitely worth getting away for at least one meal a day. Back at the Hotel, guests enjoyed barbecued lunches, something I am definitely looking forward to trying on my next stay.

The Hotel Fuerte, famed for its commitment to recycling and energy saving, has found an ideal home in an area that is currently fighting to keep its natural resources intact. If relaxation, time spent with family, and reconnecting with nature is on your mind, you couldn’t make a better choice than this.