The Big Six: Rural retreats in Spain


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The Independent Travel

Le Domaine, Castilla y León

This former abbey, built in 1146, opened as a 22-room hotel last month amid the vines of the Abadia Retuerta wine estate. It has a dining room in the old refectory, with vaulted ceilings and frescos, two bars and a vinoteca where guests can sample regional wines. Other surprises include the outdoor "Hedge Museum".

Le Domaine, Abadia Retuerta, Sardón de Duero, Valladolid (00 34 983 680 368; Doubles start at €290, including breakfast.

Iriarte Jauregia, Basque Country

Spain's Basque Country is known for its tranquil countryside. Here, a 17th-century palace has been converted into a luxurious 19-room hotel that overlooks a valley dotted with stone farmhouses. The culinary joys of San Sebastiá* and architectural wonders of Bilbao are within reach.

Iriarte Jauregia, Eliz Bailara 8, Bidaria, Bidegoian (00 34 943 681 234; Doubles start at €171, including breakfast.

Alcaufar Vell, Menorca

This honey-hued mansion sits on a sprawling farm on Menorca's south-eastern shore. Surrounded by fields and pine forests, it has cattle and horses, a pool, even its own stretch of beach. Inside, there are 21 rooms decorated in traditional style, with a scattering of antiques.

Alcaufar Vell, Alcalfar Road, Sant Lluis, Menorca (00 34 971 151 874; Doubles start at €125, including breakfast.

La Torre del Visco, Aragón

The countryside around La Torre del Visco is a breathtaking mosaic of unspoilt valleys and mountains in one of Spain's least populated regions. Each of the 17 guest rooms is rich and inviting, with vast beds, open fireplaces and freshly cut flowers from the estate's fragrant gardens. The common room has a huge collection of books and board games, while the restaurant serves fresh ingredients from the farm. The bodega (cellar) downstairs has 1,500 bottles of regional wine with which guests can acquaint themselves.

La Torre del Visco, Corta Valderrobres, Fuentespalda, Teruel, Aragón (00 34 978 76 9015; Doubles start at €161, including breakfast.

Hacienda de San Rafael, Andalucia

This 18th-century hacienda once formed part of a huge olive farm. Pitched midway between Seville and the coastal city of Jerez, it's perfectly placed for exploring the scenic Andalucian countryside. There are 11 stylish guestrooms arranged around a bougainvillea-draped courtyard, and three more casitas (small houses) set in the garden.

Hacienda de San Rafael, Las Cabezas de San Juan, Seville (00 34 954 218 414; Doubles start at €240, B&B.

La Hacienda del Buen Suceso, Gran Canaria

This estate is the oldest in the Canaries, dating back to 1572. It once farmed sugarcane, but today it grows bananas. Breakfast is in its El Alpende (toolshed) restaurant, on a stone table that was once a horses' trough. The 18-room retreat has a pool, gym and Jacuzzi, and nearby Arucas has restaurants, a distillery and botanical gardens.

La Hacienda del Buen Suceso, Carretera de Arucas a Bañaderos, Arucas, Gran Canaria (00 34 928 622 945; Doubles start at €116, including breakfast.