24-Hour Room Service

Casa Cinca, Vejer De La Frontera, Andalusia, Spain

For miles across a green coastal plain, the white buildings of Vejer de la Frontera glint tantalisingly in the distance. Reached by a long winding road, this southern Spanish hilltown is redolent with history. Moorish influence is visible everywhere, especially in the horseshoe arch that dominates the castle. After the Christian conquest the stone walls and battlements were added.

For miles across a green coastal plain, the white buildings of Vejer de la Frontera glint tantalisingly in the distance. Reached by a long winding road, this southern Spanish hilltown is redolent with history. Moorish influence is visible everywhere, especially in the horseshoe arch that dominates the castle. After the Christian conquest the stone walls and battlements were added.

Tucked away down one of Vejer's quiet cobbled streets, Casa Cinco is an elegant five-bedroom townhouse. Its British owners fell in love with the wild beauty of this area of the Costa de la Luz and decided to make it their home, restoring the house from near ruin.

Passing through vast wooden doors into the cool of the stone-flagged courtyard, the hotel's 12th-century past is seductively apparent. Doors and shutters are painted in the dove-grey traditional in this area, while internal Moorish arches are highlighted in oriental red or Moroccan blue.

There is an old-world sense of quiet in the hotel, with occasional strains of flamenco music emanating from the dining area. Upstairs, sink onto a comfortable leather sofa and enjoy the small library with a good selection of books on the local area. From the flat roof terrace at the top of the house there are breathtaking views over the Andalusian countryside and across the sea to the mountains of north Africa. At night, the lights of Tangiers twinkle romantically in the distance.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

A couple of minutes from Vejer's pretty main square, the hotel is ideally located for both shopping and sightseeing. The vast unspoilt beaches of the Costa de la Luz are just 10 minutes away. Good roads mean you can make day trips to Ronda and Seville. Casa Cinco, Calle Sancho IV el Bravo 5, Vejer de la Frontera, 11150 Cadiz, Spain (00 34 956 455 029; www.hotelcasacinco.com).

Time to international airport: Jerez de la Frontera is one hour away by car, Gibraltar one hour, Seville and Malaga two hours. Car hire is easy to arrange at each of the airports (approximately £60 for three days).

ARE YOU LYING COMFORTABLY?

Each room is individually, and eclectically, decorated. Large beds have the softest Egyptian cotton sheets, with extra blankets in the antique trunks for chillier nights. The bathrooms, in natural materials such as wood and stone, have a monastic elegance. We stayed in "Touch", with blue glass chandeliers and a sequinned cream bedspread covering the Art Deco silver bed.

Freebies: Guests are offered a drink in the bar on arrival - try the delicious sherry. Bathrooms are stocked with locally made toiletries.

Keeping in touch: No telephone or television in the bedrooms. Internet access is available in the relaxation room and guests can use the hotel's phone/fax facilities.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Extremely reasonable for this level of comfort. Standard doubles in high season are £45 per night, Superior doubles £56 per night. (12 per cent discount for single occupancy.) Breakfast included. The house is unsuitable for young children, so no under-14s.

I'm not paying that: Hostal Buena Vista has double rooms for £20. (Calle Manuel Machado, 4, Vejer de la Frontera, 11150 Cadiz, Spain; 0034 956 45 09 69) Clean and simple with good views of the surrounding countryside.

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