Sleepover: Dar Cilla

A bed for the night in Spain


The location

The location

On one of the two main roads that lead into Tarifa, Andalucia's cool surf capital, within easy access to Jerez, Malaga and Gibraltar airports. A hotel on a busy thoroughfare? Don't despair. Park the car, get the room key and take a look inside. Dar Cilla may appear to be a faceless mansion block from the outside, but the attractions of this traditional Arab townhouse lie within. A labyrinth of corridors and staircases lead to patios, terraces and living spaces, decorated from the bazaars of Tangier, just a ferry ride away across the Strait of Gibraltar. Once it housed a number of families, now it accommodates different permutations of holidaymakers - singles, couples, groups of friends, and, during school holidays, families.

The USP

You can't beat the view of Morocco from the top terrace. It's glorious. And it's what inspired the owner, Zoë Ouwehand, and her late husband, Floris, to buy and restore this crumbling ruin set in the town's 12th-century city walls, and later extend it into today's hybrid establishment that offers the comforts of a hotel and the independence and convenience of self-catering apartments. Such flexibility is what draws families here during school holidays. Plus, it is excellent value for money.

The comfort factor

Taking her inspiration from neighbouring Morocco, Ouwehand has literally carried furniture and ornaments home from Tangier to decorate her open-house hotel. Iron lanterns, lampshades and candlesticks, polished plaster, tile-topped tables, ornate mirrors, patterned ceramics, floating linens, and elaborately painted and dark wood furnishings play out the North African theme. The seven self-catering apartments range from a single bedsit to a family suite, each with access to a terrace, patio or balcony. The best choice for families is the maisonette, which has two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, with washing machine, two bathrooms, private patio and roof terrace.

The bathroom

Different rooms, different bathrooms. So find out whether yours has a bath or shower or both. All are tastefully decorated, spotlessly clean and supplied with plump towels.

The food and drink

Use your kitchen for snacks or light meals. What about dinner? The town still lacks good dining options, though El Souk, at Mar Tirreno 64 (00 34 956 62 70 65; www.souk-tarifa.com), deserves a recommendation. For breakfast, Dar Cilla has its own Café Gusto, which offers a delicious hot and cold selection, freshly prepared before your eyes.

The people

Ouwehand, her manager, Martina de Rijke, and the staff are very welcoming. The atmosphere of the "dar" encourages socialising. Your fellow guests are likely to be a diverse lot, thanks to the variety of accommodation on offer, and you'll probably meet them at an impromptu complimentary barbecue or tapas evening on the top terrace, which are thrown often.

The area

Wave, kite or wind-propelled, all kinds of surfing (and other watersports) take place off blustery Tarifa. Too energetic? Sunbathe on one of the excellent dune-lined beaches along this coast: El Palmar and Bolonia are my favourites. Explore the town's pretty old quarter, where there's some good shopping. Or travel further afield to the local white towns of Vejer de la Frontera and Medina Sidonia. Tarifa is a gateway to Africa, so take a day trip to Morocco.

The access

Numerous steps make it difficult for people with limited mobility. Children are welcome during the school holidays, but check outside those times. No pets and no smoking.

The damage

The maisonette, sleeping four, costs from €170 (£121) a night. The family apartment, sleeping five, costs from €100 (£71) a night. Extra beds from €10 (£7) a night. Single and double rooms are also available. Minimum stay three nights. Negotiable rates for stays of more than one week in the low season.

The address

Dar Cilla, Calle Cilla, Tarifa, Cadiz (00 34 653 467 025; www.darcilla.com).

Kate Simon travelled around Andalucia courtesy of Carrentals.co.uk (0845 225 0845; www.carrentals.co.uk), which offers a week's car hire in Andalucia from £89.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas