Owned by former England and Barcelona football manager Terry Venables and his wife Yvette, Spain's newest luxury boutique hotel is sure to bring plenty of glitz and glam to its privileged and secluded location, just 35 minutes from popular beach destination Alicante. Set in 500 acres of olive and almond groves in the midst of a lush green national park, La Escondida, meaning "Hidden One" in Spanish is, as its name promises, hidden away in the wonderful interior of the province of Valencia.
Terry and Yvette decided to open the luxury rural hotel after falling in love with the area after a visit 20 years before. "The beauty of the area was breathtaking. We are always in search of places that are off the beaten track and La Escondida was certainly that, yet such a short distance from the coast," says Terry.
Constructed as a hunting lodge in 1881, this idyllic residence has lovingly been restored, with some of its key original features still in tact, including huge hundred-year-old stones, hand-painted tiles and oak wooden beams, and which give a unique charm to the property.
The owners have spent the last two years reviving the beautiful sprawling estate and today it is home to ten luxury and beautifully finished bedrooms and two lodge suites, as well as a charming restaurant headed by a Michelin-star trained chef.
Breathtaking vistas, a heated indoor swimming pool and another set in manicured gardens outdoors, spa treatments and two terraces perfect for drinking a cocktail while watching the sun go down are all on the menu.
After a day of relaxation – which may also include mountain biking or hiking in the national park, clay pigeon shooting, hot air ballooning or horse-riding – tuck into delights such as king prawns marinated in chilli, ginger and lime, confit leg of lamb, sun-dried tomato and goat’s cheese pithivier, and braised belly pork with a truffle mash, wilted spinach, shallots and fine beans at the hotel's cosy restaurant. Make sure you request the chefs' signature dessert, the chocolate sphere, made of solid chocolate containing honeycomb and caramel with a final touch of hot chocolate poured on top by the chef at your table. It's to die for.
A car is a must – La Escondida earns its name from its wonderful secluded location – but it's definitely worth seeking out. With charming villages such as Alcoy and Penaguila nearby, as well as the spectacular village perched on the edge of a granite mountain called Guadalest, local sightseeing may also be on the cards – but the chances are those arriving at this hidden paradise won't want to venture far.
With wooden cabins in the making and as-yet TV-free bedrooms, peace, relaxation and rejuvenation are the order of the day at La Escondida. In fact, world-renowned energy healer Paul Lennard will even be available to guests during an energy healing week from 9-18 March.
Deluxe Double Rooms start from €140 per night and include breakfast. For reservations tel: + 34 96 551 30 46 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hotelescondida.com