Art exhibition by Raymond Ward

Molino del Santo : March 20, 2014 10:39 pm : Blogs

'Glimpses of Andalucia' art exhibition by Raymond Ward

‘Glimpses of Andalucia’ art exhibition by Raymond Ward

A new exhibition of stunning, serene landscapes around the Serranía de Ronda has gone on display at hotel/restaurant Molino del Santo, in Benaojan.

The collection of 16 oil paintings by Arriate resident Raymond Ward demonstrates his obvious influence of artist J.M.W.Turner.

Turner’s style is clearly reflected in the luminosity of his huge skies over the beautiful mountain ranges and villages of the Serranías.

Ward, who spends much of the year in the area, has led a fascinating life, which has included coaching many Olympic rowers.

“Most of my life I have climbed mountains, travelled in the Arctic, sailed and coached rowing,” he says. “I paint mainly with my fingers prob-ably because it replicates holding an ice axe, ropes of a sailing dinghy, the handle of a rowing blade…”

The exhibition is open every day until the end of April. All the paintings are for sale.

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Molino walking routes

Molino del Santo : February 12, 2014 11:58 pm : Blogs

Wonderful January light

Wonderful January light

One of the advantages of a longer winter break this year has been to have time to re-walk some of the routes we suggest you explore to visit these beautiful mountains.

The Sunday before last we checked out the route from Molino to the Pileta Caves and were astounded at the beauty of the path. The first spring flowers are poking their heads through the soil and the light filtering through the oak trees is very special.

We will have 18 walks revised by the time we open, none of them very long, but all of them absolutely delightful in their own way.

Take them at your own pace with time to appreciate the stunning variety of landscapes, flora and fauna to be encountered on even short jaunts.

We have promised ourselves that we are going to walk from the Sierra de Las Nieves mountains to the coast before we open – downhill all the way with amazing views across to Africa. Probably an 8 hour walk but the rewards will be great.

Which walk will you be doing this year?

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March price madness!

Molino del Santo : February 10, 2014 11:53 pm : Blogs

Spring flowers lift your heart

Spring flowers lift your heart

Advance bookings across our season are way up on last year at this time so if you are vaguely thinking of visiting, please don’t leave it too late.

And why not visit us early in the season when there are fewer tourists around, the countryside is resplendent waking from its winter rest and Molino prices are at their lowest?

We have a few groups passing through in March making us very busy at some times but there are still some dates available.

With rooms from just 99 euros – and we even discount that by 5% because you read our newsletters – cheaper flights, cheaper car hire, what are you waiting for?

Contact us whilst the hotel is closed with dates that interest you and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can with a great deal.

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Jerez de la Frontera

Molino del Santo : February 8, 2014 11:47 pm : Blogs

Equestrian School in Jerez de la Frontera

Equestrian School in Jerez de la Frontera

We recently spent a day in Jerez with friends and would recommend it highly as a day trip from Molino. It is less than 90 minutes’ drive and offers a host of attractions.

Apart from the fascinations of the sherry bodegas – and we’ll tell THE one to visit – and the Equestrian School which is really stunning, the old centre of town is really attractive architecture.

We enjoyed a relaxing couple of hours in the restored Hammam with its three pools at different temperatures near the Cathedral before finding delicious and unusual tapas in bars tucked away
in the old town. We’ll be happy to send you details of where we went if you’d like to visit. Just drop us an e-mail.

If you want to enjoy Jerez in energetic mood, think of visiting for the Horse Fair in April or the grape harvest in September.

And Semana Santa is lived with as much passion and far fewer tourists than in some other big Andalucian cities.

We have a fact sheet on Jerez produced with the assistance of two of our Molino guests, Lynn and Martín who have a house in the old part of town. We’ll forward you a copy with pleasure
to ensure you have the best possible experience when you visit.

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Get a local guide!

Molino del Santo : February 6, 2014 11:46 pm : Blogs

Get a local guide!

Get a local guide!

We’ve been lucky enough to have visited Kerala in Southern India over the Christmas and New Year period with our daughters and we had an amazing time – so many colours, fragrances and experiences. You are allowed to follow in our footsteps providing of course that you do it when Molino is closed.

Thank you to all the people who advised us on where to go, where to stay, what to see and what to eat. Thanks especially to Geoffrey and Alexandra for recommending a “stomach protector” which worked absolute wonders – none of us suffered from any upsets of any kind in nearly three weeks. We’d be pleased to share the product details on request.

Some of our best experiences were when we hired the services of local guides – our eyes were opened to things we would not have noticed.

The ranger in the tiger reserve (no we didn’t see any but we weren’t really expecting to in the short amount of time we had), the tuc-tuc driver who guided us around his city for three days, the ayurvedic
plant man who showed us the flora and explained their uses – including eating petals before our eyes.

It was a good reminder of how many people rave about the experiences they have in our mountains when they are accompanied by Peter Jones or Eva Bratek – two people whose enthusiasm for our area is so infectious, that you can’t help but take home an extra set of positive feelings.

Peter is an amazing fountain of knowledge on many aspects of the natural world, particularly the birds, whilst Eva loves walking and combining that at the speed you want to walk at with her delight in the countryside and its customs.

They are busy folk though so it best to book their services in advance. Just let us know if we can be of any assistance.

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Molino is filling up for 2014

Molino del Santo : December 28, 2013 7:15 am : Blogs

Hotel rural ronda garden

The hotel’s beautiful gardens

We continue to be delighted by our bookings for 2014.

Advance sales are running at a level of nearly 50% more than at the same time last year – which was a very good year for us – and some dates are completely full already.

We don’t want to “hard sell” but at the same time we’d hate you to miss out on a visit because we can’t offer you accommodation.

We open on the 6th March until the 9th November in 2014. Which dates will suit you best?

Please contact us by e-mail as our telephone is only answered if someone happens to be in the office. Between Andy and Inma, you should receive a prompt reply to any enquiry by e-mail.

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Hotel booking sites on the internet

Molino del Santo : December 26, 2013 7:08 am : Blogs

IMG_1031Please be wary!

We have had a number of disappointed visitors in 2013 who have tried to book accommodation with us through large automated booking systems.

The systems have told them that Molino is full and they have booked elsewhere as a result and visited us for meals telling us of their experiences.

On many occasions we could have helped them if they had contacted us directly or used a smaller agent.

We support lots of small agencies who offer personal attention and we are delighted if you use their services. They will contact us directly to check availability and we are able to ensure that you get the accommodation that best suits you.

We have worked for years with some of these – including “Little Hotels of Spain”, “Secret Places”, “S-cape” amongst many others – and have nothing but praise for their hard work.

However there is a rash of large companies with huge budgets who are totally in inflexible to both customers and hoteliers alike.

Today someone has contacted us directly to check that we have accommodation having been informed by the “big boys” that we are full. This is not the case but we have decided that we do not allocate all of our rooms to the large agencies because we want to maintain our independence.

We mention no names but would URGE YOU to contact us directly or use a personally-run company to check availability for you.

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Amazing autumn in Andalucia

Molino del Santo : December 25, 2013 7:23 am : Blogs

stunning_hotel_restaurant_andalucia_molino_4Our daughters tell us that we gloat about the weather here in Andalucia – and, of course, they are right but we often have good reason.

This autumn has been one of the warmest and driest we have known in 27 years of mountain life.

In early November we were able to enjoy the wonderful beaches of the Atlantic coast, sunbathing from mid morning until sundown and swimming without the need to be brave and maintain that British stiff upper lip.

The good weather has continued until well into December and tee shirts and shorts are suitable on many days.

The good folk who joined us last year in early November may remember torrential rain – this year could not have been more different.

Recently a dog walk at midnight under a full moon was accompanied by a warm breeze.

We can’t guarantee you good weather in the shoulder months of our season but it’s well worth a bet that it will be much better than Northern Europe at most times.

Go on – you know you want to!

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Chestnut walk in the Genal Valley

Molino del Santo : December 24, 2013 7:07 am : Blogs

genal-valley-chestnut-walkIn the middle of the month of December we made time to follow a walk in the excellent “30 WALKS IN THE RONDA MOUNTAINS” written by Eva Bratek and the late Tony Bishop.

We chose one of the shorter offerings from the village of Benalauria in the Genal Valley – and what a delight it was.

Leaving the village the walk is very varied passing the old communal wash house which served the whole community, then following a narrow path where we had to stand to the side to let a mule and his owner pass by before meandering through delightfully tended hillsides. We then climbed to a vehicle track between slopes of chestnut trees, all forlorn in this season with carpets of golden leaves beneath.

The views across the mountains are breath-taking with wonderful cloud formations on this Sunday. We saw no-one else except for one man cutting an old tree for firewood and another leading his mare from one pasture to another.

Pomegranate trees abound, there are oranges growing and gnarled olive trees, abandoned many years before, and an occasional mule watches disinterestedly as you walk by.

Another narrow path, cobbled in the steeper places presumably to help heavily laden mules keep their footing, and feeling nearly as old as the mountains themselves, climbs back up to our starting point.

High rewards for the effort expended was the agreed conclusion. 90 minutes in total as described in the book.

We’d love you to experience it next time you visit – and there is a great little restaurant in the village for a refuelling stop when you have made
the circuit.

If you’d like a copy of the book sent to you, please let us know.

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Paco Ramirez’s 50th birthday

Molino del Santo : November 1, 2013 9:20 am : Blogs

Head of reception - Paco Ramirez

Head of reception – Paco Ramirez

We were very honoured to host our exceptional head of reception Paco’s family gathering for his 50th birthday on Saturday, 26 October.

We hope he had a great day with his loved ones – some who flew in from Germany and France especially for the occasion.

Paco has played a crucial part in making Molino what it is today – his loyalty and commitment to the well-being of all guests is second to none.

Not everyone realises how hard he works behind the scenes – often covering up for Andy’s mistakes for example – and his attention to detail regarding our accounts and paperwork has been meticulous since our very early days.

¡ENHORABUENA PACO!

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“Our” railway line on the BBC!

Molino del Santo : October 25, 2013 10:18 pm : Blogs

Michael Portillo pictured during filming in sunny Andalucia

Michael Portillo pictured during filming in sunny Andalucia

If you have access to BBC television or iPlayer, we thought you’d like to know that Michael Portillo is featuring “our” railway line on the programme that will be shown on BBC2 this Sunday, 27 October at 20.00 UK time.

This is the  first in a second series of six entitled “Great Continental Railway Journeys” and this week features the route from Madrid to Gibraltar via Cordoba and Sevilla.

From the BBC information it would seem that our area will be featured towards the end of the programme so even if you miss the start, it will not be too late to catch our section of the journey.

One reviewer describes it as ‘a great sunshine-filled antidote to a cold and dark October evening.’

And I am told you will still be able to watch Downton Abbey or Homeland or whatever your Sunday night viewing normally entails.

We are reliably informed that the programme has an expected audience of 3 million and that 1% of viewers express serious interest in visiting the area featured in the documentary. This means that approximately 30,000 people may be flocking to Molino del Santo next year as a result.

Actually it is possible that some may be foolish enough to visit other hotels – but, whichever way you look at it, it would be a good idea to book your Molino room as soon as possible!

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Hotel bookings

Molino del Santo : October 18, 2013 6:00 pm : Blogs

hotel-bookingsHaving had lots of near misses, we have just seen our  first 100% hotel bookings week of the season – every single room full, every single night for the whole week.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us this year – and we are very sorry if we have had to tell you we were full when you wanted to visit.

The hotel is very busy until we close but we can offer you a 10% discount on a new booking for any room still available if you mention this newsletter. There are some rooms still available from the 21st to the 27th October at the moment.

Go on – grab a break whilst you can!

2014 bookings are continuing to be very good – and we can also offer you a 10% discount on any room booked before the 31st October – and 5% thereafter.

Thanks to all for their support in 2013 – it’s been a great year for us, thanks to you, our excellent staff and our suppliers.

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Yoga group

Molino del Santo : October 18, 2013 5:54 pm : Blogs

Weir warriors: Guernsey Power Yoga in Benaojan

Weir warriors: Guernsey Power Yoga in Benaojan

We have had the pleasure of welcoming Guernsey Power Yoga group to Molino over the last few days.

It has been a pleasure to have them with us.

They are making full use of our meeting room above the dining room for classes at all times of day – starting with meditation classes every morning at 0630. Andy did get to one of these – and what a lovely way to start the day it is.

They are the first group ever to use our facilities even before our maintenance and breakfast sta arrive at 0700.

Thank you to Caroline Wickham for her very efficient organisation and the lovely atmosphere she has created with her group.

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Gift vouchers make great Christmas presents

Molino del Santo : October 18, 2013 5:47 pm : Blogs

molino-christmas-vouchersYes we know it’s only October but we are now receiving requests for Molino gift vouchers as Christmas presents.

We will prepare you a voucher for any amount from 50€ – which can be used in the hotel or restaurant and there is no limit to when it can be redeemed.

Our very efficient designer can prepare a personalised voucher for you with the message that you would like such as in this example.

Order before the end of our 2013 season at the end of October to receive a 10% discount on the cost – for example, a voucher with a value of 100€ will only be charged at 90€.

Send us an e-mail and let us do the rest: info@molinodelsanto.com

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Molino morning walks

Molino del Santo : October 10, 2013 12:36 pm : Blogs

walking-molino-del-santoThank you to all the spirited folk who have encouraged Andy to get out of bed early on Thursday mornings to walk the mountains along with Eddie the dog.

The circular route we have followed is one that you wouldn’t easily  find without a guide so there is some sense of adventure.

We have seen some stunning sunrises and amazing views, eagles and vultures, along with the chance to get to know each other a little better.

The walk takes about two and a half hours and is enhanced with the delight of knowing you have really earned your breakfast back at Molino.

Walks, on Thursday mornings, will be available for the rest of this season and will be continued into 2014.

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Great wedding at the Molino

Molino del Santo : October 10, 2013 12:27 pm : Blogs

weddings-molino-del-santoWe very much enjoyed hosting the wedding of Emma and Brian at the beginning of September.

It is the first time Molino has had a Scottish piper playing in the grounds and the  first time we have made haggis croquettes.

The ceremony, with 60 guests, took place in the lower garden below the pool and a lot of hard work ensured that the venue was stunning.

Live music accompanied canapes near the pergola before the wedding breakfast in the early evening.

Great stamina was required to be there at the end of the night when the bar closed at 3a.m. – but lots of people proved they were no lightweights and stayed on.

A really lovely group of people and we wish Emma and Brian all possible happiness in the future.

We have recently discovered that a good friend of Molino for the last 25 years, the Reverend David Hoare, is licensed to perform legal marriage services anywhere in Spain, including of course the grounds of Molino del Santo.

Please contact us for more information if this is of interest.

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Tony Bishop R.I.P.

Molino del Santo : September 28, 2013 8:05 pm : Blogs

tony-bishopIt is with great sadness that we have to record the sudden death of Tony Bishop who many of you met at Molino del Santo or knew of through the excellent book “30 walks in the Ronda Mountains” that he co-authored with his wife Eva Bratek.

Tony had a huge generosity of spirit which showed itself through his love for his adopted village of Montejaque and its people, along with an important ambassadorial role for the countryside of our area.

He had a strong sense of right and wrong and was always prepared to work hard for what he believed in.

His warmth and kindness will he missed by very many people.

Our thoughts are with Eva, who worked in Molino reception and also generously shares her knowledge of the area, at this difficult time.

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Latest questionnaires

Andy Chapell : September 10, 2013 7:15 pm : Blogs

IMG_1031It is so helpful to have feedback from guests who leave the hotel about what they find here – including the constructive suggestions that help us to prioritise the next improvements.

Here are some recent comments:

We loved the tranquillity and the gentilesse. KB 28/08/2013

Friendly, welcoming staff; quality combination in a small hotel. KH 29/08/2013

Can’t find fault with any aspect of your service – can’t wait to return – what a terrific location. You could open a restaurant in Gibraltar – I would be your best customer. WL 30/08/2013

Relaxed and enjoyable stay – splendid. RH 31/08/2013

Everything about your hotel is excellent. I cannot fault any aspect – well done indeed. Mr G 04/09/2013

Friendly, helpful … absolutely marvellous place for a wedding. NC 04/09/2013

Loved the attention to detail – terrific hospitality and a perfect setting. NY 04/09/2013

The overall service was fantastic. EW 04/09/2013

The hotel matches the surrounding area – stunning!! DP 04/09/2013

Always a special experience visiting Molino del Santo. E & BY 04/09/2013

Thank you all folks – we really appreciate the feedback.

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Canary

Andy Chapell : September 10, 2013 7:06 pm : Blogs

molinodel-santo-IMG_1227I was delighted with a bright new yellow polo shirt I had bought for myself – well I have been working hard.

Not so pleased when a valued guest remarked to his family: “Oh look there’s a canary working here now.”

Thank you David.

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Art exhibition by Patricia Salazar

Molino del Santo : August 31, 2013 10:22 pm : Blogs

Art exhibition by Patricia N. Salazar

Art exhibition by Patricia N. Salazar

You are warmly invited to our new Art Exhibition at Molino del Santo is open until the end of October 2013.

The charming paintings of “Stories of the Countryside” are by Patricia Salazar, a Colombian who now lives in Marbella.

In a single glance, Patricia N. Salazar’s paintings (primitivism on oil or glass) reveal her South American roots, from where she finds her inspiration.

Her works are characterised by their vibrant colours which represent a hot, exotic and tropical climate. Her style is primitivism and
every work tells a story.

Patricia has acquired a lot of artistic expression through living in various countries. Her style makes homage to her Colombian roots yet has acquired a mixture of different cultures and is capable of seeing human life from a more simple perspective. Her interest of oriental cultures
gives her art an expanded spiritual dimension.

Her love for art is expressed in all aspects of her life. To continue to develop as an artist in a simple and self-taught way is a permanent wish of hers.

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