Ronda, said Hemingway, is the place to go ‘if you are planning to go to Spain for a honeymoon or for being with a girlfriend. The whole city and its surroundings are a romantic set’. And, honeymoon or no, this little town in the middle of Malaga province’s mountainous interior attracts visitors to this day with its stunning location, its old-Spain charm and the way that time seems to run a little slower here than anywhere else.
At the heart of the town is the Tajo, the cavernous gorge that cleaves Ronda into two and which, the completion of the Puente Nuevo in 1793, was impassable without a steep descent and a subsequent, sweaty climb. Hotels clamour for space around this most picturesque of spots, and the Parador de Ronda won out with the plum spot.
Right on the edge of the gorge, the Parador is one of Spain’s government-owned and run luxury hotel chain. Rooms are built around a central courtyard and those on two sides have stunning views of the Puente Nuevo, Ronda’s old town and the surrounding countryside.
And we got lucky. Team Gusto were bumped up to a corner suite on the top floor, with a huge wraparound terrace, ideal for whiling away those warm Ronda nights and taking in the dizzying scale of the Puente Nuevo. Paradors offer a good standard of service in every property, and we weren’t disappointed: a bottle of iced mineral water on arrival, good internet access and the fluffy bathrobes were all nice touches. Car parking is in the secure underground garage, and availability was good when we stayed.
For warmer weather, there are lush private gardens and a cliffside pool, with direct access onto the Paseo de los Ingleses, that winds around the edge of the gorge and on to the picture-perfect Alameda del Tajo. The Parador has its own restaurant but is located in the middle of the town’s bustling centre with its excellent tapas bars and traditional restaurants (just don’t count on finding much to eat on a Sunday night). Mornings start in the breakfast room, which has probably the best view of any breakfast in Spain as well as local culinary delights and the usual breakfast fare. And yes, there are churros.
Our only criticism was that, like many Paradors, a few small details had started to look a little tired: a wall that needed re-painting here, a carpet that was worn out there. Oh, and the fact that we had to leave. What a downer.
Gusto Guides were guests of the Andalucia tourist board.
Website: Parador de Ronda
Address: Plaza de España, s/n, 29400 – Ronda, Malaga
Tel: +34 952877500