Hotel "Cerro de Hijar" (Distinguished Establishments)
Located in the Natural Park named Sierra de las Nieves and within a Nature Sanctuary, this establishment enjoys a privileged position and has some impressive views of the mountain ranges and the “Guadalhorce” valley. The village of Tolox, which is a typical Spanish mountain village famous for its spa, lies just below the hotel.
It is an ideal place to rest and admire the woods, which are full of pine trees, and it is at the beginning of the path that leads into the heart of the Nature Sanctuary. There is a wonderful specimen of the local kind of pine tree within 50 metres of the hotel’s main entrance. The mountains and valleys can be green all year round due to the presence of the streams and rivers that run through the area. This also makes the area attractive for mountain goats, mongooses, foxes and deers most of the time.
Visitors can experience how the silence of the zone surrounds them as they go about day to day and how the pure mountain air fills their lungs.
The building’s construction is similar to a typical Andalusian farmhouse with a courtyard at the centre, old-style roof tiles, white washed walls and open-space rooms distributed off the central courtyard. It was built by the Ministry of the Environment a few years ago, but has only reached its true splendour and prestige after a total restoration and updating by the current owners was undertaken.
Each corner of the hotel is full of surprise details where the old and new, the wild plants and well-cared for potted flowers exist side by side. All this helps to create a really peaceful and quite atmosphere.
Most of the 18 bedrooms are on the upper floor (16 in all, 4 of which are “suites”). All of them have exterior balconies and wonderful views, and are accompanied by the optimum comfort. The wood, pottery, and the somewhat daring wall colouring are the main attractions of the hotel.
The other 2 bedrooms are on the lower floor and one of them is adapted for disabled people. Another attractive spot is the lounge/library with its big fireplace that governs the room and the curious red-coloured English style telephone box which is inside the room. The walls have large windows which open out to the extensive and together create a naturally lighted area which is inviting for visitors to enjoy some reading or have a drink together next to the fireplace on a cold winter night. Last, but not least is the courtyard at the heart of the building with the water fountain and flower pots. This is a good place to spend some leisure time on hot days.
The restaurant is a must as the cook at the Cerro de Hijar has been able to combine respect for local gastronomic traditions while at the same time allow for innovation. The result is a personalized Andalusian menu. Having said this, though, and thinking of the younger member of the families that visit, they also offer the more normal dishes to avoid complications.
A quick glance through its exclusive menu will reveal such dishes as cabbage stew, curried squid, smoked soup with small squids amongst the starters, while as for first courses the most outstanding dishes are fish ones such as baked sea bass with aubergine eggs, or turbot with pumpkin puree, pistachios, small broad beans and basil oil. As for meat dishes, the caramelised Iberian jaw, or the pheasant with lentils and onion are worth special mention. All these dishes are washed down with some fine wines selected from the hotel’s wine cellar. To finish off the meal the dessert menu boasts some lovely home-made ones such as cherries in vanilla and fresh cheese, toasted pears in chocolate sauce, or banana in orange jelly cake. Anyway, as the chef is constantly innovating so it is a good idea to let him recommend the dish of the moment.
Finally we come to the exterior of the hotel which has a lovely swimming pool set in a privileged position that allows the visitor to enjoy the water, sun as well as some magnificent views.
This establishment offers the visitor the opportunity to take part in activities related to the natural environment that surrounds it, such as guided walks to hidden beauty spots in the mountains (these can last anything from 3 hours to a whole day), or the same but in a top car 4x4 van. Cooking courses, Spanish languages courses and active nature activities are also offered, however, there should be a minimum of 5 people and need to be reserved in advance.
Therefore, this unique hotel located in the middle of a Nature Sanctuary and open all year round provides a good excuse to enjoy the quality of the Sierra de las Nieves which we are sure will enchant all visitors.