On a plateau in Spain’s stunning Sierra de Aracena, hugged by cork and chestnut trees and reached by a steep track, this elegant new hotel comes with views that stretch to distant points of the compass. U-shaped with open cloisters around a chequered Andalucian patio, Charles and Reyes’s early retirement project blends solar panels, spring water and top quality (often organic) food with a real care for guests’ comfort. Generous bedrooms are smartly furnished with huge beds and pretty sitting areas; there are double basins in bathrooms and private terraces. Laze by the poolside, pick mushrooms and chestnuts on the 25-acre farm or enjoy the fire in the spacious lounge, bright with pictures by local artists. You can pop into whitewashed Alájar for dinner or ask for a simple meal or sandwich – the best jabugo ham is reared nearby and homemade jams and bread appear at breakfast. Hike in the Parque Natural de Picos de Aroche, uncover layers of history in Aracena or join in with local festivals. It’s as secluded as can be in this rural retreat, but there’s no lack of life round here.