Almost all Andalusian coastal towns are surrounded by hills, and the most desirable places to live tend to be, not in the middle of the towns, but in the middle of the hills. They generally move upwards, so the view of the sea tends to be over hills below. And the hills are invariably green, lush and beautiful.
The trick is to find your hill in the right location, and a quick look at a map tells you that La Reserva de Alcuzcuz is about as right as right can be. You want to be near the coast without being on it: tick that off. You want to be near the most upmarket urban centre in the whole of Spain: tick that one off. You want to be at a location that offers especially beautiful surroundings that might, if you’re lucky, include championship-level golf courses and other sporting and social amenities, and you can tick that one off too. Quite simply, this place ticks all the boxes.
So what’s it like to live in this privileged location? The answer is largely subjective, but for most of us who like to enjoy the best things in life and are lucky enough to be in a position to do so, the answer becomes less subjective: it’s a dream come true, just like the villa itself. But first, let’s look at where you are geographically.
You’re about half way between Malaga city and Gibraltar, and less than an hour’s drive (one of the most scenic in Spain) up to the magnificent and historic town of Ronda. Down the way, a short drive brings you to San Pedro de Alcántara, part of the municipality of Marbella, and the coast. The great cities of Andalucía lie in all directions: west to Algeciras, Cádiz and Huelva, north towards Seville and Córdoba, if you choose to go by the minor roads over the mountains, and east to Granada and Almería. Many of those other names that you’ve read about and perhaps have visited in the past are fairly close too, and they include Grazalema Nature Park (where incredibly, it rains more than in any other place in Spain); Jérez de la Frontera, the home of sherry; the lakes of El Chorro and its terrifying Caminito del Rey (the King’s Way) and to the east, the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range. Further afield, short ferry trips bring you to either Ceuta or Tangier, in Morocco, while the French border can easily be reached in a long day’s drive. Or just head over to Gibraltar or Malaga airports (about an hour to the first and 40 minutes to the second) for a trip to the rest of the world.
The local environment concerns us most, of course, and we start close to home. Look over your pool and between the trees you might spot the Los Arqueros Golf Club & Country Club, designed by Seve Ballesteros and just one of many in the immediate area. It has a bar and restaurant, padel and tennis courts and a fully equipped fitness centre, offering cardio, spinning and cross training classes. Check it out at www.losarquerosgolf.com. On the other side of the Ronda road, a short walk away, is the charming village of La Heredia, built in the genuine Andalusian style back in the 1980s, which boasts, among other things, an authentic Italian restaurant, a Dutch bakery, a local bar famous for their large gin and tonics, and a bodega that hosts regular wine tasting and tapas events. A few minutes drive up the road takes you to the exclusive La Zagaleta residential estate, and five minutes downhill will bring you to the lively town of San Pedro, where, as in all Andalusian towns, all human life is on view, to be enjoyed or to be observed.
A little less close, but still inside a half-hour drive from your doorstep, lies far too much to list. Suffice it to say that a short car journey will take you through the age-old white villages of Andalucía, the rugged mountain roads of the interior, and glitzy tourist towns of the Costa del Sol and places in between whose memory will stay with you forever. To live in this region, where Phoenicians, Romans and Moors have lived before, is to live in a brief period of a long and fascinating history, evident to the eye and ear, and one’s sense of taste and smell, for those who have the time and inclination to absorb it.
Forgive the lyricism of the last paragraph, which smacks of copy writing, but for somebody who has lived there for more than twenty years, I can’t help myself. I loved living there, and although I’ve left it, I always will.