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Discover a softer side to Spain away from the beach-going crowds

There is a wildness about Spain if you know where to look, and we’re not talking about its buzzy tapas bars or beachfront clubs pumping Balearic beats. A fragrant landscape of olive groves, vineyards, and Mediterranean woodland dotted with crumbling farmhouses awaits travellers seeking a back-to-nature experience, while sleepy fishing villages draw barefoot bohemians and colourful cities reward curious creatives with Andalusian architecture and artistic wonders. Here are a handful of our favourite boutique hotels which are all about Spanish style and simplicity, lulling visitors into a slower pace of life.

1. Finca Serena, Mallorca

Finca Serena

Finca Serena

A converted farmhouse in the heart of Mallorca’s countryside, Finca Serena is as idyllic as its name suggests. The delicate scent of olive trees and lavender greets you as you walk through the hotel grounds – past cypresses and lemon trees – with rippling hills and dramatic peaks as far as the eye can see. The epitome of farmhouse cool, whitewashed walls house neutral interiors – think breezy linens, wicker baskets, and speckled ceramics.

Finca Serena

Rooms and suites are discretely spread across several stone outhouses, hidden behind flowering pergolas and towering trees – some overlook the orchard and vineyards – from which the hotel is harvesting and making its own wine alongside other homegrown produce available to purchase at the on-site boutique. Everything here is best enjoyed alfresco, from sunrise yoga and sipping sundowners on the terrace to horse-riding or cycling to nearby to nearby Montuïri, a traditional rural village surrounded by old stone windmills.

2. Torre del Marques, Monroyo

Torre del Marques

A cleverly converted 18th century watchtower huddled in the hills of Monroyo – one of the least discovered regions of Spanish countryside – Torre del Marques promises a rural escape from reality plus impressive eco-credentials to match. The Considerate Collection hotel nurtures its surrounding land with an ‘as nature intended’ approach, drawing water from natural springs and wells on the farm, opening up ancient horseshoe trails for guests to roam, and tending the vineyards, ecological orchard and fruit plantations.

Torre del Marques

The ancient honey-coloured stones of the old tower building reveal cool interiors that soothe the eye and calm the spirit.  The muted, modern feel flows through to the dining and exterior spaces, where succulents in earthenware pots and beds of fragrant lavender soak up the Spanish sun. Spend your days doing the same, unwinding in the pool and sauna that looks out across vistas of olive groves and vineyards, or venture into the countryside for a spot of olive oil tasting, truffle hunting, and stargazing.

3. Nobu Hotel Marbella, Marbella

Nobu Hotel Marbella

While the tempo picks up as the sun sets at Nobu Hotel Marbella, days at this laid-back luxury beach retreat are as relaxing as they come. Slip off your sandals and kick back by the Nobu private pool, or wander down to the Golden Mile beach for glittering waters and sugar-white sand. The spacious rooms and suites are light-filled and airy, styled in a neutral palette of sun bleached wooden furniture and breezy textiles.

Nobu Marbella

Sit down to a long, leisurely lunch at beachfront El Chiringuito, where you can tuck into Mediterranean-inspired dishes with your toes in the sand and a tropical cocktail in hand. Just be sure to save room for dinner at the iconic Japanese fusion restaurant – think Yellowtail with Jalapeño and melt-in-the-mouth Black Cod with Miso. Unwind in the immersive Six Senses Spa, home to a team of expert therapists who draw from indigenous ingredients such as herbs and sea salt, olive oil and rich minerals in soothing treatments – which can also be enjoyed outdoors, listening to the sound of the waves lap the shore.

4. Palacio Solecio, Málaga

Palacio Solecio

Set in the heart of Málaga’s historic Old Town, Palacio Solecio is an 18th-century palace brimming with Moorish influence and original features. Ascend the stone staircase and you’ll find a set of relaxing rooms and suites which fuse historical character with contemporary comfort. Michelin-starred chef José Carlos Garcia puts the bold flavours of southern Spain on a plate at Balausta Restaurant, with elegant tables centred around a spectacular courtyard.

Palacio Solecio

Málaga itself is a cultural layer cake – as the hometown of Picasso, there modern art galleries and museums at every turn, but delve deeper and you’ll see remnants of ancient Málaga: the Roman amphitheatre, the Moorish Alcazaba palace, and the archaeology housed in Museo de Málaga. The quaint fishing and farming town of Nerja complete with a mystic cave is within striking distance, as well as the whitewashed village of El Acebuchal within the Natural Park of Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama.

5. Urso Hotel & Spa, Madrid

Urso Hotel & Spa

Just a ten-minute walk from Madrid’s famous golden triangle of art galleries, Urso Hotel & Spa is an oasis of calm in the Spanish capital. The early 20th-century palace has been lovingly and meticulously restored which beautifully blend the old with the new – a wrought-iron balustrade and stained-glass windows sit alongside honey-coloured wood flooring and large drum-shaped lampshades.

Urso Hotel & Spa

The intimate spa is stocked with soothing products from Barcelona-based specialist skincare brand Natura Bissé, incorporating innovative ingredients and techniques into treatments from diamond dust to Spanish citric formulas which calm the senses.

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