Enfrente Arte in Rick Steve’s

Enfrente Arte in Rick Steve’s

Sleeping in Ronda

Hotel Enfrente Arte Ronda, on the edge of things a steep 10-to-15-minute walk below the heart of the new town, is relaxed and funky. The 12 rooms are spacious and exotically decorated, but dimly lit. It features a sprawling maze of public spaces with creative decor, a peaceful bamboo garden, game and reading room, small swimming pool, sauna, and terraces with sweeping countryside views. Guests can help themselves to free drinks from the self- service bar. This one-of-a-kind place is in all the guidebooks, so reserve early—Madonna even stayed here once!

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Ronda has plenty of reasonably priced, decent-value accommoda­tions. It’s crowded only during Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter) and the first week of September (for bullfighting sea­son). Most of my recommendations are in the new town, a short stroll from the New Bridge and about a 10-minute walk from the train station. In the cheaper places, ask for a room with a ventana (window) to avoid the few interior rooms. Breakfast is usually not included.

Hotel San Gabriel has 22 pleasant rooms, a kind staff, public rooms filled with art and books, a cozy wine cellar, and a fine garden terrace. It’s a large 1736 townhouse, once the fam­ily’s home, that’s been converted to a characteristic hotel, mari­nated in history. If you’re a cinephilc, kick back in the charming TV room—with seats from Rondas old theater and a collection of DVD classics—then head to the breakfast room to check out photos of big movie stars (and, ahem, bespectacled travel writers) who have stayed here (Sb-€68, Db-€91, bigger superior Db-€101, Db junior suite-6118, lavish honeymoon suite-6154, breakfast-65, air-con, incognito elevator, guest computer, Wi-Fi, double-park in front and they’ll direct you to a 69/day parking spot, follow signs on the main street of old town to Calle Marqués de Moctezuma 19.

Hotel Komi provides an interesting mix of minimalist and traditional Spanish .It« or in this refurbished mansion, which is both quiet and homey. Although its five rooms are without views, the small, lovely root top deck overlooks the town.

Alavera délos Baños, a delightful oasis located next to ancient Moorish baths at the bottom of the hill, has nine small rooms, two spacious suites, and big inviting public places, with appropriately Moorish decor. This hotel offers a swimming pool, a peaceful Arabic garden, and a selection of sandwiches for lunch. The artistic ambience urges, “Relax!” You’re literally in the coun­tryside, with sheep and horses outside near the garden.

Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria hangs royally over the gorge at the edge of town and has a marvelous view—Hemingway loved it, and so does its well-dressed clientele. Its 89 renovated rooms are sleek and modern bdt lack character.