Jessica Rose Knowles Jessica Rose Knowles

The stunning Casa La Siesta in Cadiz

It would be fair to say I take a lot of holidays. Despite leaving Spain and coming back to England – Eddie and I spend 90% of our time chasing sunshine and new adventures. If I plan our travels wisely we end up with an experience of a life time and both come back feeling rested, if I’ve misjudged a trip then it can turn into a logistical nightmare and mean that I spend no less than 4 hours of my day in a swimming pool, gradually becoming pruney, and the other 4 hours – trying to coax Eddie out.

untitled9It used to be that as parents you’d have to settle for whatever bland hotel gave the best kids club option but that’s no longer the case. This week we took another trip to Spain to visit Casa La Siesta near Vejer in Andalucia.

untitled8As our plane landed in Gibraltar a ton of memories from our time in Spain came flooding back and I found myself wondering how I used to single handily cross the border on foot with a baby and all our luggage. This time I walked hand in hand with Eddie as we were greeted from the airport by our taxi driver who had walked across the border to meet us.

untitled11In the year I lived in Spain I never had a taxi driver do this (they aren’t allowed to drive over the border so most wait on the other side, in Spain). After an hour or so on quiet country roads we arrived in a tiny hamlet; so tranquil that cats lazing in the dusty road moved only when the driver continuously honked his horn.

untitled13 Eddie had finally fallen asleep in my lap at around 9pm after a day of travelling and no nap. For me arriving at Casa La Siesta near Vejer was like that magical moment when you meet someone’s eye across a room and you get a feeling that goes right through you.

untitled12Rare and incredible. We walked in, Bear slumped over me fast asleep, as the evening light was basking everything in a golden glow. It’s impossible to romanticise Casa La Siesta enough. I entered through an arch of white flowers to the cortijio’s (country house) sandy courtyard full of potted olive trees, lime trees and lavender as strings of filament bulbs swayed softly in the breeze. It was like an alternative start to Eat, Pray, Love if they made films about single mums with frizzy hair and sweat patches who have just single handily crossed the border from Gibraltar to Spain.

untitled10Simply put – I felt like this place and this trip came at exactly the right time. My life is completely and utterly lacking in romance and we think of romance as being a concept that only involves other people but walking into Casa La Siesta was truly one of the most romantic moments of my life. I felt like we shouldn’t be there, which is almost true as Casa La Siesta is an adults only luxury boutique hotel and hosts only 4 family friendly ‘Casa Kids Club’ weeks a year. We crossed the courtyard and I was shown through to our breathtaking room; the centre feature is a wood burner which immediately made me think about how gorgeous it must be here in winter as well as summer.

untitled14The room also features a gorgeous white roll top bath and open plan shower and a double and single bed, the walls are perlita (bare plaster and buffed to a high finish) and the shutters and reclaimed doors give it an authentic ‘finca’ feel – there’s no doubt that you are in Andalucia.

untitled6A table had been laid for me in the courtyard outside our bedroom window and I can tell you there is no better feeling that being a shattered parent and someone bringing you food. The table had been laid in soft greys with lavender sprigs picked fresh from the garden and the air was still balmy – it was absolutely dreamy. That night I ate fresh tuna tartar followed by white fish with a side dish of aubergine and dates – an incredible combination of flavours.

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The following morning Bear was taken away to ‘Breakfast Club’ with the other children – which meant I started my morning off slowly.

untitled3I have mastered the art of ‘downward dog’ with a 2 year old on my back but it was a real luxury to take some ‘me’ time and have such a calm start to the morning.

untitled2Eddie went on to have pool time and arts and crafts and I tried not to feel guilty simply lazing by the pool and, sometimes, in it in an inflatable pink flamingo.

untitled Time seems to stop at Casa La Siesta – it’s a beautiful little bubble of relaxing and eating and playing. We were never stuck for company and often joined new friends for long lazy lunches but there were many times where it felt like we had the entire house to ourselves.

untitled1 Especially during the afternoons and early evenings when a sleepy siesta mood appears to come over the cortijo. It wasn’t just me that dined like a King, Eddie feasted on lasagne, beef and date stew and paella and each day by the pool we were brought a fresh juice. It’s not often I’m at a loss for words but whatever ‘IT’ is – Casa La Siesta has it; it’s relaxing yet lively, beautiful but of real character and substance, it’s homely but gently glamorous and, like I keep saying, it’s incredibly romantic.

untitled5Eddie was never without a buddy to play with and they bonded over musical statues, baking cookies, Spanish lessons and a variety of other activities that are thoughtfully put on for the children each day. I don’t know who enjoyed their Casa La Siesta experience more – me or Eddie but safe to say we will be coming back.

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To book a place at one of the few remaining spaces at Casa Kids Club in August or October visit www.casalasiesta.com

Bikini’s from www.azurbikini.com

Earrings www.giovanniraspini.com

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