cortijo El Castaño

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our story

After a five week tour of Spain and the Mediterranean coast, looking for the ideal location to live, we chose the quiet, dramatic and tranquil location of Tijola in the lower Alpujarras. This beautiful, mountainous region, is only a short drive away from the coast, the ski resort of the Sierra Nevada and the stunning city of Granada. We then set about looking for a property to buy. After much searching, it soon became apparent that every property we viewed needed a huge amounts of work to bring them up to the standards we expect in the UK. With this in mind we chose a particularly run down property with a ruin attached, which was in need of complete renovation.

Dining room

Design inspired from visit to Mekness


Villa patio influenced by trip to Fez.

We engaged a local architect to design a special home, which would take advantage of the spectacular views. His brief was to design, draw plans, find builders and to manage the project, which he assured us would be completed within 8 months. After 8 months of living in very basic conditions and getting very frustrated with the architect and the Spanish red tape, we were still no further on. At this stage we parted company with the architect and his unsatisfactory design, engaged a local builder and finally managed to get started.

Carpet buying in Meknes

Nigel buying a carpet in Meknes, this took
two days of bartering to agree the price.

Our guides in Fez

Nigel with Hassan, our guide and his brother.

I came up with the idea of building the house in such a way so as to reflect the local Moorish history. With that in mind we travelled to Morocco on two occasions, visiting Fez, Meknes and Chefchouen amongst other places, to study the architecture, buy furniture and carpets etc. We also made numerous trips to Granada and the Alhambra Palace to ensure that we would really capture the feeling of the last stronghold of the Moors. At this stage we realised what a huge project we had ahead of us and wondered whether we would be able to pull it off. Nigel then set his mind to redesigning the property in the Moorish style that I dreamed of. Due to the difficulty of arranging deliveries, our lovely sports car had to go and in its place we bought a big Chrysler Grand Voyager. This made it possible to source and collect building materials from near and far.

stained glass window

The stained glass window we had
made especially.

nice place to relax

The Moorish outside eating area
we created for the villa.

Two and a half years into the project, and after working 7 days a week, often 12 hours a day and after many problems with workmen, tradesmen and red tape, we have achieved our aim. Nigel built all the moulds and formas for the arches and has done most of the tiling in the villa. Having always having been a keen DIY man with a trained eye for attention to detail, he was able to monitor all aspects of the work to a high standard. We drove all over Andalucia in order to source slate, tiles and other materials, ensuring the best quality and most attractive materials.

We now have what we consider to be our dream home.
This is not just another rental property, we have built and furnished it to standards you would expect in your own home. Whilst reflecting the Moorish ambience and style of the 16th century it provides all the comforts of the 21st century.


Nigel  and Zoe

Nigel and Zoe

moonlit evenings

Moonlit evenings