In a nutshell – offering a budget-friendly comfortable set-up, well positioned for exploring the Costa Tropical, Granada province in general and Granada / Alhambra Palace / Sierra Nevada in particular.
Click on this Airbnb listing, which includes what you need to know, or read on for general gumph.
About the house (VTAR/GR/01710)
This is a very eccentric house. You really do need to know that. No-one seems entirely sure of its age, because houses here didn’t need to be registered until after WW2, but Velez itself has been around for a very long time and this house is in the heart of it, a bare hundred metres from the gigantic church, and had a lot of land around it. Slowly the land was sold off, so now it has neighbours against its high walls, some of which are two feet thick. Some internal walls are eighteen inches deep and some are conventional brick, some windows still have aged original shutters and others are fairly recent aluminium. It has been a work in progress for at least, I am told, the last hundred years.
From your point of view as a guest, it is as secure as a fortress, the showers are spanking new with excellent pressure and very hot water (eventually, it takes a few minutes), the beds are comfortable, and it is as quiet (those thick walls!) as you could hope to be in the heart of a Spanish town. It is also a very cool house, apart from an upstairs patio which is a suntrap for those wishing to bake their bones.
Everything opens onto the atrium – the hallway, the staircase up to the guest rooms, the owner’s bit – so your room is entirely separate from the rest of the house. Guests get a front door key along with their room key. The house is double-locked at midnight so you need to notify me if you’ll be out later than midnight or you risk being locked out.
Guests who like Velez
English-speakers, especially those travelling alone, are very welcome to seek me out for a glass of wine on the terrace to talk over the adventures of the day. As for Dutch, German, French and Spanish speakers, I won’t be able to contribute much but will listen intently and understand at least some of it! I work full-time from home so am generally around if needed, except when I am teaching, which is pretty much during siesta hours. Check-out is before noon, check-in after four, because of tutoring commitments.
Writers – desks in each room, WIFI, inspiration in every direction and a quiet place to capture those inspirations while they’re fresh. An elderly laptop is available for use for those who are suddenly inspired to become writers while in Spain.
Cyclists – good bikes can be rented in Velez (email me for details) but the hills are challenging. It’s a popular area for cyclists and they always seem to be smiling, but it’s probably not for novices. Your bike can be kept safe overnight in the hallway or atrium.
Hikers and walkers, there are several groups based in Velez and in the immediate surroundings, but again, the slopes and mountains make it challenging for the unfit. Velez itself offers gentler saunters through the picturesque streets, up to the fortress or to the lovely Jardin Nazari, a Moorish pleasure garden carefully excavated and restored with waterfalls, paths, many stone steps up and down the slopes, and caves near the bottom.
Velez also offers excellent cafes (free tapas with every drink, and a different type offered with subsequent drinks) a couple of good restaurants, takeaway food (no franchises), several banks, two small supermarkets, multiple bakeries and fruiterias, a gym and, in August, public swimming pools. It’s a nice town.
Out and about
General exploring: a car is recommended (there’s always street parking available) however there is also a good coach service (Alsa) between Motril and Granada which goes through Velez several times a day. It is extremely reasonably priced (under 2 euros to Motril), airconditioned, and usually bang on time. The stops for both directions are a short walk from the house up to the main road.
The Costa Tropical is lovely, Motril’s Playa Granada and the coastal town of Salubreña are both fifteen minutes away with more beaches (playas) up and down the coast. Inland offers the Lecrin valley (Driving Over Lemons) and the Alpujurras on the way to beautiful Granada – those wanting to visit the Alhambra Palace do need to book in advance to be sure of getting in, only small parties are allowed at a time and it is popular year round. Windsurfers can enjoy the dam above the town, and skiers are an hour from the best resorts in the Sierra Nevada, an easy distance for a day trip. Golfers can play in Motril or further afield. Everything on hand, because Velez is only minutes from the excellent motorways!
There are two set-ups for guests, with the additional option of taking the entire upstairs as a two bedroom apartment for friends or family travelling together. Right now, during the whole Covid predicament, with places only able to offer 50% accommodation, I only take one booking at a time, so in effect whether travelling solo or a group of four, you get the entire upstairs.
There’s no airconditioning: in summer there are standing fans, and in winter, radiators, but thanks to our proximity to the Costa Tropical temperatures are rarely extreme overnight, with winter very rarely dipping towards zero and summer temperatures in the early twenties overnight.
However in August, the entire upstairs is let only as a full suite, partly because of the heat. It’s a cool house, but it was originally designed to catch every breeze and to do that you need the internal doors open. Also, August is fiesta time, and people move tables into the street to eat their meals, there are parties, and laughter, and it’s nice to have a choice of rooms to escape the nearest celebrations!
The front room (the Oliver) has a double bed, desk, and shower / loo en suite – photos below. There is of course the usual kettle, tea, coffee, etc., but if there’s no-one staying in the Cameron you get use of the kitchenette facilities there – however, that is luck of the draw and can’t be guaranteed. There are more photos on the link offered at the end of this blog.
The back (the Cameron) is a full suite: living room, twin-bedded room, shower / loo en suite, and a little room of its own with desk and a daybed.
The living room has fridge, sink and a pantry cupboard with basics supplied – tea, coffee, milk, biscuits, etc., – and the usual kettle, toaster, so on.
The atrium, terrace and upstairs patio (not pictured here) are general areas open to all. As I said, basic and all the guests so far, couples or solo travellers, have been out and about most of the time but embraced the eccentricities and enjoyed themselves, phew.
Fellow members of ALLi can claim a discount, as can writer friends on Facebook and Goodreads, but the deal is then that you must contribute one of your own (autographed) books for the bookshelves. There’s wifi, of course, and thanks to the foot-thick walls it’s generally quiet considering it is in the heart of a Spanish town. Still, it IS in the heart of a town. If you prefer utter silence, peaceful isolation, (other than the twittering of birds or buzzing of insects) and views practically to Africa, drop me a line, I’ll put you in touch with just the place
How to book
Contact me direct, on email@example.com, or if you prefer to go through a website, check it out on Airbnb, HomeAway or Booking .com; cheapest on Airbnb as they take the lowest fee. Terms are classified as strict: free cancellation within 24 hours but otherwise refund only if more than 60 days notice is given.
That link to the photos: The Airbnb listing (linked at the top) is often more up to date, or Click here
The adventure begins here …