NERVOUS laughter cuts by means of the breeze as we slowly navigate a treacherous mountain street excessive up in Sierra de Grazalema nationwide park.
We’ve taken a incorrect flip after leaving the historic metropolis of Ronda and what ought to have been a simple one-hour drive again to the resort is now passing the three-hour mark.
So we’ve put the Seashore Boys track Assist Me Rhonda on the automobile stereo to lighten the temper.
Our 14-year-old son is asleep within the again, lacking out on some basic rock ’n’ roll and wonderful views — in addition to the terrifying, precipitous drops gaping beneath every hairpin bend.
We’re 700m up, and every flip appears to ship us even increased.
I make a psychological word: Tomorrow, let’s keep by the pool.
We’re on a uncommon time out from our base for per week in Spain, Ikos Andalusia, an all-inclusive gem so welcoming it’s onerous to summon the need to depart the resort and discover the world (however depart you have to, as there’s heaps to see).
Since launching in 2015, Greek model Ikos has reimagined the all-inclusive vacation.
There are actually 4 super-stylish inns in Greece, with extra on the way in which.
Ikos Andalusia is the agency’s first enterprise additional afield.
It’s ideally positioned on 21 acres about an hour from Malaga airport, between fairly Estepona and the glitzier Marbella on the Costa Del Sol.
The sprawling, superbly designed advanced consists of 411 rooms and suites, seven top-quality eating places, health club, tennis courts, seven swimming pools and a protracted seaside.
Ikos doesn’t come low cost, however they imply it after they say all-inclusive and we spent little or no extra cash the entire week we have been there, aside from a splurge on a therapeutic massage and gas to refill the automobile.
All meals and drinks are lined in your room charge, and the meals is outstanding.
Michelin-starred cooks created the menus and there’s an enormous selection, with eateries specialising in Spanish, Greek, Italian, French and South-East Asian cuisines — in addition to Seashore Membership, serving worldwide fare and DJ units, and Flavours, an enormous buffet with a totally different theme daily.
And in addition to three bars providing premium-brand spirits and 300 wines, there’s a free mini-bar in every room, refilled each day.
The checklist of actions is limitless, and most are included within the value, aside from spa therapies and motorised watersports.
We took bikes out to cycle the coast path to Estepona, seven miles away.
Our son’s wants have been met with desk tennis, a soccer pitch and basketball court docket.
Three free youngsters’ golf equipment, break up by age group, cater for kids aged 4 months to 17, so there’s all the time one thing occurring to maintain them off their screens for just a few hours.
There are additionally week-long soccer camps on chosen dates at school holidays, the place youngsters are educated by star professionals (further costs apply).
The lengthy sand-and-shingle seaside presents gorgeous sunsets past Gibraltar within the distance.
The various stones do make strolling into the ocean tough although, so seaside footwear can be found.
For the last word splurge you possibly can improve your room to Deluxe, a devoted wing close to the seaside with its personal pool and bar.
GETTING/STAYING THERE: Seven nights’ extremely all-inclusive on the 5H Ikos Andalusia in Estepona is from £1,319pp based mostly on two sharing a superior double pool-view room with flights from Gatwick on October 25, 2022.
Departures from different UK airports out there.
See olympicholidays.com or name 0208 492 6868.
A few of these even have their very own personal pool.
Deluxe company get added perks like a automobile improve, personal check-in desk, free spa therapies and a bottle of champagne within the room on arrival.
We had visited Ikos as soon as earlier than, the Olivia resort in Halkidiki, Greece.
The design, meals and atmosphere on the two are nearly an identical, however Andalusia is best located for guests who need to get out and discover.
Estepona is a horny, genuine Spanish resort with a protracted promenade and leafy Previous City which is beautiful to stroll round after a tough afternoon’s consuming.
It’s a far cry from the extra built-up Torremolinos or Fuengirola additional up the Costa Del Sol.
Marbella, Estepona’s hard-partying large sister, presents a really totally different time out with its glamorous bars, seaside golf equipment and boutiques.
After which there’s romantic Ronda, perched 750m excessive on a cliff and well-known for the 100m-deep chasm the place the Guadalevin river splits the town dramatically in two.
Included with per week’s keep at Ikos is using a rent automobile for a day, primarily Ikos-branded Minis, but it surely’s doable to improve to one thing larger or a convertible.
Driving to Ronda makes good use of this perk.
Town is steeped in historical past, having been settled first by the Celts within the sixth Century, after which the Romans.
It has Spain’s oldest bullring, Plaza de Toros de Ronda, which not often sees a lot bullfighting lately however has a captivating museum properly price exploring for a few hours (seize an audio information in English).
Legendary Hollywood filmmaker Orson Welles liked Spain and particularly bullfighting — even having a go himself whereas younger and slim — and was a daily customer to Ronda.
Two years after his dying aged 70, in 1987, his ashes have been taken there to be laid endlessly in a properly at Recreo de San Cayetano, the nation property of matador Antonio Ordonez, who was a detailed good friend.
There are reminders of Welles across the metropolis, together with Paseo de Orson Welles, a road close to the bullring.
This sun-kissed nook of Spain has all the things for a vacation — nice climate, excellent meals and as a lot historical past and tradition as you possibly can squeeze in.
And it’s an opportunity to retrace the steps of the person who made Citizen Kane, with out having to cross the Atlantic.
However to keep away from a dangerous automobile journey worthy of a Hollywood film . . . bear in mind to depart Ronda from the south.
https://www.thesun.ie/journey/8357509/rocky-road-ronda-spanish-sierra/ Take the rocky street to Ronda & see gorgeous Spanish sierra