Casa La Siesta
When Bert and May founders Lee and Amelia Thornley invited me to stay at their restored country casita in south-west Spain I was obviously delighted and promptly took them up on their kind offer with an RSVP time of under ten seconds.
I knew I was about to experience something special, this award winning Conde Nast Traveller approved boutique hotel has a jaw-dropping website, casalasiesta.com, certain to lure anybody in with it's charming Andalucian architecture and poolside white linen parasols.
The reason for my trip? well there's always an underlying interiors related reason with me. On this occasion I wanted to witness the beginnings of Bert and May's beautiful vision, and what better way to do that than to stay and experience first hand all the products on location at Lee's restored villa where every detail and finish has been considered, on brand, with the Bert and May ethos. All the tiles are sourced and made locally. Cadiz is very much where this brand started, and Casa La Siesta is the original product.
Lee moved to Spain to learn Spanish and consequently discovered the ruins of what is now Casa La Siesta, a sprawling eight bedroom hotel built around a central courtyard with two spacious swimming pools and uninterrupted views of the rolling Andalucian countryside. After completing the restoration Thornley and Thornley developed the Bert and May brand in the UK, bringing their vision and Spanish products to customers and clients on British shores.
As you arrive, you're met with gracious grounds. That's correct. The beautiful house is set within outstanding gardens that extend down towards the paddock, perfect for exploring and relaxing. Once inside you will be met by one of the hotel staff members, who couldn't be more welcoming and personable. Your holiday starts here when you realise that the staff are happy to bring you ice cold drinks on a constant stream, bliss, especially as I'd just spent a few days walking around Seville exploring the architecture there - thirsty work.
From the outset, elements of the Bert and May brand will start revealing themselves; the ensuite shower and bathrooms are decked with stunning encaustic and reclaimed tiles. Wooden floors and doors that can only have been sourced and specified by the discerning eye of the Bert and May brand, and homemade food, freshly made by the chef on site, which replicates the cuisine you can savour at one of Bert and May's monthly supper clubs at their Vyner Street showroom in London.
Take time to explore, I discovered the luxury yurt with outdoor shower and wood burning stove. I quickly moved myself in there and extended my stay by a further two nights. What else did I do? errrm. Not a lot. I read 4 books including an all time childhood favourite, My Family and Other Animals (high brow reading literature...). I sipped goldfish bowl sized glasses of gin and slim whilst lounging poolside, and I took my time to reflect on the fact that I was experiencing one of the most homely hotels I have ever stayed in.
By the way somebody even comes in and scatters flickering tea lights in your room every evening when dusk draws in, so that when you return slightly well oiled from a late supper in the courtyard you can see where your shuffling in your espadrilles.
I left Casa La Siesta more enthused than ever over the Bert and May brand. If you want to experience the perfect getaway then this particular hotel certainly comes with my approval. Sit back, relax and enjoy the luxury of great hosting and a very special place.
Images: Rory Robertson
Writing: Rory Robertson
Hotel website: www.casalasiesta.com
With special thanks to Lee and Amelia Thornley