Life on the Ranch
Spending a week at Rancho Del Ingles, Emily Eaves found she was able to relax and unwind more than ever before
You know that life isn’t too bad, when you’re out in the pool doing some lengths and you can feel the warm sun on your back.
I’ve been staying at Rancho Del Ingles for almost a week now and each day I’ve managed to fit in a swim, turning my head one way and seeing the bright blue sky and the lemon trees, whilst the other way there are the mountains and the long winding drive way up to the beautiful Casa Grande, which sits at the heart of this Andalucian estate.
Situated close to Malaga, Rancho is an oasis of wellbeing, just a two hour flight from London and offering exercise friendly weather all year round. Although I’m here on a Bed and Breakfast Basis, Rancho Del Ingles regularly host exclusive yoga retreats. The on site studio is flooded with natural light offering the ideal location for some early morning movement; previous retreats have included Ashtanga, Hatha and Vinyasa sessions often combined with Self reflection and Writing. There is also an outdoor terrace, perfect for an early evening practice or meditation, when the sky turns pink behind the dramatic outline of the mountains.
Set in the foothills between the mountains and the sea, my lungs have been filled with a fresh air that makes me sleep deeply and eat endlessly. There are avocados in abundance here, and there’s nothing quite like picking an orange off the tree on your way to breakfast. During yoga retreats, guests enjoy beautiful fresh salads and creative vegetarian dishes – often using other produce from the ranch including figs, walnuts and pomegranates.
Time at Rancho seems to pass by effortlessly and I happily spend hours reading, writing or simply gazing out at the vast expanses of sky from the many terraces, both sunny and shady. Owners David and Miyuki have brilliantly combined the traditional Spanish elements of the original farmhouse, with a charming hotch potch of world heritage salvage. Featuring a Bacchanalian fountain, a vintage tractor and a retro kiosk, the grounds of this Finca are as individual and eclectic as the individually designed bedrooms and bathrooms.
Whereas it’s easy to find yourself slipping dreamily into Spanish life – waking late, eating well, and taking a siesta mid afternoon – there is a wealth of places and activities I’ve managed to explore whilst using Rancho Del Ingles as a base. As well as the wind surfing destination of Tarifa further along the coast, there are excellent mountain biking, golf courses and hiking trails within easy driving distance. Rise early or walk at sunset to the stunning viewpoint above Torrealqueria; passing vineyards, mountain goats and colourful flowers as you snake up a winding dusty track. Often overlooked is the actual city of Malaga – one of the oldest in the world and filled with culture, history and food so good that you can take a Tapas Tour around the streets or spend hours in the lunchtime food market.
If visiting during the (slightly) cooler months, bring running shoes and take a jog into the nearby Alhaurin De La Torre with its authentic Spanish buildings and central square. The outdoor gyms are mainly used by elderly locals but provided the perfect setting when I was looking for work out space to undertake some gentle stretching before finding a strong coffee and walking leisurely back to Rancho.
You’ll struggle to find quite such a haven so easily accessible from the daily grind of real life. Returning home, I found myself buzzing from the combination of feeling utterly indulged yet healthier than I had in months.