Meet the owners – Casa Higueras
Up in the hills close to Granada is a tiny village called Moclin. It’s an ancient village with a history moulded by Roman, Moorish and conquering Christian inhabitants. Wind your way through its narrow streets, past one of the village’s traditional bars, keep going up and up and you come to Calle Amargura and the white washed beauty that is Casa Higueras. Once you’re inside that climb becomes worthwhile as the vistas open up in front of you with peaks of snow covered mountains in the distance. This time Andrew and Ian talk to us about what drew them here and their inspiration to open Casa Higueras.
Tell us about your journey that led to Spain
We originally came to Spain towards the end of 2016 with a view to staying for a year to see if we would like it. Within a couple of weeks, we knew that we would not be going back to the UK. Andrew is a book designer, so he can do that wherever we happen to live, and he still works for publishers in the UK and the US. Ian is a radio presenter and voiceover and has a studio at home. Before we moved to Spain, we both lived in London – Andrew was designing children’s books for a major publisher and Ian worked for a number of charities educating businesses on the business benefits of inclusive design and diversity and inclusion.
What made you decide to open Casa Higueras?
Once we had decided to stay in Spain, we very quickly found the house we wanted to buy. It was determined then that the house would need to generate income, even if it was on a low-key basis. We have a portfolio career here, with another tourism business, and various other activities, and we try to ensure that we only do things we love doing and that will make us some money. We had to completely reform the property and we always did it with guests in mind. Ideally, we thought that any income generated through our guest business would be used to cover the running costs of the house, but we love having guests so it is becoming a major part of our portfolio.
Tell us a bit about what’s on offer in the area around Moclin
We absolutely love the village in which we live and consider ourselves to be extremely fortunate to have been so warmly welcomed. Through our tourism ventures, we want to share our passion for the area – the history, the culture, the people, art, music and the landscapes.
To that end, we provide creative course holidays that give guests access to unique insights into the Spanish way of life. For example, we run a week-long flamenco course that culminates in a performance for the villagers with a 13th Century Moorish castle as the backdrop. We take guests on picnics to caves where they can see 7,000 year old cave drawings, we run traditional Andalucian cookery classes in our kitchen, and take guests on tapas hikes around our favourite bars in Granada. We can also get private access to the Castle! Other courses we run include Children’s Book Creation, various painting courses, week-long cookery courses, photography and writing and all courses are inspired by this corner of Spain and include local culture and our neighbours in the village.
Do you have a favourite bar or restaurant nearby?
We have a huge variety of bars and restaurants in the area. We go into Granada a lot (it’s only 40 minutes away) and have many favourite, off-the-beaten track bars where we are welcomed like old friends. Closer to home, we love going to the Rincón de Marcelo in the next door village of Tózar to enjoy lunch or dinner on their large roof terrace looking back toward Moclín’s majestic castle on the rock.
We also frequent two very traditional bars in the village of Moclín, both of which serve home-cooked and hearty tapas accompanied by ice-cold beers. In the summer, there is a rather fabulous chiringuito (beach bar) in a very rural village called Mures – nowhere near the beach, but the vibe and the food are both excellent.
The view. We bought the house based solely on the view. From the back of the house, there are vast, uninterrupted views across to the city of Granada, The Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountain range beyond. In the winter months, when the mountains are topped with snow and the visibility is crystal-clear, this view is simply breathtaking.
What’s the best thing about running your business?
Meeting people and sharing our love of our corner of Spain. It’s very hard to describe why we love it here so much, but our neighbours are a big part of it. We never cease to be amazed by the history that surrounds us, and the beauty of the landscape. The views change constantly, depending on the weather and the seasons; it never gets dull. We love the food and the wine, and there is little better than sitting down around a table with our guests and watching them fall under the spell of this beautiful, intoxicating part of the world.
During lockdown in early 2020 Andrew and Ian were inspired to create the #Mytravelpledge organisation bringing together hospitality businesses who were happy to offer complimentary or discounted stays to NHS and other frontline workers. Another sign of their generous and entrepreneurial spirit. Find out more about #mytravelpledge