At a glance

  • You'll love

    A really rural retreat

    Hydrotherapy at U-Spa

    Fine dining à deux

  • Kids will love

    All-action activities

    A properly cool pool

    Teen hangout spot

  • Don’t expect

    A crèche

    Inexpensive dining

    Walking-distance towns


A world away from anywhere, family-friendly luxury hotel Barceló La Bobadilla near Loja is set within its own 900-acre estate. Lounge poolside or borrow a bike and lose yourself among verdant olive groves. Outdoorsy pursuits for kids include riding Andalusian horses or getting stuck into kitchen-gardening; for grown-up pleasures, amid soaring arches and marble colonnades, there's an ultra-modern spa and award-winning food.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking La Bobadilla with us:

A bottle of local mead, and one spa day pass an adult, for each stay (worth €22 each)


Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including La Bobadilla – has been selected and approved by parents.


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Barceló La Bobadilla – Loja – Spain

Need To Know


67, including eight interconnecting Junior Suites and four Family Suites.


12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from $212.06 (€171), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates include a buffet breakfast. Children Under-3s stay free in cribs; extra beds for under-12s are charged at €40–€55 a night; extra beds for over-12s are €80–€110 a night.


There’s an indoor pool within the spa in case of bad weather – but be prepared to pay €20 to use it (the spa entrance fee). 

Hotel closed

La Bobadilla shuts its doors from 13 November 2016 to 2 March 2017, and from 19th November 2017 onwards.

At the hotel

1,000 acres of private land, including kitchen gardens and a mini, turtle-filled lake; spa and gym; swimming pools; three restaurants and a bar; kids’ club with seasonal playground; games room; stables; paddle and tennis courts, petanque pitch; bikes to borrow; library of books and DVDs; free WiFi throughout.

In your room

LED TV, stereo system with a USB port and Bluetooth connection, a well-stocked minibar, free bottled water on the first night, DVD players, UK-US plug sockets and black-out shutters. Higher room categories have Nespresso coffee machines.

Our favourite rooms

Junior Suites are spacious, family-friendly and have a terrace, balcony or garden. Room 45 is lovely, with a good-sized terrace and shutters that you can fling open for countryside views – it interconnects with room 44, a Junior Suite. Junior Suite number 55 is open-plan and has ample room for extra beds and energetic kids. It has a wraparound terrace perfect for a sundowner. The sole dedicated family suite has a separate lounge and two bedrooms (book well in advance). Rooms 36–75 in the new wing are neutral with a winning pared-back look courtesy of the super-stylish folk at Spanish interiors label, Becara (be warned: beyond the new wing, you may find the traditional decor a little chintzy).


Like a lengthy pool? You’ll love La Bobadilla’s 1,200sq m outdoors number, surrounded by shady palms. It's open seasonally, from May to October, weather permitting (from 11am–6pm only, in October). There are ample loungers to bronze on while your tweens splash about, plus Balinese day beds and parasols to hire on the adjacent manicured lawn (soft drink and a Jacuzzi session included). This main pool is open 10am–8pm; in high season, it's manned by lifeguards all day, and between 11am and 8pm waiters will whisk drinks and snacks to your poolside perch. Kids have their own unheated, shallow pool (BYO floats and toys). 


Classical baths-style U-Spa is all tiles, exposed brick columns and high, arched white ceilings; there are three treatment rooms (including a couples' suite with two massage tables and two whirlpool baths)and a hydrotherapy zone incorporating a heated indoor pool with body jets, hydro-massage pool with neck massages and waterfall, plus a solarium, Finnish sauna and steam room. Book a primp (waxing, mani-pedi) or a pamper (seaweed wrap or anti-ageing marine facial) then relax on roomy day beds by the pool. Kids are usually allowed in the spa pool from 11am to 1pm (under-12s must be accompanied by an adult), otherwise it’s over-18s only. If you’ve arranged a babysitter, the two of you can try treatments such as a 3.5 hour pamper por dos including body peel and purifying mask, facial scrubs and hot-stone massage, plus fresh fruit and cava. There’s also a workout zone with all the standard cardio kit, weights and treadmills, and there's a hair salon. Be aware that hotel residents still pay €22 a person to use the spa, including its indoor pool.


This is the countryside, so you’re likely to be sharing it with all creatures great and small, including, potentially, wasps near the terrace at breakfast, ants near the pool and mozzies after nightfall; however, the hotel take all measures to ensure critters keep away. Take the requisite child-friendly lotions and potions. Some suites can accommodate extra beds: the Junior Balcony suite can sleep either two extra children or one extra adult; the Junior Solarium suite can sleep either one extra child or one extra adult. The charges vary. In low season (3 March – 11 April; 17 April – 27 April; 2 May –  22 June; 10 September – 10 October; 15 October – 26 October; 1 November – 18 November), it’s €80 an adult each night, and €40 a child each night. In high season (12 April – 16 April; 28 April – 1 May; 23 June – 9 September; 11 October – 14 October; 27 October – 31 October), it’s €110 an adult each night, and €55 a child each night.

Book ahead

It pays to plan, especially in peak season. If you know you’ll want to get bikini-ready in the spa on the first day of your holiday, or dinner for the two of you on your last night while a babysitter minds the kids, then book everything in advance before you even reach for your suitcase. If you'd like the family to learn the basics of Andalucian cuisine, private cooking classes must be booked a week in advance.


The rate for pets varies according to size (small pets can stay from €37 a night), however they are not permitted in the hotel's restaurants or other public areas.


La Bobadilla is an eco pioneer, being the first luxury hotel to use ultra-sustainable olive-stone biomass fuel as an energy source for its heating and hot water. There's also an organic kitchen garden, plus plenty of low-impact activities.

Food and drink

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Barceló La Bobadilla – Loja – Spain


Refined La Finca is one of Granada's most respected restaurants, on account of Antonio Organero’s creative flair. We're talking a whole section of the menu dedicated to different kinds of gazpacho (lobster, say, or eel and dill) alongside Andalusian and Mediterranean dishes. The wine cellar at this destination restaurant wins awards. El Cortijo is closer to the main building and both white-tablecloth and family-friendly (there are steps leading off to lots of different nooks and crannies making it perfect if you want to commandeer your own spot with the kids). Breakfast (included in your room rate) is served in La Bobadilla's lounge: a lavish buffet of fruit and yoghurt, local cheeses and jamón, made-to-order eggs, waffles, pancakes, plus chilled cava to kick off a cosseted day of doing nothing.

Family fare

El Cortijo and provides highchairs, beakers and bowls plus mini pasta and fish dishes on kids’ menus that go beyond the standard sausages or burgers (it’s the same menu in all the restaurants, though); and chefs are happy to whip up baby purées on request. La Finca is a more grown-up affair.

Hotel Bar

A gin and tonic in the attractive square of La Plaza’s bar (in the shadow of the bell tower) is a peaceful way to round off the day (inside, the decor's a bit drab and the piped music passé).

Last orders

Breakfast is served 8am-11am. Lunch is served at La Plaza 1.30pm-4pm. You can dine in El Cortijo 8pm-11pm and La Finca 8pm-10.30pm. The bar is open from 11am–midnight. 

Smith Insider

  • Top table

    La Finca’s candlelit courtyard is the perfect foil for romance (as autumn kicks in, keep each other cosy by the crackling fire indoors).

  • Room service

    The 24-hour room service menu includes both staples and more elaborate creations. Rooms don't have kettles, but staff will happily bring you hot water or milk when needed.


    Know this: nowhere in the resort offers inexpensive options on the food front, so be prepared to forage further afield if need be.


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Barceló La Bobadilla – Loja – Spain

Parent approved

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including La Bobadilla – has been selected and approved by parents.

Kids Club

Children aged 4–12 can stay and play at the summer-only (July and August) mini club unaccompanied (free, no booking needed, usually open 10.30am–1.30pm and 4pm–6pm), so parents can lunch, spa or dine quietly on their own. However, younger kids will need an adult in tow. Outside, there’s a gated playground near the pool (open seasonally, May to September) from  with slides, rocking horses and plenty of shade. Inside, staff supervise story time or colouring-in and additional activities are organised according to different themes (past themes have included ‘Magic’ Monday, where your little ones might make wands, capes and cast their own spells); expect bowling, board games, painting and more. Be aware that if you leave the little ones at the mini club for the 10.30am-1.30pm session, they won't get fed. Tweens and teens have their own (unsupervised) lounge, La Bodeguilla, which is open 24 hours a day for games of pool, and racing Sonic the Hedgehog around a digi PlayStation dirt track; there's even a piano in there for some impormptu ivory-tinkling.


Local English-speaking babysitters are available for around €35 an hour, excluding tax at 21 per cent; minimum bookings apply. Book at least two days in advance.

What's there already?

For babies

• Highchairs • Baby blender (book in advance) • Beakers/sippy cups • Travel cot • Cot bedlinen • Black-out blinds • Crayons • Board books

For toddlers

• Highchairs • Beakers/sippy cups • Cot beds • Cot bedlinen • Bathroom step • Bicycles with training wheels • Bike helmets • Crayons/pens • Craft materials • Picture books • U-rated DVDs • Playground with slides • Rocking horses

For older children

• Playground with slides • Horseriding • Bikes to borrow • Bike helmets • Tennis and table tennis • Board games • Craft materials • DVD library • PlayStation


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Barceló La Bobadilla – Loja – Spain

Things to do

With nearly 900 acres of farm and forest to explore, you and your brood might choose never to venture beyond La Bobadilla’s boundaries. Borrow bikes for all the family and get lost among groves of olive trees or set out from the stables to survey the surrounds on horseback. You'll find surprises around every corner, be it a lake where turtles like to lounge, a pétanque piste to beat dad on, or tennis and table tennis to play with new pals from the kids’ club. Elsewhere, the swimming pool and soothing hydrotherapy spa are together just the tonic for pepping up Mr and Mrs Smith, while mini Smiths are playing in the club. 

Sunny days

That pool won’t be beaten on a sun-soaked day – treat yourself to a body wrap then take your newly polished limbs to a sunlounger for some quality R 'n' R. If you tire of sitting still, there’s plenty for you to partake in within La Bobadilla’s manicured grounds. Stroll by the hotel lake, pick up the pace with a jog along marked-out trails or trek on the hotel’s resident Andalusian horses and ponies. There’s pétanque, bikes for all the family to borrow, one clay and one paddle tennis court, plus some old-school country pursuits. All activities are open to children when accompanied by an adult.

Rainy days

If dark clouds loom, head to the spa for a massage or workout while the kids watch a DVD or beat Mr Smith at table tennis. Family cooking classes (for over-12s) focus on Andalucian dishes; these must be booked more than seven days in advance. There are plenty of nooks and crannies for lounging with a glossy or paperback, or you could swim together at the spa’s indoor pool. 

And there's more…

Ask a kids’ club staffer to show your little ones around the organic kitchen gardens – if they time it right, they might get to help plant something or pick some produce for dinner.

Local Guide

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Barceló La Bobadilla – Loja – Spain
Smith tip

Book tickets for Alhambra well in advance (or ask the hotel to), especially in high season; select later time slots for Nasrid Palace tickets – they're a long way from the car parks and you'll have time to meander through other parts of the site first.

Don't miss…

… sampling delicious local Mencal wines and sherry from Jerez … trying typical dishes such as Gazpacho Andaluz

Andalucia is the soul of real Spain – drive for around 40 minutes to Granada to see Alhambra and your journey takes in distant rugged mountains and fragrant orange and almond trees. Malaga and access to the Costa del Sol beaches beyond are also about 40 minutes by car. However, en route to Malaga there's a cache of family-friendly eateries in Antequera; Restaurante Plaza de Toros (+34 (0)951 469 333) is an old-school, stone-walled eatery with traditional dishes, including Milanese-style chicken and hake for little Smiths. Arte de Cozina (+34 (0)952 840 014) is a petite tapas joint where kids can pick and choose a few small plates. Seville and Cordoba are both a couple of hours' drive away. Family ski trips to the Sierra Nevada range (including transfers) can be organised by the hotel, on request.

Granada houses the Alhambra (+34 (0)958 027 971) – a sightseeing must. This Unesco World Heritage site (Spain’s number-one tourist honeypot) has a day's worth of wonders, including the 9th-century Alcazaba fortress, Nasrid Palaces and Generalife gardens. Intriguing history, beautifully landscaped grounds and spectacular feats of water engineering make for a fascinating archi-tour, and the converted palace stands today as one of Europe’s most important historic records of Moorish architecture. Book tickets well in advance to avoid lengthy queues (or the possibility of not getting in at all). The site is enormous, so pick your priorities. Little ones can play make-believe conquistador up turrets and on terraces, or hide-and-seek among ornate columns, hidden courtyards and fountains. Don’t forget to bring bottled water, snacks and sunscreen: the summer sun can be punishing. There are also two museums and various other monuments on site.

Support wolf conservation and learn a bit more about el lobo itself at Antequera’s Lobo Park Wolf Reserve (+34 (0)952 031107), about 40 minutes from La Bobadilla by car. All the animals that roam free here do so in an entirely natural environment – most were reared within the park so they’re used to being around humans. This is a unique opportunity to observe these wild animals and their social practices – you can even visit for a Full Moon Party with a difference and watch the reserve’s residents howl at the proverbial moon. There’s a little zoo area where youngsters can meet foxes and goats as well as baby wolves – it has an educational bent, so your would-be park wardens will come away having learnt where cheese and milk come from, how a sheep’s woolly coat becomes a jumper, maybe even what came first, the chicken or the egg. Entry €11; €7 for 3–12 year olds; free for under-3s. 

+ Enlarge
La Bobadilla
Carretera Salinas-Villanueva de Tapia, Km 65.5, Finca La Bobadilla, Loja, Granada, 18300
Hotel setting

Remote rural estate

Getting There

Set on some 900 acres of private land, La Bobadilla is in the heart of Andalucia and the middle of nowhere, flanked by rolling countryside, distant mountains and fragrant olive trees. Despite this, Granada is a family-friendly 40 minutes away.


You've got two options, both within a 40-minute drive: Malaga's international airport is 60km away and served by British Airways, EasyJet and Aer Lingus, among others; and Federico García Lorca (aka Granada) Airport, 55km away – British Airways operates a few flights a week here from London City Airport, or you can fly with Iberia from London Heathrow.


Santa Ana station is 20 minutes away from the hotel and has AVE rail connections to Seville, Madrid and Barcelona.


If you want to get about independently you’ll definitely need to hire a car: the hotel’s private driveway alone is 3km long. Onsite parking is free. From Granada, take the A92 towards Granada-Seville until exit 175 and head towards Villanueva de Tapia. If you’re coming from Malaga, take the E902/N341 towards Antequera-Granada, then head towards Granada (A359) until exit 1 (Salinas). About 5 km after this exit, heading towards Iznajar/Villanueva de Tapia (A333), you’ll see the main entrance to the hotel on your right. An alternative route from Malaga is to take the A45 main road then turn right towards Granada, Seville, Cordoba (A92M). Take exit 1 towards Fuente Camacho, Salinas/A333/Villanueva de Tapia then keep left at the junction and follow signs towards Loja/Granada (A92). Turn left and continue on the A7200 until you reach the A333 main road towards Villanueva de Tapia/Iznajar.


If you want to make like Marine One you can arrive with a fanfare and touch down on the resort’s helipad; make arrangements in advance.

Parent travel tip

It’s pretty easy to drive past the turn-off for the resort, so play a game with the kids and tell them to keep their eyes peeled (and set the SatNav to exit 175, Villanueva de Tapia, Iznajar, Salinas).


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Barceló La Bobadilla – Loja – Spain

Smith & Family  Parent Panel reviews

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including La Bobadilla – has been selected and approved by parents.

Acres of olive groves inviting hand-in-hand strolls, a peaceful spa, distant Andalucian mountain breezes, a humungous pool: if it’s an all-out flop you’re after then luxury country hotel Barceló La Bobadilla might just be the place. But you can’t all-out flop with restless tweens in tow, right? Wrong. Think of this place as a bit like a PGL in a parador: bikes, tennis, clay-pigeon shooting, pony rides… the list of kids' activities goes way beyond the standard ‘pool and playground’ offering. And given the house brigade of babysitters, the two of you can chink flutes of cava over a little moonlit fine-dining before retiring to your well-appointed suite. Throw open the shutters and watch stars twinkle overhead in clear inky skies. Yes, it’s a family holiday, but amid La Bobadilla’s 900 acres, there’ll always be room for romance.

Smith & Family

Arriving at the Hotel Bobadilla, there is a point where acres of olive trees give way to a stone driveway and the light reflects across the gleaming white stone of the chapel opposite. Surveying the scene – all bright greens and blues speckled with hot-pink bougainvillea – I thought, ‘I don’t think anything is going to beat this’. Then I saw a waiter pass by with an enormous, perfectly frosted gin and tonic for one of hotel's guests, who was perched under the shade of a nearby porch... During our stay there were plenty more of these moments. Not least the look on my daughter’s face as she spotted the pool that lies amid palm trees at the bottom of a rolling hill, and the glint of a playground beyond. Or watching my husband wrestle with the kids in the lush, secluded garden that lay outside our suite, while sipping from a complimentary bottle of dry local sherry. Not to mention watching our son’s expression as he tasted the yellow apricotty nisperos fruit plucked straight from a tree among olive groves and grazing horses. My favourite of all might have been stumbling upon the hotel's very own riding school while exploring the endless grounds. Gazing on as the groom, an elderly gent who looks after their six pure-breeds and two ponies, brushed a beautiful Andalucian horse, we tucked into picked-by-our-own-hand nisperos. These scenes gave me something to ponder later as I lazed in the perfectly serene U-Spa, road-testing the steam room and tropical showers… until these thoughts were eclipsed by such dilemmas as whether to eat tender oxtail or stuffed sardines for dinner that night in one of the three modern Spanish restaurants.

Anonymously reviewed by Charlotte Philby

The Guestbook  Smith member reviews

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith & Family hotel, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what real-life family guests had to say about La Bobadilla in the Guestbook below.


Stayed on

We loved

Stunning setting and extremely helpful staff.

Don’t expect

The food is expensive and with the location there aren't really alternatives to visit. On the upside, the food is amazing so you get what you pay for!

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

Everything about the hotel. Hire a car and there is an array of wonderful places to visit with an hour.

Don’t expect

Cheap food or drink

Rating: 10/10 stars