A rustic villa and self contained cottage, near Marbella - 4 bedrooms - sleeps 8
Carolyn & Gordon Westcott
About Carolyn & Gordon Westcott
I was working in London when I was offered the opportunity of working for a firm in Spain and, after much deliberation, decided to give it a go and try to redress the work/life balance and take a sabbatical from the world of insurance. We were incredibly lucky to find this finca (rural property), built but not finished, which gave us an almost blank canvass to develop our own Spanish Dream. We had three fabulous years living there, mostly in a perpetual building site, but it never stopped us enjoying the sheer pleasure of our surroundings. We altered the layout, fitted the kitchen, finished the bathrooms, extended the original house, built the infinity pool, laid new terraces and set out the gardens and still found time to harvest our own olives and almonds. We were thrilled to be selected by BBC's Groundforce to do a complete makeover on our back garden. It was shown as their last ever episode and those memories will remain with us forever. Since returning to the UK we have kept as closely involved with Spain, Istan and the finca as possible and get no greater pleasure than hearing that our guests get as much enjoyment from their stay as we did, and still do.
Carolyn & Gordon Westcott purchased this Villa in 2002
Why Carolyn & Gordon Westcott chose Istán
When we decided to buy we spent a long time finding the perfect spot. An expansive view, preferably involving water, was our biggest wish and also to be away from the coastal strip but not miles away from anywhere. We searched from Gaucin & Casares to Alhaurin, Coin & Mijas but fell in love with Istan. It's position at the end of the mountain road at the head of the Rio Verde valley means it is one of the lesser known Pueblo Blancas (White Villages) and has not been spoilt by tourism and still retains Spanish charm and traditions. The finca is only 10kms (about a 15 minute drive) from the bustling coastal area of Marbella and Puerto Banus but enjoys a seclusion, peace and tranquillity all it's own, truly the best of both worlds.
What makes this Villa unique
Because we finished the house in the way we liked and furnished it for our own living it feels very homely and this comment has been passed by many of our guests and also that the villa has a certain ambience - but it's the location that is stunning. The house sits comfortably on the western slopes of La Concha, the mountain behind Marbella, in the Rio Verde valley adjoining the UNESCO Biosphere of the Sierra de las Nieves, facing west and surrounded by mountains and overlooking the lake and National Park, with few other houses in view. It has several living spaces and families of 8 can have as much personal privacy or communal 'get togethers' as they may want, yet a single couple can get just as much pleasure without feeling they are 'rattling around'. We feel the uniqueness of our house is the ability to get as much life and activity as anyone might want in Marbella and Puerto Banus, and other towns, villages, beaches and marinas on the Costa del Sol and enjoy world class golf at the numerous nearby courses, yet return easily to the silence and tranquillity of the mountain. Whenever we are there we make sure we are always on the front terrace for when the sun dips below the hills on the far side of the lake, glass of chilled wine in hand, toasting 'end of day' and listening to relaxing music. Our choice? Enya's 'Day Without Rain'. What will yours be?
Pool / Spa
Check-in: 4:00 p.m.
Check-out: 11:00 a.m.
No refunds for cancellations made after payment is made
Lovely autumn break
We thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing break in this lovely villa. Thank you.
Beautiful, quiet and well appointed.
A wonderful family experience. We rented to celebrate our 60th with grown up children, baby grandson and other family members.
The villa was roomy and comfortable with substantial Spanish style country furniture and decor. The annex was perfect for couple with toddler. (Bring your baby monitor to relax over dinner as door MUST be locked due to it’s proximity to the deep pool).
All rooms comfortable, pool fabulous, views glorious. We could not use the kayaks as the reservoir us unusually low and it is not possible to get them down the steep sides.
We enjoyed a lovely walk to Marbella from the path at the very top of Istán (not the toddler, not for children at all!)
A great base for relaxing by the pool, enjoying meals and for visiting lovely mountain towns such as Ronda and Caesares also the Costa del Sol towns.
It’s difficult to convey what a special place this is. The villa is beautiful and is set in a truly spectacular location.
Really impressed by how well equipped the villa was - especially the kitchen.
Really helpful owner and property management company.
The pictures simply do not do this place justice at all.
We all felt so lucky to spend a week here and when we left I vowed to come back - so we will!
Thank you for making our stay so enjoyable!
What a beautiful villa - such a peaceful position with fantastic views. We loved the warm breeze and sitting out on the verandas.
The pool was just wonderful- the cascade over the rocks into it was very picturesque.
We felt very far away from it all and yet there was a great supermarket less than a 15 minute drive away - we enjoyed many evenings barbecuing at the villa.
We also enjoyed some great meals out, particularly in Old Marbella.
Ronda was a good day out, as was Gibraltar but we spent a lot of time just enjoying the villa - swimming, reading, playing cards and soaking up the views.
Gordon and Carolyn were quick to respond to any messages, both before and during our stay, and the directions from the airport were great, as were directions to the local supermarkets.
We were all very sad to leave - everyone, from our 11 year old and a couple of teenage boys, to our 75 year old father, had a wonderful time.
A splendid holiday
A great place to stay and everything about it was really well administered. The ever-present (slightly hostile) stray cat was the only downside of an otherwise very enjoyable and relaxing week.
Review from the Leonards in Bath
We have just returned from a wonderful week at the villa in Istan. The location was stunning, the villa extremely comfortable and well equipped and all our dealings with the owners as well as the local contact were just perfect. We would recommend the villa to anyone looking for a Spanish holiday away from the crowds but near enough to have easy access to the bars, restaurant and beaches of Marbella and other nearby towns. We spent a lot of time enjoying the peace and quiet of the villa and its surroundings. We would definitely recommend this rental property and would love to return. We also came across a local fishing expert called Captain Amer (his details can be found online) who organised fishing trips on the lake, as well as kayaking. We spent a very enjoyable few hours on an organised fishing trip a short drive from the villa, down towards Marbella. Definitely worth looking up. All in all a perfect week away.
Whilst the villa itself is set in a secluded position on the quiet slopes of La Concha overlooking the lake of La Embalse de la Concepcion, the bustling town of Marbella with it's beaches and marinas is only a short drive away, including it's famous Orange Square (Plaza de Naranjos). The surrounding narrow cobbled streets of Marbella Old Town are a 'must see' for their stunning array of restaurants, artisan shops and designer boutiques.
The beautiful and vibrant marina of Puerto Banus is even closer by and offers an exceptional range of good quality restaurants offering international and local cuisine, and numerous bars and nightclubs for partying the night away.
Boat and jet ski rental, fishing and scuba diving are all available in this and other nearby marinas at Marbella, Cabopino, Estepona and La Duquesa. There are numerous nearby family friendly beaches with beach bars with sunbeds and parasols for relaxing with many offering a range of water sports for the active. At the luxury Nikki Beach you will find designer sunbeds and waiter service and beach parties every Sunday during the season.
The unspoilt Pueblo Blanco (white village) of Istan, which dates back to the 16th Century, is only 6 kms away within the same UNESCO Biosphere enjoyed by the villa. There is a natural spring which supplies Istan and the surrounding area, including our villa,
with water. Along with the Rio Verde, the spring feeds the lake which is used to supply water to Marbella and the western Costa del Sol. There are four local restaurants and three tapas bars and a range of small shops for basic provisions, including a bakers providing freshly baked artisan bread. There is also a local market on Saturdays.
The villa enjoys access to the lake where you can swim in perfect privacy and isolation or use our kayaks to explore the length of the lake and it's secluded inlets or enjoy a peaceful day picnicking or fishing for the plentiful carp.
The area is a designated Natural Park known as the Sierra de las Nieves and it is well worth doing a Jeep or quad bike safari of the surrounding countryside, which are available from Puerto Banus.
Horse riding and trekking is available at nearby Aloha.
The villa is central on the Costa del Sol, which is also known (deservedly!) as the Costa del Golf. There are numerous top quality Golf Courses within easy reach of the property including Finca Cortesin, Los Naranjos GC , Las Brisas GC, Aloha GC, La Dame de |Noche (floodlit), La Quinta Golf & Country Club, Marbella Golf & Country Club, Rio Real GC, Guadalmina GC, Atalaya GC, El Paraiso and Los Flamingos to name but a few!!
Slightly further afield is La Cala Golf and Alhuarin Golf and the world famous Valderamma at Sotogrande is an easy drive away of about 55kms as is the excellent new La Reserva course. The new and old courses of San Roque, featuring ancient Cork Oaks, are about 60kms from the Finca, about 45 minutes drive away as is the resort and golf course of Alcadeisa.
After a strenuous day on the golf course or a trip to the beach or visiting the sites there is nothing quite as relaxing as retreating to the peace and quiet of one of the villa's terraces and enjoying a glass of wine watching the sun set over the pool and lake.
The surrounding area is so natural and beautiful it has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere and has an incredible range of spring flowers, and wildlife including Golden Eagles, Ibex and wild boars.
The villa is about 2 hours drive from Granada with it's internationally acclaimed Alhambra Palace as well as the Sierra Nevada skiing area which enjoys good snow conditions from December to late March. It is one of the few places in the world where you can ski on piste in the morning and be water skiing from the beach in the afternoon.