|Minimum Stay||3 nights|
The Albayzin is a legendary neighborhood of white-washed houses, secret gardens and narrow cobblestone streets. Roses, jasmine and plumbago cascade over high walls and residents step through dark wooden doors into lanes of dappled light and shade. Many visitors explore the Albayzin, but never get a chance to experience first-hand the hidden beauties of its historic "carmens", which are houses with walled gardens.
This five bedroom villa, in the heart of the Albayzin, is the private home of writer Steven Nightingale, who lived here with his wife Lucy Blake, and their daughter Gabriella while writing his acclaimed "Granada, A Pomegranate in the Hand of God". The house is full of antiques and family treasures meant to welcome you into the intimacy of a lovingly restored home. From the moment you walk into the cool front hall, with dazzling blue and white tiles from the 19th century, you are in a surround of beauties: painted ceilings, stained-glass windows over a century old, ancient tiled floors, and a fragrant garden alive with fruit trees, cooing doves, and the sound of running water. Day and night, the silhouette of the Alhambra dominates the skyline, as it has done for more than seven centuries.
The house is organized around a peaceful garden and patio, where water splashes softly from a octagonal marble fountain, flowing into a small "alberca" or pool used in Moorish times to cool the air and delight the eye. To the right of the entry way is a cozy, wood-paneled living room with a working fireplace and hand-painted windows, the perfect place to gather on cold winter nights, or retreat from the heat in summer. The kitchen and dining room are one big space, made for cooking, eating and enjoying the company of good friends and family. Small touches - like beautiful hand-made plates from the Fajalauza ceramic workshop in the upper Albayzin and bright yellow and white tiles in the star and cross pattern -- testify to the enlivening legacy of al-Andalus.
The main house has three bedrooms upstairs: the master bedroom with a queen bed and a balcony looking straight out to the Alhambra; and the Arab Room with a queen bed, stained glass windows with inset six-pointed stars, and a stucco band of Arabic inscriptions copied from the Alhambra. The third room, Gabriella's room, has a single bed, and on its walls original murals painted in the 1920s, showing children playing traditional games. These three bedrooms share a spectacular Moroccan-style bathroom, with an arched shower and bath and hand-painted tiles imported from Fez.
Taking the narrow stairs up to the third floor, you arrive at a library and study, with internet access, two desks, and a vaulted ceiling. The study's double doors open onto a terrace with astounding 360 degree views, from the original 11th century city walls to the houses and gardens of the Albayzin cascading down the hillside to the River Darro below. And, so close that you feel you could touch it: the Alhambra. Enjoy a drink on the terrace before dinner or come back after dinner to sit under the stars and savor the cool breezes flowing from the mountains.
Two additional bedrooms -- one with a queen bed and one with a double bed -- give directly onto the garden. Each has its own half bath and between them is a shower room with pinwheel tiles copied from a wall just outside thte Throne Room of the Alhambra. Outside the garden rooms, the garden is thick with scent, of orange and lemon, pomegranate and persimmon, jasmine, roses, mock orange and rosemary.
In spring, summer and fall, guests may eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner outside on a marble table shaded by an ancient grape arbor. After lunch, canvas chairs can be tilted back for a siesta in the shade before you venture forth to explore more of Granada.
The house has high speed internet access, a DVD player for movies, and a Bluetooth music player, but no television. It also has a washer and dryer that you are free to use.
Your hosts will leave you tips on their favorite restaurants in Granada, where to buy groceries and wine, how to find beloved walks in the hills above the Alhambra, who you can call to brush up on your Spanish, where you can see flamenco guitar, and other suggestions to make your visit memorable.
Travelers should be aware that the Albayzin is a quiet residential neighborhood, where the neighbors are close by. It is emphatically NOT a place for loud and boisterous parties that are disruptive of the tranquillity of the residents in the Albayzin. It is a place for families, for quiet gatherings, and good will, and we ask that all visitors respect the lives of our neighbors and the peace of the barrio.
We hope that our home will be a source of joy and delight for you, just as it has been for us. Go in peace.
Steven Nightingale is the author of Granada, A Pomegranate in the Hand of God (or, in the English edition, Granada, The Light of Andalucia). He and his wife, Lucy Blake, moved with their daughter Gabriella to Granada in 2003 and restored the Carmen de Nuestra Señora de la Purificacion. Steven is also the author of six collections of sonnets, two novels, reviews, and essays on education and the wilderness of the American West. The family now divides their time between the San Francisco Bay Area and Granada.
Steven Nightingale purchased this house in 2002
Beautifully appointed house with everything you need and the view is amazing .
This was a fantastic experience. If you are able to rent this property, you absolutely should. The Carmen is a very special property. It is far more than simply renting a first class place to stay. It is like staying at the home of an extremely considerate family friend. Everything that you need has been thought of: from lemons and oranges from the garden to jars of preserved olives from its own tree. The house is extremely comfortable. Our family of two older teenagers and mum and dad had plenty of privacy and we felt privileged to be staying at the Carmen. Being able to read the novels written by the owner author prior to going (and while there) enhanced the experience. The garden was an amazing and relaxing place to rest after a day of sight seeing. I needed to spend a day loafing around the house, while the kids and dad were out and I felt so relaxed and "at home". I didn't feel as though I missed a thing. Frankly, I didn't want to leave. I could have stayed for a month, just in the house, squeezing my own fresh lemonade from the lemons in the garden, listening to the fountains, reading the owner's books and looking at the Alhambra, both day and night...... What a view!!! We also recommend the Hammam which is a short walk from the house.
I spent a week in Grenada on a painting holiday with friends. We were 5 in the house and extremely confortable. Everything we needed was on hand. The place and the view was so exceptional that the art class all turned up one afternoon to paint the view of the Alhambra and the house. Books everywhere, and I love to read. The Owner's book on the house and the area is fascinating so I ordered myself a copy when I came home. I would recommend this house most warmly.
We expected a beautiful house after seeing the pictures, but it was even more than that. The landscape, garden, terrain, city-area and house was inspiring and the best setting ever for a holiday.
Steven and Lucy are welcoming and giving hosts. Best recommendations from Denmark!!!
El Carmen de Steven en el Albaicin de Granada es un lugar increíble, con vistas a la Alhambra. La casa es cómoda y esta muy cuidada, puesta con todo el cariño. Totalmente recomendable.
Sólo tener en cuenta que no puede llegarse directamente con coche a la puerta de la casa lo que la hace mas encantadora todavía.
|Refundable Damage Deposit||£434|
The Albaicin is a largely pedestrian neighborhood with narrow cobblestone streets on a steep hill facing the Alhambra. It is not an easy place for anyone with mobility issues to access.
* Approximate monthly price. Actual pricing will depend on the days of the month you stay.