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Ronda or Vejer de la Frontera?

Old Aug 21st, 2014, 05:53 AM
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Ronda or Vejer de la Frontera?

Looking for a place to take a two-night break in between Sevilla and Granada during the first week of September. Had planned on Ronda because of logistics, hiking opportunities and because some of the Feria Pedro Romero festivities will have begun.

Friends who live in part-time in Sevilla have recommended Vejer over Ronda as a more extraordinary, less crowded destination. We know we would have a longer drive to Granada from there, but that's not a huge issue for us. Is it a mistake to miss the mountains and the beginning of the Ronda feria, supposedly one of the best in Spain? Which is preferable as our white village experience?
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 07:30 AM
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Ronda is bigger. Vejer will be cooler. The first week of September can be extraordinarily hot.
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 07:44 AM
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Vejer is much smaller and you will be close to a pretty beach and an interesting coastal area (tuna, Roman ruins), but fwiw, Vejer seemed to be full of expats (but I only took a day trip) and Ronda a bustling city with a white village attached (liked it so much I've been twice). You can't go wrong, just depends on what you are looking for. If the heat will make hiking a moot point, then maybe Vejer IS best.
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 08:51 AM
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Ronda has a few good places to dine, and there is a lot to see and do in the area (www.turismoderonda.es), including visiting Cueva de la Pileta. But the food in much better in Vejer!

One of the only issues with Vejer are the two main winds; Levante and Poniente, named after the rising and setting of the sun. From "The Five Winds of Vejer" - The Poniente is a consistent wind which doesn’t cause much trouble, but the Levante, gusty and hot, drives strong men to despair and causes general dismay.

It can also make it difficult to walk without leaning into the wind!
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 02:55 PM
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I might add to the confusion by suggesting Medina-Sidonia, a charming hill village a little north of Vejer. It's very old (reputedly one of the oldest settlements in Europe) with a good Roman history, nice little square, and some okay restaurants. Orange tree-lined streets, some good buildings, and the occasional bruja in the town square.

http://gardyloo.us/20120227_47s.JPG
http://gardyloo.us/20120227_53s.JPG
http://gardyloo.us/20120227_71s.JPG
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Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 08:11 PM
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Thanks for the very helpful feedback, everyone. Reporting live from Prague. Now more confused than ever. We were pretty much set on chilling in Vejer and braving the levantes because we will probably want two days of total relaxation at that point in our three week trip. But seeing Gardyloo's bruja made me think we should go to Ronda for the feria. (I lived in Mexico and love that kind of stuff...) Will check the weather forecasts, then decide.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:14 PM
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I shouldn't comment, as I didn't visit Vejer and so can't compare, but I can't imagine skipping spectacular Ronda. JMO.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2014, 07:27 AM
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You should visit Ronda rather than the other places. The only hang up will be finding accommodations at this late date. Good luck.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2014, 07:56 AM
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Surprisingly, there is still a decent selection hotels in Ronda available, probably because it's midweek. If we go we have a choice of Enfrente Arte (deluxe room w/view, but not of the gorge) or Montelirio (junior suite - gorge view). The parador also has a few rooms, but it's been getting terrible reviews. Which do your recommend?
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Old Aug 23rd, 2014, 08:38 AM
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We stayed a few nights this past spring at Aire de Ronda (www.airederonda.com), which is in the Padre Jesús quarter of Ronda near the Arab Baths, just down the street from the Church of Padre Jesús and across the street from Hotel EnFrente Arte. Good location for most, great small hotel with an outstanding host. Breakfast was unbeatable.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 07:49 AM
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Thanks, everyone, for all the help. We've decided on Ronda - Vejer involved too much driving and we're currently in Croatia where we've gotten our beach fix. Will be arriving the just before the big parade/fireworks kicking off the Goyesca festival. Robert2533, Aire de Ronda looks terrific, but is booked for our dates. But we have just chosen a hotel and will report back.
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Old Sep 1st, 2014, 08:01 AM
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Just curious - where are you seeing the terrible reviews of the parador in Ronda?
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Old Sep 1st, 2014, 10:51 PM
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Look at the recent negative comments on booking.com - bad service, tired public areas, unclean pool, needs upgrade. I have always wanted to stay in a parador, but this one seems like a chain hotel in a stellar location. Even the five-star TA reviews mention poor service and a package tour vibe.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2014, 01:00 AM
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We're in Ronda now and I checked out the Parador. It's in a primo location for views, but the common areas feel like a business hotel. Hotel Montelirio is on the more scenic side of the gorge, with more old world charm/old fashioned vibe. We ended up at Enfrente Arte because Mr. Crosscheck has severe gorge phobia and the photos of the breakfast area freaked him out.

The parade kicking off the feria was quite a sight to behold. Entire town decked out in period costumes. Afternoon are still swealtering, but mornings and evenings are perfect (high 60s/low 70s).
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Old Sep 3rd, 2014, 06:16 PM
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I would love to hear how you like Enfrente Arte. We're booked for our days in October but are open to suggestions if another option might be better.
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Old Sep 4th, 2014, 06:23 AM
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Hi debinthepeg,

Tough to answer without knowing you. Enfrente Arte is great fun, but not for everyone. It's more than a hotel, it's an altered state of mind...like time traveling to the 70s and moving into a funky Dali museum. Has a cult following among alt Swedes/Belgians and there's lots of interaction with fellow guests because of the 24/7 free bar.

PROS:
- Great rate
- Charming residential neighborhood, away from cheesy day tripper tourist area, glorious vistas at every turn
- We had the cool 'deluxe' room where Madonna stayed...four poster bed, Hemingway photos, mosaic toilet bench, small terrace overlooking the valley with spectacular white village street view on the other side (but neither view visible from bed)
- Endless patios and terraces, hidden nooks, decent pool area, free fish pedicure pond, all decorated with the uncommon, like Fiats, stone camels, glowing octopi, hanging trombones, etc.
- awesome breakfasts, caring staff
- people love the free drinks (but this means some fellow guests are big drinkers)
- would be perfect for kids/teens

CONS:
- Steep 10-15 minute uphill walk to old town/bridge. This was somewhat of an advantage because it guaranteed serious exercise if you go back and forth several times a day. But I would have preferred being in the flat old town closer to the action because of festival photos ops.
- Only two lounge chairs at the pool area - many scenic spots throughout the property, but few comfortable places to hang out
- Mattress too firm (this has been an issue throughout Andalucia...and I like a firm bed); thin towels; dark public areas


BOTTOM LINE: The Enfrente Arte is an unconventional travel experience, like an idiosyncratic hostel for grownups. Mr. Crosscheck loved it (and he spends a lot of time in 5* hotels for work). But I wished we had stayed in a junior suite with a once-in-a-lifetime view at the Montelirio. It could use an update, but has a killer location and a tranquil, more sophisticated feeling. We ended up having drinks there one night and Mr. C was not as gorge-averse as we thought.
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Old Sep 4th, 2014, 06:43 AM
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Enjoy the sunset over the gorge and a drink at El Maestro (the seafood tapas there is amazing btw)!
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Old Sep 4th, 2014, 08:17 AM
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We stayed at the parador for two nights in Ronda and it is a little tired..we had an amazing room, top floor, corner - with a HUGE terrace over looking the bridge - it was beautiful and made up for the bit of a tired hotel. Service was fine.

We loved Ronda - it was a highlight of our 2 weeks in Spain - I hope you enjoy!
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Old Sep 13th, 2014, 11:31 AM
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Sorry I didn't respond earlier. Great information. I still have time, so I will check further into the other potions.I think we'd be fine with the uphill walk but might like to be a little more central.
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Old Sep 13th, 2014, 03:49 PM
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Crosscheck - thanks for the review of Enfrente Arte. It was one of the places I've been looking at for our trip next May. But the view from Montelerio has grabbed me and I've got a reservation there for our 2-night stay. Your comments have solidified my decision, even tho it is a bit of a splurge for us.
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