Photos: Peter Staes
The Costa del Sol’s hinterland is home to a exceptional array of mountain havens that are ideal for a reinvigorating weekend getaway or a longer family holiday. Conveniently located for those travelling from the main coastal urban areas, they offer a wonderful mix of relaxation, cuisine, leisure and stunning views. Some also provide an intriguing insight into the area’s rich history – like Castillo de Monda, for example.
An intimate boutique hotel, Monda Castle is built on the foundations of “Al-Mundat”, an Arab fortress from the ninth century. One of the original towers and parts of the foundations are still visible, and its hillside setting provides breathtaking views in all directions, overlooking the picturesque white village of Monda below and across the mountain range to Málaga and the Mediterranean. The site of the town was originally occupied by an Ibero-Roman fortified enclosure established by the Romans in the third to first centuries BC. Some historical accounts report the presence of a Phoenician settlement before the arrival of the Romans, who built a cobbled road (parts of which remain today) linking the coast near San Pedro, through Istán, Monda, Cártama and on to Málaga. There is strong evidence that the famous “Battle of Munda”– where Julius Caesar led his troops against the Roman republican forces in 45 BC – was held in the hills and on the plains of current-day Monda.
The original construction of today’s castle is thought to date from the eighth century. It fell into disrepair towards the end of the ninth century and Christian leader Omar Ibn Hafsun rebuilt itand named it Al Mundat. In 990 it was destroyed by Abbas Ibn Almundir before being rebuilt in the 11th century by the Hammudíes and becoming a key garrison over several centuries. In spring 1485, invading Christians under the command of Captain Hurtado de Mendoza y Luna took control, and the fortress remained mostly intact until 1570 when, after an abortive Arab uprising, it was almost completely demolished. Hurtado became the first mayor of Monda. In 1570, Arevalo de Zuago arrived with 80 settlers to ransack the castle and slaughter the Moriscos (Moors converted to Christianity) living there. The settlers established their town at the foot of the castle hill, where Monda village is today, and the church is built on the site of the old mosque. The castle remained a ruin for 400 years until, in the mid-1970s, a German aristocrat bought what little was left and began an ambitious re-building project. Eventually the castle ruins were sold to a group of English entrepreneurs, who completed the work and opened the place as a luxury hotel. It was sold on to an American consortium with the aim of making it a timeshare resort, and it was also briefly a private club before being taken over by a consortium of Dutch entrepreneurs and hospitality professionals.
The castle was re-opened in March after a major revamp, and now offers a range of modern-equipped accommodation – from comfortable double to spacious family rooms or suites – as well as the fine dining Albacar restaurant, a swimming pool, a tropical roof garden, a patio for sublime chilling-out and the Sopure wellbeing centre with its spa amenities and wide range of treatments for body, mind and soul.
The castle’s spectacular location and historic nature also make it an excellent location for company incentive trips, product launches, photo shoots, weddings, and other special events.
Hotel-Restaurant Castillo de Monda Monda
Tel. (+34) 952 459 836