Caserío del Mirador review

cashiero

by Stephanie Anthony |

Your first overseas holiday as a new family can be a daunting experience - the logistics of packing everything you’ll need, the airport experience, the myriad of different of accommodation options, the heat, the food... Thankfully Caserío del Mirador in Spain, has your back, with five self-contained apartments kitted out with all the paraphernalia you’ll need, plus plenty for children and parents to enjoy. Here’s how mum-of-three Jane got on when she paid a visit with her family.

Where is Caserío del Mirador?

Caserío del Mirador is on the Costa Brava, high in the Bernia Hills, 10 minutes from the market town of Jalon and an hour and a half from Alicante airport. The flight time is about 2.5 hours from the UK (pack plenty of snacks and leave any screen time guilt at home!) which is ideal for your first family flight experience. The drive itself from Alicante is super easy but do consider paying extra for “locker collection” at Alicante airport if you book with Centuro.  You’ll skip the queues at the car hire desk and be on the road far sooner. You can pre-order car seats too or book yours into the hold with your airline.

Its location means the views from the property are breathtakingly beautiful and I felt a real sense of escapism, which I don’t think I’d have felt staying in a larger hotel. But crucially, we were also not completely isolated. The coast is in easy reach, along with local towns and villages. Owners Sarah and Johnny relocated with their small family some 19 years ago and are full of tips on where to go and what to do.  In fact, their advice, coupled with the fact that you’ll likely be staying with four other families all on their first holiday overseas gave us a real reassurance. Sarah often appeared with something I didn’t even know I needed and was really hands-on in ensuring we all had a good time.

pizza beach

As well as practical suggestions, there’s a brilliant garage packed full of “stuff”, so you don’t need to bring your own.  From buggies and beach mats, to buckets and spades, beach towels and parasols, Sarah and Johnny keep the items in excellent condition and there’s plenty to go around.

For beach days, our favourite was El Portet in Moraira, just a 45-minute drive (ideal to cover across nap times) with calm gentle waters for paddling and beautifully soft sand perfect for making sandcastles. We didn’t want to leave and there are two restaurants on the promenade so made a day of it on both days we visited. The bay of El Portet is, however, quite small and does get busy with locals who also flock to the spot, so make the most of those early risers and head out early!

Another favourite was Arenal beach in Javea, although the waves were too strong for my youngest two. The beach itself is as lovely, with palm trees and play areas and a long sweeping promenade. We headed to Javea late one afternoon (again timing the drive for nap time) enjoyed a play on the beach, pizza tea and then a sunset stroll with ice-creams.

Where will I sleep?

bedroom

We stayed in Palmera which was perfect for us with plenty of space and close to all the facilities. Absolutely spotless throughout there’s a spacious living area (including a TV with Cbeebies), small kitchen area, bathroom and two separate bedrooms (one double, one with two twins and a cot). The set up meant we were able to juggle everyone’s separate napping needs and still have space to play and relax. Across the week we all slept so well, beds were super comfy, bedrooms had air conditioning, and it was such a treat to wake up to a view of blue skies and palm trees.

Each apartment is kitted out with age-appropriate toys, games and books, along with a welcome basket of fresh milk, bread, juice, coffee, breadsticks and cereals. The kitchen came stocked with plastic bowls, plates, beakers, and cutlery, plus highchairs if you need. We also had a small hob and a decent sized fridge, so rustling up pasta pesto and cereals whenever little tums rumbled was super easy. Tragically I was also thrilled to discover there was a laundry service – so sandy clothes and ice-cream covered tees could quickly be washed over night.

kids bedroom

To the front of our apartment, we had a beautiful dining area, with views of the pool and down to valley below.  We were able to sit and enjoy the afternoon sun whilst the kids slept, and we all voted it our favourite spot for breakfast.

What is there to do at Caserío del Mirador ?

Our apartment was right next to the main terrace, the outdoor pool and the storage space for the outdoor toys – think building blocks, ride-ons, bats, balls, so we could get right into the action! The salt-water pool is heated, but we found it cool (it seemed a real personal preference though as no one else minded!). Close-by and under the shade of some trees is a spacious sandpit, with plenty of comfy sofas for the parents. I even managed to read a whole book across the course of the week! The pool area is completed with a reasonably priced honesty bar with coffees, soft drinks, water, beer and wine, plus crisps and ice-creams.

walking

Away from the main house and just past the vegetable garden are a climbing frame, swings and a slide, and further through the olive groves, a big outdoor trampoline. Nothing is too far for little legs and as there’s plenty of space we never felt on top of other guests.

Perhaps the star attraction for us and indeed all the guests were the furry residents. Every morning there’s a change to gather up eggs for breakfast from the hens and every evening a chance to feed Beryl the pig the days leftovers. There’s also a pair of mischievous goats, ponies and donkeys who also all like to meet the guests, plus plenty of bunnies to feed and cuddle.

What is there to eat?

You will NOT go hungry! Sarah serves up delicious fresh homecooked food five nights a week from her outside kitchen. Meals are extra, and you sign-up via the chalkboard each morning.

Communal kids’ suppers take place around 5/5.30pm (based on the needs of the guests that week) and are a real highlight. Our kids loved eating with others and Sarah has a magical touch at getting even the fussiest eater to try something. There’s a mix of familiar favourites (think roast chicken, pizza, pasta) and local dishes too. No one bats an eyelid if the broccoli goes flying or faces are covered in yoghurt. Cold beers and wine are served to the grown-ups and the best part - there’s no clearing up! I found not having to think about what the kids were eating such a break across the course of the week. And whilst I’m not sure they’ll try squid again at home, it was brilliant to see them experience new things.

food

For the grown-ups, a three-course dinner, including all alcohol, is served later once children are in bed. You can either bring the monitors supplied up to the room or eat on your private terrace outside your apartment.  We did a mix of both across the week; enjoying a chance to have a fancy dinner together, but also to be sociable and sit drinking wine under the stars with other adults! Sunday paella lunch was simply delicious and a great way to get to know the other families staying across the week and Friday night tapas marked the end of a wonderful week holiday.

There’s a Lidl in Jalon, around 10 minutes’ drive away where we picked up essentials for the week and a few bits for the nights when the kitchen was closed. The town also hosts a market every Tuesday which is well worth a visit to pick up some fresh fruit.

mirador

How much does it cost to visit?

One-bedroom apartments start from 193euro per night, and two-bedroom apartments from 343euro per night, however the price does vary based the length of stay and time of year. I genuinely found this a brilliant set-up for us. The size meant we had the intimacy of our own villa, but with other families for instant playmates and company for the adults. There was shared tales of sleepless nights and weening woes, plus plenty of laughter and support. Sarah was a brilliant host – best described as a holiday fairy godmother! There was plenty to do so we didn’t feel the need to constantly be out exploring and spending money, but when we fancied a change of scene, we could be at the beach in 30 minutes.

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