If you follow me on social media you’ll know I recently returned from holiday – I might have mentioned it once or twice 🙂
We booked with Vintage Travel way way back in the mists of time (or as it’s more commonly known August 2014) and have been playing countdown ever since. I mean wouldn’t you play countdown if you knew this was coming?!
Vintage Travel are just coming into their 25th year and they know each property they have on their books. They like to speak to their customers and really take pride in offering a high quality of service to people that book with them.
We experienced that level of service as they fielded what can only be described as an abundance of queries from me. I was busy playing the role of nervous mum travelling with a two year old who doesn’t appreciate change. They dealt with every question I asked them as if I was a long standing customer and have a very easy and approachable manner – I didn’t feel silly or like I was annoying them at any point.
The online booking process was really easy and we were offered the chance to book car hire and flights through them as well which declined as our booking was so far in advance.
7 months passed by at snail speed and the holiday was upon us at last! Five weeks earlier they’d sent us a very swanky pack including directions to the property, information in the area we were visiting, luggage tags and some useful things to know like what facilities we could expect at the villa.
The day before we flew I got a text message from our rep from Vintage Travel to introduce herself and let us know there might be some traffic around Ronda as there was a festival on when we’d be passing by.
We woke up the morning of our flight and headed down to Southampton airport to begin our holiday. I was excited, my husband Rob was excited and our friends Geoff and Sophie were excited. Our daughter, Emma, was mostly grumpy about being up at 5:00am but we hoped at some point she’d become excited!
We flew with Flybe and check in was smooth. The flight was on time so just a two hours and twenty minutes later we touched down in sunny Malaga and were soon making the short walk to car hire. After a very long wait at the Avis desk we picked up the car and headed on our way to El Gastor.
The directions we had been given from Vintage Travel were brilliant – El Balcon is a very very very rural property and the directions were spot on using landmarks and mile markers. We had a brief moment of panic when it recommended we use the car odometer to track a distance before turning off – we were in a hire car and still figuring out how to turn off the radio let alone how to reset the odometer! Thankfully we were very close at that point so we were able to wing it!
Driving up to El Balcon is just lovely – the pool was glistening, the sun was shining and after travelling since 6:00am we were ready to start our holiday.
The villa is wonderful and perfect for a family or group of people to spend a holiday together. There is one double bedroom with an ensuite shower, one twin bedroom and another bedroom that can have one or two beds in and another main bathroom with shower and bath. Every room in the house has shutters that can be pulled down at night so no blackout blinds are needed and the kitchen is incredibly well supplied with crockery, cutlery and cookware as well as a dishwasher, microwave, oven and hob.
In the main living area there are comfortable sofas, a dining table to seat six, a beautiful fireplace (if you visit in the cooler months) and a balcony with the most incredible views and another table that seats 6 people. This is the perfect place to enjoy a cool drink during the day and a glass of wine at night while you watch the sun go down and the stars come out.
Downstairs you’ll find a huge open space with another toilet, table tennis table, some gym equipment, four bikes and clothes drying area. The bats for the table tennis table are a little well used and if I’m honest I wouldn’t entirely trust the gym equipment as it was a little wobbly and a bit old but then again I also wouldn’t use any gym equipment while I was on holiday so who am I to judge?!
It’s a great property to visit with children as the pool is gated from the house by the balcony and another gate at the end of the drive that stops escapee’s from making a bolt for rural Spain! There are a couple of very deep holes and uncovered drainage wells amongst the gardens but they are mainly by the drive where I can’t imagine children play much anyway.
The pool area is beautiful with an abundance of sun loungers, fixed parasols and a built in BBQ area that also has power running to it. Handy for that baby monitor to plug into in the evenings so you can hear what’s happening indoors even if you are by the pool. The fixed parasols are important and necessary as the pool area is a bit of a sun trap but also because where the property is on the side of a mountain it can get very windy up there. The constant breeze can be a little fooling about how warm it is but don’t be tricked – suntan lotion is very much needed even on cool days. Speaking of cool I should warn you about the pool. It’s cold. As in REALLY cold. The others said the only way to get in is to jump straight in although I’ll disagree and keep with my 20 minute creeping in method. Emma didn’t mind but then she was in a sunsuit, wetsuit and with a floatation jacket so why would she?!
Our rep from Vintage Travel visited the next day to give us maps, local information and let us know where everything was. We were very impressed with the service from our rep – she wasn’t at all intrusive but was very quickly on hand if we needed her. We ran out of gas for the hot water one day and she had it sorted and a replacement gas canister arrive within the hour. She works very closely with the villa owner who was also helpful and the most smiley man we’d ever seen in our lives. We felt very well taken care of and appreciated her leaving us to enjoy our holiday in peace as well.
The house is so well equipped and in such a lovely location we didn’t feel inclined to leave very often but when we did we visited El Gastor, Ronda and Zahara. These are all beautiful towns and should be on your visiting list if you are in the area.
The week passed in a blur of cava, ice cream and BBQ’s and all too quickly it was over.
We had a brilliant holiday and not only would I recommend El Balcon as a destination but I’d recommend Vintage Travel as a company to travel with. They were so helpful, so polite and we felt much more looked after than we have done in any holiday we’ve booked with a high street agency. We didn’t feel like just another booking but an actual valued and individual customer. We will 100% book a holiday with them again and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking to book a break.
Our trip to El Balcon was priced at £690 for a week plus car hire from Avis and flights from Flybe.
This review was not given in return for any part of the holiday nor any other financial or material reward.
You can find information on Vintage Travel on their website https://www.vintagetravel.co.uk