AS the temperatures drop and the mountains around Spain ‘white up’, a host of romantic weekend escapes and family capers open up.
While skiing is on many tourist and expat agendas, simply getting up into stunning mountain scenery is enough for most.
Sitting by a fire, reading a good book, taking a bracing stroll, followed by a massage or dip in a spa is a wonderful way to relax during winter in Spain.
Here, the Olive Press offers 10 options to find yourself in soaring hills and peaks.
La Pleta – Baqueira Beret (Lerida)
This Pyrenean gem sits in the heart of Spain’s most regal skiing retreat.
While you may spot any number of Spain’s Royals taking to the slopes, you can equally happily hole up and enjoy the interior of La Pleta with its stunning snowy vistas.
As well as a spa and Alpine style rooms, it also counts on no-less than four restaurants, each with their own style and price-point. (www.lapleta.com)
Casa Irene – Arties (Lerida)
In breathtaking mountain scenery you can’t avoid being impressed.
Since 1974, Casa Irene has been serving visitors to the stunning Valle de Aran area, a dream for walkers and skiers, sitting just six kilometres from the celebrated nearby slopes of Baqueira.
There are just 22 rooms, each very Alpine in style, as well as its own spa, pool and highly-rated restaurant. (www.hotelcasairene.com)
Terra hotel – Bonansa (Huesca)
Well integrated into the rolling landscape, the Terra hotel in Bonansa is leading the way in eco-accommodation.
High in the Aragon Pyrenees, it has been carefully built with bioclimatic and contemporary lines.
A stylish escape, it was designed by architect Alejandro Royo, who was born in the village, and counts on just six suites.
The area is perfect for walking and birdwatching in winter. (www.hotelterra.es)
Vinas de Larrede – Larrede (Huesca)
Looking like an Alpine chalet, constructed of Siberian wood and with its ornate carved balconies, charming Vinas de Larrede is the very epitome of a mountain retreat.
It is also an award-winning hotel for both its romantic luxury and innovative cuisine.
Even better, the 17-room boutique hotel sits in the Valle de Tena, just 20 minutes from the Pyrenean skiing resort of Formigal and you can rent skis and gear at the hotel.
For nature lovers the breathtaking Ordesa National Park is just 30 minutes away. (www.hotelvinasdelarrede.es)
Las Mugas – Formigal (Huesca)
There are few ways to get closer to the slopes than to literally sleep next to them.
The exclusive handful of igloos – called Las Mugas – that sit at 1,800m in the skiing resort of Formigal are a brilliant way to eat and sleep surrounded by snow.
You are taken up to these ingenious tents by snowmobiles from the main resort and will enjoy 24 hour service and dinner served up after a hard day on the slopes.
At night, the stars will be your main companions (www.formigal-panticosa.com/mugas)
La Vella Fraga – Solsona (Lerida)
This historic 11th century country estate (or masia) sits at the entrance to the Catalan Pyrenees.
Sitting in 300 hectares of its own stunning woodland scenery, in winter expect it to turn white with snowy peaks as a backdrop.
Just 90 minutes from Barcelona, its 13 rooms are all well appointed and feature plenty of antique furniture (www.hotelvellafraga.com)
Hotel Kenia Nevada – Sierra Nevada (Granada)
This grande dame of the Sierra Nevada resort, in Granada, couldn’t be better located or established.
Just 100m from the main ski lift, as well as 200m from all the resort’s main restaurants, its staff are friendly and bend over backwards to ensure you have a fabulous stay.
The rooms are comfortable, without being luxurious, but there is a heated indoor pool and a full massage and spa area for apres-ski relaxation.
Hotel El Lodge – Sierra Nevada (Granada)
If money is no object then you should consider whiling away a weekend in El Lodge, in the Sierra Nevada.
The sister hotel of the five star Marbella Club, this is the very epitome of mountain luxury.
Originally built for Spain’s king, it was always set up with luxury at its heart and these days Spain’s top celebrities and captains of industry stay here.
There is a heated outdoor pool, jacuzzi and Turkish bath and plenty of luxury trimmings like boot warming, while you ski literally from the door. (www.ellodge.es)
Cortijo rural las Navas – Parauta (Malaga)
Appropriately sitting in the Sierra de las Nieves (Sierra of the Snows) at 1,100m high above the Costa del Sol, Cortijo las Navas is one extraordinary escape.
Half way along the road to Ronda you take a right turn into the recently turned National park and drive for 10 minutes into the hills.
A stunning old farmhouse, while it has been reformed it is very much a rustic, not luxury, retreat, where the focus is on hiking and nature.
The owners live next door and manage the enormous hunting estate, culling and preparing various game, such as boar and deer, for guests to eat.
Can Borrell – Meranges (Girona)
Can Borrell is one of the most remarkable rural escapes in Spain.
Set in the Medieval hamlet of Meranges, in the Catalan Pyrenees, this charming rural hotel sits at a staggering 1,500m and has wonderful views in all directions.
Rooms are simple but comfortable and you can walk from the door up into the nearby peaks, which are covered in snow in winter.
Best of all there is a wonderful restaurant and you can hole up in the cosy lounge reading books or playing the numerous board games with your kids. www.canborrell.com