Tarifa hotels Punta Sur and Hurricane: luxurious calm on Valdevaqueros beach

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I AWAKE to the sound of peacocks and throw open my shutters to find mother duck and her five ducklings waddling around my private garden.

This is Punta Sur, the leafy paradise where anyone looking to really luxuriate heads for when staying on the Costa de la Luz these days.

The sister hotel of Tarifa’s famous Hurricane Hotel, it is anything but the poor cousin, being better appointed and far more spacious.

Hidden in a green valley beside Valdevaqueros beach, it offers larger rooms and you walk out into hectares of grounds that includes a tennis court, fountains and ponds full of fish, ducks and geese.

And then you find the swimming pool (or should that be reservoir!), a giant circular number that is easily the best place for families to relax beside, particularly when the wind is up thanks to its protection from deep shrubbery.

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Seating at El Jardin restaurant.

The hotel also counts on a pool table, while the shady El Jardin restaurant has become a reference for those-in-the-know along the coast.

This secret enclave is the perfect place to kick back for lunch – or chill out for the day – when the wind is blowing a hoolie from the west.

There’s plenty of shade and the sound of water percolates from all around, while the menu is local and seasonal with plenty of special touches.

The local tomatoes, with fresh basil and mozzarella are excellent, while the tuna tartare is as good as any I have eaten in Tarifa.

Meanwhile the steaks and burgers are definitely to be recommended, in particular on a cool evening.

Take my advice and head for a stroll, crossing over the N-340, and heading down to the beach where you can walk through rolling sand dunes for a mile in either direction and meet no-one.

This is one of the least unspoilt stretches of coastline in Spain and the only buildings you will find are a few ancient pill boxes dug in by Franco during the dark days of his dictatorship, and a lot of fun to explore for the children.

Keeping heading west and you will eventually arrive at Tumbao and Liam Whaley’s kite school, where you can kick back for a spot of lunch and watch the world go by.

Head in the other direction east and you will come to the Hurricane Hotel itself, another incredible oasis of calm that keeps getting better by the year.

This is a seminal place, which has entered folklore as one of the most evocative hotels in southern Spain, somewhere even Queen Camilla is said to have luxuriated at, without her current king, it should be added.

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One of Hurricance hotel’s pools

A little slice of paradise, the Hurricane hotel offers a choice of two pools, one strictly adults-only, while there is a fully-kitted gym, plus spa with sauna.

Yoga classes are on offer and the hotel can sort out any sort of adventure from cycling to horse riding or kitesurfing to dining.

I opt to take a cup of Earl Grey under the umbrella pines by the waters edge with a good book, while the wine glasses are being set out for dinner on the terrace just up a short flight of steps.

The Hurricane Group is the life’s work of the English Whaley brothers, who acquired this prime slice of Tarifa real estate back in 1985.

All three with different skills and different social circles, they formed a vision to turn a scruffy beachside hostel into one of southern Spain’s most emblematic places to stay.

“We each had our own strengths, but above all a love for the area,” explains Peter Whaley, 76, who divides his time between Ibiza and Tarifa, where he can still be seen out kitesurfing, surfing or increasingly windfoiling, almost every day.

Peter – whose son Liam is among the world’s best professional kitesurfers – had first landed in Tarifa in 1984 en route to Morocco, where his younger brother James owned an achingly hip hotel in Essaouira.

A keen windsurfer, he was amazed to discover that the winds continued to blow for almost 80% of the year and saw an opening to set up a rental firm for tourists.

Alongside Australian boardmaker Barry Pussell they opened a shack called 100% Fun that sold and rented windsurfs, plus his Dutch wife Terese’s clothes, from fashion label Graffiti Ibiza.

With careful marketing and planning they had soon ushered in the celebrated Tarifa wind revolution, an industry now worth tens of millions of euros every year.

Back then, though, there was nowhere decent to stay so they bought a small ruined 12-room hostel across the road and started to renovate it.

This was where his brother Michael, 71, a talented builder and landscaper came in for his construction skills, as well as third brother James, who died in 2019.

The manager of 80s band Adam & the Ants and the producer of seminal films, Sebastiane and Jubilee, he was a genuine style guru, with an uncanny knack for the latest fashions. 

Under his watchful eye the place slowly turned into one of Andalucia’s hippest places to stay.

While the gardens and vegetation have matured each year, full of ponds and during the pandemic the team, including Michael’s son George, a DJ, have worked hard to improve the chill out areas and drive the quality of the food upwards.

The signing of a talented new hotel manager Greetja and executive chef, who has worked around South America, has really improved the menus and quality of food.
Visit www.hotelhurricane.com or www.hotelpuntasur.com

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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