On the island of Lanzarote, near the African coast, a small part of the East mixes with ancient traditions and captivating Canarian volcanic landscapes. It is in the eighteenth century manor house, Casa el Morro with an exterior typical of Lanzarote, that you will find Canarian and Eastern influences.
Despite the poor state of conservation in which it was, it was the location that Raquel Hidalgo, the current owner, appreciated when she purchased the property in 1992. Seventeen years later the building has been renovated to host guests, and in 1995 its thick whitewashed walls again have their glow. To the south of Lanzarote, at the gates of Timanfaya National Park and on its volcanoes, sits the town of Uga. Among its traditional white houses dotted with breathtaking natural scenery in tones of black and red, stands Casa Rural el Morro. Away from the hustle prevailing in the tourist resorts of the coast, this stately Canarian building keeps more than two centuries of history, which are seen from its privileged position in the highest part of the locality.
The group of houses maintains its Lanzarote feel, but nevertheless, a clear oriental aesthetic with colonial touches, the fruit of time that Rachel lived in Indonesia. From there she returned with a clear idea of how the property should look to offer those who come here, a blend of traditional island architecture and the exotic spirit of the East. To do so she had the help of her mother, a well known interior designer who arrived in the seventies on the island with her husband to cooperate with the great Artist Cesar Manrique in many artistic works, who advised and worked with her in creating the interiors.
The result is seven apartments with their own personality but that maintain an overall theme between them. All of the seven with a name in keeping with their character and singularity that resides largely in the rural setting, are distinguished by the views offered by the private outdoor spaces and the luminosity of the different rooms. The dimensions vary greatly, so you can choose between “El Alpende” and “La Troja” situated in the intimate Canarian courtyard – the historic heart of the building – to the largest of all apartments “Raquel”, which has more of 130 square feet on two floors and can sleep up to 5 people.
Relaxing to the extreme: the atmosphere is so informal, you feel like you own the place
Eco friendly furnishings: much use of recycling, solar power and non-toxic wall finishings
The personal touch: Raquel shares many of her belongings so that it’s like staying at a close relative’s
Sweet aromas: incense, candles and essential oils perfume every cranny
Chill-out zone: the large pool is surrounded by Balinese beds and other weapons of mass relaxation
The setting: close enough to walk to the village of Uga, but far enough away to feel pleasantly isolated.
Resting like in Bali
The property has a well stocked garden, palms, jacaranda trees, hibiscus, banana and fig trees, agaves, ficus, aromatic herbs, numerous cactus and endemic plants of origin of both the island of Lanzarote and other Canary Islands. The cultivation of the farm is totally organic of both the fruit and vegetable gardens and the plants that adorn this oasis on the hill of Uga. It has being cultivated following the local custom of, using lava rocks to build walls to provide cover from the wind and of spreading black picon, volcanic ash, on the ground to maintain moisture in the soil. Amongst the gardens the pool area is sheltered by large windows with stunning views towards the lunar Timanfaya National Park, Uga and Yaiza. This site is designed for relaxation, with gazebos that are used in small family temples in Bali and have been transformed to be used for rest and shelter from the sun.
The aromas of sweet incense mixed with the aromatic herbs floating in the air produces a special feeling and atmosphere.
Towards this garden open up a number of the properties, all with an intimate private terrace. The Yoga room, dining area, and the yurts are in the higher areas of the farm. The two most singular stays are the Aljibe and Raquel, which allow you to fully enjoy the beautiful views and surroundings. The first is the old well of the property and represents a very special place for the owner. ” It was an arduous restoration process in which the space was gradually transformed into accommodation. The idea when we first discovered it was to leave the space as a temple for the house, a place of spirit and meditation”, she comments when she talks about it. The Aljibe, still retains its original volcanic stone vaulted ceiling that extends to the lounge and under the main features of a canopy bed, which is situated on a platform that creates two rooms in the space. While the other elements help enhance the spiritual atmosphere transmitted by this original space, the most illuminating example of the aesthetic philosophy that the owner wanted to convey with everything.
Meanwhile Raquel’s house occupies the most distinguished section of the main building. It has two floors with two separate bedrooms and soothing views of the nearby volcanoes and surroundings. Highlights are the bathroom with a marble shower and Victorian style bathtub, while the spacious living room gives access to two terraces with comfortable sofas and armchairs, teak beds and a lovely summer bed. Next is the kitchen, presided over by a farm table and antique closet displaying ornaments and lovely china.
Whilst in the other apartments sizes are more restrained, they still maintain a sense of space and, everything is designed to liven up in the strictest sense of the word. Pieces of furniture and furnishings of the most interesting origins are shared by the different accommodation. The vast majority of them come from places like Bali, Madura Island in Java, India and Morocco, and coexist with others acquired in Andalucian antique auctions that have been properly restored. The furniture that came from Asia, is of tropical origin, but were purchased with the assurance that always had sustainable or recycled,elaborated woods says Rachel. “These pieces that I spent years collecting and restoring are my favorite ones parts of ancient ships, spare parts for beds tables and benches … to be reassembled in the form of other objects with love and care, resulting in unique Dutch colonial style furniture ” she says. The entire concept of this accommodation is a reflection of the way this woman understands life, closely linked to Eastern influences, resulting in addition a special place in this Canarian island to relax and enjoy the leisurely pace with time goes here.