Sequestered within magical woodland on the southern coast of Spain, DDG Retreat offers a unique blend of exotic luxury and tranquility. We spoke to owner Daria Dubinina on what inspired her to set up such an enchanting bolthole.
“Perched on a hill with spectacular views and tucked away in a very private woodland estate at the top of a meandering track, it’s not surprising that guests often ask us how we stumbled upon this incredible private hideaway,” Daria tells us, “And when we wake up in such beautiful surroundings, we often have to pinch ourselves and ask the same question!” It is certainly a special location: so peaceful that you’ll only be troubled by the sound of birdsong. After the morning mist clears, it’s possible to see the Rock of Gibraltar and the coast of North Africa in the distance. Frequent family holidays to Andalusia created an abiding love for the region, and Daria decided to pursue her dreams of living in these craggy hills by buying a family home. This spot was the first that she saw. “There wasn’t much to see at that point, just a run-down casita and swathes of barren scrubland,” Daria recalls. Others may have passed on the property – the local area wasn’t particularly set up for tourists – but for Daria, “It was love at first sight. We couldn’t resist snapping it up!”
Of course, transforming this rather unpromising patch into an extraordinary hideaway was no easy feat. “It was a labour of love,” Daria tells us, “We spent years painstakingly rebuilding the house, planting hundreds of trees and putting in pathways and gardens. From the overall design to the interiors and the landscape gardening, and even to parts of the construction process, we built the Retreat by ourselves, inch by inch.” While the spot was intended to be a private residence, after so much work Daria and her family felt that the place was simply too special not to share with anybody else.
DDG’s most unique aspect is its size – the Retreat consists of just three rooms. “It makes the experience really special and as private as it can possibly get,” Daria tells us, “All of our properties are spread out across four hectares of tropical gardens and each property enjoys absolute privacy.” Two of the suites are in fact tents, but this is glamping with a difference – each has its own private touches, from private plunge pools to hot tubs precariously perched on the cliff-edge. The design is inspired by Daria’s travels to Asia, and interiors feature original artefacts from around the world that, in Daria’s words, “create a little slice of paradise with an exotic ambience.”
Daria and her family personally take care of every guest during their stay. “We prepare for each guest individually,” Daria tells us, “Upon arrival there is soft music playing in the background, a bottle of Cava is served chilled in the room, and it is beautifully scented.” Breakfast, served al fresco on the terrace, is another famous part of the experience. ‘To make breakfast even more special we serve it with a glass of Cava!” Daria tells us. There’s also a boutique spa nestled in the gardens, offering a range of relaxing treatments. If you can bear to tear yourself away from the seclusion, you’ll find the gorgeous village of Casares just below, famed for its sparkling white houses.
Peaceful and relaxing, DDG Retreat offers a tiny spot of secluded luxury perfect for those wanting to get away from it all. “We wanted to create a unique concept which cannot be found anywhere else in Europe,” Daria tells us, “Many of our guests are coming to us specifically for honeymoons, anniversaries, or just a romantic getaway.”