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How a post-Civil War Guardia Civil lookout became two idyllic holiday homes

The terrace at El Delfín.
The terrace at El Delfín. / RICARDO PASTOR
  • El Delfín and El Velero properties are located on the beach in the protected Maro cliffs area.

El Delfín and El Velero properties are located on the beach in the protected Maro cliffs area.

The views and proximity to the sea are some of the selling points that the holiday homes El Delfín and El Vero have to offer. Until 50 years ago they were home to a Guardia Civil lookout building on El Cañuelo, one of the coves that form the protected Maro cliffs area.

Just 50 metres separate the terrace from the sea and swallows can often be seen building nests in the wooden pergolas of this little piece of heaven on the Mediterranean.

Today divided into two houses, 80 years ago the houses formed part of the same building. Back then they offered a strategic location to control the coast, thanks to the slight elevation raising it above sea level.

Noisy guests are not welcome at El Delfín or El Velero, not only because the houses fall within the restrictions of a protected natural park, but also because the noise would scare the local wildlife away from what is their home.

How a post-Civil War Guardia Civil lookout became two idyllic holiday homes

/ RICARDO PASTOR

If the music is loud and there’s a lot of noise, animals such as the mountain goats that live in the area won’t come near, nor will the birds that fly overhead.

The houses have areas specifically designed for relaxing, like hammocks under the shade of the trees, garden areas and even a small children’s playground in the grounds of El Velero.

“We want guests who want to enjoy the place, because we’re very attached to this house, we have looked after it and we prepare it as if it were going to stay there ourselves,” explains Nuria Ortiz, whose family own the two properties.

El Delfín has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and can sleep up to 10 people. El Velero is the bigger of the two, with six bedrooms, three bathrooms and a separate toilet. It can sleep up to 15 guests.

Prices

Such an exclusive place in a prime location clearly comes at a price. During low season, a weekend costs approximately 600 and 950 euros in El Delfín and El Velero respectively. In July and August the minimum stay is one week, which will set the guest back between 2,000 and 3,400 euros respectively. Both houses can be reserved through online platforms such as Booking.com, Hotelmix and Airbnb, among others.

As well as their unique location, there is a road that leads down to the houses from the N340 and as well as a parking. Without the permit it’s only possible to get to the beach on foot, by bike, or on one of the minibuses that operate from the car park at the top of the cliffs. Guests at El Delfín and El Velero are also within walking distance of El Cañuelo’s beach bars and restaurants.

Both the Maro cliffs beach and the waters around it are protected and are home to many native species of wildlife. Dolphins have even been spotted from the terraces of both houses.

History

The building was originally constructed in the as one of a number of coastal lookouts for the Guardia civil in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, most notably to control the anti-Francoist guerrilla group, known as the Maquis. There were a number of similar buildings along the coast from the Macaca tower to Cerro Gordo which were used for such surveillance.

After the disappearance of the Maquis, the buildings no longer served their original purpose and were abandoned. In the 1970s the building was sold at auction, by this time divided into two separate properties. They were initially bought by a family from Nerja. However, because of the building’s bad state of repair, which by this time was little more than an abandoned ruin, difficult of access as well as lack of electricity and water supply, the original owners were keen to sell both houses

This is where Nuria Ortiz’s family came in. She was a child when her parents decided to buy what is now El Delfín. The family often used to visit the neighbouring Alberquilla beach, from where they could see the building. A short time later, Nuria’s aunt and uncle purchased the neighbouring property; now El Velero, when it came up for sale at a later auction.

Although the properties are two separate houses nowadays, they are joined by the same history and the same family that owns them, which makes them all the more exclusive.