Through our holiday home in the medieval village of Bocairent we fell in love with rural Spanish life; the people, the food, the wine, the natural fauna and flora, the endless hiking and cross country mountain biking trails.
It was out cycling in the Sierra de Mariola National Park one day that I stumbled on El Cipreret and made a throwaway suggestion to Andrea that we do another renovation project. The seed was sown and three years on, with a philosophy that life is short, we stepped away from executive jobs to establish Mariola Secreta – a luxury rural retreat where activity and relaxation fuse together in a truly stunning setting. With our two cats Alice and Seb we have become Spanish residents and begun a new life in the sun.
The Sierra de Mariola national park and the surrounding hills could have been designed for cross country mountain biking. There are endless tracks around the mountains with stunning views, a perfect mixture of easy rolling routes alongside optional opportunities to challenge your uphill and downhill skills.
Through mountain biking in the national park over the past ten years I’ve built an extensive network of trails. I have routes to suit most standards and all of them in stunning empty Spanish countryside.
It’s not just about mountain biking….
The overwhelming scent of rosemary, thyme and pine trees is the first thing that greets you when you arrive at el Cipreret. Linger a moment to take in the beauty of our farmhouse and gardens, the stunning mountain and forest views and the complete tranquillity (apart from the cicadas and birds of course). And if you arrive after dark the sight of so many stars in the clear night sky is breath taking.
We’re real foodies and take great pride in both growing our own and sourcing local ingredients to turn into delicious, contemporary, moorish dishes. We also recognise that, whilst some may choose to avoid the ‘carbs’, the mountain bikers need a few extra calories.
We’ve had a home on the mountain side overlooking the pueblo (village) of Bocairent for more than a decade. So when we were thinking about what we wanted to do with the next stage of our lives and came up with the idea for our rural retreat there was no question that we would choose Bocairent in the Sierra de Mariola national park.