A botanical retreat in a Tropical Oasis

Plant Medicine

They say plants help with memory and create a healthy state of mind - not just talking to them, but rather the idea of surrounding ourselves with greenery, flowers and heavenly-scented shrubbery. We often design gardens and plant with relaxation in mind, after all, it's our personal 'chill' space. Now I love our little Spanish mountain-top courtyard stuffed with herbs and cacti - but little it surely is, and sometimes I long for a bigger patch of green.


Time Out

Recently, the opportunity to stay at a weekend retreat presented itself, with the bonus there were tropical gardens - how could I resist? So off we went to meet Patrick, Hector and Dino - and discovered Costa Tropical Oasis - which turned out to be all that it promised to be. The other man's grass really is greener.


Where is it?

Costa Tropical Oasis is close to the busy port town of Motril, on the Costa Tropical. The nearest village is Puntalon, and the accommodation is a few minutes from there, the last part involves a track along a dry riverbed through some of the local greenhouses, where the gates of Costa Tropical Oasis open and welcome you into an entirely different world.


A warm welcome!

Now, I should mention at this point that the owner Patrick has 2 legs, but Dino and Hector have 4 each, and Hector (a Spaniel) in particular likes to plant his firmly all over you by way of a very warm welcome. This suited us - we are dog lovers - so it helps if you are too! Dino is huge - I thought he may have had a saddle somewhere instead of a lead, but is a far quieter character and will simply sit and sagely observe.

Hibiscus flower

A Place in the Sun

Our accommodation was El Apartamento, a good sized space over the main house. The other accommodation available is a little cottage sleeping 3 nestled in the gardens, quirky and on different levels - I think I would like try that out next.The apartment itself is comfortable and open plan with a fitted kitchen, a breakfast bar, a roomy living area with 2 large sofas, also there's a full bathroom and queen sized bedroom. Sleeps 4. Just outside the door is an eating area and BBQ, and a spiral staircase reveals a huge roof space with table, chairs, loungers, and the perfect space for yoga, complete with Buddha fountain and potted plants. The views from here are amazing, particularly at sunrise and sunset.

Terrace view

The main attraction

The gardens for me were the main attraction, and I set out to explore them. Patrick is only too happy to give a guided tour, or you can discover them or yourself. He has spent 25 years lovingly planting and tending them, and the result is a space where you can relax and unwind in complete harmony with nature.Green thumbed experts will be happy to identify giant versions of:


  • Palms
  • Exotics
  • Herbaceous shrubs
  • Climbers
  • Herbs
  • Night scented plants
  • Fruit trees - Avocado, Banana, Citrus

There are vast amounts of flowering plants, and for me the bonus was scent, heady and strong, as soon as night fell. There are thoughtfully placed twinkling lights, candles, lanterns, hammocks, and various seating areas around the garden. Add to these the sensory pleasures of the constant sound of water trickling and flowing, stone cherubs, secretly placed Buddha's and mirrors.

Night or day - you can quite simply get lost and totally relax.


Make a splash

Towards the far end of the garden via a weaving path, you'll find the glistening turquoise pool for guest use, backlit at night for that late night swim. Surrounding the pool area is an outdoor kitchen (Paella, anyone?) and a fully stocked honesty fridge, if it's simply too much effort to go back to your superb accommodation for another cold beer. There are tables and chairs as well as pool-side loungers here too, and Moroccan lanterns provide a romantic light.

Outside dining

Packing list

Plastic bags and root powder for cuttings. The owner is happy for you to take samples, or indulge in a bit of weeding! A good book for identification. I recommend Lorraine Cavanagh's book which I have been dipping my secateurs into for years.Your laptop or device if you really must, as there's free WiFi too,and you'll need to keep up with the Spain Holiday Facebook page! Some deep breathing exercise practise before you go - just for the roof and that morning sunrise - you'll feel rejuvenated - guaranteed!

Cove Costa Tropical

Other things to do in Motril

Motril is busy and bustling. If you go into town you can go shopping, or visit:

  • The port - there are ferries running to Morocco from here.
  • The beach - with plenty of beach-side bars and places to eat
  • The indoor market - plenty of fresh seasonal produce for your self catering holiday
  • The Sugar Museum - read more about it here
  • The Nature Reserve - post coming soon!
  • The many beaches and coves along the coastline of the Costa Tropical