Castellar de la Frontera

The Finca Salma wants to 'Hayek'

Castellar de la Frontera

Hot news in the Olive Press

So will it be Next Stop Hollywood for Castellar de la Frontera? If actress Salma Hayek is buying a large chunk of it, that’s a definite maybe.

The sultry Mexican movie star and her billionaire husband chartered a €10,000 helicopter ride to view the threatened country estate of Almoraima, up for grabs for €300million, adding an unexpected twist to a saga that’s dominated local headlines for weeks.

(Perhaps Salma reads the Olive Press. How else would she have known about a place most people couldn’t find on a Spanish map?)

But will all the locals be queuing up for her autograph if their finca gets ‘Hayek-ed’…?

Castellar de la Frontera

Will Salma be queen of the castle?

In a battle as fierce as any witnessed by Castellar’s 13th century castle, they have campaigned to save Almoraima from being turned into a 5-star resort for the hunting, shooting and partying elite. Who’s to say the Hollywood set will be any better?

Environmentalist Salma may be into saving dolphins and anti global warming. But her business-minded hubby, Francois-Henri Pinault, might have other plans for a finca that lost €1.2 million last year harvesting cork and growing crops.  He’s CEO of a group which owns Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent; and heir to a family who buy Picassos and Mondrians like other people buy eggs … by the dozen!

Sexy Salma has brains as well as beauty so it’s fun imagining what she might do for the place if she ever becomes Queen of the castle.

Filming at the Finca At 14,000 hectares, Almoraima’s the ideal backlot for Ventanarosa, Salma’s film company, which made the Oscar-winning Frida and specialises in Latino flicks. For authenticity, she could plant giant cacti, and turn them into a cash crop with a tequila bodega. Casting would be no problem. Antonio Banderas, her co-star in the Mexico Trilogy movies and Puss in Boots, lives just up the road in Marbella.

Castellar de la Frontera

Almoraima Convent Hotel

Cleaning up the Convent Salma’s a convent school gal herself, so she’ll feel right at home. And, heaven knows, the hotel occupying Almoraima’s stunning 17th century convent could do with some stage direction and a sprinkling of Hollywood stardust to attract the punters; anti-palm weevil powder, too, to save the dying trees.

Firing Up the Feria The local wolves would be howling for more of smouldering Salma at Castellar’s Full Moon Flamenco Festival in August – and not only for her singing and dancing skills. Being all ‘frontera’ herself, those voluptuous curves would look fab in a flamenco dress.

Queening it at the Castle This best-kept Moorish fortress is a tailor-made location for historic movies, with trained eagles for stunt work courtesy of the resident Bird Man of Castellar, who puts on shows for tourists.

Saving the Local Wildlife Salma’s California ranch is filled with rescue animals (nine dogs, five horses two alpacas, five parrots). So she and daughter Valentina would adore Castellar Zoo, a sanctuary for mistreated and abandoned exotic species, including tigers. The zoo’s pretty pushed for space and funds – a great cause celèbre for Salma; and Almoraima could take the overspill.

Promoting the Local Cuisine Who better than Salma? Pork and red wine are her favourite food and drink and her name sounds uncannily like another Andalusian speciality: salmorejo!


Stunning Almoraima Convent is now a hotel, with a restaurant open to the public, although it doesn't get rave reviews on Trip Advisor. It's worth a visit to stroll around the magnificent grounds and marvel at the beauty of its architecture (the octagonal tower, fountains and Castellar de la Frontera

Secret jam sessions

top-secret-decorationThere’s one quirky spot to pop in for a copa in Viejo Castellar but it’s a secret club. Admittance is by recommendation only (or you might ask one of the locals). There’s no menu, you just pay the owner what you think your meal’s worth – after you’ve eaten it! At weekends there are often impromptu jamming sessions, with instruments provided for those who can play them. It’s curiously clandestine but you’ll have to do your own sleuthing. I’ve been sworn to secrecy! 

Tips About Castellar de la Frontera – A Tale of Two Cities


  • In 1971 the last remaining inhabitants of Viejo (Old) Castellar were re-housed with modern amenities in  Nuevo (New) Castellar, 7km away. Apart from its funky church, the best reason for going there is Castellar Zoo.
  • Foreign hippies moved in to Viejo Castellar when the oldies moved out. Some of them are still there, selling their jewellery and handicrafts, most of them oldies themselves, these days.
  • The Castle of Castellar lords it over Viejo Castellar, a vertiginous fortress pueblo. Today you can stay within its battlements at the swish Hotel Castillo de Castellar. Order a drink and enjoy the views of the reservoir from the ramparts in summer.  
  • The Birdman of Castellar keeps his live aviary at the castle. For a couple of euros in his tin you can pose for a photo with a majestic eagle, sharp-beaked falcon or ghostly-looking Snowy owl.
  • Stunning Almoraima Convent is a hotel, with a restaurant open to the public, although it doesn’t get rave reviews on Trip Advisor. Enjoy a stroll around the magnificent grounds and marvel at the beauty of its architecture (the octagonal tower, fountains and pretty central patio).
  • You can catch the scenic train called Mr Henderson’s Railway to Almoraima. To order your free Trip Planner,  click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to Sign up for the Sizzle! 
  • For another great place to take the family, check out this great animal rescue park, 15 minutes up the road (next stop from Almoraima on Mr Henderson’s Railway) at Estación Jimena.


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