Gran Calahonda | Residents reminisce

Gran Calahonda old photos

Long term resident Frank Hilton recalls buying his Gran Calahonda apartment in 2002, long before the lush and beautiful surroundings had been established and when the site was still work in progress ...

It was a grim September day in 2002 when we first visited a large construction site to be known as Gran Calahonda.

We were shown a number of apartments in portals 1 to 5 which were unoccupied but nevertheless completed.

Having seen many other places with views of the sea, again many at the top of a hill, we considered various locations.

However none seemed as handy as Gran Calahonda with the short walk to the El Zoco shopping centre - including a chip shop which was most important to us English Northern folk.

During our visit to the sales office, a small cabin on the road side, the sales lady (Teresa) told us there may be a chance of a three bedroom apartment in what is now known as Portal 6. Could we view we asked but we were advised the building was only a shell.

After further discussions she agreed to meet us after the builders had left and would show us the apartment.

It was still raining as we walked through the mudbath and builders rubble, accompanied by Teresa who was wearing high heeled shoes.

I don't think she was pleased about all the mud which now covered her shoes.

We entered this basic concrete structure which had no doors, no lift and no walls.

We made our way up an open concrete stairway to the third floor and into the apartment, again no doors, windows or proper floor.

We looked around and went onto what eventually would be the terrace to see our view.

We gazed over and looked at more mud and a partly grassed area surrounding the swimming pool.

We looked for the sea but it was very misty, cloudy and we needed a little convincing by Teresa that it was actually there.

After delving in my soggy pocket, a compass proved that if the sun ever shone we would feel it on the terrace.

Well that was it and the deal was done the following day.

The next problem was to ensure the builders finished on their stated time.

So we said "goodbye to England" and moved into a rented apartment at Riviera which enabled us to visit Gran Calahonda every day and watch the progression of works.

Finally, after the completion time was extended by approximately 3 weeks and hearing many stories of how good the Spanish are on completing on time finally we were promised a date we could have the keys.

Our rental time was up so we had to move out and having obtained the keys we moved in, minus kitchen which the developer would not let us fit until the keys were handed over and all legalities completed.

So no kitchen, no water (except bottled) and not a lot of hope of electric.

However after the very good work of our lawyer the electric was connected later in the day and eventually water squirted out of a pipe which eventually would be connected to a sink.

Bedroom furniture was to be delivered but was delayed so the shop took pity on us and lent us a mattress to sleep on providing we did not remove the plastic covering.

Well that was hilarious, since when you moved in the night you were awakened by weird clinkering noises.

Within the next few days, our kitchen fitters arrived with many boxes which would be our kitchen.

"Back in the morning", they said and left.

We should have asked "Which morning?" since no one turned up.

After a couple of days and visits to the shop we were advised by the foreman another person would come and complete the work.

Eventually we had an apartment we could live in and finally the sun shone to allow us to sit on our terrace and view the surrounding mud grounds.

You could even slide down a mud bank to the swimming pool.

Eventually the gardening people turned up and the ground was smoothed out, rubble removed and planting of Spanish type grass began.

We do know of another owner who arrived at their apartment and saw this straggly grass and thought it was weeds so began to pull them up - until the gardener explained.

Over the years many improvements have been made and the straggly grass has now grown to provide large green areas.

Trees, flowers and bushes have grown to form excellent garden areas.

We are enjoying our home at Gran Calahonda and are very pleased we made the choice.

Frank and Nina

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Back in the day

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