This page includes a selection of the comments our guests have left in our visitors' book over the years. Visit the showcase section to see some of the original writing that the Almàssera has inspired.


Addictive: Talkers and writers, swimmers and listeners, a first-timer enriched beyond all expectations

Dave Hesmondhalgh

Mimi Khalvati poetry week 2016

From the sunshine to the superb food, to the wonderful workshops, the good company, to the rosé, the apple liqueur to help us sing yet another song- a week to remember , a store of memories to cherish.

Jane Clarke

A Poetry Week with Ann Sansom 2015

Full Moon and Little Frieda and the sleeping nun - and other tales to tell of this amazing week in which I learnt a lot.

Terry Gifford

Ted Hughes Study Week 2014

Lovely - irises in the mountains, candlelit Easter processions, rescuing abandoned puppies, nightingale chorus, great weather and writing too

Sue and David McIntyre

Easter Retreat week 2014

Thanks for the hills which seem like your special gift, and whose ups and downs always balance out which is sometimes more than can be said of life and thanks Jane Draycott for helping me see that what you throw away is as important as what you write

John Foggin

A Poetry Week with Jane Draycott 2013

I will never again associate oranges and lemons with the great bells of London, but with Relleu!

Jenny Cozens

Catered Retreat 2013

Can hardly imagine a more beautiful place to write - truly balm for the soul.

Christine Patterson

Retreat 2011

We came here from near and from far
And we came here by plane and by car.
Thanks to Mario and Chris
we have come to know this:
that what we imagine, we are.

Paul Batten

'Elements of Surprise' - with Mario Petrucci March 2012

...I've loved my conversations about Writing with Christopher and with Marisa about Clothes. Hope you'll post the photographic evidence of our ascent of Everest! (a.k.a Divino)

Carole Strachan

All Inclusive Retreat Week

Thanks for caring for us so competently - you intuitively know what writers need...

Anne Berggren

Mavis Cheek - November 2010

On blissfully warm terraces with new found friends we took dry bamboo sticks, tapping and banging olive boughs, black olives showering down into the gathering nets.

Thank you....

Peter and Jane Sergeant

Olive Gathering 2009

A wonderful weekend with old friends we just met!

Roger and Victoria Ramsay

Olive Gathering weekend November 2009

What a marvellous week! We had many kinds of weather - clouds hanging like veils, rain, glorious sun, a day of gale and fireworks in the square. A cuisine to dream of - and poetry. Our own, new minted and all kinds of other poets new and old: Auden, Bishop Chaucer. Donne, Ewart, Fuller, Graves, Hopkins - need I go on?

The right poetry and the right surroundings - Bliss!

PS Tough work - but someone's got to do it.

Gerard Benson

Poetry Week with Gerard Benson 2009

Warmest thanks for a memorable week - we have been overwhelmed by the beauty of your remarkable Almassera - the elegance , the style of the villa, the dramatic views, the delicious cuisine and above all your generous hospitality. Margaret is grateful for her excellent tuition, sympathetic encouragement and inspiration to explore new challenges....

Margaret and Bernard Battley

Painting week with Jennifer Johnson 2009

Everything one needs in one place. I didn't know hospitality could be an art!

Maria Black

Judith Barrington 2009

...more substantial, of course, how you helped us all not just to feel wonderfully at home but also to get down to what counts(so pleasurably) as work. Rooms cool and comfortable. Breakfast, lunch and dinner delicious but also an ongoing pageant of local dishes, most of which I'd never certainly had the luck to meet before (usefully listed, a mini-poem of their own in the anthology) What a gift - and a professionalims of hospitality! Thank you

Patrick Coldstream

Poetry and Autobiography with Graham Fawcett March 21-28 2009

I have only the best memories of my time in Spain and the encouraging,
stimulating classes and discussions there. It was tremendously
inspiring at a time when I felt like I would never finish my book and
never get it published. I still can't believe that both those things
have happened. The book won't actually be on the stands for close to a
year, but yes, we are indeed hoping it will fly off of shelves.

Zoe Carter

Judith Barrington Memoir and Landscape 2007

Just thought you would like to know that the poem I wrote in Relleu,
'Insomnia', has won a prize in the Elmet Trust poetry comp So thank you for providing that lovely
inspiring and productive week...

Lydia Macpherson

From Notebook to Poem - John Hartley Williams 2008

.....a wonderful week, like a long wonderful, week long poem.

John Catanach

Beginning to Write June 2008

A week of revelations, friendships, talk , laughter. You made me feel so welcome and cherished. I go home full of new hopes.... a wonderful place , where anything can happen!

Sue Edwards

Beginning to Write June 2008

Exactly what I needed - a nurturing place to hide away and finish the novel - wonderful company to welcome me and fabulous, fabulus food. The novel got finished and I had plenty of time to read, to swim, walk...

Shelley Harris

Retreat Jne 2008

Y no obstante
La vida es bella
Por poseer
La rosa, la perla
y la mujer - Ruben Dario

Y no obstante
La vida quiere ser
Su nombre-
Arból, cavallo, amenacer
Y el hombre - Alfed Corn

Alfred Corn

Getting to the Next Level - Poetry 2008

Thank you so much for a wonderful few days. I'll never take olive oil for granted again- I've learned so much...

Jennifer Hurstfield

OLive Picking Weekend November 2007

So many things you've given me I won't forget - the log fires, the walk together, the Lorca, 'Ted and Sylvia' in Benidorm, the music...

Jane Draycott

Retreat November 2007

The pink trumpet vine, the dark blue house and pool, arroz al horno on our final evening - views, wine, atmosphere, poetry and enormous conviviality...

Harriet Thistlethwaite

'This Spain Astir ' September 2007

Thanks again for all the facilities provided by the Almssera Vella as a base for my time walking and writing. It seems to me exactly what any writer could wish for - an inspiring library, quiet space with a desk, comfy bed and excellent company across the road!

Linda Cracknell

Retreat December 2007

What a joy--to see Relleu in the Spring. In September our poems were full of persimmons and now they are groaning with oranges and lemons - I take a few lemons home with me: they leave the residue of their sticky kiss

Tamar Yoseloff

Questions of Travel 2008

...the length and width of blue sky
and the sun, the ancient olive terraces
across the valley, the way a small cloud hung on the one rainy day,
the last supper, the last breakfast, the special pang
of leaving new friends...

Karen Green

'That Giant Leap' Mimi Khalvati 2007

Thanks to Sue for your gentle and inspiring guidance, thanks to marisa for her delumptious mealage; thanks to Christopher for your wonderful hosting and recital. I take home some rich memories and food for thought - Golden Rays...

Lisa Griffiths

'Painting the Marina Baja ' - Sue Whitmore 2007

I love this place, love the landscape and the house itself with its spaciousness and the olive press with its great granite stones and the paintings. It feels very calm and restful and then, when everyone is round the table - so full of life...

Vicki Feaver

The Poetic Prose of Memoir' Judith Barrington 2007

Our words were pressed in the olive mill and a strange oil extracted..Alternatively: we gazed at the ancient landscape, and a mountain of new words fell upon us...hard to end such a week and depart.

Jim Dening

'Writing fro Radio' with Julia Stoneham 2006

A veritable gourmet feast. Every course included superb artistry from Marisa and her team, reliable piquancy from Chris and inspirational and unforgettable flavouring from our tutor Mark Doty. Other ingredients included the architectural space and interior decor, the extraordinary landscape, the village itself and many other secret and yet to be uncovered ingredients - I gorged myself for a week....

Pat Borthwick

'The Poet Dreaming...' with Mark Doty January 2006

A splendid week being introduced to the most spectacular, varied and enjoyable walks in the best walking country we know- delicious food in lovely surroundings...

Anthony and Sarah Platt

WAlking the Marina Baja Mountains October 2005

This is the first course I have done where, at the end of it, I feel restored in body and soul.

Mimi Khalvati

'Fresh Ways to New Poems September 2004

If this house were in Wales it would be Gorfwysfa. It will stay with me and when I am not here it will still be a retreat for my mind.

Hilary Elfick

Mimi Kahalvati: 'Fresh Ways to New Poems September 2004

Appropriate that we studied poems as "machines made out of words"! in a beautiful house built around a beautiful antique machine...

Michael Donaghy

A Week With Michael Donaghy Sept 2004

...it has been a beautiful week, painting under nightingale trees and eating saffron soups (and drinking more than poets) .....

Michaela Gall

Painting in the Marina Baja' May 2004