If you are seeking a fabulous weekend break or a birthday or anniversary treat, Fiona is a big fan of southern Spain and Mallorca. We can recommend some delightful small hotels and haciendas which we have hand picked for atmosphere, interesting architecture and their proximity to areas of interest. Stay for a long weekend or as part of a longer holiday and enjoy the sunshine!
Fiona’s ideal places to stay
Hacienda de San Rafael, situated about 40 minutes' drive from Seville, is a beautifully restored former olive mill set in the heart of sunflower farmland. The cobbled courtyard and bell tower are just some of the original features, and its thoughtfully decorated rooms are built around the courtyard in Andalucian style. Spend your time riding, exploring or simply relaxing by the pool and end the day with a spectacular dinner served by candlelight in the old whitewashed barn. Close by, and worth a visit, are the famous Sherry houses of Jerez, and magnificent Coto Donana National Park.
The magnificent eight-bedroomed cortijo (farmhouse) of La Posada Del Torcal sits boldly on a hilltop with far-reaching views down to the coast at Malaga a few kilometres away. Each bedroom has an en-suite bathroom and the decor features gothic four-poster beds, ceiling fans and welcoming fireplaces. La Posada is a good base for walking in the nearby El Torcal National Park or simply enjoying aromatherapy treatments, a Jacuzzi or sauna. More energetic guests can drive to Cordoba and Granada in less than an hour.
Corral del Rey is located in the heart of Seville, in the old quarter of Barrio Alfalfa, five minutes walk from the Cathedral. The original 17th Century Casa Palacio has been meticulously restored and converted into a small private luxury hotel, with a vibrant bar and restaurant. Its architectural highlights include an atrium patio, Roman marble columns and original wooden carved beams. Situated around the galleries of the central courtyard are six bedrooms, each with its own creative design and state-of-the-art sound and vision system. There is a roof terrace and plunge pool and also an art gallery. Relax with a massage or beauty treatment or book a private guide and visit the best sights of Seville.
There is much for the visitor to see in Seville, most notably its immense cathedral, one of the largest in the world; La Giralda, the adjoining 12th century tower (originally the mosque’s minaret) and the Torre de Oro on the banks of the River Guadalquivir — one of the city's major landmarks. Make time also for the Alcázar (fortress) from the Muslim-era (dating from AD 913), the spectacular Plaza de España with its fountains, mini-canals and tilework representing all the provinces of Spain and the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza — Seville's bullring.
The luxurious boutique Valldemossa Hotel is built on the old estate of S’Olivaret with truly magical Spanish ambience. It has stunning views of the Tramuntana Mountains, valleys and olive groves below, and the historical Valldemossa Monastery is close by. The hotel has three superior double rooms and nine junior suites (all air-conditioned), indoor and outdoor pools and an excellent fine-dining restaurant.
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Fiona’s travel tips
TOP TIP: For those with time to stay longer, we suggest combining Corral Del Rey in Seville with one of our favourite haunts - Hacienda de San Rafael - some 45 minutes' drive away. They are both run by the same family so continuity of their very personal service is assured.
DON’T MISS: The stunning performance of the unforgettable Spanish Lipizzaners in Jerez.
DID YOU KNOW: We have links with exclusive bull-breeding ranches and stud farms and family-owned sherry bodegas and can organise private visits.
BEST TIME TO GO: All year roundJOURNEY TIME: 1½ hours (direct)
“It’s the perfect place to take a break from the British winter — the Paseo Maritimo sparkles in the sunshine, Palma is a cultural gem with always so much to see and do, and our time is spent walking in wonderful countryside, relaxing as well as enjoying satisfying local or sophisticated world cuisine.”
Claire Watson, Mallorca
“Our trip was organised and carried out with exemplary thoughtfulness and care. It was very special trip and well worth every penny!”
Anne and John Veats, Andalucia, May 2011