Destination Guide


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Photo by Brian Jimenez

Andalusia’s capital represents the values of the region, emphasizing a small town sense of community and tradition. Seville’s architecture is the star, with alleyways, courtyards, palaces and private homes showcasing combinations of Moorish and European building and decorative styles. On a Spain trip, Seville is not-to-be-missed.


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Suite at Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville, Spain

Hotel Alfonso XIII

Hotel Alfonso XIII is located in an Andalusian Regionalist–style building constructed in the 1920s to house dignitaries for the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition. Bold and statement making, the red brick building is centered around a peaceful courtyard and full of original Arabic and Moorish touches, including inlaid tile work, hand-painted ceramics and exposed wooden beams.

A full renovation in 2012 resulted in ultra luxurious guest rooms decorated in three styles: Moorish, featuring Mudéjar and Arabesque decoration; Castilian, with wooden coffered ceilings and Murano glass accents; and Andalusian, with leather and metal nailhead furniture. Details throughout are gorgeous and thoughtful—even closets have customized built-in drawers decorated with leather and riveted drawers—and bathrooms are outfitted in local Triana tiles.

Of the 151 guest rooms, a favorite is the Torreón Suite, which boasts an incredible terrace in a one of the hotel's corner towers. With three bedrooms, it provides an excellent and impressive space for hosting events or just hanging out with amazing views of Seville. Junior Suites are a great option for those looking for some extra space or a couple with a child, as the suites have a separate living room area. Other hotel highlights are the courtyard restaurant, which serves daily breakfast, Restaurante Taifas, a Lebanese restaurant, Bar Americano, a stylish lounge outfitted in Art Deco–style blue and gold silver and **Ena **by Carles Abellan, which serves tapas and wine.  There is no spa but the outdoor pool is a big hit with families and those who return to the hotel mid-day after sightseeing under the bright Spanish sun. (Spa treatments can be arranged in-room).

While it is not the quaint Andaluisan hotel that will make visitors feel like locals, the Alfonso XIII is historic and it is the grandest option, regularly playing host to movie stars and bullfighting celebrities (the cast and crew of Lawrence of Arabia stayed here while filming in 1962). Beware that the property does host conferences, so depending on the week you visit it might feel like being in a very beautiful convention center.

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Corral del Rey

Two brothers, Anthony and Patrick Reid Mora-Figueroa, were brought up in London by their Spanish mother and Scottish father, and picked up a knack for hospitality and style that blends their family's cultures. With a British eloquence and Spanish warmth, they opened Corral del Rey in 2004 in a feat of mechanical engineering; the property is located on a narrow, winding alleyway in the heart of Seville's Old Town that can hardly accommodate tiny taxis, let alone cement mixers and delivery trucks.

The hotel, which occupies a series of former homes on Corral del Rey, flanks two sides of the street. Numbers 7 and 9 hold the more contemporary suites that feel like individual apartments (the Penthouse Suite, the hotel's gorgeous room with a separate sitting area, two terraces and a plunge pool is on this side). Number 12 is home to the more traditional hotel rooms as well as the small lobby, restaurant and office that doubles as reception. Those looking for more spacious rooms should book a Junior Suite or higher to ensure the most comfort (as other accomodations are on the small side). That there are only 17 rooms total (including five Junior Suites, two Pool Terrace Suites and one Penthouse Suite) results in a cozy B&B like quality to the property, where people hang out on the comfy sofa by the front door and let themselves in and out of the front door as they wish. (There is no doorman and the doors remain locked throughout the day and night so guests must remember codes to open the main gates).

What the hotel lacks in amenities (there is no gym, spa and limited room service) they make up for in charm, and with access to some of the city's coolest people. On a recent visit I was introduced to dozens of new friends, taken to a local favorite tapas restaurant (for a four-hour lunch) and only wished for more time to accept invitations to sherry vineyard tours, cooking classes, horseback riding trips, photography sojourns and visits to countryside bull farms. (The former I was ok declining…).

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