Seville – ‘A Long, luxurious weekend in Seville’
The Alfonso XIII Hotel in Andalucía’s capital is a world-class property, a luxurious address to call home for a few days, says Andrew Forbes
There’s probably no better time to experience the unique flavour of Seville than during spring. Towards the end of March is Easter’s Holy Week, known as ‘Semana Santa’. The city takes its Easter rituals and processions very seriously, and the streets are filled with the extraordinary spectacle of ornate processions.
Then a little later in April the social season starts in Seville with the ‘Feria de Abril’ or April Fair, a passionate celebration of local culture and all that is quintessentially Andalusian. Its rich in folk history, colour, music, gastronomy, dance, and corridas with bullfighters dressed in their elaborately embroidered ‘suits of lights’. Take a stroll through the historic parks at this time and expect to see vintage carriages carrying ladies in vibrant, polka dot flamenco-style dresses accompanied by men in traditional broad hats, short jackets and fitted trousers.
In the heart of this intoxicating capital is one of the city’s most extraordinary buildings, the Hotel Alfonso XIII. This magnificent Luxury Collection landmark hotel has recently undergone a total restoration, elevating its status to a world-class property, a decadent address for a long luxurious weekend.
Opened in 1929 for the Ibero-American Expo, the 5 star Hotel Alfonso XIII celebrates Andalucía’s Moorish heritage in the style of a genuine European Grand Hotel. Its striking Neo-Mudéjar architecture echoes the other grand buildings constructed for this world fair, including the nearby Plaza de España, the towers of which mark the city skyline.
This is the lavish Seville of the 1920s. Stepping inside the spacious lobby, one is transported to a bygone era. Beyond is the large, open Andalusian patio, decorated with scented orange trees and with a classic Moorish fountain at its centre. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast here, reading the international press, or later take afternoon tea. In the evenings the terrace is part of the hotel’s formal, fine-dining San Fernando Restaurant. The upscale menu includes the famous Sirloin Wellington, said to be King Alfonso XIII favourite dish.
For something more informal but no less elegant, try the Taifas Restaurant set in the pool gardens. Striking design sets the scene for tempting Mediterranean and North Africa cuisine, like stone baked pizzas, lamb kebabs or classic Andalusian salmorejo.
Guest suites are flawless, with immaculate vintage decor, soft luxurious linens, and spacious, updated bathrooms with rain forest showers and indulgent amenities.
A drink in the hotel’s American Bar provides a moment to savour the atmosphere of this wonderful building. Sipping a signature martini, prepared by one of talented mixologists, is the perfect opportunity to people watch amongst the movers and shakers of this capital city.
For a different side of Seville nightlife, head to the lively district of Santa Cruz; its one of the best areas for ‘tapas-hopping’. The narrow streets lined with orange trees are full of idiosyncratic bars, each with their own twist on Andalucía’s favourite snack, the tapa. Discover your favourites by ordering a few tapas in each bar you come to, and before long, the city will feel like home.
©COPYRIGHT ANDREW FORBES