Spain is a beautiful and diverse country that contains many long-standing and proud cultures under a single flag. There is much to do here, from enjoying the turquoise waters and sandy beaches of the Mediterranean coast to walking ancient pilgrimage routes or taking cycling tours throughout the vast, fertile wine country.
History buffs will love the architecture that combines Spanish style with regional influences of Moorish or Basque, and art lovers will adore the many groundbreaking museums and the spectacular landscapes that inspired pioneers like Picasso.
This country also offer a number of spectacular luxury hotels, which range from large to boutique, and from modern to the most ancient hotel still running today. Of special note are the Parador chain of Spanish luxury hotels, founded by Alfonso XIII to promote tourism in the country. A profitable state-run enterprise, the hotels are often in castles, palaces, fortresses, convents, monasteries and other historic buildings. They stretch from Galicia in the north-west, through Catalonia in the east, Andalusia in the south, and even to the Canary Islands. Here is a look at some of the most amazing hotels that Spain has to offer:
The Ayre Hotel Rosellon is just a few steps from the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which can be viewed from the hotel roof terrace and also some of the guest rooms. The ultramodern furnishings and geometric style on-site in the Ayre makes a lovely contrast to this centuries-old city. There is a relaxing cafeteria and restaurant where guests can enjoy a traditional meal or simply relax and enjoy a drink in the hotel’s chill-out area overlooking Gaudi’s masterpiece. There is a metro station nearby.
The Parador Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos is located in one of the oldest buildings in the Pilgrimage town of Santiago de Compostela. It was built in 1499 as a hospital and temporary lodging for traveling pilgrims. Because it allowed overnight stays, it has the honor of being known as the oldest hotel in the world. As a hotel, this is a lovely combination of modern and luxurious amenities in a building that is over 500 years old, making it a rare and amazing opportunity as a place to stay. Food is local Galican, and in addition to being deliciously unique, the hotel is well-known throughout the region for specacular breakfasts.
The towering palace-like structure of Reina Victoria sits in Madrid’s Plaza de Santa Ana. It offers a spectacular rooftop to see many of the city’s iconic sites, as well as a large meeting space for events and gatherings. Almost 200 designer rooms range are available, including a number of pet-friendly options. In addition to the typical restaurants, bars, pool, spa and athletic facilities, the ME Madrid Reina Victoria offers a supplement bar which allows guests to create a custom-made serum to maximize each individual’s natural beauty and correct troubling issues.
Hotel Viura is a precarious-looking cubist stack located in a traditional Spanish wine village in the Rioja Alavesa region. The contrast is only heightened by the fact that its next-door neighbor is an 18th-century church. The cube-stack layout ensures that most of the thirty-three rooms have panoramic, corner-office views of the village and the surrounding Sierra de Cantabria mountains. Rooms are classic, simple, and elegant to the last detail. There is a winotech that highlights the best of the local wineries, with three featured local wines chosen each month as tasting samples.
Ibiza, known as the playground of the rich, is a great place to discover the splendor of the Mediterranean. Hacienda Na Xamena does a great job of creating rooms that celebrate the natural beauty of the coastline. Simple, elegant furnishings are designed to be pleasing to the eye without competing with the external views, and large windows and balconies on the suites and haciendas allow guests to take full advantage of the natural beauty. Food is available at a gourmet restaurant, poolside cafe, and bar and nightclub onsite. The spa is top-notch and includes a set of cliffside cascading pools.
Rising like a sail from the Mediterranean sands of Barcelonetta, W Barcelona is as much a work of modern art as it is a luxury brand hotel. Locally known as Hotel Vela, architect Ricardo Bofill’s W is a stunner, inside and out. Rooms and suites are designed to maximize city views. Features like the infinity-edge pool, and the fully equipped gym and spa add to the feeling of luxury here. Additionally, the W offers a number of special events like a rooftop balcony concert series and onsite fashion shows.
The Barcello is located partway between the Costa del Sol and Granada, in a rustic natural setting. Reminiscent of a romantic recreation of a tiny Mudejar village, the hotel’s rambling sections are interconnected by a labyrinth of quaint path-ways, flowering courtyards, vaulted passageways and a soaring marble colonnade. It has an eclectic room style with marble bathtubs and a combination of concrete and wood floorings, to enhance the rustic feel. This Andalusian gem prides itself on being a part of the slow traveler movement, and offers many chances to forget time tables and remember a love of life.
The Hotel Alfonso XIII was originally built between 1916 and 1928, and sits in the heart of Seville, near the Santa Cruz quarter and the Guadilquivir river. Architecturally, this renovated gem is a city landmark, and a perfect example of the combined Moorish and European influences that epitomize Sevillian style. There is an expansive garden and pool area to enjoy the sunny outdoors, as well as rooms ranging from deluxe single beds to your choice of royal grand suites. Four restaurants ranging from outdoor cafe to gourmet are also available onsite.
The Parador de Cuenca is a great choice for those who want to experience history in an authentic way. It is clear that this hotel is an ancient historic treasure just looking at the sandstone walls and tiled roofs– the building is in a renovated monastery that sits above the sheer vegetated walls of Huecar Gorge. It provides an excellent view of the enchanted hanging houses from inside the glassed-in cloister. The on-site chapel is now a cozy cafe. The hotel is walking distance from many of the historic sites in Cuenca.
There is over a century of luxurious indulgence to be experienced at the Hotel Alhambra Palace. Guests will feel amazed just walking into the lobby full of high ceilings and expansive archways, colorful tiled murals and elegant gold accents. Located just outside the Alhambra’s ancient walls, the hotel towers above the city of Granada, about a ten minute walk from the historical downtown. It has an excellent rooftop cafe that allows guests to sit for a meal and enjoy one of the city’s best views.
The Parador de Ronda sits in the renovated building that once held the old Town Hall of the historic city of Ronda. Its cliffside view of the Tagus gorge can be seen from the hotel’s many balconied rooms and duplex suites. Its central location offers easy walking of Ronda’s many historical sites that date back to Roman times, particularly the bull ring and the hanging houses. On-site food celebrates Andalusian culinary culture, and the elegant rooms at the Parador de Ronda are a showpiece in itself. Whether a single, double or suite room, the furnishings are lovely and elegant. The bright, clean decor is a showpiece in itself, as a creation of famed designer Pascua Ortega.