I’ve never been in the income group of people who stay in Spain’s luxury hotels but taking wealthy clients around the country over the years has allowed me to visit some of these establishments first hand. In no particular order I’m listing my top 10 then I’ll recommend a few websites which specialise in luxury hotels.
Alfonso XIII Hotel Seville
More often than not the Alfonso XIII is the hotel of choice of wealthy visitors to Seville. Its construction was commissioned by King Alfonso XIII in 1928 and was one of Europe’s most luxurious hotels. Today it retains an air of grandeur and is a great practical choice being only a few minutes walk from Seville Cathedral. Its San Fernando restaurant is open to non-guests and is highly recommended.
Westin Palace Hotel Madrid
Not surprisingly the capital city is well represented when it comes to classic hotels. Many of these buildings played a key role in the social history of Spain, if only their walls could speak. Located right in the heart of Madrid, near the Parliament building, the elegant Palace Hotel dates back to 1912. It has managed to hold onto its classic feel whilst undergoing numerous renovations over the years which marks it as one of Madrid’s top hotels.
Mandarin Oriental Ritz Hotel Madrid
The Ritz Hotel in Madrid is one of Europe’s great luxury hotels providing everything you’d expect from this worldwide brand and more. It sits proudly just off Paseo del Prado attracting celebrities, politicians and wealthy guests from all over the world. If you aren’t famous or rich pay a visit to the hotel’s Goya Restaurant and try the renowned ‘Cocido Madrileño’ which is a heavy Madrid stew popular in these parts.
Hotel ME Reina Victoria Madrid
In my early days in Madrid the tapas bars and drinking holes around Plaza de Santa Ana were my Saturday night stomping ground. Overlooking the square was the imposing Grand Hotel Reina Victoria which was a popular choice amongst visiting bullfighters who were in town to fight at the Las Ventas bullring. It has now been rebranded as the Hotel ME which doesn’t sound quite so grand as its former name but is recognised as one of the city’s top hotels. Its location could hardly be better with most of Madrid’s main sights and galleries within easy walking distance.
As I write I realise just how many hotels in Madrid could be included in this list. I’d like to add the Villa Magna Hotel and the Villa Real Hotel amongst others but then we’d end up with a “Luxury Hotels in Madrid” blog post which isn’t my intention so let’s move to Barcelona where there just as many places that merit a place on this list.
Majestic Hotel Barcelona
If I had the funds to stay in the best hotels on my travels I suspect that the Majestic would be where I’d stay in Barcelona. I’m quite familiar with the hotel as it’s where we’ve often arranged for football fans to get coaches to the Nou Camp stadium. The elegance of the hotel fits in perfectly on the stylish Passeig de Gracia looking particularly attractive when illuminated at night. Just a short walk away are Casa Battló and La Pedrera, two of Gaudi’s stunning creations.
Arts Hotel Barcelona
This is the most modern hotel on my list having only opened in 1994. It is probably Barcelona’s top choice amongst celebrities who choose it for the sheer luxury it offers together with its idyllic location near the city’s beach overlooking Port Olimpic. The first time I visited the hotel was to deliver some FC Barcelona tickets to some East European businessmen who were in town for the Real Madrid game. Never have I felt so underdressed in my jeans and T-shirt!
Casa Fuster Barcelona
This hotel depicts everything that Barcelona is about. Located near the Sagrada Familia its Modernisme architecture has to be seen to be believed. Condé Nast readers selected it as one of the world’s best hotels.
Now I’ve run into the same problem as I had with Madrid in that I could go on and on recommending fabulous hotels in Barcelona. I’d like to have added the Claris Hotel which was originally a 19th century palace and the Meridien which deserves a mention on location alone being right on the Ramblas but prefer to include three final hotels that aren’t in Madrid or Barcelona.
Parador de Granada
It’s difficult to create a list of top hotels in Spain without including some Paradors. The one located in the grounds of the Alhambra Palace in Granada is my first choice thanks to its unique location and the absolute charm that it exudes. It only has 25 rooms with views into the gardens of the Alhambra or towards the peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Being so small it’s very difficult to get a reservation so try booking months ahead of your visit. Alternatively, you can plan on having lunch in its restaurant after a visit to the Alhambra Palaces.
Parador de Santiago de Compostela
Being spoilt for choice as to which of the other historic Paradors to include in my list I’ve decided to go for the incredible one in Santiago de Compostela which is more correctly called the ‘Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos’. This historic hotel is one of the oldest in the world which was built as an inn for Ferdinand and Isabella (the Catholic Monarchs). It’s the grandest place you’ll ever stay.
And finally I have to return to my favourite island and recommend this stunning hotel in Deià which is built in the most beautiful place with lovely scenery all around yet on the doorstep of one of Mallorca’s most attractive villages. To really get away from it all and treat yourself this is worth considering. It’s no surprise that it appears as one of the 20 hotels in Spain that make the exclusive ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ list.
Leading Hotels of the World in Spain
The Leading Hotels of the World group was formed in 1999 to meet the demands of the upmarket traveller. Hotels must meet rigorous standards of excellence to become part of this exclusive group and are dedicated to providing first class service in luxurious surroundings. Here are the 20 that currently make the list from Spain:
- Alva Park Costa Brava
- Barcelo La Bobadilla Loja
- Barceló Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa Alicante
- Castell Son Claret Mallorca
- El Palace Barcelona
- Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque Resort Tenerife
- Gran Hotel La Florida Barcelona
- Gran Meliá Fénix Madrid
- Gran Melia Colon Seville
- Hostal de la Gavina Costa Brava
- Hotel Botánico & The Oriental Spa Garden Tenerife
- Hotel Casa Fuster Barcelona
- Hotel Las Arenas Balneario Resort Valencia
- Hotel Puente Romano Marbella
- Hotel Ritz Madrid
- Hotel Villa Magna Madrid
- Kempinski Hotel Bahía Estepona
- La Residencia Mallorca
- Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa
- Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia Gran Canaria
To read more about the above 20 hotels you can go directly to the Leading Hotels of the World website.