El Palacio de San Benito

El Palacio de San Benito

The Palacio de San Benito is a quirky, antique-filled place to stay. In the small mountain town of Cazalla de la Sierra about an hours drive from Seville airport through lovely, quiet country roads and scenery reminiscent of the English countryside but with bright blue sky.

El Palacio de San Benito, Cazalla, Sevilla

A private home and converted palace/church make a palatial and welcoming retreat. It’s museum-like decor and time-warped bedrooms bring on thoughts of Pride and Prejudice, lace and crinolines, I didn’t want to leave.

Stay for a night as in a hotel, come for a special meal or family celebration or rent the entire property for your use complete with staff for a private ceremony or family get together.

El Palacio de San Benito, Cazalla, Sevilla

Once you walk through the ancient wooden door and see the gorgeous arched and plant filled patio with trickling fountains, architectural features and lovely old ceramic tiles you’ll be sold. You’ll want to sit and relax. Be drawn into the peace it oozes and shut out the world of today.


Charm, style and oodles of character make this just up my street. Dark wooden beams, hefty, cushion-filled sofas and my own tiny patio with its own water feature. I could have moved in or at least stayed long enough to relax and read some of the book collection in the amazing library complete with hand painted ceiling beams.


My room for the night was Del Infante, the baby’s or child’s room, with four-poster bed festooned with bright chintz and a cot to match. Needless to say I  didn’t need the cot and haven’t needed one for nearly twenty years and actually it’s adults-only, adding to its peace and quiet.



Comfortable on the sofa I perused some interesting sale and antique magazines before taking a spot of air on my small private patio.

El Palacio de San Benito

Part of the original church, now a fabulous dining room with hand-painted walls, hosts dinner parties and private functions in very elegant style.

El Palacio de San Benito

The Palacio de San Benito is a unique stay. Gorgeous, eccentric and definitely worth putting on your list.


Read my post about the Bib Gourmand Restaurante San Agustin in Cazalla de la Sierra where we ate while staying at San Benito.

Five Charming Hotels in Seville

Seville, or Sevilla in Spanish, is one of my favourite Andalusian cities. It’s huge and one of the ‘famous three’ that most visitors head for when visiting southern Spain – Cordoba, Granada and Seville.

Did you know you can submit an article about Andalucia here?http://bit.ly/24Nn88O
Seville University

I don’t know it as well as Cordoba or Granada and nowhere near as well as my nearest city – Jaen (pronounced ‘hi-en’) which is probably the least known of the eight cities and provinces that make up Andalucia.

Jaen monumental cross
Jaen Monumental Cross

When I saw in the local Spanish paper ABC an article on ‘The five most charming hotels in Seville city’  I took note for the next time I go.

Five Charming Hotels in Seville City

Boutique Hotel Casa Poeta

Boutique Hotel Casa Poeta
Boutique Hotel Casa Poeta


Named after the poet Al-Mutamid, Boutique Hotel Casa Poeta, the house where he lived is located in the heart of the old quarter Santa Cruz with its maze-like narrow streets and enormous choice of bars and restaurants all around. The hotel has a gorgeous interior Andalucian patio and individually-decorated rooms.

Hotel Corral del Rey

Hotel Corral del Rey
Hotel Corral del Rey

The second hotel is in the area – Barrio de la Alfalfa. A beautiful ancient building once an VII palace, now completely renovated into this intimate boutique hotel with a minimilistic style and a great merging of modern and antique.

El Rey Moro Hotel Boutique Sevilla

Hotel El  Rey Moro, Seville
El Rey Moro Hotel Boutique Sevilla

In the heart of the Jewish quarter with lovely views the Rey Moro translates as Moorish King. Each bedroom has been decorated with  a different theme. One of its main selling points is after a long, and hot day sightseeing you can relax in the jacuzzi with views of the Giralda, the Moorish tower.

Alcoba del Rey de Sevilla

Hotel El  Rey Moro, Seville
Hotel Alcoba del Rey

Located in the same house where the Moorish poet Al-Mutamid lived,  Hotel Alcoba del Rey preserves that historical and cultural spirit one thousand years later. With a Moroccan/Arabian feel to make your stay here an unforgettable one.


Palacio Pinello Hotel Boutique

Hotel Palacio PinelloHotel Boutique , Seville
Hotel Palacio Pinello Hotel Boutique

The final one on the list is Palacio Pinello Hotel Boutique in the heart of Santa Cruz quarter. Built on a  XV palace it’s a charming hotel with lovely details transforming and merging ancient and modern with maximum comfort.

Very tough choice, I love them all, perhaps a night in each!

Photo Credits: Hotel photos from the individual hotel, Seville University official photograph and Jaen Monumental Cross is my own.

Hacienda Na Xamena, Ibiza

Incuded in the TripAdvisor list of ’14 Hotel Pools You’ve Got to See’ the Hacienda Na Xamena with cliff top pool and spa has amazing views of the ocean. This Balearic Island hotel is in the north of Ibiza is well away from the clubbing south.

Hacienda Na Xamena,Ibiza

A real retreat spot to relax, be pampered, explore the fabulous hotel grounds and enjoy spectacular sunsets. Every room has ocean views and you could be forgiven for thinking you are on the end of the earth.

Hacienda Na Xamena,Ibiza

This is the perfect getaway stay to experience the natural beauty of Ibiza and recharge your batteries surrounded by rugged beauty and the feeling that you’re at the end of the world.


The Luxurious, Elegant, Historical ~ Hotel Hilton Sa Torre Mallorca Resort

The luxurious, elegant, historical 5* Hotel Hilton Sa Torre Mallorca Resort, with a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2015 is just fabulous. Built in and around a 14th century residence and complete with an ancient Neogothic chapel and windmill here you’ll find the best Mallorcan hospitality with a wonderfully eclectic ancient/modern feel.


With 90 classic or contempory rooms, a Pure Spa,  indoor pool and childrens and adults outdoor pools and Hilton Fitness gym. There’s also tennis courts, a football pitch all within extensive gardens and grounds.



Hotel Hilton Sa Torre Mallorca Resort – A unique island retreat.




Unusual Spas in Spain – Wine and Oil Massages at Hotel Villa de Laguardia


The Hotel Villa de Laguardia in the heart of Rioja Alavesa has created an exclusive and unusual Spa using the local produce –  grapes. Its signature experience is a massage with grape oil.

Divided into two independent spaces the thermal circuit complete with an ancient olive tree and surrounded by a foot bath in a barrel and a covered outer area which is stunning at night.

Hotel Villa lGuardia cupola

The thermal circuit has different contrasting showers, a Finnish sauna, a Turkish bath and an ice fountain. All designed to invigorate the body, activate the circulatory system and relax the mind.


The curved swimming pool has water jets, water beds, duckbills, geysers, hydromassage benches and cold water basins, so that the visitor gets the most benefit and therapeutic effect. Not forgetting the herbal teas and relaxing hammocks.

The other area has 15 theme massage cabins for facial and body treatments and various hydrotherapy techniques where you can experience natural treatments based on wine and olive oil from Rioja Alavesa.

The Wine Oil Spa offers you a novel à la carte experiences based on the cosmetic properties of products such as chestnuts, sloes, truffles and local aromatic plants like thyme, lavender and rosemary.


Some of the winetherapy and oiltherapy treatments on offer are:

Wine Oil Scrub: An exfoliating cocktail with Arroniz olive oil emulsified with grape skin, pips and natural grapes scented with mint.

Moisturising Body Massage: A creamy emulsion massage with grapes or olive oil

Body Wrapping: Black grapes (anti-oxidizing), olive oil (restoring), chocolate (nourishing), black truffle (mineralising), black mud (analgesic) or seaweeds (draining)

Take your pick and be wined and oiled in luxury at Hotel Villa de LaGuardia.

Hotel Las Caldas Villa Thermal ~ Award-winning Spanish Spa Hotel

The award-winning Hotel Balneario Las Caldas Thermal is a fabulous 5* star Spa Hotel which has walked away with the Spanish ‘Best Health Hotel’  award and it was also named in among the top hotels for Iniciative in the category for  health.


Hotel Las Caldas Villa Thermal is in Asturia a northern province of Spain, just 8 kms from the city of Oviedo. A fabulous spot for exploring the north of Spain and a high-class hotel for enjoying a relaxing, healthy holiday. The Spa offers a wealth of wellness programmes and massages.


Its origins began in XVII  century as the Hotel Balneario and now as then it upholds its great tradition and reputation and after undergoing modernisation it became Hotel Las Caldas Villa.

Its  beautiful, pooled 4,000 sq mt huge gardens are reflected in the large complex. With 79 exclusive rooms covering several Renaissance buildings its quality, luxury and style gained its well-deserved prize in October 2014.

Hotel Las Caldas Villa

Hotel Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine

Spanish 5* Vineyard Hotel in Ribera del Duero

The Estate Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, once a 12th century monastery, now a 5* star Relais & Chateaux hotel with the Michelin star restaurant – Refectario.

Nestling between vines along the River Duero it radiates luxury and peace and quiet rule from the inside the historical Romanesque-Baroque monastery walls.

Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine @ Relais & Chateaux

North of Madrid in the region of Castilla y Leon and east of Valladolid this is wine growing country so a vineyard visit is a must but there are plenty of other experiences available, Horse riding, Cycling or Hiking Trails, Historical and cultural guided tours, Medieval falconry and the almost obligatory wine tastings.
Hotel Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine