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Rustic Retreats

Hotel Alcoba del Rey de Sevilla Reviewed

If it’s the jewelled colours and tranquil courtyards of the Alcázar that are luring you to Seville, then the Alcoba del Rey may just be the place for you. Staying at this quirky boutique hotel in the city’s Macarena district is like living in your own mini Moorish palace.

Along with the welcoming staff, the first thing you’ll meet on your arrival is the hotel’s interior courtyard with its arches of intricate plasterwork, trompe l’oeil frescoes, ceramic tiles, Moroccan lanterns, elegant furniture and burbling water fountain – all transporting you immediately into the magical world of old Seville.

The historical feel is carried through into the bedrooms, each of which is named after a famous Sevillanos figure and individually decorated to create its very own character. You can choose between such illustriously titled rooms as ‘Princess Zaida’, named after the daughter of King Al-Mutamid, with its four-poster bed, Moroccan tiles and stoneware bath, or ‘Zaydún’, named after Ibn Zaydún, the Moorish poet of Cordoba and Seville and lover of the poetess Princess Wallada, with its multicoloured Mudéjar ceiling and painted latticed bed. The addition of the ready to burn incense is a lovely touch, and the ensuite bathrooms, which come with twin sinks, hairdryer and monogrammed slippers, continue the luxury feel. The suites have bathtubs as well as showers, so if you particularly like a luxuriating soak, it’s worth specifying when booking. Traditional Andalusian furniture completes the look, and as an unexpected bonus (insider tip), if any of the décor or furniture particularly takes your fancy, it’s all up for sale, so even if you’re loathed to leave, you can always take a piece of Seville home with you.

Unfortunately, you can’t take with you the hotel’s 24-hour room service, or its glorious roof terrace and Jacuzzi (let reception know when you want to use the Jacuzzi – you’ll have to wait your turn if someone gets there before you). You will truly feel like a King or Queen as you lounge on the canopied sun beds, high above the bustling city. You will eat like royalty too, with the adjoining bar/restaurant El Rincon de Rosita serving good and reasonably priced tapas, and a great buffet spread for breakfast, including an array of pastries, cheeses, charcuterie, fruit and tortillas.

The hotel may be a little further from the city centre than others – it’s a 20–25- minute walk to the main attractions like the cathedral and Alcázar, but the Macarena district has plenty of charms of its own. A little edgier than the quaint old town, it’s also lively and youthful, particularly the Alameda de Hércules – a wide boulevard marked by two original Roman columns that has undergone a regeneration in recent years and is now lined with trendy restaurants and shops. The hotel is also just a stone’s throw from the impressive Basílica de la Macarena – a feast of gold gilt and revered religious iconography.

When visiting a city so full of character as Seville, you need a hotel with character to match. And with its exotic, decadent, fairy-tale atmosphere, not to mention its modest prices, the Alcoba del Rey certainly has that in abundance.

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