“This is not a Hotel – it is a Palace and one fit for your attention and affection.”
It is hard not to fall in love with this property the moment you enter its modern but classic entrance, an adorning open air courtyard full of greenery. It was raining during my stay in Seville, which made it even more beautiful and romantic (its not often the rain makes it feel romantic). But I got the best of both worlds, seeing the beauty of the City in the sun too.
Like many other hotels in Seville, this was a home to a wealthy aristocrat who was forced to sell his home when difficult times ensued. The hotel has been restored to its former glory. And Villa Villapanés looks as though no expense has been spared in the décor and design.
Seville itself is an inspiring blend of Arab, Jewish and Christian cultures and you can see this magnificent history in the layers of the city’s architecture and design. This has been beautifully blended in the hotel.
"This is not a Hotel – it is a Palace and one fit for your attention and affection."
The hotel is perfectly located – being so central that you are five minutes away (by foot) from the principle attractions including the Real Alcázar and the Cathedral but on a very quiet and unassuming residential street, overlooking a small square. Accommodated in the Villapanés Suite I was struck by the incredibly high ceilings, floor to ceiling solid wooden doors, shutters, curtain fabrics, and the luxurious colours in the room. Each and every millimetre has been thought out and crafted in a minimalistic Moorish fashion.
In addition to the 18th century details mixed with voluminous floor rugs, vast doors and vaulted ceilings, it was subtly equipped with 21st century conveniences including a Mac PC and a flat screen TV in each of the 6 suites and 50 plus rooms. Other tasteful perks included a complimentary minibar, handmade Katari bath products, and a speedy shoe polish service. The staff was exceptional, especially the director at the time, Martina Cam.
Even the staff uniform made in cool greys had been considered and reflected a blend of cultures thanks to the uber chic designer, Roberto Diz, from Galicia. He originally started his professional life in Jerez de la Frontera and now lives in Seville, with a new showroom in Madrid for clientele. The cuts are classic, contemporary and chic, and if I could have bought them to wear at a cocktail party – I would have!
Unusually for such a high-end designer hotel, they are children-friendly. Cots are provided free; extra beds can be added to Executive Suites and Suites for €50 a night. Babysitting (ideally arranged before arrival) costs €15 an hour, and breakfast is €10 a child, each day. The breakfast was an incredibly fresh and consisted of a wide spread of delights.
The Wellness Centre is something special, given most City hotels do not have such facilities. The massages and beauty treatments were beyond 5 stars and the mood showers had me extend my pamper and relaxation time by half a day, as well as their perfectly proportioned steam and sauna rooms. It was the ideal place to unwind, and be put back together, and in the right order, ready to take on this vibrant capital of the south.
When to go:
I visited during the Feria de Abril fair which is mostly hosted by big agricultural families and the elite in Andalucia. Their party tents / casas in this pop up village are only open to trusted family, friends and business associates, with a strict door policy and bodyguards at each entrance. Before, a tourist would find it almost impossible to get a drink, but now there are stalls that allow the ‘public’, and even have a cash machine inside the tent for easy money access.
The Feria is all about music, dance, and fiesta. I witnessed everyone going out – the young, the old, the toddlers, out of Seville and walk to this pop-up village for the midnight opening and then dance the night away. This goes on and on for a week! During this time people live in the streets and you can get hot or cold food any time of the day or night.
But its almost as if after April you do not need a roof over your head since perhaps it’s hard to get to work in the morning after a late night of partying. Everyone is loud and extremely social, but if you wanted just a roof just to cover your bed and a mobile phone socket, I cannot recommend a better 5 star hotel than the Palacio de Villapanés. From April until September, Seville and Hotel Palacio de Villapanés should be on your go-to lists, at least for a weekend.