12 Corral del Rey
Tel: 34 954 227 116
Tucked away on a side street in Barrio Santa Cruz, Corral del Rey is an elegant small hotel run by two youthful but whip-smart brothers from an aristocratic Anglo-Spanish family. These guys have shown extraordinary attention to detail in restoring their 17th-century palacethe six bedrooms have Norwegian limed-oak floors, made-to-measure marble bathrooms with huge shower cubicles (only rooms 2 and 5 have bathtubs too), eclectic furniture, and original wooden doors and windows. Hook up your iPod to the room's sound system, nibble on a complimentary organic chocolate-covered fig, settle into the soft Egyptian cotton pillows. Book one of the second-floor rooms (4, 5, and 6), which feel more spacious due to their higher, vaulted ceilings. There's also a tiled plunge pool up there that's perfect for an after-dinner dip. An annex across the street, Corral 7, opened in September 2011 with seven additional rooms and a penthouse suite with Giralda views. Although the hotel has no restaurant, a private dining space is available for groups.—Fiona Flores Watson
Calle Virgen de la Nieves
Sanlúcar la Mayor
Tel: 34 955 703 344
While Catalonian super-chef Ferran Adrià's Alqueria restaurant is reason enough for visiting this beautiful tenth-century hacienda 12 miles from Seville, the 44-room hotel is also a delight. Set in a leafy haven of bougainvillea and jasmine, mixed with orange, lemon, and olive trees, the Benazuza's Arabic origins can be seen in the sunken gardens, shilaba tunics for guests' use, and the poolside haima (an open, curtained tent with daybeds). The rooms and suites are grand but not stuffy, and are tastefully dressed with antique furniture. Some have exquisitely painted domed ceilings, and the best have a garden view or private terrace. The Alqueria restaurant lives up to expectations, with creations such as Parmesan ice cream, or squid in an orange and truffle sauce. If you want to make the most of your stay, try the 24-course blowout tasting menuand be sure to cancel breakfast.
Tel: 34 954 560 000
Seville's five-star design palace, the EME Catedral, has all the trappings of an avant-garde playgroundfrom an oriental-themed spa and Japanese restaurant to a rooftop pool and juice bar. Converted from 14 houses, this 60-room hotel is within kissing distance of the Giralda and makes the most of it with spacious private terraces (some with hot tubs). Opt for a superior room for cathedral views (the sacrifice is less space), and avoid those overlooking the bar-lined street, which can be noisy at night. The roughly hewn, minimalist decor includes textured walls and simple wooden four-poster beds. Some have the original wooden ceiling beams. The most striking touch is the celosia lattice screen in the central patio, based on Arabic geometric designs and echoed throughout the hotel. in the central patio, based on Arabic geometric designs and echoed throughout the hotel. Santo Restaurante by Martin Berasategui—presided over by Spain's most Michelin-starred chef—serves inventive Cantabrian-Andalusian cuisine (such as caramelized mille-feuille of foie, eels, and apple with creamed potato). There's a Japanese restaurant and tapas bar as well, along with a rooftop terrace that's the hippest hangout in town.—Fiona Flores Watson
41–43 Calle Abades
Tel: 34 954 979 009
Housed in a narrow street close to the Catedral de Sevilla, in the Barrio Antiguo, this converted 18th-century casa-palacio has introduced a contemporary feel to a typically grand Sevillano house. Once inside the massive wooden doors, you'll find a glamorous lobby with oversize hanging lights, a leather reception desk, a fur rug, and black-and-white movie photographs decorating the walls. The interior patio is all rich colors and textured fabrics, including gold, silver, and purple velvet sofas and cushions; above is a spectacular coffered wood ceiling. In a daring move against tradition, a glass balcony gives this main patio a clean, modern look. Along the corridors, bold, striped walls lead guests to the 40 good-size rooms. The decor is contemporary with period touches: striped metallic wall panels with inset flat-screen TVs, curvy white Queen Anne–style bedside tables, black resin neo-rococo lamps, and purple bedspreads. Bathrooms are minimalist with oversize black tiles and tangerine-scented toiletries. Ask for a room with a pool view—they're lighter and quieter. The large pool, virtually unheard of in the Barrio Antiguo, is one of the Fontecruz's main draws; you'll be extremely thankful for a cooling dip in Seville's hotter months (May to September). A roof-terrace bar with a jumping scene attracts the city's beautiful people to its smooching spots, complete with big beds and Giralda views. Sadly, the restaurant lacks the same atmosphere, but the hotel's location leaves you well situated to venture out for meals.—Fiona Flores Watson
6 Calle Segovias
Tel: 34 954 229 495
Located in the labyrinthine streets behind the cathedral and just across from the Giralda Tower, the Hotel Los Seises occupies a 16th-century archbishop's palace. Excavations have revealed Roman mosaics, Renaissance paneling, and Arabic columns and tiling, most of which is still on display. The property's 42 rooms feature tile floors and Roman arches, as well as amenities like air-conditioning, satellite TV, safes, and minibars. There is a good-sized garden, as well as a rooftop pool and restaurant with impressive views of the Giralda Tower and Seville skyline. The restaurant, La Cocina de los Seises, serves traditional Andalusian food and local wines.
Tel: 34 954 502 063
Seville is awash in converted palaces, but Palacio Villapanés is easily the most impressive. The 50-room property—located in the quieter, less touristy part of Barrio Santa Cruz—stands out for its architectural assets, dating back to the 18th century: an imposing stone entrance topped with a family coat of arms (there's another inside, on the massive staircase), high ceilings, and heavy carved wooden doors. Villapanés is saved from appearing too cold and formal by a surprising pairing of historic grandeur and contemporary furniture with a retro feel, such as Patricia Urquiola's Fat-Fat circular stacking tables and Crinoline woven chairs. Guest rooms have parquet floors, walls in soothing gray, and sumptuous beds with bendy reading lights. The bathrooms come in different shapes and sizes: Some are open plan, some have colored ceramic tiles, others are black; all are equipped with Bulgari toiletries. The five suites have iMacs—opt for the Torréon, which has a 19th-century marble bath and a private terrace. If it's already taken, you can always bag a chaise longue on the spacious patio lined with orange trees and oversize white parasols, or cool off in the bijou plunge pool on the roof terrace with views of the city. Breakfast, served in a cozy basement restaurant, features tiny apple turnovers, tortilla, empañada de atún, and dried figs. For bigger appetites, there's sausages, bacon, and eggs. The delightful staff speaks English well and can help you negotiate Seville's winding streets.—Fiona Flores Watson
20 Calle Zaragoza
Tel: 34 954 502 721
Located on a narrow back street in the Arenal barrio, near the Maestranza bullring and the Guadalquivir River, the Taberna del Alabardero is a romantic, salmon-hued, 19th-century town house (formerly the home of poet Juan Antonio Cavestany). The sunny patio has wicker furniture and a fountain, and the tiled rooftop terrace overlooks the cathedral. Inside, the seven classic Andalusian rooms have parquet floors, stately 19th-century furniture, and fine linens. Each is individually decorated (opt for third-floor rooms, which have whirlpool tubs.) The excellent Taberna Del Alabardero restaurant serves upscale Andalusian food (such as beef with truffles and red wine) and a fine selection of local wines.