What A Pleasure To Visit In Spain – The rooftop bar next to the pool at the Grand Hotel Central is one of the trendiest places in Barcelona.
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What A Pleasure To Visit In Spain
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An insider’s guide to the top places and cities to visit in Spain – including the best for couples and families in places including Madrid, Barcelona, Costa Brava, Seville, San Sebastian, Andalusia, Valencia, Marbella and Pamplona – and where to stay while you’re there.
Madrid has really revamped itself in the last couple of years. The Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums are big and good, but the city center is getting smarter with new boutiques, delis, cafes and gastrobars opening every week. It’s perfect for a culture-rich long weekend or city break with good food and a lively atmosphere at night. Madrid can be cold in winter – it’s one of Europe’s highest capital cities – but the sky is usually blue and the sun is strong enough to allow visitors to drink vermouth in a sidewalk cafe.
The stunning design and clubby vibe make Only U Atocha the new fashionable place to stay in Madrid. Smart rooms, great food and a sense of space create an atmosphere of contemporary luxury where guests may forget to leave the hotel all weekend.
Urso is a smart five-star boutique hotel in a chic, non-touristy area of Madrid with an elegant spa, buzzing restaurant and luxurious, light-filled rooms. Strategically located for shopping and barhopping, the hotel is a quietly fashionable haven with a discerning clientele.
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Barcelona is a patchwork of architectural styles, displaying dark, Gothic facades next to modernist harlequin buildings and the skyline-piercing constructions of Jean Nouvel or Herzog and de Meuron. A day spent wooing them on one of the city’s seven beaches can be topped off with a sundowner before dinner at Michelin-starred gastronomic temples or humble, family-run tapas bars. Barcelona has a relaxed pace, months of endless sunshine, unbeatable food – the cultural and design influence of any city in the cold north.
Housed in the former headquarters of the city’s cotton guild, the hotel honors its origins. Along with original features and antique furniture, you’ll encounter rooms with names like ‘taffeta’ and ‘damask’, and a small salon with displays of cotton bolts where you can have your own shirt made to measure.
You’d struggle to find a more central hotel than the Pulitzer, sitting just off Plaça Catalunya. Its lobby and bar area is frequented by locals and guests alike, making it a cool meeting place away from the hubbub, but with an even better rooftop terrace and cocktail bar, which is particularly lively during festivals.
The Costa Brava is one of Europe’s most romantic, gorgeous, unspoiled coastlines. Gloriously wild in parts and tastefully manicured in others, the Costa boasts some of the best Blue Flag beaches in Europe, wide and sandy stretches of elegant bays and secluded smugglers’ coves. You’ll also find wonderful, independent hotels and fabulous food. In fact the coast is a foodie’s paradise and Catalonia – where the Costa Brava is located – has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred chefs in Spain, not to mention excellent, locally produced wines.
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This family-friendly hotel in Tamariu’s sandy bay has got all the ingredients you need for a beach holiday. The rooms are simple, but clean and contemporary, and there is also an excellent restaurant serving delicious Catalan seafood dishes.
This converted nobleman’s house in the heart of medieval Begur is the most elegant hotel in town. There is colonial splendor with a quirky yet elegant contemporary style, an excellent restaurant and a beautiful garden terrace.
A decade of bold development has given Spain’s third-largest city some of the most striking architecture in the country, adding a wealth of elegant Art Nouveau buildings lining the streets and Gothic and Renaissance monuments. With dynamic museums, a thriving restaurant scene, lively nightlife, great shops and miles of beaches, Valencia is bursting with Mediterranean enthusiasm. And the walkable center means you can take paths lined with elegant buildings from medieval monuments in golden stone, stopping at sidewalk cafes along the way.
Set within a grand aristocratic mansion, this chic boutique hotel is a reflection of Valencia, where tradition and innovation combine. In contrast to the busy city, this peaceful oasis near Turia Gardens has a horse-inhabited spa and a delightful hidden garden.
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A beautiful boutique hotel on Valencia’s magnificent beachfront – with those serene sea views and magnificent hospitality it’s easy to forget you’re in Spain’s third largest city. Enjoy a designer style stay that will help you relax.
Ask any Cantabrian and they will proudly tell you the biggest secret to their beloved land’s success: “In the summer we hit the beach and in the winter we do mountain adventures”. It’s a unique combination of landscapes and lifestyles – breathtaking coastlines, quiet countryside, deep valleys, majestic mountains and quaint seaside towns – fused with fantastic fresh food and tremendous historical treasures that make this small region of northern Spain a delight to explore. And yet, by Spanish standards, Cantabria remains relatively undeveloped apart from the odd small resort area here and there.
This fabulously converted, centuries-old village farmstead is one of the finest and most character-filled places to stay in Picos de Europa. The self-catering, family-friendly apartments are beautifully original; The mountain views are sensational; And the welcoming owners have it all covered.
Tucked away in the foothills of a rugged mountain, this stunning family-run country hotel combines beautifully traditional Cantabrian style with contemporary amenities, glorious views, warm personal service and easy access to some of the Picos de Europa’s best scenery and activities.
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Divided from the rest of the country by the natural border of the Sierra Morena, Spain’s southern region is larger than the Netherlands, stretching from the Atlantic in the west to the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the arid landscape of Almeria in the east. Andalusia has more than 500 miles of coastline and a surprising variety of beaches. On the Atlantic’s Costa de la Luz, La Antilla boasts 14 miles of golden sand, while the coves of Costa Tropical on the Mediterranean are lined with groves of mangoes, avocados and custard apple. 700 years of Moorish civilization left a magnificent cultural legacy not only in the great cities of Seville, Cordoba and Granada, but throughout the region.
Going strong since 1987, this delightful British-owned rural retreat and long-time riverside walkers’ favorite is elegantly positioned just outside dramatic Ronda. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, rustic-modern rooms and an excellent restaurant, and set out on a multitude of wonderful walking trails.
This elegant hotel combines Asian and Moroccan design elements, set in lush gardens with weeping willows, bamboo and palm trees. The vibe is relaxed and intimate. The rooftop hot tub is a blissful spot for sunbathers with gorgeous views across the Straits of Gibraltar.
Compact, rich in history and famous for flamenco, tapas bars and orange trees, Seville is an ideal short break destination. Stay in the city’s old town to explore the cobbled streets of the Santa Cruz quarter and the breathtaking Alcazar Palace. Soak up the atmosphere on the banks of the Guadalquivir, and admire views of the ancient cathedral tower and the recently opened Parasol Metropole. The influence of the city’s Moorish past and Catholic present is visible everywhere, with the largest cathedral in the world and the Giralda Minaret, an exquisite example of Islamic architecture.
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A 17th-century palace in the heart of Seville’s old town has been reinvented as a deluxe boutique hotel by English brothers Anthony and Patrick Reid. It’s a classy affair with fine art on the walls amid marble, Romanesque pillars, wooden beams and sophisticated lighting.
A boutique hotel housed in a converted 18th-century mansion with a traditional arcaded interior, this delightfully relaxing hotel overlooks Seville’s hottest restaurant and bar scene. Quirky furnishings, period details and great value make this family-owned place a top choice in the Alameda district.
Eating sardines caught at sea is one of life’s simplest pleasures, and the beaches on either side of Malaga are the perfect place to do it – especially after a morning at the Picasso and Carmen Thyssen museums. Unlike some Spanish cities, it doesn’t get windy in the summer and is especially lively during the Malaga fair in mid-August, when even the most reserved visitors join the locals to wander the streets. While there is plenty to see and do, Málaga is truly a place to kick back and enjoy the Mediterranean vibe.
The glitzy, family-owned and sleekly sophisticated four-star base is housed in two elegant 19th-century buildings.
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