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Hotel Highlights

  • A former palace that’s a short walk from the city sights
  • Traditional Spanish feel with a stylish, modern edge
  • Suites with original 18th-century details and all mod cons

Overview

Palacio de Villapanés AlmaSevilla hotel, in Seville Province, has the soul of the 18th century and the conveniences of the 21st. A masterful refurbishment kept the grand marble columns, vaulted ceilings and iron gates of this stone palace but added all the modern technology a choosy traveller could want (hello, Mac computers...). Beneath a classic exterior lies a contemporary sunny courtyard and an all-white minimal restaurant surrounded by stone vaults.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Palacio de Villapanés with us:

A bottle of cava in your room and a hand-made chocolate treat from the kitchen

Facilities

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Palacio de Villapanes – Seville – Spain

Need To Know

Rooms

50, including 15 suites.

Check–out

12pm, but flexible for €40 depending on the time. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Also

The spa has a sauna and Turkish bath, and massages can be arranged on request.

At the hotel

Spa, gym, library and free WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, free bottled water and Malin + Goetz bath products. Some Suites have Macs.

Our favourite rooms

It’s all about the Suites: majestic, elegant, grand, you name it. They have soaring ceilings and windows, original architectural details from the 18th-century construction (carved doors, hand-painted panels) and subtly thrown-in modern luxuries (Macs and flatscreens). There are five to pick from; we especially like the Alma Suite for its marble fireplace and column-separated lounge, the Palacio Suite for its 16ft-high ceilings and warm tones, and the unusual Torreón Suite because it’s in the dome of the palace, with a vaulted wooden ceiling, private roof terrace and windows all around.

Packing tips

A map of Seville to turn to when tangled in the twisty city streets; an appreciation of 300-year-old Spanish architecture.

Children

Cribs are provided free; extra beds can be added to Executive Suites and Suites for €50 a night. Babysitting (ideally arranged the day before) costs €15 an hour.

Food & Drink

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Palacio de Villapanes – Seville – Spain

Hotel Restaurant

The restaurant is in the building’s basement but it’s by no means dingy – it’s bright white instead (furniture too), with arched, airy ceilings. The banquettes have nifty up-lighting behind them, and the space is filled with colourful orchids. There are a few black tables and cushions thrown in for good measure. The food is Andalucian, with some speciality modern tapas. You can’t go wrong with a slice or two or Iberian ham.

Hotel Bar

Drinks can be served in the bar, lobby and out on the patios. Wash the tapas down with a couple of signature cocktails.

Last orders

Breakfast runs from 8am to 11.30am, but it can be extended for late risers. Lunch service is between 1.30pm and 3.30pm; dinner is 8.30pm until 10.30pm. The bar stays open until midnight.

Room service

A select menu of hot and cold dishes is available 24 hours a day.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Orchid-matching pinks and purples.

Top table

Go romantic and pick a banquette table with soft lighting.

Local Guide

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Palacio de Villapanes – Seville – Spain
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Explore the Real Alcázar (+34 954 502 323; www.patronato-alcazarsevilla.es), a series of Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque palaces with exquisite gardens and the particularly picturesque Patio de Banderas. The former Jewish quarter, Santa Cruz, is worth a wander to admire its maze of narrow streets, wrought-iron gates and flower-filled patios.

Local restaurants

In Santa Cruz, head to the garden-side terrace at Modesto (+34 954 416 811) for the hefty selection of fresh seafood, including the signature gambas al ajillo. Close by is La Albahaca (+34 954 220 714), where the French-flavoured menu covers a whole range of game dishes.

Local bars

Cervecería la Giralda (+34 954 228 250) on Calle Mateos Gago is built into the ruins of a 10th-century Arab bath house. It’s famous for its tapas, particularly fish-based nibbles. The historic El Rinconcillo (+34 954 223 183) on Calle Gerona dates from 1670, and is the place to go for micro portions of salt cod.

+ Enlarge
Cobble-stoned Santa Cruz

Palacio de Villapanés

Calle Santiago, 31, Seville, 41003

Planes

Seville’s San Pablo airport is 10km from the hotel. A taxi will cost around €30.

Trains

There’s a station 2km away, served by high-speed trains to Córdoba, Madrid and Malaga courtesy of Renfe (www.renfe.com).

Automobiles

The drive into the centre of Seville should only take around five minutes. The next big town along is Córdoba, an hour and a half away by car. Useful roads include the A-92 and A-4. Parking at the hotel costs €30 a day.

Reviews

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Palacio de Villapanes – Seville – Spain

Anonymous review

by Lisa Allardice , Literary-world reporter

Even if you arrive by inconspicuous taxi, rather than gilded, horse-drawn carriage, this city sanctuary is a place for kings and queens of any realm. Entering the huge, wrought-iron gates of Seville’s sultry Palacio de Villapanés, we’re flanked by towering marble columns, and it’s akin to stepping onto a film set. Stumbling across Kristen Scott Thomas smoking a cigarette i…
Read more

Palacio de Villapanés

Anonymous review by Lisa Allardice, Literary-world reporter

Even if you arrive by inconspicuous taxi, rather than gilded, horse-drawn carriage, this city sanctuary is a place for kings and queens of any realm. Entering the huge, wrought-iron gates of Seville’s sultry Palacio de Villapanés, we’re flanked by towering marble columns, and it’s akin to stepping onto a film set. Stumbling across Kristen Scott Thomas smoking a cigarette in one of the oversized cane chairs would feel right. (I’m mixing countries, I know, but I’m conjuring to the Moorish elegance of ‘The English Patient’).

While the atrium and traditional riad-style courtyard, with its baroque fountain and orange trees, might hark back to the palace’s heritage, the lavishly refurbished rooms epitomise 21st-century luxury. Stylishly sombre-hued, the decor mingles panelled walls, rich brocades and sleek modern fittings. Sure there are flatscreen TVs and Macs in the suites, but c’mon folks, enjoy a holiday. Enjoy some old-fashioned lo-tech time: this sun-kissed beige-stone abode has been around since the early 18th century when the first Marquis of Torreblanca del Aljarafe set about building this palacio.

Sun-drenched Seville is cold in winter, but we’re blessed with glorious weather. Waking up to spotless blue skies, vitamin-D-inducing rays and orange trees is like mainlining Prozac. On our first morning, after a whirl with the Bulgari products in our pretty mosaic-tiled bathroom, we breakfast in the hotel in what must have been the palace cellars. All-white with fresh orchids it’s super elegant and celebrated for its Andalucian cuisine, but really all we want to do is get into the sunshine and make like the Spaniards with a café con leche and pastry in one of the little bars (the only thing that Seville has more of is oranges). If it were the searing summer months, chances are we'd only make it as far as the small plunge pool on the rooftop.

Seville, or Seveeya, as you should utter it sexily, is a concentration of all the best Spanish clichés (no boozy British stags here). It’s a place of blood, passion, and partying (with a week of piety in April); after all, it’s the city of Hemingway, Don Juan and Carmen. There are attractions enough to fill every second of a long weekend: the fairytale Gothic Cathedral and its famous tower the Giralda (sadly closed this time of year, but good reasons to return); the Museo de Bellas Artes, stuffed with treasures to rival the Prado in Madrid, including Velasquez and El Greco masterpieces; and of course the Alcazar palace. Built on the site of a Moorish fort, it is spectacular, but the real joy is the gardens: with alluring names like the Courtyard of the Maidens or the Patio of the Dolls it is an exotic paradise of reflecting pools, fountains and palm trees – a balm for citified spirits.

We find ourselves wandering the winding streets, eating, drinking and hanging out, and then eating and drinking some more. Which is basically what the Sevillanos seem to do. Palacio de Villapanés is walking distance from the city’s historic heart and we soon find ourselves in Plaza del Salvadore. It is so full of people of all ages, dressed in their finery, eating chips and drinking beer, soaking up the sun perched on the steps of the church, that we are sure we must have stumbled on a festival. Nope. It is just a regular Saturday morning in Seville.

You need to adjust your watches (and stomachs): lunch no earlier than 2.30pm; never have supper before 10pm; and siesta, naturally, in between. Before you know it, it is time to tapear – the verb to go from bar to bar (that is how seriously they take their tapas here) and Seville brags some of the best purveyors of this small-plate cuisine in Spain. El Rinconcillo is our starting point: one of the oldest and most famous tapas houses, the ceiling here is as crowded with giant hams as the tiled walls are with bottles and the floor is with bon viveurs. For supper, Bar Eslava in the barrio San Lorenzo district has been highly recommended by a charming girl at the hotel: unprepossessing from the outside, as narrow and crowded as a train carriage in rush hour, it is super popular for its delicious food – and it’s cheap as patatas bravas.

On Sunday, after stocking up on festive goodies in the food hall of department store Cortes Ingles (another tip-off from the lovely hotel staff), we explore the banks of the Guadalquivir River. The seafood restaurants along Calle Betis are so busy we wait ages at the bar; but that’s no hardship as we pick at fried fish, watching the locals eating inside at big, noisy family tables.

Just in case it seems that all we do is eat and drink, on the way back we visit the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, one of the finest bullrings in the world. You can take a tour of the small museum, the chapel where the matadors prayed before entering the ring and the infirmary they went to if their prayers weren’t entirely answered.

Flamenco is a Seville classic, but if that doesn’t get your heels clicking, try a steamy visit to Aire de Sevilla. Beautifully restored traditional Arabic baths hidden in our hotel's 'hood, Santa Cruz, and the most heavenly place to spend a weekend evening in December. Off-season mini-breakers, pack your swimsuits – you’d be amazed how difficult it is to find a bikini in winter in Seville. I could only find a horror. Thankfully the hammams are very dark inside, with tealights guiding us through the deliquescent floors – saltwater baths, steam chambers, a pool-sized thermal pool of different temperatures, all decorated like a scene from One Thousand and One Nights. Just when you think you couldn’t get more relaxed and still be conscious, you are silently ushered away for a massage. Mr Smith decides henceforth all other pampering sessions will seem as sensuous as a trip to the supermarket – except for maybe the seductive spa in our luxury hotel itself, which I remind him I will not be eaving unroadtested.

Herbal infusions are the conventional way to end a pampering session and Aires de Sevilla does have splendid tearooms, but it’s late, so there's nothing for it but to fall into one of Santa Cruz’s cosy bars. Here, our only company is the ubiquitous bovine head (Seville isn’t known as the Bull City in Spain for nothing) and a photo of cigar-clutching Papa Hemingway. A sherry or two later and we’re wandering those tree-lined cobblestone squares festively festooned in fairylights back to our private enclave of Palacio de Villapanés; it feels as though we’re the only tourists in an impossibly romantic city.

 

The Guestbook

Reviews of Palacio de Villapanés from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the courtyard and the contemporary design. I can't think of anything that could be improved (and we're picky!)

 

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We had a Deluxe room overlooking the courtyard at the back of the hotel; it was very quiet. The room had a fabulous shower with body jets, rainfall head and a second shower head.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the staff: service was exemplary; they really couldn't have tried harder and they were so pleasant and upgraded us since it was our wedding anniversary to a beautiful suite. All the details – linen, bathroom accessories, etc – were luxurious and perfect. Even the gin and tonic delivered to my room was the best I've ever had (and I've had plenty!) with juniper berries and lemon peel for an extra twist. The hotel is a hidden gem, with pockets of light pouring in to the cool interior. It is a good 15–20-minute walk from the cathedral area, but we liked that because we got to see more of Seville than we would have if we were right on the river.

Don’t expect

The restaurant was a bit sparse and the food wasn't brilliant. It read well on the menu, but didn't really deliver. We didn't have breakfast there as we preferred to wander the streets. I loved our room, but it was dark and moody. The hotel has light in key bits, but you are on a side street so if you're looking to pull back the blinds to amazing views, this hotel won't quite cut it.

Rating: 9/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Customer service was excellent. All the rooms are big (not just the suites). The mini bar is stocked daily with water, juice and local beer. There is a tiny pool on the roof of the property for cooling off. While there are many places to eat nearby, you should try the restaurant on the ground floor – it's superb. There's a small gym and a small spa with sauna and steam room. Dogs are not welcome, which is pleasing for those with allergies. The beautiful secluded courtyard complete with orange trees is perfect for pre or post dinner drinks. There's free WiFi.

Don’t expect

Breakfast is not included in the rate, however for an adventurer this is not an issue as there are places to seek nearby.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hotel is an oasis. The former palace is part designer heaven and part Moroccan riad – obviously, its neither Moroccan nor a riad, but it has that central courtyard space with a cool fountain and greenery. It's going to be a must to revisit. The staff was lovely. Seville is not the sexiest city in Spain, but on a Saturday morning it was calm, gentle and interesting.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

It's a beautiful property with enthusiastic staff. Great cooled patio. Great food, be it breakfast, lunch (tapas) or dinner. Great view from the rooftop terrace.

Don’t expect

Wear and tear necessitate some maintenance in rooms as well as public spaces to render the palacio back to full glory.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hotel is beautifully restored and the staff are very helpful. The facilities in the room are great, with a huge bed, a big telly, multiple shower options and free minibar! We didn't eat in the hotel but the restaurant and the bar both looked very nice as well.

Don’t expect

The aircon was a little bit noisy for my liking ,but really a minor quibble.

Rating: 10/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Like lots of places in Seville, its a little tricky to find, but with the sat nav and patience we got there ok. The good service started with them taking the car to park it and checking us in while we relaxed with a drink. Nothing was too much trouble. The courtyard is very impressive. The rooms are clean and well equipped but some are much lighter than others. Room 222, a Grand Deluxe, was great. Not sure the Grande Deluxe rooms were very different to the Deluxe room we saw. Drinks on the terrace were reasonably priced, the view from the roof was worth a visit, there are some loungers and a plunge pool up there if that's your thing. Great location for our city break.

Don’t expect

The hotel were not too familiar with the Smith benefits and extra; it's not quite the same when you have to ask.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Service.

Don’t expect

Spa treatment.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Fantastic hotel, the rooms are quite small, but really nicely decorated and with windows from floor to ceiling, they seem much bigger. The breakfast is simply to die for - the bread was the best we had in Spain on this trip. The recommendations we got for restaurants were perfect and they had a good sense for whom we were and what we might like. Having traveled for 3 weeks this summer - this was definitely the best hotel we stayed at.

Don’t expect

The roof terrace could be nicer, it seemed a little rough compared to rest of the decor of the hotel, however the service was great.

Rating: 8/10 stars