Historic hotels in Andalucia
by Michelle Chaplow
The grande dame hotels of Andalucia offer an unmissable opportunity to experience the heritage of this beautiful and fascinating region, which breathes Moorish and Christian history.
When you walk through the doors of a historic hotel, you can almost sense the centuries of significant events its walls have witnessed. These very special properties, often with superb location, unique architecture and intriguing original features, are prized for their illustrious guests past and present, their fascinating stories, and all-important heritage in the context of their local environment.
The historic building may be a restoration, or even a complete rebuild using the original footprint and keeping the facade. Andalucia.com - like famoushotels.org - designates 50 years as a cut-off for inclusion in our list of historic hotels in Andalucia.
However before hotels there were Ventas and Fondas for travellers. However in the roadside coaching houses such as Venta de Alfarnate (1691) and Venta Butibamba (1800) in La Cala de Mijas travellers were welcome to sleep in the stables. Travellers in port cities such as Malaga in the early 1800s we luckier; as well as the traditional Mesones and Posadas an new improved standard of accomodation called Fondas was catering for the demands of the ascending bourgeoisie. An 1833 guidebook for Malaga lists 39 Mesones and four Fondas.
In Malaga Posada de la Victoria is preserved and today houses the Museum of Popular Arts.
The modern fondas were sensibly located near the Alameda; the main promenade of the city, and a short distance from the port. Fonda de las Cuatro Naciones, in Puerta del Mar, is the oldest and was described by American writer Robert Semple in 1809, when it was run by two French women. Fonda de los Tres Reyes, located on San Bernardo El Viejo Street and whose famous client was Théophile Gautier. Fonda de la Danza in Plaza de los Moros was were Baron Davillier and the illustrator Doré stayed in 1862.
The first lodging to offer quality service were initiatives of young foreigners. Fonda de Oriente and the Fonda de la Alameda opened in 1845 and occupied the opposite corners of the Alameda and Puerta del Mar. They were followed shortly after by Fonda de la Victoria.
Fonda de la Alameda specialized in lodging English guests and was purchased in 1890, upgraded and renamed Gran Hotel de Roma and later Hotel Regina. It closed during the civil war.
Fonda de Oriente run by the Swiss Carlos Brunetti is where Hans Cristian Andersen stayed in October 1862 whilst writing his 'In Spain' traveloque. It closed in 1878.
Fonda de la Victoria was owned by the Gibraltarian Francisco Giardini and declined after 1870.
The word ‘hotel’ was not recognized by the dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences until 1914.
Overlooking Plaza Nueva, the elegant historic Hotel Inglaterra is just 250 metres from Seville Cathedral. Its air-conditioned rooms feature classic-style décor, and include a private balcony. The rooms at Hotel Inglaterra have wooden floors and a safe.
Overlooking Ronda’s spectacular Tajo Gorge, the renovated Reina Victoria offers an outdoor pool, a spa, extensive gardens and an à la carte restaurant with panoramic views. Read more
Hotel Reina Cristina was originally opened in 1901 and houses ancient ruins, such as parts of an 8th-century Mosque and a Moorish well. It features indoor and outdoor swimming pools and has welcomed many famous guests over the years. Read more
Alhambra Palace is located just outside the Alhambra’s ancient walls, offering spectacular views over the city of Granada. It features stylish rooms with Moorish-inspired décor & free Wi-Fi. An à la carte restaurant serves Andalusian food. Read more
One of Spain's most prestigious hotels, Hotel Alfonso XIII is located close to Seville’s Real Alcazares (Royal Palace). It offers an outdoor swimming pool in a lush garden, gym and typical courtyard with fountain, as well as several restaurants and bars. Rooms are individually decorated. Read more
Castillo del Inglés, opened in late 1920s by Margarita Beautel in Castillo Santa Clara, Torremolinas, later renamed Hotel Costa del Sol, "Sun, Golf, Tennis, Bathing all the year at Santa Clara, Torremolinos" was its slogan. Also known locally as Hotel Santa Clara. Now demolished. More
About the same time, Carlota Alessandri converted her Cortijo Cucazorra into Parador de Montemar de Torremolinos.
16th century renaissance palace in the heart of Úbeda. In 1930 became first historic building in Spain to be reformed a an hotel. Read more
This magnificent landmark hotel is situated just outside of Andalucia on the Rock of Gibraltar. Built in 1932, it is decorated in a colonial style, and its famous past guests include Sir Winston Churchill. Panoramic views of the Bay of Gibraltar can be seen from the hotel´s restaurant. Read more
Hotel la Roca opened by Enrique Bolin Bidwell next to the castle in Torremolinos in 1942. Now closed.
The Granada Parador, also known as the Parador de San Francisco, has an enviable setting: it is located inside the world-famous Alhambra. Formerly a monastery, this beautiful, historic building with heavy studded wooden doors, leafy patios and arcaded courtyards is an ideal base for exploring the celebrated fortress, and is the closest hotel to the main attraction of the Alhambra: the exquisite Nasrid Palaces. Read more.
Venta y Alberge de El Rodeo, Marbella opened by Ricardo Soriano in 1946. Now closed
Hotel Residencia Miami opened in the house built by Lola Medina in Torremolinos 1950. Now closed.
This classy beachfront hotel is an institution in Andalucia's most glamorous beach resort, with a fascinating history and indeed cachet. Read more.
Enjoys a superb beachfront location close to the old town meaning it is surrounded by shops and restaurants. Hotel Fuerte Marbella is surrounded by large gardens. There is a sports centre with a seasonal indoor pool, Turkish bath and sauna. Read more.
Located near the mouth of the Guadalhorce River and next to the San Julian beach it was constructed in 1925 and officially opened in 1928. It is the oldest golf course and golf complex on the Costa del Sol. The club hose became a Parado hotel in 1956. Read more
Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Pez Espada features an outdoor pool with direct access to La Carihuela Beach. Each of its rooms has a balcony offering side or full sea views. Read more.
Hostal Las Cumbres is conveniently located on the N-340 coast road in Costa de la Luz, Cádiz. Although the Hostal has existed for 50 years it was refurbished in 2018 and has an interesting Miami-roadside-motel style, with a retro decor. It is good value for money and sits roughly 6 km from the beautiful beaches of the Costa de la Luz.
Hotels in historic buildings in Andalucia
The number of hotels in historic buildings around Andalucia has increased exponentially over recent years. In the towns and villages of Andalucia, many 18th-century 'señorial' houses, or casa-palacios (mansions), have been beautifully restored and converted into hotels full of history and character. The region is valuing and preserving its heritage, which is good news for both visitors and locals alike. More>