“A gorgeous country house hotel in the rolling vineyards of the Del Rio González-Gordon wine estates, just 10 minutes' drive from Jerez”
Gonzalo is a self-confessed Anglophile and his decorative style is all about refined elegance and comfort - with just a hint of chintz. Most memorable, perhaps, are the many oil and water colours painted by his mother, Luisa, that grace both the bedrooms and the drawing room. These and the many antiques combine beautifully with the pastel colours and matching fabrics.
Ground floor rooms are high ceilinged with floors of polished limestone whilst those of the first floor are rather cosier in feel with parquet floors and attic ceilings. Expect first class linen sheets, white cotton bedspreads, top quality thick towels, the very best mattresses, an easy chair, lots of wardrobe space, subtle lighting and muted pastel colour schemes with lovely fabrics (some floral) for curtains and bedspreads. The feel is one of studied elegance.
Bathrooms are as good as they get. Bathtubs have been sculpted round with marble-tops, there are double sinks, repro taps, bathrobes and lots of toiletry goodies. Shower heads are enormous and thanks to the flow and pressure of the water you feel as if you were standing in a tropical downpour. And a host of smaller details like turn-back, delicious chocolates or a thermos of iced water help to make this a hotel which tries hard to spoil you at every turn.
Breakfast is either served at highly polished drop leaf tables in the airy dining room or in a cobbled courtyard beneath the lemon trees. You are treated to silver service and will always be offered an English breakfast of lightly scrambled (or poached) eggs with bacon, as well as croissants, homemade cake, fruit juices and yoghurts accompanied by pot-fulls of tea and coffee. The butlers are attentive without being intrusive. Each table has its own buzzer that you can press should you need anything: it all feels like just the right way to kick off the day.
With advance warning both lunches and candlelit dinners are now available, often served alfresco on a citrus-scented patio that leads out to the estate gardens. The culinary accent is on home cooking of the kind that the family would prepare for their own meals. Expect a seasonal vegetable soup, gazpacho or consomé al Jerez followed by fillet of beef or fish fresh from the slab in the Jerez market. After a dessert of homemade ice cream or fresh fruit salad coffee is served in the adjacent drawing room. The included wines might be the family's own Beronia Reserva, Cune Imperial or perhaps Hacienda Monasterio, a prize-winning red from Ribera del Duero. And if you're staying here as part of a larger group more elaborate menus can always be put together.
Just 2 minutes from Alcantara is the superb Venta Esteban, one of the best eateries in Jerez, and La Cueva, a rather brassy 4-star hotel just a few hundred metres away, has an excellent restaurant. In the centre of Jerez you are spoiled for choice: masses of colourful tapas bars and restaurants for all budgets. Gonzalo’s personal favourite is La Mesa Redonda, and Time Out agrees: "Don't be deceived by the plain exterior of La Mesa Redonda - it’s one of the best traditional restaurants in town."
Casa Vina de Alcantara accepts children of all ages even if the vibe of the house does feel pretty grown-up. Extra beds are available for children up to the age of 15 for a supplementary fee.
Standard Rooms #2 and #7 are the best to book if you're thinking of adding extra beds.
There's a pool on site, but note it is unfenced.