Corral del Rey

Barrio Alfalfa, Seville, Spain Book from

Reviewed by Tim Daukes
Intimate riad-style hotel in central Seville, with a sleek interior and rooftop plunge pool
It’s easy to walk past the Corral del Rey, which sits discreetly on a cobbled street of the same name, minutes from the bustle and beauty of the Cathedral district. Set behind heavy studded Moorish doors, it maintains a smart coolness, with the private, intimate air of the best Moroccan riads.

From the small but sleek reception area, you look up a central airwell to 3 arched galleries, off which are some of the rooms. A stone staircase leads up past them to a roof terrace, ideal for breakfast or cocktails; a tiny plunge pool offers respite from the city heat. More rooms sit in annexes across the street. Sleekly bohemian, all of the bedrooms drip with high-end comforts, including plasma TVs with surround-sound in the bathroom, walk-in rain showers and iPods with first-class playlists. In fact, you could easily spend the day inside and forget about seeing Seville. But try not to. The jaw-droppingly lovely Giralda, Alcazar and Gardens are just around the corner; explore further and you'll find some of the greatest tapas bars on earth. A great little hotel - more of an upmarket B&B really - which is worth a bit of a splurge.

Highs

  • Restored 17th-century palacio with an atrium patio, original Roman columns and vaulted cellars
  • Fabulous art displayed around the hotel, most of which is for sale
  • A lovely roof terrace with sunloungers, a plunge pool and views of the cathedral
  • Beautifully designed rooms. For the ultimate in luxury, book a Pool Terrace Suite or Penthouse Suite which each have private terrace and plunge pool
  • Proximity to the tourist spots of Seville and there are world-class restaurants are within walking distance

Lows

  • Due to the riad-style design, some bedrooms are quite narrow
  • We're yet to view the rooms in the newest wing, but we assured they share the high standards already set by other spaces
  • This is a small operation - reception is not always staffed, and breakfast is the only meal on offer
  • You can hear street noise in some rooms
  • It's not cheap, but smart hotels in the heart of Seville never are

Best time to go

The hotel is great all year round. It's a cosy bolthole in winter, and the plunge pool provides an antidote to the intense midsummer heat. The Fiesta de los Reyes is the major Spanish holiday (7 January) and a carnival centres around Shrove Tuesday in February. There's also a Seville Spring Fair in April. Book ahead during these public holidays.

Our top tips

Take a guidebook to hunt out the best tapas bars and give you the lowdown on the city must-sees. Comfy shoes for walking along the cobbled streets are a good idea, as is swimming gear for the plunge pool and Moorish baths.

Great for...

City Style
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 17
  • Breakfast only (+walk to restaurants)
  • Children of all ages are welcome
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Pool Terrace Suite

Rooms

Rooms and suites are spread across two buildings, the main hotel and a newer wing across the way. Décor is always stylish, joining modern and classic Moorish design. Stone pillars sit comfortably alongside Nicole Fabre fabrics and Lutron lighting systems. Bespoke cabinets house mod cons, oak-limed floors blend harmoniously into the pale umber walls, and there are soft white pillows amid the sumptuous bed linen.

Though some of the Superior and Deluxe Doubles are quite narrow (as so often with riad-style buildings), they retain a sense of charm. Junior Suites are larger, with bathtubs and kingsize beds, but the rain showers in the smaller rooms are great, and the queensize beds perfectly comfy.

For something really special opt fora Pool Terrace Suite or the top-floor Penthouse Suite. Their huge bedrooms lead out to private terraces complete with plunge pools and, if you choose the Penthouse, you’ll also get a kitchenette and a stunning freestanding egg-shaped bathtub in the ensuite.

We found our suite extremely comfortable and loved playing with the state-of-the-art audio-visual system, lying in the huge marble bathtub and lounging on the massive bed. Despite the heavy shutters, noise did occasionally interrupt our sleep, but inoffensively.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

An excellent breakfast is served daily: warm pastries, freshly squeezed orange juice and a pot of coffee. Or you can opt for a Mediterranean breakfast - a platter of manchego, Greek yoghurt with honey, that sort of thing - along with some superb fruit and veg juices (the kiwi, apple and mint is particularly refreshing). Whilst sitting on the roof terrace later on, we were brought lemonade and salted nuts - a nice touch. There is also an all-day snack menu serving various tapas in the stylish bar area.

Guests staying in the Penthouse Suite can make use of their kitchenette for light snacks - ideal if you're having a lazy day beside your private plunge pool.

For other meals, there are fantastic eateries in the vicinity. Seville is tapas Mecca: follow your nose or spot the bars with the locals in. The Sevillians like to go on a tapas crawl in the evenings, having a couple of platas in each bar. The cod in tomato and spinach with chickpeas at Rinconcillo was great, and delicious jamon iberico hangs in most eateries. For a haute cuisine experience head to San Fernando 27 for a white truffle risotto or filet mignon, preceded by an amuse bouche of local sausage with a foam of clam. Outstanding.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Snack menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Wander through the quaint cobbled streets, stopping for a glass of Spanish wine or bite of tapas. The streets are filled with orange trees, which add a glorious splash of colour and a citrus smell to the air in spring

  • Head into the Giralda district and see the third largest cathedral in the world. The Gothic architecture is mind-blowing, and inside are works by Murillo, Goya, Pedro de Campaña and Luis de Vargas. Be sure to look up at the flying buttresses from the gates of the Alcazar gardens

  • Spend a morning at the royal Alcazar Palace and gardens to absorb the opulence of 17th-century Mudejar architecture. Some of the carving and tile work beggars belief, as does the gilt domes of the courtyard rooms. There's also a great maze to explore

  • Take a boat trip along the Guadalquivir River then wander through the beautiful Plaza de Espana

  • Have a steam and soak at the Moorish baths, 2 streets away from the hotel

  • The hotel can arrange various tailor-made tours of Seville and the surrounding towns; please enquire when booking

  • Head up to the roof terrace to admire the views and soak in the plunge pool, or arrange an in-room massage

  • Visit the family owned bodega (wine cellar) and taste the home-grown sherries

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Children are welcome but there are no specific facilities for them.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Deluxe Doubles and Junior Suites can be connected to host families of 5. All rooms bar the Penthouse Suite can fit a baby cot.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
7/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
8/
Overall

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