EME catedral hotel

near the Giralda, Seville, Spain Book from

Reviewed by Rupert Eden
A fabulous hotel in Seville’s historic centre, with views of the Giralda and lashings of urban sophistication
EME greets the visitor generously in a warm and vibrant atmosphere. Escapism, rest and well-being is the order of the day here, whether it's indulging yourself in the spa or bedding down in one of the gorgeous rooms. Designed by renowned architect Juan Pedro Donaire, the hotel is spread between 14 traditional Sevillian houses, which sit around a patio courtyard with flowing fountains and an enchanting flower stall. This patio is the heart of the building, decorated with a large whitewashed wall latticed with undulating Islamic laceria inscriptions.

Inside, Hannes Wettstein chairs rub shoulders with Parentesi furnishings and funky Jasper floor lamps, but the whole vibe is low-key and discreet rather than showy. A rooftop terrace with a translucent alabaster bar provides a heady location for cocktails and fabulous cityscape views; better still, there are 3 restaurants to choose from, as well as a cafe and a bar which both serve light meals and snacks, so you can stay in every night without getting menu-fatigue. If you want traditional Spanish charm, it's not for you, but movers and shakers will love it.

Highs

  • The most stylish hotel in town, with full marks for location, sheer pampering and class
  • It's a stunning blend of traditional Moorish design with avant-garde architecture and lavish interiors
  • You get simple, no-fuss service from the sophisticated and friendly staff, who give you as much attention as you require, with perfect English spoken
  • The atmosphere is low-key - despite the high-octane rooftop location, this suave hotel discreetly welcomes lots of VIP guests
  • The café is the ideal place to start the day - watch the bustling boulevard while you sample gourmet pastries

Lows

  • This is an elite rich locals' hangout; casually dressed tourists may be intimidated by the frio y fino demeanour of high-class Sevillians, who are known for their cliqueyness
  • The slick service from the pretty bar and reception staff can be misinterpreted as aloof and unhelpful
  • Nightlife at the rooftop bar, and across the road at the flamenco house, continues into the small hours; the hotel claims to be soundproofed, but you might want to bring earplugs
  • Some rooms are quite dark, and storage space is lacking
  • Recent reports suggest the spa could do with a facelift and the rooftop pool is more suited to a quick dip than swimming

Best time to go

The overall temperature for Seville is high all year round, and it has more hours of sunshine than any other major European city. Sevilla has 2 of the largest festivals in Spain, Semana Santa (Holy Week), and the Feria de Abril in April. Book well ahead if you want to be here during either.

Our top tips

  • Request a room overlooking the Giralda - the view is worth the extra Euros
  • Find the hotel's star mixologist and have him make you his winning cocktail, 'Magic Garden'. Heaven in a glass!

Great for...

City Style
Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 57
  • Restaurants and bars
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The smallest rooms are the fittingly-named Small Standard Rooms, which we didn't get to see, but from the photos we'd take a punt on functional rather than indulgent. We'd definitely recommend upgrading to a much-bigger Standard Room, which have in-room tubs and views of Seville's architecture or bustling streets.

Our Superior Room with View had a charming Juliet balcony gazing towards the Giralda, while the Junior Suites with View offer a so-called VIP experience with excellent views unique design and lighting. But the jewel in EME's crown has to be its 2 exclusive Junior Suites with Terrace; a duplex at the very top of the hotel. The bed has a direct line of vision to the Giralda, and its terrace has a Jacuzzi and fabulous views over Seville.

Bathrooms throughout are a delight, with carved stone sinks, walk-in rainforest showers and/or in-room tubs.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

The sleek EME Lobby and Patio Restaurant serves up Mediterranean cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere, just what you crave after a day of sightseeing and exploring. We enjoyed a simple yet tasty goat’s cheese salad followed by sautéed crayfish with artichoke, before rounding off the evening in the hotel’s Santo Copas cocktail bar.

There’s also a spectacular rooftop restaurant-bar - La Terraza - with panoramic views of the city. And nestled on the street outside the hotel, the 20 Pasoscafé has a small menu light dishes and sweet treats.

Understated Ostia Antica is an Italian restaurant serving up haute pasta, pizza and risottos. Ingredients are seasonal and many of the vegetables come straight from the local market.

In the morning, there’s a good continental breakfast buffet, the usual suspects along with a number of cooked options.

If you do decide to venture out, there are some great eateries in the vicinity, especially if you enjoy tapas. The cod in tomato and spinach with chickpeas at Rinconcillo was great, and delicious jamon iberico hangs in most eateries.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • La Giralda is one of the world's largest cathedrals and is set right in front of the hotel

  • After the Reconquest, the Spanish began to eliminate all traces of Moorish architecture. Luckily, some survived, including the best example of the Moors' lasting impact on Spanish architecture, Seville’s Alcázar. A row of royal palaces built by the Catholic kings Alfonso X and Pedro I in the 14th century make up the infrastructure, along with luxuriant Babylonia gardens containing towering topiary hedges, mazes and fountains

  • Seville’s most famous flamenco house, La Carbonería, is just across the road and is well worth a visit

  • Visit Aire de Sevilla, a very popular hammam spa open late-night daily. The 90-minute bathing experience is mixed, often in groups, and you can bring your own bathers. Stick around afterwards for refreshments; there are over 50 varieties of loose leaf tea, accompanied by delicate Turkish sweets and pastries - the cold mint tea is particularly refreshing

  • Santa Cruz is the medieval district behind the Alcázar and La Giralda, bordering Menéndez Pelayo and the the Moorish Jardines de Murillo. Formerly Seville’s main Jewish quarter, this is where the wealthy elite still reside. Don’t miss the Flamenco Museum or the horse-drawn taxis

  • The hotel spa, deSPAcio, provides the perfect excuse to pamper the body and relax the mind

  • Relax by the rooftop swimming pool and admire the Seville skyline

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome, though there are no particular facilities for families.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Superior Rooms and Junior Suites can hold an extra bed or baby cot.

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arranged.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots can be provided on request.

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

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

7/
Rooms
8/
Food
7/
Service
6/
Value
7/
Overall

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