“A fabulous mix of 21st-century style and 16th-century architecture offering chic rooms, ancient frescoes, great food and Roman baths”
The 53 rooms are spread out over 2 floors, some overlooking one of the tranquil outdoor courtyards, some facing the street, and some with private patios. There are 5 categories of room but even the lowest on the ladder - the Dreamer's - is beautiful, so you don't need to splash out to experience top style. At around 22sqm they're a little small, but i-escape guests will be upgraded to a Deluxe if available.
All rooms have crushed velvet headboards and very comfy kingsize or twin beds clad in Egyptian cotton sheets. The marble bathrooms are equally lovely, with walk-in power showers and heaps of Korres toiletries (most have tubs, too). Fluffy bathrobes, piles of towels, slippers, a hairdryer and a turndown service that brings bath salts and orchids to float in the water make you feel seriously pampered, even if you don't visit the spa.
We stayed in a Junior Suite and loved the sense of tranquility and space. Our bed was enormous and there were leather armchairs for us to curl up on, plus a writing desk for old-fashioned correspondence. The full-length wooden shutters opened onto an orange tree-filled courtyard and an exposed stone wall revealed the history of the building. The only criticism would be that the hall lights stay on all night and shone in around the doorway, so bring an eye mask if this sort of thing bothers you. Another Junior Suite has wonderful trompe l'oeil murals and high corniced ceilings, while the 4 Suites come with 18th-century paintings, frescoes or ornate plasterwork.
If you're here for a special occasion, the loft-style Grand Suite is wonderful; spacious and light, with an open-plan layout and a free-standing bathtub.
The dining room of the hotel's restaurant, Senzone, is incredible. Tables fill a glass-roofed courtyard set in the centre of the building - a lovely space for a meal. The ceiling is very high, allowing great acoustics, and the walls have an ancient fresco painted on them. Best of all though, the glass floor gives a bird's eye view of Roman ruins below you, floodlit at night for full effect.
The menu is typically Spanish, with lots of meat and fish and a few unusual twists: shellfish gazpacho stew, bone marrow soup with prawns, suckling pig's head. A complimentary cocktail and an amuse-bouche of red-pepper foam with parmesan straws provided an unexpected (and very welcome) start. We followed this with goats' cheese salad, then the adventurous one of us tried stuffed bull's tail and patatas bravas, while I had a succulent red steak. Both were excellent, and really got the juices flowing. Talking of which, there's an extensive wine list, though we found the house red more than a match for our meats: full-bodied and very drinkable.
Breakfast the next morning was equally hearty: a buffet of salamis and chorizo, manchego and brie, mini pastries, freshly baked bread and a choice of cooked dishes (scrambled eggs, omelettes, churros). But what really set this apart from other hotels was its experimental flair. There was a choice of butters - normal, garlic, thyme; the marmalades were either rose or violet (both delicious); and the fruit bowl was filled with fresh kiwis and figs rather than the ubiquitous oranges and pretty-but-tasteless apples.
For lunches and light meals, there's a cool tapas bar on site, serving a mix of Spanish specialities: beef carpaccio with lime vinaigrette, salmorejo with ham and egg, fried anchovies, foie gras with roasted apple, and fried aubergine with honey. Drinks are available all day in the bar, the courtyards and by the pool.
If you'd prefer to eat out, there are plenty of great restaurants and tapas bars within easy strolling distance. Just around the corner is a hectic and friendly tapas restaurant with a big menu and a great atmosphere.
Children are welcome, but the whole joy of this hotel is its peacefulness. If you had rowdy or boisterous kids, you might feel self-conscious. However, the hotel does offer extra beds for a supplement, and cots and babysitting can be arranged. Children under 12 stay for free, with half-price meals.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking