City Flit Seville
The Andalusian capital, Seville, has it all going on – brilliant architecture, both ancient and new, delicious food, world class shopping and a 24-hour party atmosphere. What’s stopping you?
While much of southern Spain is rugged and uncompromising, Seville, the region’s metropolis, is a stark contrast, being elegant and cultivated, a true city of the world. A wander through its labyrinthine streets is like travelling back in time, yet turn any corner and you come face to face with Seville’s modernity, be it through the recent spate of contemporary building or the presence of all the big-name brands on its busy shopping streets. Its people too are very much of the 21st century, being stylish and outward-looking, and utterly charming to their visitors.
One of Seville’s oldest and finest hotels, Hotel Inglaterra, a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Lifestyle Collection (preferredhotels.com), is situated in the Plaza Nueva, the main square in the old town. It’s just a stroll from all the attractions, including the spectacular Catedral de Santa María de la Sede – the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. With more than 150 years of history, the hotel has seen many of Europe’s great and good pass through, including Edward, Prince of Wales, Hans Christian Andersen and composer Giuseppe Verdi.Enter its gold-paned glass doors into the white marble lobby and you feel as if you’ve entered a bygone era. Festooned with ornate floral arrangements, antique tile murals, glass cases full of ancient sepia photos and assorted souvenirs, the hotel oozes old-school charm. Opt for a room on one of the higher floors, where the views over the plaza are beyond stunning, giving a tantalising glimpse of the city. The rooms themselves are palatial, with ornate décor and English-style soft furnishings in duck egg blue and royal yellow. The marble bathroom is large enough to get lost in (well almost).
out & about
Go for an open-top bus tour, wending past the Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold) across the Puente de San Telmo (bridge of San Telmo) taking in the University of Seville and Exposicion Universal (Expo 92). Hop off at one of the pretty roadside cafés with welcome cool mist sprinklers for homemade ice cream or ice-cold beer. Take a brief siesta back at the hotel (well, when in Spain and all that) before wandering back out to find the Metropol Parasol, which shouldn’t be difficult to locate as it’s the largest wooden structure in the world. An amazing architectural folly that consists of six parasols in the form of giant mushrooms, it will instantly seduce you. For just a few euros, take the elevator to the walkway where you’ll marvel at the incredible views and then enjoy a free drink at the bar. Afterwards, tuck in to delicious tapas sitting outside in the balmy night air followed by a nightcap or two in one of the many plazas. The next day head for the cathedral, where you’ll join a long queue. The half-hour wait is worth it, though, as it is one of the most majestic buildings you’ll ever enter. Climb the 343ft ramp up to the top of the bell tower, where you’ll again be bowled over by the views. Eat at one the pavement restaurants opposite where huge plates of croquettes and great local jambon is served.
eat & drink
Fine dining is not in short supply, but a real standout is the Abades Triana (abadestriana.com), a modern space with a glass façade overlooking the Guadalquivir River and opposite the Tower of Gold. Book a table on the Mirador Terrace to soak up the sun while indulging in superb Andalusian cuisine. If you’re feeling flush, opt for the gourmet tasting menu consisting of eight sublime dishes especially chosen by the head chef. Then for drinks, just go back to the hotel and take the lift up to the luxurious rooftop bar, La Terraza, and take in the 360-degree views of the city.
Ryan Air flies from Stansted or Gatwick to Seville.