Hospes Palacio del Bailío
Part listed monument, part art installation, Hospes Palacio del Bailío is a cultural attraction in its own right in a place not short on them. This graceful manor house, built between the 16th and 18th centuries on the site of a Roman villa, has been updated with real flair, the sort that teams ancient stonework, futuristic designer light shades and reimagined al-Andalus-style horseshoe arches and pulls it off. Once through the discreet entrance - an elegant carriage gateway into a paved courtyard - it won’t be long before the serene atmosphere created by everything from the soft light of the marble-floored corridors to the rustle of greenery from the garden has you under its spell.
The thought that has gone into every element means that picking a highlight will be down to personal taste. For some, it will be gazing at Roman ruins below the restaurant’s glass floor while sipping the first coffee of the day; for others, it will be the creative fusion food served there, sometimes even at breakfast. There’ll be a wealth of votes for the glorious garden, filled with citrus and avocado trees, sturdy palms and the scent of jasmine, and as many for the pretty outdoor swimming pool in a sheltered corner of it. And it would be hard to ignore the appeal of the in-house Bodyna Spa, with its subterranean thermal suite of Roman baths and a menu of rituals and treatments designed to leave you floating on air.
In the 51 rooms and suites, all unique, there’s the same seamless blend of original features and contemporary design touches that’s such a feature of the public areas. There might be a vaulted or painted ceiling, a horseshoe arch or an ornately carved wooden door, perhaps. There will most definitely be clean-lined modern furniture, velvet headboards with a Moorish flavour, and a neutral palette that goes from off-white to earthy bronze, including in the sleek, marble-lined and up-to-the-minute bathrooms. And that’s the case whether you’re in a lead-in Dreamer’s, a slightly larger Deluxe and Deluxe Garden View room or a roomier-still Junior Suite, some of which are impressively spacious.