IF ever a place was perfect for a long weekend, it’s Seville. It’s delightfully self-contained, consistently sunny, and has that unspeakable allure that always leaves you wanting one more day. For those able to eke out a few squares in their calendar, there’s really only one place to stay – Gran Meliá Colon is at once lavish and historic, proof that luxury hotels can maintain contact with the past while looking into the future.
Lodgings at Gran Meliá Colon
Better still, with Gran Meliá’s latest initiative Lessons in a Life Well Lived, treating guests to an exclusive taste of Sevillian culture through collaborations with masters of architecture, music, design and gastronomy, there’s never been a better time to visit. Gran Meliá Colon has a rich artistic heritage and is Seville’s port of call for athletes, musicians and politicians. With its stained-glass Art Nouveau lobby ceiling, unrivalled roof top pool, and the brilliant El Burladero restaurant, it’s easy to see why.
The rooftop pool at Gran Meliá Colon
For anyone toying with the idea of a two-hour drive to the Cadiz coastline in search of seafood, don’t bother – El Burladero’s Grilled Squid is outrageously good. The Bull’s tail Burladero is another standout. For the uninitiated, the bull (at El Burladero at least) isn’t tough, lean, stubborn, or any of the other characteristics we associate with Spain’s national animal. In fact, it’s the total opposite, and slips off the bone with farcical ease – a house special worthy of the moniker.
El Burladero restaurant at Gran Meliá Colon
Post-dinner explorers are advised to make a stop at the city’s oldest bar, El Rinconcillo, which is everything you want from a 17th century drinking hole. Unchanged by decades of passing styles, it also avoids the trap of caricaturing its age with flimsy affectations (catnip for tourists, spoiler for purists) – El Rinconcillo is the real deal.
The lobby at Gran Meliá Colon
Come morning, a palace tour is a must, and Palacio de Las Dueñas is our pick. Built in the late 15th century in the Renaissance style, replete with gothic decoration, Palacio de Las Dueñas has all the splendour one could expect from a historic palace (extravagant tapestries and rare, ancient trees brought over as gifts from foreign dignitaries are highlights) but is unique in its strangely homely feel. Look closely and you may even spot a member of The House of Alba (the palace’s proprietors), who continue to live there today.
by Charlie Navin-Holder
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