We enjoyed a luxurious and spacious family room at the perfectly situated Hotel Inglaterra, one of Seville’s oldest and finest hotels. With more than 150 years of history, the hotel has seen many of Europe’s great and good pass through its august portals including Edward, Prince of Wales, Hans Christian Andersen and Giuseppe Verdi.
Seville had long been on our list of Spanish cities we really had to visit, but with just a few days in our itinerary to take in the wealth of sights this spectacular place has to offer, we needed to choose where to base ourselves wisely. Enter Hotel Inglaterra, probably one of the most centrally located hotels in the entire city, situated as it is in the historic Plaza Nueva, the main square in the old town, and just a short stroll from all the major attractions, including the spectacular Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, which just happens to be the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
A car really isn’t necessary for visiting Seville, as public transport in Spain is second to none. We opted to take the train from Malaga, and it was a decision that the children thoroughly approved of, as they happily whiled away the journey playing and chatting, while me and my husband were totally captivated by the scenery. This area of Southern Spain is rugged and uncompromising, with fantastic mountain ranges and undulating hills upon which whitewashed houses cling precariously– so typical of the towns and villages of Andalusia. Less than two hours later we had arrived at the Santa Justa train station where after a short taxi ride through the city’s narrow, labyrinthine streets (how the car managed to squeeze through a couple of them I’ll never know) we were deposited outside Hotel Inglaterra.
Appearances can be deceiving because from the outside Hotel Inglaterra looks nothing special (except, that is, for the black London cab parked in the forecourt proudly bearing the hotel’s insignia) but enter through its gold-paned glass doors into the white marble lobby and you feel as if you’ve entered a bygone era. Indeed, I immediately imagined us as a family of Victorian aristocrats enjoying the Spanish leg of a Grand European Tour. Festooned with ornate floral arrangements, antique tile murals, glass cases full of ancient sepia photos and assorted souvenirs and bric-à-brac, the hotel oozes old school charm. It’s an impression that the moustachioed, smiling, smartly be-suited receptionist further reinforced as he enquired after our journey, checked us in and handed us our key. A claustrophobia-inducing but entirely authentic wood-clad lift took us up to the second floor (there is a sweeping spiral staircase with bronze balustrade should you so prefer) where we soon found our appointed room, for which read plural, because we’d been upgraded to two interconnecting rooms whose combined square footage was that of a palatial suite. Suffice to say we all loved it. I was especially taken with the ornate décor and English-style soft furnishings of duck egg blue and royal yellow, while the children couldn’t believe the size of the beds and bathrooms. Our view over the plaza was beyond stunning, giving us a tantalizing glimpse of Seville in all its sun shiny glory.
What we did
Two days is really not enough to do Seville justice, but with that being all the time we had, we determined to make the most of it, forsaking a lingering lunch at the hotel to grab a sandwich en route. With little legs that easily tire in tow we decided to opt for an open top bus tour to initially get our measure of the city. While the tour itself was insightful and informative as it wended its way 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), with hindsight it would have been better to board in the morning or early evening. But hey, you know what they say about mad dogs and Englishmen… After an hour or so and visibly wilting in the heat we hopped off at a pretty roadside café with welcome cool mist sprinklers where the children greedily devoured delicious homemade ice cream while we supped on ice-cold beer – utter bliss! After a brief siesta back at the hotel (well, we tried to snooze while the children watched noisy Spanish cartoons on the flat screen TV) we wandered back out to find the Metropol Parasol. In all fairness it wasn’t very hard to find being the largest wooden structure in the world. An amazing architectural folly that consist of six parasols in the form of giant mushrooms, it instantly seduced us. For just a few euros each (you don’t pay for children), we took the elevator to the walkway where we marvelled at the incredible views and then enjoyed a free drink at the bar. Afterwards we had a delicious meal of tapas sitting outside in the balmy night air followed by an earlyish night, meaning that we woke up fresh and rearing to go the next morning. Further fortified by a faultless breakfast at the hotel, we set off for the cathedral, where we joined the long, snaking queue to enter. The half hour wait was more than worth it, however, as the cathedral is one of the most majestic buildings I have ever had the pleasure to enter. The children were bedazzled by all the gold and silver on display and loved climbing the 343ft ramp up to the top of the bell tower, where again we were bowled over by the sublime views. After this exertion we were ready for lunch, choosing one of the pavement restaurants opposite the cathedral. The children tucked into a plate of croquettes while we opted for the fantastic local jambon. Sadly our time in Seville was coming to a close, and having sampled just some of its many delights we have vowed to return. And where better for an English family to stay than at the splendid Hotel Inglaterra – a true home from home - if only our London terrace was half as grand!
Hotel Inglaterra is a member of Preferred Hotel Group and extends iPrefer benefits to participating guests upon every stay. Price per night for a family of four starts from £100 (126€)
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