The winding streets of Seville’s old quarter are home to Corral del Rey hotel, a whitewashed retreat with a rooftop garden and pool overlooking the ancient city. This meticulously restored retreat is a reincarnation of a classic 17th-century palacio, placing Roman marble columns beside modest Mudejar wooden doorways.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of manzanilla sherry or a tin of hacienda-made olive oil
17, including five Junior Suites, two Pool Terrace Suites and one Penthouse Suite.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $232.78 (€210), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
Rates include Continental breakfast.
The hotel’s art gallery showcases the work of several intriguing contemporary international artists, whom Corral del Rey represent.
At the hotel
Treatments and massages on request, art gallery, DVD library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Sony Bravia plasma TVs, DVD/CD player, pre-loaded iPods, minibar on request, Cath Collins toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
Rooms are split across three buildings. The vaulted white-beamed ceilings of the Deluxe Suites add a touch of majesty to your stay – we also love the walk-in showers and the Junior Suite's extra-long bathtub.
There’s a plunge pool in the hotel’s rooftop gardens, offering you panoramic views of Seville while you bathe.
Bring binoculars or a powerful zoom lens – from the mirador on the roof you can see for miles around the city.
Aromatherapy and deep-tissue massages, and reiki or yoga sessions are available in your room on request.
Unless you’re taking over the whole place on an exclusive basis, it’s probably best to leave the little ones at home.
Nab a spot on the end of the row of tables in the main restaurant, nearest the bar. Private dining is on offer in the atmospherically vaulted cellars.
Devil-may-care – you don’t have to.
There's no formal dining, but on the ground floor, the café, bar and lounge offers a nibbly tapas menu starring all trusted favourites (jamón ibérico, croquettes, tortilla) late into the night. Glass tables and contemporary artwork mix with wooden beams, polished stone floors and Doric columns.
Mahoot bar is a cosy-cool chill-out bubble where you can enjoy Seville’s finest espresso martinis in authentic 17th-century surroundings.
The restaurant is open for café-style dining all day, but rolls out an evening menu between 7.30pm and 11.45pm.
You can order from a snack menu in your room throughout the day.
Fly with Vueling (www.vueling.com) or Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) to Seville Airport, then hire a car or take a taxi for the 20-minute journey to Corral del Rey (if you’re driving, turn off at exit 537 of the A4 to reach the hotel). You can grab a taxi outside the terminal building (the fare to central Seville will be around €20), or make use of the airport shuttle bus to and from the city centre.
Santa Justa railway station, in the centre of Seville, is less than 2km from Corral del Rey, and offers high-speed links to Madrid and Córdoba, as well as connections with Granada and Cadiz.
With your hotel snug within the narrow, winding streets of the city’s old quarter, Barrio Alfalfa, you won’t need a car to explore the local area. If you do plan to venture outside Seville, the hotel offers its own car hire service, and there’s a public carpark five minutes’ walk away.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel can arrange a staggering array of activities with local experts: tours of local bodegas, wine tasting, bike tours, bird watching in Doñana National Park, guided walks in the Grazalema Natural Park, half-day cookery classes with a published chef, excursions to the Sierra de Aracena, tapas tours, private city guides, photography courses, sailing trips, game fishing, kite surfing, surfing, tickets to equestrian ballet, visits to a stud farm, and countryside treks.
The Taberno del Alabardero (+34 954 502721) on Calle Zaragoza has a bistro with a tasty three-course menu, popular with lunchtime diners. The main restaurant, serving excellent game and fish dishes, is best in the evening.Egaña Oriza on Calle San Fernando (+34 954 227211) is one of the city’s finest restaurants, serving Andalusian and Basque cuisine.
Summer in the UK has been wetter than a flannel in a fishpond, so Mr Smith and I, despite being midway through seven hours of waiting at Stansted airport, are understandably excited about the prospect of getting away from it all. We’re heading off to Corral del Rey in Seville – known in Spain as ‘the frying pan’ – where it’s going to be hot, hot, hot. This excitement has resulted in Mr Smith packing just shorts and flip-flops and Mrs Smith buying her third pair of sunglasses at the airport. We’ve read in our guidebook that most savvy Sevillians escape the furnace-like city during the summer months. More fool them. They’ve obviously never spent a July in Newington Green.
Our first task, on arrival, is to find a taxi to take us to our hotel. This is easier said than done. We’re forced to abandon our very British notion of queuing, and after plenty of hand gesticulations and many fumbling attempts to recall those Spanish GCSE lessons from way back, we are finally dropped outside Corral del Rey – a beautiful 17th-century townhouse in the city’s old Barrio Alfalfa quarter. Hotel manager Enrique comes out to meet us, refreshing mint-and-lemon drinks in hand, and leads us inside to two large squishy sofas in the entrance hall.
After a day of travelling and an hour’s exposure to Seville’s soaring temperatures, all I want to do is lie down. But Mr Smith – and Enrique – have other ideas. As they talk tapas, I wearily wend my way up a winding iron staircase to our room. The enormous bed looks so inviting, and the pillows seem to be calling out for me to lay my head on them, but I resist. One slick of mascara later and I’m ready to go.
Enrique has suggested we try Sevillian institution Casa Robles, and has furnished Mr Smith with the directions, so off we go. Several glasses of Rioja and dishes of variously sauced squid later and I’m almost ready to drop. Mr Smith, coming to terms with this bustling city far quicker than me, manages to navigate us back through the labyrinthine streets to Corral del Rey. I’m fast asleep before Mr Smith can even close the stunning, impenetrable original shutters in our room.
We awake the next morning, fully refreshed courtesy of the comfiest bed in Andalucia, and realise the breakfast cut-off point has been and gone. Some barrio exploration – and some coffee and churros – is definitely in order. As Mr Smith showers, I find myself idly fiddling with a remote control that’s been left on the bedside table. It’s got more buttons than the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, and I soon discover that it controls the TV, the lights and, most importantly, the expertly curated in-room iPod. A couple of presses later, and music starts pumping out of previously unnoticed speakers in the bathroom – much to Mr Smith’s surprise. By the time I’m in there, the shower cubicle has become my own karaoke box, and I treat the citizens of Seville to a medley of the Specials, Johnny Cash and the Cure – finishing with an encore of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’.
Once out in the streets, we find that the city’s narrow streets, high buildings, and abundance of canopies and awnings suit our translucent complexions very well indeed. We breakfast quickly, standing up in a backstreet café, and make our way to Seville’s main square, dominated by the formidable Catedral de Santa María de la Sede. A potent symbol of the city’s Moorish past, the gothic cathedral is built on the site of a 12th-century mosque and incorporates many of its features. Mr Smith and I, both lovers of good design, wander around its enormous interior, nodding agreeably at the gargantuan altarpiece and nave, and decide to stuff the heat and climb to the top of Giralda bell tower. At the summit of the tower, once the mosque’s minaret, we enjoy 360-degree views of the city. We descend and head straight to the nearest bar for an ice-cold beer.
It’s so hot outside that I feel myself drooping like a geranium in a parched window box, and I manage to persuade Mr Smith to come back to the hotel with me. We make a beeline for the rooftop plunge pool, and immerse ourselves in its cooling, cucumber-fresh waters. As we bob up and down, Enrique appears with two glasses of wine and sets them by the side. The lure of these proves way too strong, and we soon emerge to wrap ourselves in fluffy dressing gowns and head up to the terrace’s upper tier, where we sip from our glasses and gaze out across the rooftops of the city. The cathedral dominates the skyline, and we marvel at our earlier feat of ascension.
After a late-afternoon siesta, we head out to another fantastic Enrique recommendation – tapas bar La Sacristia, in the Barrio Santa Cruz. Sitting on small wooden tables that seep out of the restaurant onto the street, we alternate between people-watching and picking at the various delicious dishes of cheese, fish and meat before us. After overhearing snatches of conversation from the next table, we discover that the adjacent couple are also staying at Corral del Rey, and we begin a conversation that culminates in us agreeing to accompany them to a flamenco display in an orange-scented square just around the corner. We watch the skirt-twirling, heel-stamping and castanet-clicking action for a while, allowing ourselves to be lulled into an almost trance-like state by the relentless, driving guitar rhythms.
When the display comes to an end, we lead our new-found friends around the streets of the barrio, searching for a rooftop bar that I’m sure I remember Enrique mentioning in one of our chats. When we first arrive at the Doña María Hotel, and walk through the lounge and up a staircase, I can’t help but wonder whether our patron’s taste has gone slightly astray – a Mr & Mrs Smith hotel this ain’t. But, once out on the roof, sitting between a spotlit swimming pool and the towering giralda, and sipping glasses of chilled cava while bats swoop through the air above us, I can’t believe I ever questioned him. Enrique, after all, is the living embodiment of Corral del Rey: laid-back, friendly and very, very cool. And that’s three good reasons why, were I a Sevillian, I wouldn’t be fleeing the city in summer.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Corral del Rey’s Guestbook below.
Central location, comfy beds, traditional features such as shutters kept out the light, facilities were great – coffee machine, toiletries, mini bar, exceptionally clean.
A long lie in. Unfortunately, a downside of being so central is the local life starting early in the morning. Worse though, is the noisy air-conditioning – difficult to sleep without it, but very noisy. A varied breakfast: we were there five days and exactly the same offering.
Stayed on 13 Oct 2018
Everything was great! Lovely room with breakfast. Check out the intimate show at the Flamenco Museo! Sounds touristy but was totally a must.
The concierge service was fair but not up to our standards (and we are fluent in Spanish).
Stayed on 30 Jun 2018
The location, breakfast, quiet room and honesty bar. Hotel booked Petit Comite one evening. Excellent. We had previously been recommended Casablanca (Avda de la Constitucion) and Maria Trifulca at the end of Triana Bridge. Both lovely for lunch – booking adviseable. Pre book Alcazar but leave plenty of time to get to the Cuarto Real Alto if also booked as it is difficult to find the entrance. Excellent flamenco at the Flamenco museum. Need to pre-book and get there early to get a decent seat.
To be able to drive to front of hotel easily. And very disappointed to be unable to get breakfast on our last morning. We required breakfast at 7.00 and were only offered something put in our room the night before. The croissants were therefore stale and unappetising. Poor service for a luxury hotel!
Stayed on 11 May 2018
The personal attention of the staff the quirkiness of the hotel.
A lovely hotel.
Stayed on 10 May 2018
We absolutely loved our stay, the hotel was beautifully laid out and a clever mix of stylish and comfortable. We went for the Junior Suite, definitely worth it for the extra space, enormous bed and huge bathroom. The staff were incredibly friendly, accommodating and helpful and we felt very at home. The breakfast was simple and delicious (the orange juice to die for) and a there was a well-stocked minibar. Even in February the sun bed on the roof was warm enough to while away the afternoon. We fell in love with Seville and I am already dying to go back. Casa Roman is well worth a visit, a proper local spot with the best jamon in the city (expect to stand at the bar in a sea of older Sevillians and shout your order). Mamarrcha had the most welcoming staff and also well worth a seat at the bar for sherry and padron peppers.
Stayed on 8 Feb 2018
Very nice room with all amenities. Staff were very helpful with good tips on where to eat, see a flamenco performance etc. Very much enjoyed our stay.
Stayed on 30 Nov 2017
The plush and spacious room and proximity to everything in the city center. Very helpful staff at all hours of day and night.
Stayed on 10 Nov 2017
The location: 5-10 minutes from the cathedral and Alcazar and with easy access to a wide range of restaurants and shops. Yet the hotel was in the small narrow lanes of the old part of Seville, offering welcome cool shade from the sun and peace and quiet. Loved the feel of Seville – it never felt like a big city, unlike say Barcelona, which we visited in June. Maybe because Seville still feels like a city for the Spanish people rather than overrun by tourists. Loved Barcelona, but it's just that Seville felt more intimate. Loved having a room with a rooftop pool terrace; the private jacuzzi dipping pool on the roof was a welcome break from sun.
Extensive restaurant and bar facilities in the hotel. It has an honesty bar (which helped give the a feeling more of staying in a private Spanish house rather than a hotel). However there are great restaurants nearby: the hotel recommended one 5 minutes away on our first night which was outstanding.