Today I’m taking you with me back to seductive Seville, the capital of southern Spain ‘s Andalusian region.
Last fall, my husband and I had a fabulous two-day stay there during See Spectacular Spain in September. I had originally planned to highlight each town or city we visited. So far, however, I’ve only gotten around to posting, Remarkable Ronda Gorge.
Seville is known for its rich history, fabulous architecture and authentic culture that includes tapas tasting and Flamenco dancing. In additional to Seville’s historical core, are charming neighborhoods, bars, markets, and a riverfront to explore. Must-sees include the cathedral, the Plaza de Espana, and the Real (royal) Alcazar palace and gardens.
Recent Exotic Peacock Tablescape and Pretty Peacock Invitation posts, reminded me of seeing the birds strolling those Arabic Gardens.
Before we can visit the Real Alcazar, I have to introduce you to seductive Seville in the way our visit there enfolded.
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Staying in a Palace Built by a King
Seville was our favorite Spanish city. During the two nights and full day there, we only scratched the surface.
Seductive Seville began to draw us in as we entered the old city and arrived at the majestic King Alfonso XIII Hotel.
The hotel was commissioned by the King of Spain to play host to international dignitaries during the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It is an iconic cultural landmark of seductive Seville.
How enticing is that pool, especially on a hot Andalusian afternoon?
The hotel’s distinguished architecture and Moorish details showcase Andalusian design.
“The interior puts forth a display of wealth and status: arches and columns, decorated with elaborate coffered hanging lamps and fine carpets. Ornamented ceramic tiles decorate walls, ceilings and all manner of structures. The luxurious rooms were designed to accommodate kings, presidents, celebrities and other guests.” Wikipedia
Our room was, well fit for Arabian royalty. Check out that bed! And, all the beautiful architectural details illuminated with dramatic lighting.
This was definitely the nicest hotel, and most incredible room on the entire Tauck tour, A Week in Spain. And that’s saying something! Because, all of our accommodations were luxury properties in the most desirable locations.
Even with seductive Seville beckoning outside, I couldn’t help but want to linger in our room.
And check out the bath — fit for a harem! The extensive bath area was covered in metallic tile from floor to ceiling. Literally. You can also see our private entry with doorbell! Check out the wood and details in the door below.
To be honest, we would have never sprung for a costly room at the King Alfonso on our own. But, the luxury accommodations in the package made them an excellent value. So much so, we added nights in Barcelona and Madrid at the beginning and end of the official tour.
Central Courtyard Worth a Visit
The best part was that every single hotel was not only centrally located, but usually in the heart of cultural or historical settings. All you had to do was waltz out the front door. All the hotels included scrumptious breakfast buffets too, adding to the value.
The King Alfonso served breakfast around or outside this gorgeous inner courtyard. It’s also a popular spot for lunch, tapas and dinner. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel while visiting seductive Seville, I highly recommend walking through its public areas and enjoying a light refreshment in the courtyard.
Our room overlooked the interior courtyard. It’s in the upper center with a set of grand double doors opening to the surrounding balcony.
Flamenco: Seductive Seville Signature Dance
Seeing flamenco was one of the cultural experiences I most looked forward to. Our group had a private performance in one of Hotel Alfonso’s parlors, while sipping refreshing sangria.
At first, I was a little disappointed in the costumes. I was expecting something more flamboyant, with lots of lace and ruffles. But, once the music starts and the dancers move, it’s mesmerizing.
This is Andalusian style flamenco. Seville claims to be the birthplace of the art form, which is full of big personalities, passion and sound. The guitar music and dancing is intoxicating — and I only had one big glass of sangria LOL!
Flamenco is a very sensual dance. They flirt, tease and toy with each other.
Some of the pictures are a bit of a blur as the dancers spun and twirled. And, I sipped sangria and fanned myself …
I wish you could hear the guitar music! And that footwork — just exhilarating.
For a better appreciation of flamenco, check out the video on my Instagram page. The dance really turns up the “heat” in the room. Oh lay baby!
Seeing a flamenco show in seductive Seville is an absolute must! Have you ever seen flamenco?
Exotic, Romantic Dinner
After the flamenco performance, hubby and I had drinks at the hotel’s Bar Americano. Then, a private table for two awaited us at Restaurante San Fernando. It was a marvelous dinner, set in opulent surroundings.
Piano music in the background added to the romantic atmosphere. The pianist played famous movie tunes that evening. There’s nothing quite like the alluring theme of Lawrence of Arabia.
Especially while dining in seductive Seville with the love of your life.
Accessorize Spanish Style
The fan was a gift from my dad. He traveled to Spain often in the 1970’s. I was so glad I packed the fan; it’s the perfect Spanish accessory! Sometimes it pays to be a pack rat. I knew it would come in handy one day!
We had a fabulous meal with delicious Spanish wines. It was the best included meal, restaurant experience of our trip. I’m not gonna tell you the Tauck tour is a bargain. But, it is an excellent value for the money. That’s probably why almost all their tours sell out well in advance.
There was no need to be torn choosing dessert. The waiter presented us each with our own sampling of five delicacies!
Two elaborate weddings were taking place in our hotel that evening. We couldn’t help but observe the beautifully dressed wedding parties posing for photographs. I would have loved to take pictures, but felt that would be too intrusive.
Much later, the parties spilled into the streets and night to party until dawn. I know that because my husband saw them staggering home when he went running the next morning. Me? I was fast asleep in that bed fit for an Arabian princess!
An Evening Stroll to the Cathedral
After eating that multi-course meal and plate of desserts, we needed to walk off some of those calories! Well I did. Remember, I didn’t go for that run the next day!
Centrally located in the historic quarter of Santa Cruz, the King Alfonso Hotel sits a short stroll to both the Real Alcazar and Seville Cathedral. Here is one of the beautiful squares and large fountains right in front of the hotel.
We strolled down the main street a couple of blocks to the cathedral. Along the way were many restaurants and shops. And, beautiful, decorative architecture, ornate ironwork, gas lanterns flickering, and guitar music in the air.
Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, or Seville Cathedral, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As is the adjoining Alcazar complex.
Seville Cathedral is the largest in the world. Today, it is the also the largest Gothic, and third-largest church in the world. Its royal chapel holds the remains of the city’s conqueror Ferdinand III of Castile. Christopher Columbus is also interred there.
The Archbishop’s Palace is located on the northeastern side of the cathedral.
Originally, the cathedral was the site of a grand mosque, minaret and courtyard close. The mosque was converted into the city’s cathedral after Seville’s conquest by Ferdinand III.
Here’s the cathedral from a different side the next morning. At the time, it was undergoing external restoration. Can you see the Arabic architectural influences? Look closely and you’ll spot the original mosque dome and minaret turned into a bell tower.
While the cathedral was closed to tourists, we attended afternoon Sunday Mass. The golden altarpiece masterpiece was on full display.
To the right of the cathedral, is the walled entrance to the Real Alcazar. I’ll take you there in a second post on seductive Seville. Promise. That’s where the peacocks were hanging out in the gardens. The same gardens used extensively in the filming of Game of Thrones.
Seductive Seville #1 City to Visit
You don’t have to take my word for it! In 2017, Lonely Planet named Seville, The #1 City You Should Visit Next Year. And according to the Huffington Post article, Seville definitely belongs on your bucket list.
I hope you get an opportunity to travel there and explore this incredible place.
Have you ever been to seductive Seville?
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Spain was never even on my bucket list, but WOOOW. So romantic and exotic. Thank you for the mind trip.
Glad you enjoyed it Penney! Can’t wait to share the Real Alcazar and carriage ride to Plaza de Espana.
How wonderful to wake up in Seville this morning.
The Cathedral is so much more than a cathedral. Having read “Cathedral of the Sea” one gets a true feel for what all went into building these masterpieces. Hundred of years in the making, the backbreaking toil of putting these gigantic stones together. I highly recommend this book. It’s a wonderful audio version too. The book takes you in by the second chapter. I can go on and on about it. It’s my first recommendation to anyone asking about a good read, and I read a lot.
The other thing about giving us this tour, was not only you in full Flamenco mode, but the outdoor indoor court yard. It’s so romantic to look at the stars and people around you, all gussied up. A glass of local wine and one of each dessert.
You brought back so many wonderful memories and I’ll spend the rest of the day in Seville. Thank you Debbie. Lady of the buzz.
I am definitely going to have to download that book onto my Kindle! Always looking for a great read. If you haven’t already read it, I recommend, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet about the building of a cathedral in a England. Because it was a Sunday, we didn’t get to really explore Seville’s cathedral. My excuse for a necessary return trip!
Wow that must have been a wonderful experience! Love the courtyard area of the hotel and your room looked like it was quite fabulous! It must have been fun to watch the Flemenco dancers. I’m not much of a traveler so seeing shared experiences like this is enjoyable to read about.
It really was! Glad you enjoyed the ‘trip.’ With gorgeous gardens like yours, I’d spend a lot of time there too. All you need is a peacock to stroll them!
Debbee, what a fantastic trip recap – thanks for the sharing. The seduction of the flamenco dance is truly captivating. And I can attest to its difficulty, coordinating the castanets with the feet, and then being able to emote such as these dancers obviously do so well! I love those photos especially.
Ballet and flamenco dancer? You are a lady of many talents! Glad you enjoyed the photo’s Rita. Be sure to check out the quick video on Instagram.
I was fortunate to enjoy Spain twice, but never got to the Southern part as my husband was all over many years ago, But my photos cannot compare with yours, and Dad is thrilled you kept the Fan OLAY!!
Thanks for the great post! I have been there but did not go into the hotel, fun to see!
Thanks Kay, glad you enjoyed the virtual trip back to Seville. What was your favorite thing to do or place while visiting there?
Debbee, Thanks for this very interesting post. I went to the Tauck website and found this tour. There was an option for a classic tour or a small group option (24 people). Which option did you choose? Which ever you obviously enjoyed yourself.
We were on the larger group which I think goes up to 40. But, they always split us up into two to three groups with guides. They also use those whisper transmitters so you can easily hear the guides in museums, the Alhambra, etc. Never felt like we were in a crowd. For more on the Tauck tour, check out See Spectacular Spain in September and Remarkable Ronda Gorge, Moorish Town. Let me know if you book a tour, but I’d advise against July or August with the heat and crowds.
Wow! What an amazing hotel. It looks so exotic.
The hotel was indeed an experience in itself — the room, bath, pool area, lobby and public areas, and the fabulous restaurant. And it was located right across the street from the Real Alcazar and Cathedral. I felt like an Arabian princess!