The road trip from Madrid to Seville has begun! Apart from the fact that our car is the kind you’d expect a triad to drive (red BMW) and my minimal Spanish is laced with a heavy South American accent (I learnt it whilst living in Chile on my gap year), I think we blend in pretty well.
After a quick stop at incredible Toledo, we broke our journey to Seville at the sleepy little town of Almagro, where we stayed at the Casa del Rector.
I can’t claim much credit for stumbling across this gem. We found this lovely hotel through Alistair Sawday, who’s written countless books that Brits especially love to refer to for quirky, clever, interesting places to stay abroad. However, a word of warning: just because it’s in Sawday, does not mean it’s a safe bet. (I’m actually a bit sick of him – he’s definitely screwed me over with a few questionable recommendations in the past, not to mention our recent hotel in Madrid – to the extent that if I ever met him, I’m not sure whether I’d shake his hand or knee him in the balls.)
However, Casa del Rector was a Sawday special. In a good way.
Originally 3 very different, albeit neighbouring houses, they were all bought by a restauranteur (we didn’t meet him) who had always dreamt of owning a hotel that served really exceptional food (we didn’t manage to eat any during our one night stay as there was a hairdressing convention happening…surreal as this town is tiny…and they’d booked out the restaurant).
Each of the houses that make up the Casa are now combined to create one cohesive and interconnected – yet wildly different – whole. Quaint and traditional old parts sit side by side with industrial new shininess. And it works. Our room was in the modern part, complete with a hot tub underneath the stars (we didn’t use it – I’m always slightly queasy about the idea of a hot tub other people have been in…apparently their body hair gets trapped in the jets and you, as the next user, end up bathing in it. Yuck. I’m forever put off).
It was a lovely place to stop off as we made our way south and I even managed to squeeze in a spot of shopping at the very rural Plaza Mayor. You can take a girl out of Singapore…
The impulse buy of a small child’s chair, (from the very rustic shop pictured on the left) which I am now slightly regretting, has, I think, raised my status from heavy traveller to seriously heavy traveller. But at €30 ($50/£25) it was just too good to miss.
I am still figuring out how on earth I’ll check it in on the flight home, or whether I’ll just opt to look like a total loser by carrying it on as hand luggage. But before I do that, it gets to enjoy a 5 hour train ride with me from Seville to Barcelona at the end of our holiday.
Now, who said I didn’t travel in style?
Main shot of the old part of Casa del Rector courtesy of Business Insider