We had the good fortune of a complimentary stay for three nights at the Corral del Rey Hotel in Seville. The hotel is on a very narrow, quiet, side street in Barrio Alfalfa area, the old quarter of the city. The former 17th century palace spread between two buildings was converted to a hotel with only 13 rooms and has retained the original Roman columns and wooden carvings.
We were given a junior suite, which had one long room, with enough space to comfortably lay out my yoga mat. The room was tastefully appointed with crisp white bed linens with scalloped edges, dark hardwood floors, sheer drapes with red satin tassels, and a Moroccan influenced carved wooden frame with mirrors above the bed. The bathroom suite was almost the same size as my bedroom in Paris, with a separate shower room, two sink basins, and an inviting bathtub. I liked the modernity and clean look of the room but also the Spanish touches such as the dark wood floors and shutters. I appreciated the attentive service and everyday we would receive a call from the front desk asking if they could make restaurant recommendations and reservations for us.
An excellent breakfast was served in the appealing dining area with soft lighting and attractive contemporary drawings. Too bad it wasn’t summertime because there’s a rooftop terrace where I could take the plunge in the plunge pool and hangout in my terry bathrobe with a glass of wine and watch the sunset over the Spanish tiled roofs.
Martina Cam, the publicist for Palacio de Villapanes Hotel invited us one day for lunch and to take a tour of the hotel. Palacio de Villapanes is a former early 18th century palace with two extensions added in the late 19th and early 20th century and now turned into one of the most luxurious hotels in Seville. The typical Spanish style courtyard had a black and white diamond pattern marble floor, luscious plants, a fountain, and richly detailed ironwork on the gates and indoor terraces. We climbed the steps of the many wings of the multi-level hotel to discover the various types of rooms and suites. The rooms were dark and sexy with plush furniture and up to the minute modern conveniences.One fabulous suite, which I could live in forever, had super high ceilings, a king size bed with a ultra-padded headboard, and a white marble free-standing bathtub. The rooftop terrace with a pool, comfy chaises, and drop- dead views of the city was mighty inviting.
We had a delicious three-course lunch of local Spanish delicacies in the beautiful dining room with a gorgeous terracotta colored tile floor and modern globe lights. Martina was born and raised in France and she talked at length about the cultural differences between Spain and France. She also gave us invaluable information about the city and recommended some restaurants, which turned out to be our favorites.
One of the highlights of our trip was the fantastic food we had at some of the best tapas restaurants in the city. The other thing we really liked was the surpisingly affordable prices. One of the hottest restaurants of the moment was a tapas bar opened by two former chefs of a restaurant that was run by the chef Ferran Adria, of the legendary El Bulli restaurant. Ovejas Negras, black sheep in Spanish, is a fun space with an industrial look and cans and jars on shelves behind the bar. We each had three outstanding tapas including one with foie gras and another, a wok style dish with chicken and vegetables. Dessert was New York style cheesecake cleverly served in a jar. We also had two glasses of wine and coffee. The price? All this was only 42 euros for the both of us. An incredible bargain for such high caliber food, it was our favorite meal in Seville. The young, good-looking staff was hospitable and friendly.Our other top meal was lunch at La Bulla, a highly favored restaurant by the locals. I loved the interior, a combination of retro and industrial styles with red 50s style kitchen chairs, red lacquered picnic style tables, and aluminum lanterns. The food was excellent but we most appreciated the dazzling presentation. Croquettes were served in a long, narrow white ceramic platter and the other dishes were artfully presented on black slate boards and oversized white square plates. The wittiest presentation was the desserts, which came on a cutting board and two of them were served in sardine cans. This was our last meal in Seville and one of the most memorable, a perfect culinary sendoff.
Later that day we flew back to gray Paris with a little color on our faces and lasting memories of a very special vacation.
Did you enjoy traveling to Seville with me this week?
Corral del Rey Hotel
Calle Corral del Rey, 12, 41004
Palacio de Villapanes Hotel
Calle Santiago, 31, 41003
Calle Hernando Colón, 8 41004
Calle Dos de Mayo, 28, 41001
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 195 euros for up to 3 people, and 65 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am happy to announce the sale of a new set of prints of my Eye Prefer Paris Photos. I am offering 20 of my most popular and iconic images for sale including my doors, architectural details, statues, and monuments. They will make great gifts for all your Francophile friends, relatives, and colleagues but don't forget to buy some for yourself.
Click here to see photos and for full details including sizes, prices, and shipping. Here is a sample of some of the photos.