Hotel San Gil Seville: Review

Set in the back streets of Seville’s old town, we picked this four star hotel for our two night stay based purely on its Moorish architecture.

We were on our home from Jerez De La Frontera as part of our train journey around Andalucia and I wanted to spend some time in Seville to see the Alcazar without the tourist hordes that had accompanied us on our previous one day visit.

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The hotel certainly is a stunner with its mosaic tile covered reception area and bar plus its riad style central courtyard.

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It’s about half an hour walk to the Alcazar.  It would probably have been less if we had gone the right way, but there are so many nearby narrow streets to explore and diversions to take that it probably didn’t matter.

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We arrived at the Santa Justa train station after dark and took a taxi.  Good job, as we would have never have found our way through the alleyways on public transport, and it is about a 35 minute walk to the station, assuming you know where you are going, which of course we did by the time we were leaving for the train back to Malaga.

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Our room was on the ground floor and had a window facing out onto the courtyard.  You couldn’t draw back the curtain as everyone could see in.  I think it was a disabled friendly room as the bathroom was exceptionally large with a walk in shower.  All good stuff and no complaints there.

I do have one very big gripe though.  On our final morning, we were woken around 7:30 by a smell of chemicals so strong that my eyes were streaming and I was coughing as if my life depended on it.  I dashed out of the room, looking like a mad women and went to reception to ask what was going on.  The receptionist said that someone had accidentally allowed bleach to get into the aircon and not to worry!  Wowzers!  I’m asthmatic, so not for taking chances, we packed up and left immediately.

Anyway, notwithstanding the poor attention to health and safety, everything else was fine.  The breakfast buffet was extensive and the coffee was good.

There are lots of bars and restaurants to choose from in the nearby streets, but beware the tourist menu of insipid paella – there is so much more out there if you seek out the proper menu.  This squid was exceptionally good and cost about eight euros.  We had been staying with friends in Jerez who taught us that it is perfectly acceptable to walk into a bar and just order one thing from the menu to share, which we did.  This of course allows you to drift from bar to bar sampling tapas as you go.

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This hotel was a good enough base for a two day stay, but based on our experience I would not recommend it.  By all means pop in and have a drink at the bar though as you can appreciate the architecture for the cost of a coffee!

 

 

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Cordoba

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Cordoba has been on my travel bucket list for ages, and finally, this month, we made it!  The reason it has taken so long is that it’s a bit tricky to get to as there are no direct flights, but as we were staying in Malaga for a few days, we decided to go for it.  The fast train from Malaga Maria Zambrano takes just an hour, travelling at speeds up to 300km per hour.  It cost £98 return for both of us (off peak) via the Renfe website which we bought in advance to save money.  The station in Cordoba is around 25 min walk (or ten minutes in a taxi for 7 euros) to get into the old town.  We got a taxi in, and walked back to the station via the park which was lovely.

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So why was it on my wish list? The fabulous cathedral of course, which has over many years existed as both a mosque and the Christian cathedral it is today, where a daily service still takes place, and has done since the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella.

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Steve was not impressed that we had to queue to get into ‘another church’ but was blown away when he got inside (a bit like he was when I got him in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul).

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The air in the cathedral is heavy with frankincense (which incidentally contrasts beautifully with the neroli from the orange blossom in the courtyard outside, just coming into bloom).  Top tip: if you are visiting in summer, take a cardi as  it’s cool inside and you will spend ages in there.

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The old town is really pretty with lots of inviting tapas bars to try.  You can also walk across the bridge to view the walled city from a distance.  I’d like to come back and stay for a couple of days next time.

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