Monday, March 4, 2013


International Lodging Corporation – 304 Park Avenue South, 11th Floor (New York, NY); 212-228-5900;; rents privately owned apartments, townhomes, and villas between Estepona (west of Malaga) and Marbella.

Sights & Sites
Juderia – ancient Jewish quarter.
Medina Azahara – Avenida Medina Azahara; ruined Moorish palace.
Mezquita-Catedral – Calles Torrijos & Cardenal Herrero; 011-34-957-470-512; former mosque, converted into church.

Alojiamiento el Molino del Puente – Puente de Durcal; 011-34-958-780-731;; 18th Century mill restored and turned into lodge; among most attractive regional landscapes; pool.

GRANADA (includes Loja)
Hotel Alhambra Palace – 2-4 Pena Partida, 1 Plaza Arquitecto Garcia De Paredes; 011-34-958-221-478;
Barcelo La Bobadilla – Salinas-Villanueva de Tapia (A-333) Km. 65.5 (Loja); 011-34-958-321-861 or 800-745-8883;; luxurious, former Andalusia palace with panoramic views over private 1K acre estate; exquisite winding corridors and lush tropical gardens, includes luxuriously appointed guest rooms, each individually decorated and designed, all with opulent bathrooms and bedrooms providing exceptional comfort and grace; together with vast outdoor pool, spa, stables, and 3 exquisite haute-cuisine restaurants.
Parador de Granada San Francisco – Real de la Alhambra; 011-34-902-547-979;; converted monastery near Alhambra, located on former nobles’ residence site; rooms are slightly small.

Alacena de las Monjas – 5 Plaza del Padre Suárez; 011-34-958-229-519;
Café Torcuato – 31 Calle Pagés; 011-4-958-202-818;; fixture on pretty plaza; tapas.

Sights & Sites
Albaicin (Albayzin) Area – on hillside opposite Alhambra; Granada district that retains medieval Moorish past’s narrow winding streets; world heritage site.
Alcaiceria – Calle Zacatin; 011-34-958-226-688; silk market-oriental bazaar.
Alhambra – Palacio de Carlos V Granada; 011-34-958-220-912;; Spain’s finest Moorish architecture.
Capilla Real – Plaza de la Lonja, 5 Gran Via de Colon; 011-34-958-222-959;; where Ferdinand and Isabella buried.
Generalife – Palacio de Carlos V Granada; 011-34-958-220-912;; Nasrid kings’ country estate.
Sacromonte – hillside opposite Generalife, covered with path network leading to “gypsy caves”; Troglodyte dwellings.

MALAGA (includes Casares & Ronda)
Finca Cortesin – Carretera de Casares, km 2 (Casares); 011-34-952-937-800;; boasts one of Spain’s best golf courses but isn’t bland hotel frequented by old men in lemon slacks and Pringle sweaters; design incorporates both Castilian and Moorish elements; comfortable and glamorous, genuine destination stay; ask for either spacious Junior Suite in Andalucian-inspired building that wraps around cloistered courtyard (come with own entrance hallways and are intriguing blend of Asian-themed decor, Provençal furnishings, and comfortable Spanish style; also Executive Suite 74 overlooks gardens, pool, and sea (has own kitchen); 3 pools (1 indoor (heated, art deco-style) & 2 outdoor (both lined with beautiful blue-green mosaic tiles)); own Beach Club (1km away) with infinity pool, beachside restaurant, and plenty of sun loungers; home to best spas in region; 4 restaurants.
Hotel la Fuente de la Higuera – Partido de las Frontones (Ronda); 011-34-952-114-355;; affordable; bare-bones (handcrafted antique furniture) in Andalusian mountains on 7 acres; farm-to-table dinners served nightly at outdoor restaurant; shady pool.
Parador of Ronda – Plaza de Espana (Ronda); 011-34-952-877-500;; luxury hotel in old town hall on gorge edge (El Tajo); next to Puente Nuevo.
Hotel Reina Victoria – 25 Calle Jerez; 011-34-952-871-240;; Rilke stayed here; Room 207 contains museum dedicated to him.

Schilo Restaurant – Carretera de Casares, km 2 (Casares); 011-34-952-937-800;; formal.
Tragabuches – 1 Calle de Jose Aparicio (Ronda); 011-34-952-190-291;; finest and most creative cuisine in Ronda; 2 dining rooms, each with stylish, contemporary decor (white walls, tables decked out with pastel cloths and seat covers); try cochinillo asado (grilled suckling pig) or rape en salsa de vinagreta, pulpo y verdura (monkfish in vinaigrette sauce with octopus and fresh vegetables); starters include cheese taco or tasty liver pâté.

Finca Cortesin – Carretera de Casares, km 2 (Casares); 011-34-952-937-800;; spa.

Sights & Sites
Museo Picasso Malaga – Calle San Agustín (at Buenavista Palace); 011-34-952-127-600;
3 Bridges – Ronda; Puente Romano (also known as Puente San Miguel) is oldest and smallest; Puente Viejo (also known as Puente Árabe); & Puente Nuevo (commenced in 1751 and took until 1793).

MARBELLA (includes Benahavis)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Churreria Ramon – 1 Calle Valdes (Plaza de los Naranjos); 011-34-952-7-785-46;; churros and hot chocolate.

Bars & Nightclubs
El Bigote – 1 Urbanizacion Colorado; 011-34-952-815-535; affordable and simple.

La Fonda – Plaza Santo Cristo 9-10 (Old Town); 011-34-952-123-840;; Relais & Châteaux property boasting history that dates back to 16th Century; 3 “dining spots”; restored to former glory, launching into 21st Century with contemporary design, exclusive amenities & understated modern elegance.
Marbella Club Hotel – Bulevar del Príncipe Alfonso von Hohenlohe; 011-34-952-822-211;; Andalusian-style, coastal, former royal residence; property full of trees; walking distance from ocean; spa.
Hotel Villa Padierna – Carretera N-340, km 166 (Los Flamingos, Benahavís); 011-34-952-889-150;; Michelle Obama stayed here; prestigious vantage point on Costa del Sol; situated just outside Marbella; can see over Mediterranean and over to Morocco; 3 golf courses; luxury Thermae Spa and fitness centre, gourmet restaurant (La Veranda) and own Roman Amphitheatre.
Purobeach Marbella – Playa El Padron, Laguna Village; 011-34-952-800-015;; ridiculously hip.

El Bigote – 1 Urbanizacion Colorado; 011-34-952-815-535; affordable and simple.
Calima – Calle Jose Melia (at Gran Melia Hotel); 011-34-952-764-252;; Chef Dani Garcia is among Spain’s most highly regarded chefs.

Hotel Villa Padierna Thermal Spa – Carretera N-340, km 166 (Los Flamingos, Benahavís); 011-34-952-889-150;

Deja Vu – 8 Calle Pedraza; 011-34-952-825-521;; vintage boutique.

Sights & Sites
Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion – Plaza de la Iglesia; 011-34-95-277-3136;
Old Town – cobbled, narrow streets; chic boutiques and local cafés, side by side; Old Town heart known as El Casco Antiguo lies around Orange Square, where tourist office is; cross road from Alameda Park fountain and walk through Orange Square, past old castle wall and into impressive Cathedral; 2nd week of June each year is Marbella feria.

SEVILLE (includes Carmona & Cazalla de la Sierra)
Carmona Parador – Calle Alcazar; 011-34-95-414-1712;; 14th Century Moorish citadel.
Hotel EME Fusion – 27 Alemanes; 011-34-954-560-000;; cluster of 13 18th-19th Century houses in city’s heart, ingeniously cobbled together into 70-room property; shaded patios; stunning rooftop pool terrace with bar and drop-dead cathedral views; tranquil spa and 4 restaurants; cutting edge design; ask for Room 219, which wraps around interior courtyard and feels more like chic pied-a-terre than hotel room; 6 suites and 2 superior rooms have terraces with private Jacuzzis.
Hotel Alfonso XIII – 2 Calle San Fernando; 011-34-954-917-000;; Moorish landmark near major sights; gorgeous lobby; at restaurant, order cola de toro (bull’s tail with sherry).
Trasierra – Apartado de Correos 26 (Cazalla de la Sierra); 011-34-954-884-324 or 011-44-7887-646-336;; 20-room hotel; country house retreat in rolling hills around Seville.

El Rinconcillo – 40 Gerona; 011-34-954-223-183;; classic, tapas hole-in-wall founded in 1670.
La Carboneria – 18 Calle Levies; 011-34-954-214-460;; call ahead for dates and times for flamenco.
Rio Grande Restaurante – 41010 Calle Betis; 011-34-954-278-371;; little bistro in Triana district; on candlelit veranda planted with lemon trees; executive chef, Nacho Martinez; globe-trotting sensibility layered over traditional Andalusian menu; fresh seafood in countless original ways (e.g., black-rice paella with lobster and jumbo prawns).

Sights & Sites
Alcazar Palace – Plaza del Triunfo; 011-34-954-502-324;; royal palace in Seville (alcazar means palace, from Arabic); originally Moorish fort; Almohades are 1st to build palace, called Al-Muwarak; palace among best remaining mudejar architecture examples; upper levels still used by royal family.
Barrio Santa Cruz – historic walking area; originally, Seville’s Jewish quarter.
Catedral de Seville – 21 Avenida de la Constitución; 011-34-954-563-150;; largest Gothic cathedral and 3rd-largest church in world; at completion in 1500s supplants Hagia Sophia as world’s largest cathedral; Christopher Columbus’ burial place.
Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo – 2 Avenida Américo Vespucio; 011-34-955-037-070;; in Carthusian Monastery.
Metropol Parasol – Plaza de la Encarnacion;; world’s largest wooden structure; must be seen to be believed; designed by J. Mayer H. architects.
Museo de Baile Flamenco – 3 Calle Manuel Rojas Marcos; 011-34-954-340-311;
Parque de Maria Luisa – Avenida de las Delicias; 011-34-954-221-404;; donated to city by Infanta María Luisa in 1893; private Palacio de San Telmo garden part; has 400Km extension; intimate arbors and luxuriant vegetation; 1929 Iberoamerican Exhibition site.
Reales Alcazares – Plaza Triunfo; 011-34-954-502-323 or 011-34-954-502-324;; former Moorish palace.

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