Convento de la Parra, Spain

La Parra is a tiny town in western Spain. There I found the Hospedería Convento de La Parra to be a true gem of hospitality. This hotel was once a convent, built in the 17th Century. Many of the convent features remain, making a stay here a bit like going back in time. And yet there are plenty of modern features that keep you in the here and now. Entering from the street, you first come to the reception area where you’re met by a friendly and competent person.

The receptionist is pleased to take you on a tour of the facilities. You’ll need a guide the first time because the building is expansive and filled with both common and private areas. The central courtyard features tables under orange trees as seen in the next photo.

The photo above gives an idea of the scale of the building. It is larger than it appears from the street. Moving along, you’ll find a pleasant swimming pool tucked away in a semi-private area complete with lounge chairs to relax by the water.

Note the orange trees in that unique irrigation system. Along the terrace that spans the second level, you’ll find more individual places to relax.

If you enjoy reading, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better place than that. Taking a look at the rooms, ponder the next photo.

Here I was ensconced in one of the quietest rooms imaginable. The world might have come to an end but I wouldn’t have known it during that particular night. Service here is exceptional. Mention your desire to one of the staff and they’re on the way to make it happen. Convento de la Parra also has fine restaurant that I’ll be posting about next.

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Alcazar de la Reina

Hotel Alcazar de la Reina is located in Carmona, Spain. This sprawling facility abounds in common areas which make it a strong candidate for wedding parties, reunions, or family outings. From the moment you enter the lobby you’ll notice the open spaces as you can see here.
The interior areas are separated from the exterior ones by columns and glass walls, which accentuates the largeness. There is a patio, seen here:
And a large swimming pool only a few steps away.
Both of these were transformed for weddings while we were there. Lots of work but also spectacular results. You’ll find the rooms comfortable with the usual fittings as you would expect in a place at this price point.
I appreciated the desk and fridge because I needed to do some work on the netbook and prefer my Coca-Cola ice-cold.
Another plus for Alcazar de la Reina is the underground parking garage. Be warned, only a smaller car will fit in the spaces, but that’s typically what you’ll be driving. There is also outdoor parking directly across the street from the main entrance. Service here is a bit formal from what I’m used to, but very consistent with this type of establishment. And let’s not forget the onsite restaurant and Irish pub. More on that in another post.

Hotel Cortijo La Alberca

Hotel Rural Cortijo La Alberca is located in Níjar, Spain. I describe it as handsomely comfortable because this place abounds in details. It is very well thought out in terms of the interior design of the rooms and other features on the grounds including the patios and swimming pool. My stay here was in April, so it was not warm enough to use the pool, but the water feature made the place that much more appealing. The location is at the very edge of town, deep in a gorge in the mountains as you can see in this photo.

That gives you a perspective on where you are as in how close to nature. Moving along, you’ll note the swimming pool next.

One of many, the iron lamp casts subtle light in the evening. The water feature continues from the pool in a narrow trough that carries the flow down past the rooms providing a touch of white noise that is very pleasant.

The rooms are grouped in a couple of buildings with patios that front the doors. Here’s the one where I stayed.

Great place for a gathering with friends, maybe a glass of wine with your significant other, or just yourself and a book. Inside you’ll find a comfortable bed when its time to finally get to sleep.

Of course you prefer a bathroom with class and this one fits the bill with the custom walk-in shower, ceramic tile counter, and lovely handmade sink.

That photo gives a good impression of the details I mentioned at the outset of this post. When choosing a hotel in Spain, or elsewhere, I always search for those with a personal touch as opposed to the corporate low-bidder design specials. Back to La Alberca. If you had a corporate outing or were traveling with a group, you’ll find the rooms close yet separate as they are in a couple different buildings, which gives everyone a chance to be together yet escape for a bit of privacy. The next photo shows one of the buildings.

Finally, you don’t have to worry about losing the key.

That hunk of wrought iron is about 8 inches long and weighs a pound. Like I said, this place has a unique character with plenty of handsome details.

Casa Rural Mas Fontanelles

Only a kilometer or two from the town of Biar, Spain, in the Alicante region, you’ll find Casa Rural Mas Fontanelles. Imagine a large farmhouse complex converted to a bed and breakfast type of lodging. You can even enjoy your own little casita such as the one shown below.

Let’s call this a small hotel because it has its own swimming pool and gardens, which is more than I would expect from a bed and breakfast. We stayed in an average room that was cozy as shown in the next photo.

We happened to be the only people staying there on a Monday night. In other words we had the place to ourselves. It’s a shame I didn’t have bigger plans; I could have invited another twenty people for a nice time. No matter, the bathroom was also well appointed, too. Check it out.

Perhaps the nicest feature of the room was the little private balcony. I couldn’t resist taking a long break out there.

There are cushions for those chairs; so don’t worry. There was a comfortable common room just outside our door, a place suitable for reading, relaxing with a drink, or a quiet chat with friends.

A similar room can be found on the ground level, complete with its own wood-fired stove for chilly evenings.

You can take your meals in the dining room. We opted for supper and breakfast, which was prepared by the owner himself, a fun experience I will post about separately. I almost forgot about the view, which from our room looked like this:

Timeless, isn’t it? Mas Fontanelles is a little bit of a work in progress. There are some finishing touches being added to the outdoor spaces. However, I wouldn’t let this bother you. If you’re looking for a place to stay that offers plenty of creature comforts and none of the in-town hassles, give Mas Fontanelles a try.

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