Review : Alfonso XIII Hotel Seville. Perfection except for a few details.

After a night at the AC Ciudad de Sevilla I migrate to the Alfonso XIII for the end of my stay in Seville.

Why change hotels during my stay? The Alfonso XIII was my first choice but for the first night of my stay the price of the standard room was prohibitive, even for what is considered one of the best hotels in the country (over 700 euros). And impossible to pay with loyalty program points. So I let the storm pass and went on my second night.

In this article:

Booking

I made the reservation directly on the Marriott website. From my 2nd night on the spot the proposed rate was normal again (at least for this category of hotel) namely in the 250€ for a standard room in November. Staying 3 nights I decided to pay with points from the loyalty program, the operation being quite advantageous given the number of points requested at this time of year.

In addition I used one of my “Suite Nights Awards” to request a complimentary suite upgrade confirmed before check-in.

Arrival at the hotel and check-in

From AC Ciudad de Sevilla I had to take a cab because of the distance. If you are coming from the airport I think that 30 minutes is more than enough for the trip.

In the meantime, I had received confirmation a few days ago that my “Suite Night Award” had been accepted and that I was therefore guaranteed a junior suite without waiting for an upgrade at check-in.

The hotel is located near the center and within walking distance of the most important sites, along the Alfonso XIII Canal.

Built almost a century ago at the request of King Alfonso XIII in preparation for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, it has been a hotel throughout its existence.

From the outset, it makes an impression.

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As soon as I got out of my cab, a bellman took my luggage and accompanied me to the check-in.

It must be a bit tight as a desk size to manage massive arrivals but there is only one person in front of me.It must be a bit tight as a desk size to manage massive arrivals but there is only one person ahead of me.

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I take the opportunity to get a first idea of the interior style, in the pure tradition of Andalusian art and architecture, decorated with “Azulejos”.

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I am quickly taken care of.

I am early so my room is not ready. The person at the front desk, realizing that I was alone and that I was upgraded to a suite with two beds, immediately called the room staff to change the room configuration to a king size bed.

To make me wait I am proposed to go to the bar where, of course, the drinks will be free . And as I have 30 minutes to wait he takes a little time to make me visit the place.

Then I’m going to sit comfortably in the gallery to have a tea. Order taken immediately and service just as fast.

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After 30 minutes my mobile rings: my room is ready and I just have to go and get the key at the reception.

The Alfonso XIII Junior Suite

The room opens onto a living room of normal size for this type of room.

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The decoration is in the local style but seems to hesitate between classicism and modernism.

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I admire the period chandelier.

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Furniture of Andalusian style.

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A well-stocked mini bar is a rarity these days.

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Vintage photos on the walls.

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Then the room …. and the king size bed.

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It’s big, I could almost sleep in the width of the bed.

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A beautiful closet is always useful…

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Then the bathroom.

A double washbasin.

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Acqua di Parma products …

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Then a bath/shower combo.

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The bathtub is large and deep, I appreciate it.

The style of the decoration gives the room an old-fashioned look that does not reflect reality.

My general impression: the style oscillates between Andalusian classicism and modernism which gives the whole a little old-fashioned side that does not serve it. The hotel was also renovated in 2012 but already 7 years later time seems to have discreetly done its work of wear in some places.

The bed is extremely comfortable but the lounge furniture, although comfortable, is a little below the expected comfort without being dramatic.

A video to finish.

The general style of the Alfonso XIII

We are talking about a palace built more than a century ago, recently renovated and which has been kept logically “in its juice” because it is out of question to touch such a building deeply.

It is organized around a central patio with a terrace used according to the hours (and seasons) to bars or restaurant.

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The corridors have also kept their original style.

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The common areas are decorated in the local style with woodwork and azulejos.

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A true work of art in itself, the elevator is period (the cabin, not the mechanism). Yes, this is an elevator.

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Obviously, this leads to some constraints inside.

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But this is better than the secondary elevator that serves the gym and pool, which is a bit of a blot on the landscape.

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The bars at the Alfonso XIII

The hotel has 3 bars.

The first bar is located in a gallery (the one where I had my tea) and is more a place to rest during the day…just in front of a tea or a coffee

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A second bar is located near the pool. At this time of the year it is closed.

A third, the Americano Bar is the main evening bar, located next to the opposite gallery. Not difficult to find but not really indicated.

It has also kept its period decoration in the purest Art Deco style.

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The menu is old, worn out, and looks a bit cheap for such a property. It includes a wide variety of alcohols. As for the cocktails, you will find the classics and some creations.

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If the “Last Cocktail” is the signature cocktail of the Luxury Collection chain, of which the Alfonso XIII is a part, a casual eye will see that the others are just variations of great classics revisited in the local fashion. Why not but a bit disappointing.

Let’s see how it taste.

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As usual I will start with a Negroni. The bartender works with the bottle and not with the doser and this is already a big plus. The green is large (although I have big hands), the alcohols well proportioned, it is one of the best I drank (after Harry’s New York Bar in Paris anyway).

Then a “Boqueria Sour”, the only “creation” that inspires me a little.

Well…how can I put this.

At least it’s not all water, which is something I too often criticize hotel bars for.

But apart from that nothing really spectacular.

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For the rest of my stay I will stick to the Negroni.

Note the professionalism and friendliness of the staff. From the second night on I was just asked “a negroni sir?”. It’s not difficult to remember the tastes of the customers and yet it’s so rare… Moreover for this type of property the prices are rather soft.

Restaurants at the Alfonso XIII

I will try two of the hotel’s restaurants that I’ve written about specifically in other articles.

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Ena by Carles Abellan, the famous Spanish chef, is a very pleasant restaurant with a nice and relaxed atmosphere. It is a restaurant that revisits tapas more than it ever reinvents them with finesse and a (small) touch of creativity.

I really liked it. This is the hotel’s casual dining restaurant.

Special praise for the very pleasant terrace, set back from the street.

Then the “fine dining” restaurant of the property: San Fernando.

The setting is majestic, even a little cold, but it alone justifies going there for dinner at least once.

On the other hand I was disappointed by the dishes which lack, according to the idea that one makes of it, of taste or delicacy.

It is good without any possible dispute but not at the level where we expect the “fine dining” of a 5* at this level of bill.

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Try the patio terrace in the summer.

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Swimming pool, Fitness and Spa at the Alfonso XIII

The hotel has a very nice outdoor swimming pool….. Perfect during the summer season but logically deserted in November even if the temperature is between 20° and 25°.

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Next to the pool is the gym in a small external building. It even has outdoor workout benches.

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This is due to its very small size:

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Moderately well equipped, it is quickly crowded which makes the practice of exercises a little uncomfortable.

As for the Spa, it is limited to treatments. Either in a dedicated room overlooking the pool during the summer months, or in dedicated rooms the rest of the year. No Jacuzzi, sauna or hamam available to guests.

It is understandable given the limitations imposed by the old design of the hotel and the work that would be required to equip it with facilities that meet the standards of the moment, but for such a hotel it is truly disappointing.

The staff and the service

Undeniably one of the strong points of the hotel. It is of the highest level: friendliness, efficiency, professionalism, everything that constitutes the markers of a 5* is there.

I would add a special mention for the treatment of Elite customers of the loyalty program.

When I returned to my room the first night I found a bottle of champagne with a note from the hotel’s general manager. All accompanied by chocolates and local cakes.

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Not having been able to drink it the same evening because of the late hour, the next day before going to dinner I ask the room service for an ice bucket to find it fresh when I’m back. Since I hadn’t opened it, they asked me what time I was going to come back so that they could put a new one in my room, fresh, some time before so that I could find it when I arrived.

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And this is what I will find in my room the next day.

Again, accompanied by local specialties to taste.

Because it’s Andalusia, a wine with orange. A bit “special” when you don’t know it and, in my opinion, that must hurt quite a bit in hot weather.

Very sweet…but very good.

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And to finish before I leave: the host’s eau de toilette!

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Bottom line

So, is the Alfonso XIII perfect?

The hotel is superb and the service is at the level you would expect. No doubt about it. However.

As I said above, the rooms decoration is between two styles, two periods. It is always difficult when the historical character of a hotel requires keeping it in its juice while modernizing it.

Moreover, although renovated in 2012, we can already see by small touches that the wear and tear is already doing its work. Details points but at this level it is on the details that an hotel is juged. And details like the “modern” elevators serving the floors and the pool/sports hall that look more like service elevators than anything else jump out at you.

And then, but there too the hotel is constrained by its history and its historic side, if the gym is already cramped for a hotel of this standing, the absence of a real spa is really detrimental.

And then if the restoration is of good level it disappoints on the gastronomic offer. As for the bar, its worn-out cards are a blot on such a property, despite impeccable service and a strong style.

In short, it is almost perfect. But many details, on many subjects, make it impossible for him to pass the step between “it was really good” and “it was exceptional”.

To a certain extent it just fails where a comparable property (same past, same standing, same chain) like the Grande Bretagne in Athens has largely succeeded in its rejuvenation.

As far as the experience for money is concerned, not having paid my room in cash, it is necessarily excellent, which would have been a little less obvious if I had to pay the full price in euros.

Was I satisfied? Yes ! Will I return? Certainly. But it has such untapped potential…

To know about the Alfonso XIII to look knowledgeable

The cost of the construction of the Alfonso XIII was 4 million pesetas of the time, more than 10% of the total cost of construction of the Exposition

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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