Sun-drenched Andalusia is weighted with the events of history. As the region that occupations the southernmost point of Spain, this was effectively the entry point to the country for Moorish invaders making their way across from mainland Africa. Few areas in Spain can testify to have seen the amount of crusaders and pretenders-to-the-throne as Andalusia.
Today, this lively, colorful region is one of Spain's most of-visited spots in terms of tourism, with visitors flocking from across the globe to enjoy its flamenco-obsessed culture, it's pristine sandy beaches, and its standout luxury hotels. Stay in one of the last and you may just get to sample life as it was for royalty all those years ago …
The famous Alcazar of Seville almost tells the city's history in itself, having through numerous owners and invaders during its time. While it's not quite the seat of power that it once was, the Alcazar is nonetheless still used as official residence of the Spanish royalty during their visits to the city.
About half an hour's drive away, the (extravagantly named) Hacienda Benazuza elBullihotel allows visitors to the area to stay in similarly kingly surroundings. This wonderfully maintained building dates back to Moorish times, when it was home to a succession of kings and noblemen. Small and opulent, it's the perfect countryseat from where to explore Seville.
The Alhambra is to Granada what the Alcazar is to Seville: A labyrinthine palace-cum-fortress who's very essence speaks of centuries of rule and contract, of toil and war, and of kingly living at its most indulgent degree. A massive structure that sits on a hill and looms over the atmospheric town around it, the Alhambra is as mystical wonder.
Granada is awash with small, almost unimaginably cozy luxury hotels, a good example of which is the Carmen de la Alcubilla del Caracol, a tiny hotel that sits on the slopes of the Alhambra itself. A boutique hotel of the traditional variety, it features rustic furniture, a well-stocked library, and panoramic views of the city below.
Untouched and unhurried Cordoba is a getaway delight. Fewer people make it here when compared to Seville and Granada, but the architecture on display and the love of life that fills the air makes it just as memorable – if not more so – than its two more illustrious counterparts.
Cordoba also boasts its own regal hotel – though with a twist. The Hospes Palacio del Bailio may be housed a 16th Century palace, but on the inside it's all modern. The architects of Cordoba's primary and best luxury hotel have done a magnificent job combining the old with the new, and the result is a hotel that makes you feel truly like a 21st Century King.