The perfect plan for Valentine’s day: a trip to a boutique hotel

Whether you are more or less romantic, once the date February 14th approaches it’s normal to get that urge to surprise your partner with something nice, romantic and original – even if you don’t really know why… Just a small detail that helps show how you feel about the person you share your life with.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, so best choose a good gift for the two of you. Our choice this month couldn’t be any clearer: what about gifting a stay in a boutique hotel on a quick trip to one of the destinations in this country that never cease to amaze. This month we opted for three heavyweights: Madrid, Seville and the eternally beautiful Barcelona.

 

 

Sevilla, always authentic and romantic

Few cities in this country are as romantic as Seville, the capital of Andalusia. With its streets and squares full of charm and a culture that is unique of its kind, with a character that makes you fall in love from the first minute, this city is the perfect destination if you want to experience a unique and highly romantic Valentine’s Day.

Out of all the places to visit, the Santa Cruz neighbourhood takes first prize thanks to its beauty and its art. A neighbourhood where we find some of the most romantic boutique hotels in the city, hotels such as the Petit Palace Canalejas.

Madrid for two

Madrid is another destination we recommend for this Valentine’s Day 2017, because of its leisure, history and culture. A city with hotels as beautiful as the Petit Palace Triball where you can enjoy taking unique walks (such as those on offer in the Retiro Park, or along Gran Vía), having romantic dinners in exquisite restaurants, and treating yourself to things you love and other whims.

A Valentine’s Day with a Mediterranean flavour

Walking hand in hand along the beach in Barceloneta, discovering the nooks and crannies of the Barrio Gótico, getting lost in the intricacies of Park Güell and discovering the majestic Montjuïc are some of the things that are always worth doing when you visit Barcelona. A destination that gets even more romantic if you choose a hotel such as the Petit Palace Barcelona.

The most traditional natural magic of Madrid

Authentic by nature and historical by tradition, that’s Madrid. A capital that oozes style and culture and is home to many places where time seems to stop … Places that are a hundred percent Madrid in which you can breathe in the local essence that attracts thousands of travelers.

Although there are lots of visitors who seem to stick with the tourist areas of the capital (such as Retiro Park, the crowded Plaza Mayor and Gran Via), Madrid is much more than a museum, a large avenue or a total entertainment program. How can you discover the authentic, traditional side of Madrid? That is easy, just opt for these alternative visits to the true Madrid, which still bears the natural magic of the past.

Chamberí, Madrid

Chamberí, Madrid

Wander through the streets of Chamberí

Part of the essence of Madrid lies in Chamberí, a neighborhood which breathes the past but is all that is good in the present. With its iron balconies, its tiny streets and a calm and quiet that you don’t find everywhere in Madrid, Chamberí is home to unique places and iconic sights such as the Sala Galileo Galilei the Luchanas Theater or the Olavide Square with its many tapas and beer bars.

Literary Madrid

As much as Madrid was in the past, it is now and it will continue to be the place of residence of the most important writers in our country. Writers of the stature of Cervantes (who lived his last years in Madrid), Calderon de la Barca or Quevedo who viewed the city as a source of supreme inspiration and a unique place in which to unleash his literary talent. What would be your perfect program? Visit some of the places that are part of this legacy such as the Calle del Prado and Plaza Santa Ana.

Where to stay in Madrid

As expected in any big city, our capital Madrid has a very large range of hotels to suit all tastes and for all types of customers (singles, couples, groups of friends, tourists traveling with animals and so on). Given that choice can start to be complicated, it is best to prioritize what really interests you, whether it is services, location or price.
For those looking for hotels with charm, there is nothing better than choosing hotels like the Petit Palace Triball, the Petit Palace Alcala Torre or the Petit Palace Arturo Soria; three full service hotels situated in the historic center of Madrid.

Seville: the most entertaining Andalusian destination

There’s nothing compared to Seville, the most important city in the south of Andalusia and one of the most visited cities in the country. It has many monuments which are visited by millions of tourists every year, and exploring Seville with friends is an amazing experience. If you and your friends are planning a similar travel, write down these recommendations. You will discover an incredible city, full of history and impressive landscapes.

What to see or do in Seville?

Guadalquivir, Sevilla

Guadalquivir, Sevilla

●      You must visit Seville’s Cathedral. Stop in front of it and admire it calmly. Locals walk in front of it frequently and horse-drawn carriages stroll behind this impressive temple. Cristobal Colon remains can be found in Seville’s Cathedral.

●      You should visit Torre del Oro. It’s one of the most emblematic places in Seville. Its golden façade with antique gold shells is amazing. Its tiles reflect on Guadalquivir waters. Its golden colour comes from its glory times and now it’s Seville’s Naval Museum.

●      Walk through Seville and enjoy Triana. Guadalquivir is Seville’s symbol. It’s a navigable river which is one of the most important instruments of communication and trade. It hosts Triana’s Bridge, an art and architecture’s work which transports you to Triana Neighbourhood, a picturesque area that will just amaze you as Seville’s Cathedral: people weaving, artisans, locals greeting people passing by. Don’t miss the opportunity of admiring one of the best well-preserved neighbourhoods in Spain.

Tips for eating out in Seville

Despite people usually talks about what to do or what to visit before dying, in Seville people talks about flamenco and tapas you should taste before dying.

According to some Seville’s visitors, in this city you can eat amazingly well . Here’s a list of the tapas that you should taste  in Seville:

  •  Tuna chunks with salmorejo sauce
  • Cod fritters
  • Raviolis with mustard and honey sauce
  • Pringa amuse-bouche
  • Sanbers’ Andalusian Caprice.

Where to stay in Seville?

Seville’s accommodations must be as good as the beautiful sights and delicious gastronomy of the city, so here’s a list of the Top 3 hotels in Seville, with one of the best price-quality ratios:

Luxury hotel tendencies for 2016

Time has changed the concept we had of luxury holidays. Luxury does not imply an excessively ornate hotel with butler, concierge, porter, caviar and vain people any more. Now almost anyone who saves a bit of money can afford a 4-day getaway to a 5-star hotel in some of the best destinations of Spain, and even Europe. The luxury hotels in Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Balearic or Canary Islands have changed their philosophy and their proposal: everybody deserves a stay in an accommodation full of commodities and special services, without thereby implying a place without soul exclusively for the elite.

This is the philosophy of the new luxury hotels in Tenerife, like the Grand Hotel Mencey, a proposal of Iberostar Hotels & Resorts that has recovered one of the oldest hotels in Spain and has opened it to a public of all ages, nationalities and acquisitive power. Without losing the class and elegance of an exclusive luxury, well-cared, discreet and quiet hotel, this accommodation in the centre of Santa Cruz has democratised its experiences, opening its doors so that we enjoy its charms: its stunning wellness and spa area, with thousands of square metre devoted to body and mind wellness; its fitness area and its lounge bar with terrace, with daily events open to the external public and to the locals as a leisure and relax alternative in Santa Cruz.

The Los Menceyes restaurant, with the already famous Mencey Cooking Class, is a meeting point for locals, personalities of the society of Tenerife, business people and those who want to enjoy a special gastronomic experience, celebrate an anniversary or organise a wedding or a business event.

Luxury hotels

Luxury hotels

Another option with a clear tendency in the section of luxury hotels is the hotel chain Vincci Hotels. In this case the exclusivity is kept and the hotel chain bets for large resorts with endless services in traditional high class areas for holidays, wellness and golf tourism, which are elements traditionally associated with the 5-star hotels in Malaga, Majorca or Ibiza.

But this chain has developed different lines of action in this sense. And almost in the opposite direction, it offers us an alternative to enjoy our luxury holidays based on personalised attention, small details, intimate atmosphere… We are talking about the hotel in Benalmádena with spa and gastronomy, the Selección Aleysa Boutique & Spa, a hotel with few rooms and selected services for an elite atmosphere.

Talking about luxury implies talking about capitals, as the best-cared hotels are traditionally located in the largest cities. For example, one of the reference luxury accommodations of Iberostar -despite being a hotel chain focused on destinations of beach tourism- is a hotel in the centre of Budapest devoted to business travellers and to those looking for comfortable urban getaways with a fabulous location.

The hotels in the centre of Madrid are also devoted to the business sector, but the 2016 tendency for this type of accommodation is improving the services no matter the type of traveller. The hotels with roof terraces in Madrid have created a tendency in the city, and the same happens with the hotels with restaurant in Serrano, Las Cortes or Puerta del Sol, which have become a reference in the haute cuisine sector. In fact, most of the kitchens of the luxury hotels in Madrid are led by great chefs and prominent figures of the gastronomic sector. This also happens in the main 4-star hotels in Bilbao, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville: the most select hotels want to get to a wider audience and become a destination in themselves, enlivening the cities where they lie.

The new services being incorporated are wellness services with new techniques and spaces, with credited staff, with a combination of services traditionally understood as basic sports… Gastronomy, as already mentioned, is another of the lines of action in these luxury accommodations; the design rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology (the hotels in Madrid with free iPad are already a classic); the personalised leisure plans managed directly by the hotel, as if it was a concierge service, etc.

Prices have also fallen, creating a good quality price ratio that makes the expense worth it. These hotels are unavoidably expensive, but if we compare their prices with those of a 3-star hotel, in most of the cases choosing a 4-star hotel in Madrid, or even a 5-star, makes up for the effort. But it is important to manage your reservation in the adequate place. Looking for a quick service, we normally get directly to booking, but in many cases, specially with superior hotels, the best offers for luxury hotels are on the official website of the chain, or even on the individual website of every hotel (although not all of them have one).

New deluxe hotel concepts

Today we bring a question back to the table: Is there a rating higher than 5-star? What is a deluxe hotel? Why hotels insist on talking about it, and announce with great fanfare that a hotel raises category? Well, it’s just marketing. They see the need of stressing that their services are above this category.

Many would think that any hotel considering itself much better, will add the Deluxe, just like that. But is not that easy. The star classification is worldwide guaranteed, especially in the European countries, and you have to meet a series of requirements in order to get it: cleanliness, space, number of rooms and restaurants, etc.  Nevertheless, many important factors are not valued in this system, despite that nowadays they make the difference. This is why this trade in Spain, with an implicit agreement of everyone, but equally official, such as deluxe 5-star.

For example, this summer, the 5-star hotel in Costa Adeje of IBEROSTAR, Grand Hotel El Mirador has got the Deluxe category thanks to its 120 suites and junior suites, VIP terraces, new restaurants decoration… Nevertheless, what 5-star category includes is mainly that hotels have air conditioning, a number of lifts, telephones in the rooms and common areas, terraces in the rooms, bathrooms, accessibility (especially those hotel with more than 150 rooms), etc.

In these cases, to stand out what makes the hotel different from the rest and to give it a luxury category (at least, what luxury means to consumers), many chains offer their own exclusive hotel line, the best ones in its portfolio and join them into a concept that can be the previously mentioned Grand of Iberostar, with hotels such as Grand Hotel Mencey or Grand Salomé but it doesn’t include for example Iberostar Anthelia, one of the most appreciated 5-star all-inclusive hotels in Costa Adeje.

Other hotel chains call it “Selección”, such as Vincci Hotels, with clear examples like Vincci Selección Estrella de Mar, although Vincci Costa Golf doesn’t have this special category, despite it is one of the most complete an emblematic hotels. These decisions of including or not a hotel don’t depend on services but on a line, a style characteristic of these hotels that could be design or a type of public or special services.

4-star rating is similar.  In many cases, the distinction is small, but because of the space, they never reach the 5 stars. This doesn’t mean that they are not luxury hotels: they could be even better. This is the case of many boutique hotels in Spain and Europe that have 4 stars, but in most of the cases they are more wonderful, luxurious and better designed than 5-star hotels. Some of them have 4-star superior rating, for example.

A good example of this is Petit Palace chain. That has always invested on boutique hotels (they have less rooms than normal hotels, and this allow them to provide a more personal attention to guests). Accommodations such as Petit Palace Savoy Alfonso XII, Petit Palace Embassy Serrano, Posada del Peine or Art Gallery worth these famous 5 stars, but as they don’t have big dining rooms or restaurants, or their number of rooms is more limited, they cannot get this category. But they are still one of the most exclusive hotel collections in Madrid.

IBEROSTAR Las Letras, the new hotel in Gran Vía managed by the Majorcan company, is a similar case, although it has more rooms than other boutique hotels of Petit, it is a design hotel, charming, with luxury spaces, but limited because it is not easy to expand their spaces or their number of services or rooms in the centre of Madrid. We can also see this in other chains such as Catalonia, with outstanding accommodations such as Catalonia Las Cortes or Catalonia Barcelona Plaza.

 

Hotels for hipsters, modern and cool people

I am modern because the world has made me that way… And it is fashionable.  Yes, modern people, hipsters, cool people, call them as you want. They are many, they move, travel and this has made that hotels look at  them… and grow a beard.

We say it with a smirk, but it is truth: we live in a society with a syndrome of belonging to a group, raised to the highest power, where fashions and trends spread like wildfire in all social classes and strata.

Fashions, urban tribes, categorizations, generalizations, people, habits and tastes. I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member, said Groucho Marx. But finally we all feel identified with a series of things that make us feel as a part of a group, clan or club where we can have a good time with people like us and, at the same time, feel unique and different from everyone.

When we travel, clearly, the situation is similar: we want to travel to places adapted to our tastes, where we can find options to feel ourselves, where we can share moments and histories with other people that also enjoy the same.  But people different from the rest.

In fact, the tourist trade has always worked for different types of publics. This tendency is becoming stronger in the last years, creating a deeper specialization: a hotel for every type of traveller.  Adults Only hotels, hotels for children, hotels for events, hotels for seniors, hotels for sport lovers… And of course, hotels for modern people, for all new tribes that love to travel and enjoy the good services. Lifelong gourmets. Yes, they can now enjoy options such as design hostels (such as the international Generator chain) or hotels such as Fergus Magaluf Resort, Opera Garden Hotel in Barcelona or Catalonia Barcelona Plaza.

All these modern, dynamic and well decorated hotels with last generation services are their favourite ones. Bright spaces to relax, furniture combining vintage style with top quality technology, good gastronomy, flexible and personalised schedules, music, parties and specially, select atmosphere. The modern ambience, which everyone wants to make part of.

How is a modern hotel?

Specific design: The most important factor, as we have mentioned before, is a special and different design. Details with which public feels identifies, and want to photograph and share.  Because one of the most relevant things is that: to share, show and boast. No one else better than the guest to spread by word of mouth “I have been here. Haven’t you? I can’t believe it!” Creating in the user the need to share the place where he stays is winning the battle (or the war).

Innovative services: Always more and better. Staying in a hotel with free wifi in Madrid is basic and essential. Now guests also ask for rooms with laptops next to Puerta del Sol. Even with iPad. If you also provide free bicycles to travel the destination, chill out areas to contemplate a nice view (hotels with rooftop in Madrid are some of the most sought after nowadays) or a restaurant with a renowned chef, success is almost assured.

Personalised rooms: Every room different from the rest, with a motivation or a phrase defining the thread of the experience. It doesn’t matter if it is big or small, room has to give the guest the feeling of being in a space that has been specially designed for him.

Themed entertainment: If you provide something for your guests’ entertainment, it must be something with which they feel identified or even, the deciding factor in their decision. Live concerts of attractive groups, special parties, DJ sessions, gastronomic experiences, plans to discover the destination in an original way…

 

Petit Palace: the art of the urban accommodation

Elegant, comfortable and sophisticated, the hotels of the Petit Palace Hotels chain are one of the best examples of urban accommodations we can find today in Spain. The delicate refurbishing of the emblematic buildings of the main capitals of the country is the success of the staff of one of the most innovative firms in the whole panorama of urban hotels in Europe.

Inspirited by the best hotel cities in the world, like New York or Tokyo, the urban hotels Petit Palace has in our country have a special taste for the authentic. The experience of travelling may be perceived in different ways by different people. For sporadic travellers, travelling is a complete adventure: the destination is usually new and the illusion and eagerness to spend some days far away from routine make everything perfect. For the expert globetrotter, travelling is always an adventure, but it is necessary to search for new stunning destinations that crown that special trip or, if we are talking about a business trip, a hotel which is much more than… a hotel. 

Petit Palace Madrid Airport

Petit Palace Madrid Airport

Business trips abroad are a complete penitence for the traveller who, on the one hand, does not enjoy the calmness of finishing his day at home with his beloved ones, and on the other hand, is so tired that he cannot make the most of the leisure and relax services of the destination.

Because of that, the hotel becomes an essential part of the trip. Choosing a good business hotel in Madrid or a business hotel in Barcelona may be relatively easy as the demand has increased the options for those who travel for business, one of the most important tourist sectors nowadays. 

hotel for events valencia

However, it is hard to find a good business hotel in Sevilla or other destinations with a ludic or festive connotation, like Malaga or Salamanca. However, the tourist sector has made an effort to create a whole range of special services for this type of client. 

À la carte restaurants, gym, wifi and free computers in the rooms, massage service, stationary bikes, safe-deposit box for your laptop and documents, business centre and meeting rooms. Business hotels in Valencia, Bilbao and many other Spanish cities which understand their clients and have a professional staff. 

Hotels which are much more than a hotel because they have the capacity to transform and offer an exclusive business service and an immaculate personal attention for their guests to enjoy their holidays. 

Who is Luke Durden?

The Plaza Mayor of Madrid: Life and History of a city

The life of cities, as happens in villages, passes by between its cafes and squares. In Madrid, if there is a unique and representative place of its spirit, it is, without a doubt, the Plaza Mayor.

Plaza Mayor Madrid Statue

In it, you can find the oldest hotel in Spain that still retains the same name, the Hotel La Posada del Peine. This hotel is, every December, the protagonist of one of the most charming markets across the country and, year after year, it is responsible to see all those who visitors walk around the city. The square offers its shade under its arches and opens the doors to the thousands of  proposals that surround it, keeping at as the crossroads that it once was.

The square, located at the junction of the old Atocha and Toledo passage ways, was originally a large market that was held on the outskirts of the medieval village, in what was known as the Arrabal. Times have changed a lot since then and, after witnessing big and small stories, the Plaza Mayor in Madrid is no longer a suburb and has become the absolute centre and reference of social life in the city.

Plaza Mayor Madrid Map

Construction work was begun by Juan de Herrera and completed by Juan Gomez de Mora, owes the height of the buildings that surround it to Juan de Villanueva, who, after the last of the fires that wiped the Plaza, decided to reduce from 5 to 3 the floors of the houses . Also, he opted to unite the corners and create the beautiful arches that welcome anyone who approaches it.

Around the Plaza Mayor you can find the main tourist attractions of Madrid: steps away from what is know as the Madrid of the Austrias, the Royal Palace, the Opera area and the great theatres, the bustling Gran Vía, through to the well-known Puerta del Sol, the innovative market of San Miguel, the Upper and Lower cellars where to get lost between tapa and tapa… Visiting the Plaza Mayor of Madrid is starting the real journey through this city full of charm, cosmopolitan capital and tireless spirit.

To enjoy a trip to Madrid, it is possible to book in some iconic hotels in the Plaza Mayor or Puerta del Sol:

· Hotel Petit Palace Posada del Peine

· Hotel Petit Palace Puerta del Sol

· Hotel Petit Palace Mayor Plaza

· Hotel Petit Palace Londres

· Hotel Petit Palace Arenal