The trouble with places like Seville’s Hotel Colón Gran Meliá is that you never want to leave, which can be tricky when you’re only in town for a few days. That said, this regal, five-star hotel shouldn’t be knocked for being too lovely. Part of its appeal is its facilities, ranging from a heated rooftop plunging pool with city views to free weekly jazz and flamenco performances and an exceptional restaurant. What perhaps stands out most, however, is its exceptional level of customer service.
Style, staff & stuff 8/10
This infamous five-star hotel, one of Seville’s first, is the place where ‘toreros’ stay before a bullfight. It’s also a hotel that has the kind of pristinely white decadent Baroque facade that’ll make you stop and stare. Hotel Colón Gran Meliá’s interior, however, is a desired taste. Like grandiose, Sevillano glamour (gold leaf galore, bullfighting memorabilia and thick grey marble) and you’ll be in your element. Prefer minimalist, Scandi-esque boutique hotels, then it’s probably not for you. That said, everyone will be able to appreciate its creativity, like its passageways designed like an art gallery with gold-framed famous paintings on each door. On the top floor there’s a small but dreamy heated plunge pool overlooking the city. Plus a small gym, steam room and sauna, and Clarins spa (extra cost). Though customer service is were this old dame hotel dazzles. From check-in to check-out everyone – from the reception workers to the cleaners and restaurant staff – make you feel like you’ve been visiting the hotel for years. Don’t be spooked if everyone knows your name and remembers what you like to have for breakfast.
All 189 rooms (49 of which are exclusive Red Level suites) continue the hotel’s modern-glam theme. Envisage swirling monochrome patterned walls and lavish gold headboards. Furniture is glitzy (think white leather with lime cushions) and beds, big enough to fit a small family, are cosy enough to sleep through a minor earthquake. Amenities are in keeping with what you’d expect with a five-star hotels, with kettles (or coffee machines in Red Level rooms), luxurious Clarins toiletries and Bluetooth radios. Lighting systems can be troublesome – loads of switches make it hard to know what light switch turns off what.
Food & bev 9/10
It’s rare to find a hotel restaurant better than a normal restaurant these days, but the Gran Melia Colon is an exception. Headed by Javier Rico Martín, El Burladero restaurant (its divided in two, tapas and a la carte) is one of the best the city has to offer. The tapas restaurant is more laid back while the a la carte is a little more formal but not so much that its intimidating. Chefs produce classic dishes with a modern twist for reasonable prices – the octopus in truffle mash is a must. And you’ll probably find yourself sitting beside a local or non-guest, which is always a good sign. Staff are excellent, knowing the exact moment to step in to take plates or fill your wine glass. Ask to be looked after by Cuban born Jean-Carlos – a charming waiter that’ll make your dining experience easy and delightful. His quality recommendations, impeccably timed check-backs and just the right amount of between dish chat meant I received possibly the best service I’ve had to date.
The area 8/10
Hotel Colón Gran Meliá is close to the city’s traditional city centre without being too close that you’ll be swamped by selfie-stick clad tourists. The swish hotel is around a fifteen minute walk from Seville’s main cathedral, a ten-minute walk to the city’s delightful Guadalquivir river and the same to the giant modernist mushroom-like structure that locals call Las Setas. Meanwhile, designer shops are dangerously close, too, as are many artisan bakeries, independent craft shops and supermarkets. Plus, the city’s best Irish pub (The Merchant) is over the road if you’re into sports or burgers. Plaza de Armas bus station, which takes you directly to the airport, neighbouring towns and coastal areas, is less than ten minutes on foot.
– Head to the rooftop pool for sunset and views across Seville
– Go on the hotels free walking tour (ask at reception) to find out more about the hotel’s past
Room at Gran Meliá Colón start from £ 250