Hacienda de San Rafael, a classic Spanish hacienda surrounded by rural estate farmland, is a luxe Andalusian retreat explains travel writer Andrew Forbes. Guest rooms and duplex suites are found within the main manor house; together with three individual villa suites or ‘casitas’ with access to a dedicated pool. The main summer restaurant is in the gardens; a large gazebo adjacent to a stylish alfresco bar.
Facilities include tennis, padel, swimming pools, yoga and massage. Activities on offer embrace horse-riding, cultural tours to nearby cities such as the sherry wine city of Jerez, and Seville, the capital of Andalucia.
The Hacienda de San Rafael is hidden in the Andalusian countryside between Seville and Jerez, about 45 minutes’ drive south of Seville’s airport. San Pablo. It is a good base to enjoy the cultural and natural attractions of this part of Andalucía; including sherry tasting in Jerez, hiking in the mountains; exploring the white villages of Malaga and Cadiz provinces and the cultural delights of Seville. Alternatively, don’t leave the estate – just enjoy the peace and pampering.
The drive is chance to be immersed in the charm of Andalucia, to disconnect from daily life. After passing fields of cotton, sunflowers and grain one arrives at the estate.
Once we arrived at the 18th century olive estate and parked the car, we were met by a member of the team and shown to the drawing room of the main house. Here we were offered a refreshing, chilled hand towel, and a glass of homemade lemonade. With the formalities of completing the check-in card over we were taken to our suite.
I stayed in one of the estate’s three charming garden villa suites, called ‘Casitas’. Private, secluded and beautifully decorated, the duplex villas are located around a private swimming pool. Each has a gazebo, a shaded place to lounge on the day bed, or enjoy private dining.
The casita had a double height living area that looked up to the mezzanine double bedroom area.
The large bathroom with shower, tub and Alvarez Gomez amenities is well appointed.
Adjacent dressing area and separate W.C are on the ground floor. There is also a small kitchen with mini bar, expresso maker etc.
The casitas are thatched, with rustic terracotta-hued exterior walls, surrounded by olive trees and fragrant Mediterranean plants. The place feels romantic, magical, and exclusive. Here there is no blingy, showy luxury of a 5 star hotel here; for the elegance and sophistication of a refined country house.
The property has 11 other duplex guest rooms, each decorated by Kuky Mora-Figueroa, as well as a new 2 bedroom Pool Villa.
The property offers Wi-Fi.
Breakfast is served on one’s private terrace. Before one awakes an insulated jug of fresh coffee is left on the table with breakfast cakes. It’s a lovely gesture and a good way to start the day whilst waiting for breakfast to be delivered.
Other meals can be enjoyed on the terrace of one’s private gazebo; or in the property’s alfresco thatched-roof restaurant; the main courtyard patio; or in the dining room in the main house – depending on the season and how your feel.
For dinner the chef prepares a three-course meal from market-fresh produce. Advise the hotel early in the day of dietary requirements. Mediterranean home cooking with Spanish wines was the order of the day.
Before dinner, head to the roof top of the main house to see the sun set over the estate.
Rest of the Hotel
The main guest rooms have access to extensive gardens, swimming pools, as well as the bougainvillea-filled courtyard of the main manor house.
Children under 12 are normally not allowed, so expect a relaxed and sophisticated ambience.
Yoga and massage is available. There is a padel and tennis courts.
The hotel is experienced at arranging private excursions, tours, wine and sherry tastings, horse-riding etc. This is very much the quintessential Andalucia, with all the flavours, colours and sights that capture the beauty of Southern Spain.
Address: Carretera Nacional IV (km 594), Seville, Spain
Tel: +34 954 227 116