To the northwest of Spain, in the Castile and León region, is Salamanca. It’s the capital of the province by the same name and dates back to the 12th century. An ancient university is at its heart, a longstanding intellectual centre that contributes to the city’s multiculturalism. The sandstone buildings and ornate architecture make it one of the country’s most beautiful metropolises – a UNESCO World Heritage site – and a far cry from the built-up resorts of the tourist-heavy Costas. Well worth a visit if you plan on exploring the Iberian Peninsula, Salamanca has many excellent hotels to be discovered.
Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Organic Farm
A 14th-century Dominican monastery, this hotel has historic river view rooms (singles through to suites) in its Casa Grande and minimalist self-catering villas overlooking the vineyards. Christopher Colombus once stayed in the Tuscan inspired property, which is located in the lush Duero Valley, just 10 minutes from the city centre. It incorporates a winemaking hacienda – frequent guided tours are offered – and from which the hotel’s wine cellar is stocked. Produce from the onsite organic farm is also served in gourmet restaurants. Hacienda Zorita exudes understated luxury, with two pools, a terrace and open-air movie nights in the summer.
Hospes Palacio De San Esteban
Rooms at Hospes Palacio De San Esteban come with hardwood floors and sleek furnishings accented by mid-century and antique pieces. The five-star amenities include minibars, pillow menus, robes and slippers. Dine on Castillian sharing dishes at El Monje restaurant, which features a roaring fire, an indoor tree and stunning high ceilings with dramatic original stone arches. Or eat alfresco, at the contemporary styled El Patio de Los Olivos. Enjoy a drink beside the vintage fountain, or recline on a poolside lawn lounger. Once the San Esteban Salesian Convent, the hotel’s modern ethos is to ‘find, feel and belong’.
Hotel Rector Salamanca
Welcoming guests for a quarter of a century, this hotel is housed in a Renaissance palace. The vibe is discrete and classy, rather than glitzy, with excellent, unobtrusive service. It’s small and intimate; there are 13 classically decorated bedrooms (replete with Bulgari toiletries and coffee makers), plus there’s a private lounge, but no restaurant. But as the Rector is right in the heart of the city, there’s a wealth of culinary options on the doorstep and staff will gladly provide recommendations to suit your preferences. The lounge is the place to relax post-sightseeing, drink in hand — its stained glass window and oriental rugs are stunning.