Cáceres, a regional capital in the Extremadura, is one of Spain’s most remarkable medieval cities. In search of the hidden Spain, Andrew Forbes discovers this ancient monumental city, staying at Hotel NH Collection Cáceres Palacio de Oquendo.
In 2016 the city of Cáceres was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in recognition of its preserved medieval architecture. For the modern-day visitor to the old town quarter this means a fairy-tale like experience – an ancient walled city of spires, towers, churches and historic palaces.
The NH Collection Cáceres hotel is within this captivating old town, within a historic building, the 16th century Palacio de Oquendo. The original façade, the ancient internal patio courtyard, and other striking original features have been retained within this hotel, complemented by understated contemporary interior design.
The public spaces are brought to life with seasonal art exhibitions – during our visit there was a really original collection of fine art photography – featuring classic Australian animals shown in the historic streets of Cáceres.
There are 86 rooms, with categories encompassing Superior, Family Rooms, Superior with view, and Junior suite rooms. Each guest room has a light, fresh contemporary aesthetic, with pale hardwood floors and a muted, calming colour scheme. Several rooms have privileged views over the charming square, ‘Plaza San Juan’ opposite.
There’s a gym for guests; meeting rooms for business travellers; ‘La Cava del Emperador’ bar; and also ‘Yuste Taperia-Restaurante’, the hotel’s charming tapas restaurant that opens on to the street level terrace, overlooking the plaza and San Juan Church.
Spain is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, yet there still much of this fascinating, beautiful and historic country that remains undiscovered by visitors. This ‘hidden Spain’ includes the magnificent ‘Silver Route’ (the Ruta de la Plata’) that runs from Seville up through some of country’s most remarkable historical UNESCO recognised cities including Cáceres.
Exploring just a part of this ancient trading route, either from Madrid, or from the south of Spain makes for a fascinating and rewarding break in Spain, combining history, spectacular natural scenery, culture, and great food!
NH Collection Hotels are found across Spain, in some of the country’s most iconic cities, making it easy to create a self-drive itinerary for exploring the Iberian Peninsula.
Hotel NH Collection Cáceres Palacio de Oquendo brings the high standards of NH hospitality to Cáceres – and makes for a comfortable and friendly base from which to explore the city and surrounding area.
The city’s old quarter is chockful of historic palaces to explore like the Palacio de los Golfines de Abajo, once home to the aristocratic Golfín family – think tapestries, art, suits of armour – it’s every evocative of the golden era of Cáceres.
For culture vultures, there’s galleries and museums too. The municipal ‘Museo de Cáceres’ is housed in various spaces of a huge mansion estate in town, and includes archaeology, and fine art exhibitions
The city’s main Plaza is the place for an early evening stroll. It’s full of life as local families and visitors alike enjoy a drink in one of the open-air cafés or browse the shops in the colonnaded arcades.
The gastronomy of Cáceres is like the original fusion cuisine. Local recipes build on a rich cultural legacy that has include the Romans, Arabs, and Jews. In 2015 Cáceres was designated Gastronomic Capital of Spain. The city lies within a region of Spain renowned for unique produce including cheeses, olive oil, cured ham, paprika and more.
Local restaurants and tapas bars are a good place to become immersed in the regional food culture.
We ate at The Yuste Taperia-Restaurante, at Hotel NH Collection Cáceres Palacio de Oquendo. This is a cosy space with traditional vaulted ceilings, and tables also out on the terrace.
The restaurant offers tempting sharing dishes, served on slate such as fine ham, ‘jamón ibérico de bellota’ the very best. We started with the selection of artisan cheeses from Extremadura, which included the ‘Torta Extremeña’, a thick sheep’s milk cheese that is unique to the area with Denomination de Origin protection. It went so well with an aromatic local red wine, ‘Nadir’ – perfect with cheese.
The menu is varied including soups, salads, meat from grill and fish. It’s a relaxed, friendly place – and services was superb.
We were fortunate to have a room overlooking the square and the rooftops of old town. Sound proofing was excellent thanks to double windows. There was a small Juliet balcony – a lovey way to capture the atmosphere of the evening – Spain comes alive when the sun goes down, and it was lovey to see the people in the square, playing with their children or sitting on benches under the trees enjoying the balmy weather.
In addition to the spacious bedroom with king bed (pillow menu), work desk, and TV, there was an additional large living room with TV and sofa.
The bathroom included a tub and shower, and all the amenities that NH Collection are well known for, including robes, slippers and grooming products.
Cáceres is best reached as part of a self-drive holiday. The nearest airport is Badajoz.
The historic centre of the city is closed to traffic, but one can drive right up to the entrance to drop off luggage. Overnight parking at special rates is available about 10 minutes’ walk away.
If you’re planning to stay at the hotel over the weekend, then it’s worth booking directly on nh-hotels.com, and signing up to NH Rewards. This way guests can take advantage of the NH “Lazy Sundays”, which includes a late checkout (before 3pm) free of charge
Hotel NH Collection Cáceres Palacio de Oquendo
Pza. San Juan 11, Cáceres, 10003, Spain
Tel: +34 927 215800