Beyond Southern Spain’s Atlantic and Mediterranean beaches is an interior abundant not only in natural beauty, but rich in cultural heritage. Cordoba, one Andalucía’s eight regional capitals, is probably the most remarkable. Whilst exploring the city, Andrew Forbes stayed at the Hotel NH Collection Amistad Córdoba.
Hotel NH Collection Amistad Córdoba is in the historic centre of Cordoba, close to the ancient city walls that divided Christian and Jewish communities. Within moments of stepping out of the hotel, one is caught up in the mesmerising, labyrinthine streets and colourful alleyways of this ancient city. The remarkable Mosque-Cathedral, which combines a renaissance Catholic Basilica within an earlier ancient Mosque, is just a few minutes’ walk away, as is the striking Roman bridge of Cordoba.
There are 5 categories of guest rooms, in the simple, modern style typical of NH Collection, spread across the two 18th century palaces that now make up this contemporary hotel.
We were fortunate enough to stay in a junior suite with private terrace over-looking the adults only pool. The welcome amenity of local Cordobese sweet cakes was a thoughtful touch.
The hotel’s courtyard café and restaurant is where we had breakfast – a generous buffet.
It also offers local dishes; and there are two historic open-air patios where guests can enjoy a drink.
There are also two outdoor pools – one for kids, the other for adults. This is a real luxury for a hotel that’s right in the historic heart this UNESCO World Heritage city.
There’s a gym too and meeting rooms for business travellers.
For guests arriving by car, there is also an underground carpark, something so useful when staying in the heart of old town. Its great to arrive leave the car secure, and then explore the beauty of Cordoba on foot.
Cordoba is Spain’s only city with 4 UNESCO World Heritage protections. These are the Mosque-Cathedral; the historical old town; the Fiesta de los Patios; and most recently, Medina Azahara.
This destination truly makes for the most compelling and captivating city break. In addition to the extraordinary architecture, and historical sights, there are also beautiful gardens, both old and new that capture the flavour of this city of flowers. Each year there is the famous Fiesta de los patios, where neighbours and organisations show off their private courtyard gardens, abundant with blooming flowers.
In addition to the dining and bar options of the Hotel NH Collection Amistad Córdoba, guests can also enjoy the regional delights on offer in the bars and restaurants of old town.
Local specialties include flamenquín, a fritter of pork; salmorejo, a distinctive creamy Andalusian chilled tomato soup made thick with olive oil and bread; rabo de toro, delicious slow cooked oxtail; and mazamorra, a unique chilled white soup of almonds, garlic, salt and white wine.
Opposite the NH hotel is a favourite place to eat – the ‘Casa Mazal’ Restaurant, a place described as offering food from the ‘Sephardic Jewish & Andalusi Kitchen’. The menu is inspired by Córdoba’s multi-cultural history that combines Arab and Jewish cuisine with Andalusian, Mediterranean styles. Food is probably one of the great ways to understand Córdoba, and its complex mix of Roman, Arab, Jewish and Christian elements. After all, Cordoba was a Roman capital, and later an Arab capital, as well as becoming a hub for Christian and Jewish culture.
Amongst the other surprises of Cordoba’s food scene include Montilla Moriles wines. These Denomination of Origin vineyards are fragmented amongst numerous small producers of little-known sherries. Cordoba is one of the few cities where you can find them in bars. Try a delicate fino; and of course, a fragrant amontillado (said to be named after Montilla). You’ll find palo cortado and oloroso wines too. Few are distributed nationally or exported – so take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy them in Cordoba.
Cordoba is easily reached by AVE, Spain’s very high-speed train from Malaga and Madrid. In addition, Seville has a small international airport.
Hotel NH Collection Amistad Córdoba
Plaza de Maimónides 3, 14004 Cordoba – Spain
Tel: +34 95 7420335