A wealthy Duke commissioned the hotel a century ago, used engineers of Gustave Eiffel to build the first multi-storey hotel using a steel framework – essential considering it’s built on the mountainside below the Alhambra. This grand dame hotel has hosted royalty, celebrities, actors, including Douglas Fairbanks, and renowned artists and authors including Orson Welles, over its 100 years of history. Now is the perfect time to lose yourself in the magic of Granada’s Al Andalus history and the comfort of Hotel Alhambra Palace.
Hotel Alhambra Palace truly is an emblematic property. With over 100 rooms, with spectacular city views, this 5-star hotel is a destination. It has a gourmet restaurant, lobby bar and famous cocktail terrace that overlooks Granada, the verdant valleys, and the mountains beyond.
Guest rooms are comfortably designed, with balconies with impressive views over the city. I really love the welcome amenity which was artisan cookies made in the shape of ‘La Pajarita’ ceramic tile found in the Nasrid Palace.
Visit the Alhambra
From here guests can stroll to the Alhambra and experience the magic of the citadel that was once the seat of the Sultanate of Granada. If you visit the Alhambra in the summer or early autumn, I recommend visiting this remarkable World Heritage site in the evening for a completely different perspective. It is as the sun goes down, casting warm tones across the ochre walls of the Nasrid Palaces, that the small queue begins to build to enter the Alhambra’s most intricate chambers, once the seat of the Sultanate of Granada. Looking at the plain terracotta and earth-coloured exterior walls of the buildings, it is always a surprise to later experience the intricate, ornate artisanship that is found within. Walking through the Sultans’ palaces at night gives a more intimate perspective to these remarkable spaces. You can find full details here.
Tour the Hotel
The hotel is a magical place! This is the oldest 5-star hotel in Spain, so it is really worthy of a stay. When I stay in a hotel, I always look forward to the site tour, yet here it was unforgettable. On my tour, my guide took me to the hotels there. With a few clicks of the light switches, the ceiling chandeliers sparkled and gleamed into life, filling the space with light. To each side stood robust columns, decorated with ‘mocarabe’, neo-Mudéjar designs reaching for the ceiling. In front of me was a small stage, under a bold horseshoe arch, looking out to small groups of vintage chairs and low tables. ‘This is the hotel’s theatre’ explained by the guide. ‘Federico García Lorca performed his poetry here in the 1920s!’ she added, as she began to tell stories and anecdotes of one of the capital’s most emblematic buildings.
Hotel Alhambra Palace is a wonder of theatrical, flamboyant Moorish-style architecture. It’s always a pleasure to come back to this city, as it never fails to capture by imagination. In the 18th century European ‘romantics’ such as artists and wealthy tourists came here to be mesmerised by the architecture, unusual colours and designs that inspired paintings, music, and writing – and now it’s one of Europe’s most visited destinations.
A couple of hundred years ago, the challenging journey to Granada was rewarded with the opportunity to be immersed in the romantic ruins of an enigmatic Arabian kingdom straight out of the storybooks. Later, writers such as Washington Irving, a former U.S. Ambassador to Spain in the nineteenth century, also fell under the spell of Andalucía. He wrote extensively about Granada, enthralled by myths and stories surrounding the Christian conquest of the Moorish Alhambra and its Albaicin by the Catholic Monarchs. He collected tales and legends from locals, and his books went on to create waves of tourism. With so many visitors, of course, comes the need for places to stay.
So, it was on the 1st of January 1910 that The Hotel-Casino Alhambra Palace was inaugurated by his Majesty the King, Alfonso XIII. With the Alhambra citadel above, and the city of Granada and its verdant valleys below, this property soon became the fashionable place to stay when visiting the Alhambra. Built by an enterprising aristocrat, the Duke of San Pedro de Galatino, The Hotel-Casino Alhambra Palace opened at a time when more than 18,000 visitors a year were drawn to the Nasrid palaces, their intricately decorated courtyards, and the magnificent gardens of the Generalife.
Hotel Alhambra Palace has since become part of the heritage of Granada. The casino has long gone (just one original roulette wheel is on display in the lobby) but the extravagant decoration in the ‘mocarabe’ Néo-Mudéjar style remains – it is like walking onto a film set. Every doorway is an elaborate archway with stucco plasterwork with surahs of intricate Arabic calligraphy; each wall has geometric designs, carved plaster, vintage marble, or tile mosaics; an over-the-top, romantic interpretation of an Arabian Nights story.
Explore the Albaicin
From the hotel you can not only take in the beauty of the Nasrid Palaces of the Alhambra, but also easily reach the adjacent medieval Moorish district of the Albaicin. It’s a joy to explore the evocative narrow streets.
Granada also has wonderful, traditional style baths, the Hammam Al Andalus Granada. A visit here transports you to another era. The different bathing areas allow you to experience a traditional hammam, including massages and rituals. You can discover full details here of Hammam Al Andalus Granada.
Address: Pl. Arquitecto García de Paredes, 1, 18009 Granada, Spain