Travel to Madrid, Seville, Granada, and Cordoba with a day trip to Segovia

Heading there in November/December - just booked air tickets. In/out of Madrid and high speed train everywhere else.

Give me your favorite hotels, restaurants, not to be missed.
— Hotels - prefer smaller upscale boutique hotels with character over big American type hotels - Relais & Chateaux, SLH, etc.
— Restaurants - need casual and fine dining suggestions that are special or unique - don’t particularly need places huge tasting menus

Already booked tickets for Alhambra in Granada, and plan on the Mezquita in Cordoba, and Prado in Madrid, and of course some of the Arab baths/hammams. Really interested in the Moorish sites and any similar food.

We’ve only done Barcelona/Priorat and San Sebastián before so this will be new territory for us. TIA

If you like product-driven restaurants, highest recommendation for Bar FM in Granada. Make reservations a few weeks out. Good wine list, too.

In Seville, we stayed at the Radisson Collection hotel that looks onto the Plaza Magdalena and really liked it. Great location, good size, great service.

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I’m a sucker for Botin in Madrid, particularly their suckling pig, but I don’t get to go there with my pescatarian wife. Oldest restaurant in the world according to Guiness

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We like the Hotel Unico in the Salamanca neighborhood of Madrid. Small, elegant, and modern. Ramon Freixa ** is in the hotel and worth visiting. Lots of good local restaurants nearby. The best meal we ate in Madrid last visit was at DiverXO. I’ll dig up some more casual spots, of which there are plenty. Great eating in Madrid.

Do not miss the Mercado San Miguel. Sit at one of the counter restaurants and eat Angulas!

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O Pazo for percebes and carbinieros.

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O’Pazo and Trainera appear to still be going strong. Bummed to see that Sanxenxo and Combarro have both closed since my last visit in '19. Had an awesome plate of angulas at Sanxenxo on that trip.

Jaylu in Seville is similar to the seafood temples in Madrid… though their best offering is arguably the expertly carved and sourced jamon.

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+1 on Diver Xo
Our favorite was Sala de Despiece- but it’s molecular/almost has a lab feel
Botin has a Disney-esque quality as it’s toruristy, always packed, and just cranks out food all day. Historic, as David said above as it’s been in that building for 300 years or something like that…
Cava Baja is a good neighborhood for a tapas crawl. Casa Lucas was a favorite.
I’ll try to dig up some others from our last trip to Madrid.

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Casa Bombo in Granada was lovely, our room opened onto a patio with a view of Alhambra. Not upscale per se, but very nice.

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We stayed at Hospes Palacio de los Patos in Granada and loved it. I think exactly what you are looking for. If you can, splurge for at least the jr. suite.

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we just did this exact trip except no Seville three weeks ago. Happy to answer any other questions but can’t be too helpful on either you posed; we stayed at airbnbs (which we loved, so if you are open to that let me know) at each stop. We were traveling with kids and parents and some vegetarians / some meat eaters so restaurants were often a compromise not a highlight. I have good recs for private guides and plenty to say about activities (hammam al andalus in granada, segway tour of madrid, flamenco shows) etc if that’s helpful…

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Seda Club in Granada highly recommended. Upscale boutique hotel in a great location.

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Seville: Palo Cortao is a great restaurant and their sherry list is superb. I think about the braised boar and Amontillado pairing frequently.

Madrid:
Vinoteca Moratín. Upscale but not super fancy. The owner was very kind and enthusiastically shared the cooking methods behind every course. The love that man had for his 12 hour venison sauce was inspiring.

Formaje. It’s a cheese store and has some very special Spanish selections. If they have it, you must try Olavidia (won World’s Best Cheese in 2021). Tasted it blind and nearly died from how good it was.

El Invernadero. If you want something fancy and truly unique that’s not Diver, this is the place. Never experience anything like this dinner. I’ll be honest and say the back 25% of the tasting menu got a little repetitive, but the front 75% was pretty bonkers. They are doing the most incredible things with fruits and vegetables, as it is 90% a plant-based restaurant. Service was incredible too. I think it’s pretty boundary pushing.

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Seville - I loved loved loved the Alfonso XIII. Beautiful old building with thick walls (but quiet HVAC!), we slept 11 hours the night we arrived. Breakfast was unbelievable, every sort of meat, cheese, pastry, fruit… Honestly I’d fly to seville for a long weekend just to sleep and eat breakfast there.

Granada - We also stayed in the Hospes Palacio and absolutely hated it. Our biggest issue was that we were in a suite in the old building, and it was incredibly noisy and the HVAC was loud and very difficult to adjust. We barely slept from the street noise of people yelling (college town!) and what sounded like 5 different garbage pickups overnight. The room we were in (Palace presidential) also had low sloping ceilings, small windows, and was generally stuffy. Breakfast was sub-par, especially after the Alfonso, though our lunch there was excellent. Might be a better experience in a quieter room in the new building.

We used private guides we booked online for tours of both the Alhambra and the major Seville sites, definitely recommend doing that for both locations (esp the Alhambra).

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Hubby got excited when I mentioned suckling pig.:pig:

In Segovia, the suckling pig was excellent at the kitsch but historic Casa Duque. The stroll over to see the impressive viaduct was welcome.

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Didn’t mention Alfonso III since Lori was talking boutique, but yes I absolutely loved it, more than even Maria Cristina in San Sebastián. One of my all time favorites.

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Yes really looking for smaller hotels this trip - since it’s winter, I think we want something small and cozy. I also loved Maria Cristina.

Suckling pig staging at Botin. Sat afternoon, Dec '22

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