You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a place to stay in Andalucía, the vast, sun-drenched region of southern Spain.
Thoughtfully converted fincas (farmhouses) stud the lunar-like landscape around Granada while renovated palaces and converted monasteries provide respite from the cultural hotspots of Málaga and Seville. Further south, Mediterranean light and design suffuse dreamy boltholes on the coast around Cádiz. Terracotta tiles and whitewashed walls are a constant throughout.
It is worth looking for a boutique hotel in this part of the world: you are likely to pay less for luxury accommodation than elsewhere in Western Europe and each property, whether rural or urban, reveals its own story. Whether you are in the mood for a blissfully rural pad in the mountains, a romantic casita for two on the coast or a luxury getaway in Seville, read on for our pick of the best boutique hotels in Andalucía.
Palacio Solecio, Málaga appeals to lovers of design and gastronomy
Squirreled away in the winding streets of Málaga’s Jewish Quarter, this elegant 18th-century palace is an ode to Andalusian heritage and gastronomy. Wake up to an extravaganza of regional delicacies at breakfast, served beneath the arches of the luminous courtyard. By night, candlelight transforms the zaguan patio into an atmospheric restaurant where guests tuck into six-course tasting menus designed by José Carlos García, a Michelin-starred chef.
The design is as elevated as the food. The property opened its doors just before the pandemic; as a result, the rooms feel fresh and sumptuous, decked out in herringbone fabrics with matching marble floors in the bathrooms. Motifs in pistachio, ochre and red nod to the hotel’s history: it was the residence of the patrón (boss) of Spain’s famous Real Fábrica de Naipes, an 18th-century factory that manufactured playing cards. One of Andalucía’s most romantic hotels, this is a great base from which to explore the region or bask on the Costa del Sol. Just ask the concierge to suggest an itinerary.
Rooms from €339 per night, with breakfast. Tasting menu from €65 per person
Hotel Boutique Elvira Plaza in Seville offers simple luxury that does not break the bank
Life at Hotel Boutique Elvira Plaza in the charismatic barrio of Santa Cruz is all about alfresco living. Most guest rooms are set gracefully around sunny terraces, while a rooftop patio overlooks Seville’s Gothic cathedral and its splendid belltower, the Giralda. Though close to the best sites in town, the Plaza de Doña Elvira is a pocket of serenity shaded by orange trees. Fancy a boat trip down the Guadalquivir River, or an evening of foot-stomping flamenco? Both are easily arranged. The hotel also flies the flag for Sevillian gastronomy: feast on upscale tapas such as prawn carpaccio with pine nuts and basil, or seared tuna cooked barbateño-style in caramelized onion and local sherry. Incredibly pretty yet unfussy, this is a great choice for couples visiting Andalucía.
From €142 per night for a terrace room, with breakfast
Balcón de Córdoba provides a total immersion in Andalusian architecture
This former 17th-century monastery is a stone’s throw from Córdoba’s main event: the mesmerizing Mezquita in the city’s Jewish Quarter. Book the Ruzbahan room to marvel at the millennium-old mosque from the daybeds on your private roof terrace. Though history abounds at this 10-room property, each guest suite is pleasingly contemporary, with sink-into beds, pastel tones and (of course) a balcony. Relax with a coffee in any of the patios strewn with leafy potted plants as you read about the Castilian, Roman and Islamic influences that shaped Córdoba’s riotous architecture.
This idiosyncratic fusion finds its way into the delectable, gently spiced dishes served at Pairi Daeza, the lauded on-site restaurant, appropriately named after an old Iranian word for paradise. But the hotel’s most curious features are the marble plinths and worn stone sculptures dotted throughout the property, part of a collection of more than 100 archaeological treasures. The Balcón de Cordóba is eccentric, relaxing and an immersive way to experience historic preservation.
Rooms from €181, with breakfast
Las Chimeneas in Mairena is best for a taste of the Alpujarras kitchen
Accessible from both Granada and Almería, this rugged, whitewashed tumble of restored houses is one of the top rural retreats in Andalucía. Hugged by the mountains of the eastern Alpujarras, with a pool and an onsite organic farm, Las Chimeneas is a harmonious blend of simplicity, top-notch hospitality and wildly good cooking. All nine of the spacious (if not spartan) en-suite bedrooms can be hired out for a group or rented individually. Inside, bolts of cobalt blue enliven the rustic decor. Outside, private terraces look out over olive groves and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.
There is lots to do here, including yoga, walking, foraging, farming and bird-watching. In January, guests can get hands-on with the olive harvest; in March, they’ll pick oranges that hang in orchards irrigated by channels that date back to the days of the Moors. All this fresh produce ends up in the kitchen, the heart and soul of Las Chimeneas. Chefs Soledad and Conchi conjure up dishes that are wholly seasonal and drenched in olive oil, the liquid gold of this region. In winter, hearty meat cocinados (stews) are served with glasses of spicy red wine; enjoy almonds and artichokes in the warmer months. Memories of Las Chimeneas will linger in the mind, and on the tongue.
Rooms from €95, with breakfast
Green-minded travelers in search of peace and quiet should check in to Hotel La Almunia del Valle, Monachil
This well-appointed yet understated hotel is ensconced in the Sierra Nevada National Park, an hour or so from Granada. Nature gazes back at you from every slick apartment: book a room with a rooftop terrace to make the most of the vistas, or marvel at the arid landscapes from a chaise lounge by the pool. Everything here is green, from the lushly planted gardens to the hotel’s ethos. La Almunia del Valle prides itself on working with local communities, conserving the environment and promoting responsible travel. This translates to the kitchen, where produce is locally sourced and delicious, particularly the free-range Pajuna beef and the homegrown olive oil.
Unsurprisingly, activities here are all about the great outdoors. Fly down the snowy pistes of the Sierra Nevada ski slopes in winter; in warmer months, visit the ancient villages known as los pueblos blancos and hike through the thrillingly steep Los Cahorros Gorge. The lovingly restored dining room of the cortijo (a rural house typical of the region) is the perfect spot to peruse the hotel’s extensive collection of travel literature or enjoy sundowners on the terrace while admiring the magnificent view.
Rooms from €120 per night in low season or €138.50 in high season, with breakfast
Casa Ana in Ferreirola is a countryside retreat for creative types
Many travelers overlook Las Alpujarras, the southern portion of the Sierra Nevada, a range of mountains that traverse Andalucía southeast of Granada. Though the sun shines year-round here, the notoriously tempestuous mountains can drench the unexpecting tourist with rain or snow. Despite this, peace, views and hearty cooking attract hikers, climbers and artists looking to get away from it all. That is precisely the draw of Casa Ana, a 400-year-old converted farmhouse with a hint of hobbit and buckets of character. South-facing, whitewashed bedrooms overlook bountiful gardens of oranges and almonds, and there are endless nooks to curl up with a book. Breakfasts are copious – essential fuel before a day spent criss-crossing the trails.
Though this part of Spain lacks Seville’s glamour or Granada’s tumultuous history, the inspiring setting of the quaint, beloved guesthouse makes it one of Andalucía’s best budget-friendly boutique hotels. This is a must-visit for active travelers eager to get off the beaten track: Casa Ana frequently hosts yoga, walking and creative-writing retreats.
Rooms from €90 per night, or €55 for solo travelers, with breakfast
Seville’s Hotel Alfonso XIII is a decadent choice for travelers looking to splurge
Iconic and opulent, Hotel Alfonso XIII feels as surreal as a fairytale. This landmark hotel has all the bells and whistles of high hospitality: a swimming pool, sauna, rooftop terrace bar, palatial suites, restaurants and decadent interiors. With its tiled turrets and towering palm trees, Hotel Alfonso XIII is easily mistaken for the royal palace. In fact, the eponymous king demanded that the hotel be built to welcome presidents and distinguished guests during the world’s fair in 1929. The grandeur persists to this day. Rooms are arranged around an exquisitely decorated inner courtyard – a homage to Andalusian craftsmanship and timeless elegance – where breakfast is served. No expense has been spared to preserve the original details. With marble floors, classically Sevillian azulejo tiles and glorious North African arches, this luxury property is a feast of Moorish Revival design and lends itself to celebrating a special occasion. Foodies will love the wine tasting, tapas tours and cooking classes.
Rooms from €482 per night, with breakfast
Relax in the Andalusian countryside after exploring Granada at Hotel Cortijo del Marqués, Albolote
Olive groves, sunflower fields and pomegranate trees encircle this sprawling cortijo. Despite being just 30 minutes from Granada, a break at Hotel Cortijo del Marqués offers a taste of la España profunda – the quiet life enjoyed in the Andalusian countryside. A friendly and informal atmosphere permeates this pared-back but charming hotel whose design remains true to the original architecture. Exposed stone walls and cobbled floors feature throughout, while each expansive suite nods to the hotel’s past life as a farm. The stable, granary, tower and cylindrical grain silo have been lovingly converted into quirky guest rooms, complete with cavernous rainforest showers, marble bathrooms and classic wood-framed windows.
Days here can be as chilled-out or high-octane as you like. Flop around the pool to the sound of chirping cicadas or whiz through miles of surrounding greenery on mountain bikes or horseback. Each morning the chef selects hyperlocal ingredients to create a three-course menu; just ask the Dutch-Austrian hosts for a zero-mile wine to match.
Rooms from €139, with breakfast
Granada’s Hotel Casa Morisca caters to couples and architecture buffs
In Casa Morisca you could be in Morocco, rather than southern Spain. The hotel, whose name means “Moorish House,” reflects the surrounding Albayzín district, whose Unesco-protected alleys originated some seven centuries ago, during the era of Islamic rule. All this medieval history is evident throughout the carefully refurbished 15th-century building. Dark wooden beams criss-cross the ceilings, Mudéjar-style, and the turquoise and terracotta tiles in the courtyard echo the riads of Fez or Marrakech. Operating on a bed-and-breakfast basis only, with no additional facilities, Casa Morisca encourages travelers to get out and explore Granada’s rich culinary scene – most notably, the free tapa that comes served with beer. Bedrooms are small but perfectly formed; choose the Mirador room for a view of the Alhambra, the staggering fortress that looms over Granada.
Rooms from €135, or €220 for the Mirador with a view of the Alhambra
Stay at Casa La Siesta in Vejer de la Frontera for adults-only boutique bliss infused with Mediterranean spirit
Every inch of Casa La Siesta lives up to its name. This picturesque, peaceful property is a lesson in slow living, and the seven-bedroom hotel has been designed with serenity in mind. Numerous sun terraces face out towards rugged rural vistas, trees sequester the pool from view and the bathtubs in each elegant guest suite provide gorgeous views. Quiet spots to eat, drink and relax are easily found throughout the hotel – but book the Casita La Siesta, a private three-bedroom apartment with its own pool and garden, if you want to be totally undisturbed.
Just 20 minutes away lie empty Mediterranean beaches and Vejer de la Frontera, a stunning, higgledy-piggledy village on the edge of Andalucía’s sherry triangle. Casa La Siesta offers tastings of the fortified tipple, alongside a roster of Spanish wines to suit the high-end Mediterranean cuisine cooked in the restaurant. Menus change daily and seafood features heavily – after all, Barbate, the tuna capital of Spain, is just around the corner. The hotel opens its doors to families four times a year and welcomes children with surfing, Spanish and cooking lessons.
Rooms from €221 in low season or €340 in high season, with breakfast