Jeroen van den Berg · 09 Aug, 2020

Historic hotels of Spain

Historic hotels of Spain

With the stunning beaches, breathtaking mountains and plenty of World Heritage sites to keep everyone happy, Spain is very rightly one of the biggest tourist magnets in the world. So much so, in 2019 Spain was the 2nd most popular destination in the World, with over 83 million tourists, securing 2.6 million local jobs and contributing about 11% of the Spanish GDP.

Chances are you have already holidayed on the island and stayed in one of the many fabulous hotels. For your next visit consider something a little different. Here we will share with you just a few handpicked hotels that are truly unique due to their historical heritage.

Le Meridien Ra, El Vendrell

Le Meridien Ra historic hotel

Just an hour's drive from Barcelona, Le Meridien Ra has been welcoming guests since 2017. Located on a stretch of golden beach, it is best known for its infinity pool, extensive spa offer and the stunning art deco elements of the building.

Quite rightly so - the building is actually a former wellness sanctuary (sanatorium), built in 1929. The building has had some turbulent past, including a lengthy period of being abandoned in the 1960s. But once a decision was made to restore it to its former glory, no expense was spared and the renovation very much focussed on keeping the original features intact. Very successfully too - upon completion in 2014, the project won an APCE Award for Best Building Renovation - one of the most prestigious trophies of Spanish architecture.

Today, you can enjoy all it has to offer by purchasing one of the experiences and gift vouchers available at Le Meridien Ra to day-visitors and guests.

El Palace Hotel Barcelona

El Palace Hotel Barcelona

Truly the Grand Dame of Barcelona, the hotel was initially dreamt up by Francesc Cambó and other prominent Catalan politicians & public figures. The aim was to raise the profile of Barcelona and prepare it for events such as the Universal Exhibition of Barcelona in 1929. While the concept started being developed in 1915, the project was marred by the First World War and social tensions thereafter. After years of delays, and even an act of sabotage on the hotel's piping, it was finally opened in 1919, under a banner of Ritz Hotels. Know as the most luxurious brand of the time, the hotel dazzled with such extravagant features as ensuite bathrooms in each room - absolute novelty, unheard of till then. 

The hotel enjoyed a few years of golden age, when it was known to host royal families from around the world, including  King Alfonso XIII who stayed there while overseeing the work on the Palace of Pedralbes. However, tensions continued to flare up, culminating in 

1936 when, shortly after the Spanish Civil War had broken out, the hotel was collectivised and it's basements turned into an air-raid shelter.

After a turbulent period spanning the Second World War, the property was restored to its former glory for the first time.  It then saw a huge comeback of notable guests who included the likes of Salvador Dalí (who made the hotel a home for several years), Maria Callas, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald , Sophia Loren and Cary Grant.

Renovated again very recently, the new additions include a fabulous rooftop garden featuring more than fifty species of plants, fountains, pergolas, Diana Garden Restaurant and a pool. Surely fit for a king one again!

If you would like to find out more, have a look at these experiences and gift vouchers available at El Palace to guests and visitors.

Castillo Hotel Son Vida, Palma de Mallorca

Castillo Hotel Son Vida historic hotel

Last but not least is a hotel that dates back the longest on our list. 

It started out as a royal hideaway and hunting-grounds for King Jaume I back in the 13th century. The lodge expanded over the years and passed from one prominent family to another. 

In the 16th century, it was purchased by Mateu Vida and later kept its name after being purchased by the Desmas and Truyols families. 

It has always been the place for indulgent entertainment, with the spectacular sea views and a slightly cooler climate thanks to its higher altitude. 

A major renovation in the early 1900s saw the building converted into a villa with a castle feel which it is known for nowadays. It was all undertaken by Fernando Truyols Despuig as a romantic gesture: the hideaway became an extravagant gift for his wife, Magdalena Villalonga. 

Romantic as it was, the family decided to sell the estate 57 years later. It was snapped up by a hospitality company and finally became a luxury hotel it is now in 1961. Since then, it's hosted the likes of Aristotle Onassis, Maria Callas, Pedro Almodovar, Claudia Schiffer as well as Prince Rainer of Monaco and Grace Kelly, surely treating them to the same royal experience it has been known for for centuries. 

If you would like to treat yourself to the same, make sure you have a look at the gift vouchers and experiences available at Castillo Hotel Son Vida now.