“ Address: Avda. Alvaro Domecq 11 / Jerez de la frontera, Cádiz / Spain „
We looked long and hard before booking a hotel in JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA. There were quite a few that appealed to us and location-wise, there wasn't much to choose between them as all of our whittled down list were in the same general area - around five minutes walk from the old town. What clinched it eventually was the fact that the one we decided on guaranteed every room with a balcony or terrace, free parking and it also had an outdoor swimming pool set in lush, palm-fringed gardens. In fact, at first sight, the ROYAL SHERRY PARK could have been transported straight from a beach-side resort (although I'm sure no-one has yet invented a hotel transporter).
* La Ubicación
The hotel is easy to find. It's located on a wide avenue called Avda. Alvaro Domecq which, under different names, is a straight road to the airport and the road to Seville. Obviously, we approached from the diametrically opposite direction (from Tarifa), but no biggie - you can either follow the ring road right round the city or, once you get your bearings, there's a straight road of less than a mile which takes you south from the ring road to the junction the hotel sits on.
One of the benefits of this city hotel is the ample free parking although I think the car park can be used by anyone (for a fee). You take a ticket upon entering and are given another ticket at the hotel reception which allows you unlimited access.
The hotel building is modern in design and consists of 172 rooms spread over three floors.
* La Zona de Recepción
Checking in was pain free and as the hotel wasn't busy at the time, almost instantaneous. The reception area is bright and spacious, and well endowed with comfortable leather sofas. Everything leads off from here - the restaurant to the right and the lounge bar to the left with the pool a little further on. Also to the left, past a couple of shops (car rental, gift shop, hair salon), is access to the indoor pool and gym.
On being handed our keys, we were assured that we had been allocated the particular room we had chosen. This was a nice touch, especially as I don't remember requesting a particular room!
* Nuestro Dormitorio
Our room, you know, the particular one, was on the ground floor at the very end of the corridor. Because of the design of the hotel building, the rooms aren't square...or even oblong. They seem to go off at 30° from the corridor (I'm guessing the geometry here having forgotten to pack a theodolite). Actually, now I come to think about it, the rooms maybe are at right angles to the corridor but the balconies aren't...oh, never mind, it was confusing enough at the time.
Anyway, the room wasn't overly large, but there was plenty of storage space so no need for untidiness. I had read reviews that claimed the rooms were a little dark and we certainly found this to be the case. We had a patio door leading to the terrace but we didn't get direct sunshine and the dark wood wardrobe that occupied one of the walls didn't help to brighten it up either. On the plus side, there were plenty of individually controlled lamps so that we could have it as bright as we liked.
The room was equipped with all the usual furniture you'd expect: twin beds, bedside cabinets, a desk and mini-bar. The TV was on the wall at a watchable height and although there were plenty of channels, the picture wasn't brilliant. There was also a couple of chairs. Unusually for Spain, the room was carpeted which I'm sure would have kept the noise from other rooms down but as I didn't hear anything, I can't tell.
Everything was clean, in good condition, and in general, very comfortable. Oh, and the air conditioning worked a treat.
The terrace was big enough for a table and chairs with room to walk around them. We didn't have a view to speak of as we were at the back of the hotel and looked out into gardens. Having said that, because of the staggered design of the balconies/terraces, none overlooked each other and no other buildings overlooked the gardens. It was very peaceful of an evening when the palms and banana trees were lit up and the only sound was of crickets cricketing and swallows swishing by.
* El Cuarto de Baño
Actually, it was more of a shower room as we had no bath but let's not be pedantic. The room was fully tiled in beige with brown marble around the sinks - not as bland as it sounds. We had two sinks below the large mirror. We could have managed with just the one I dare say but I suppose it comes in handy sometimes. The shower area was separated by a wall with no door or curtain but it was far enough behind the wall that no water splashed onto the floor of the bathroom proper. It was plenty powerful and there were side jets for that all-over shower sensation...WOW! (sarcastic emoticon) I'm not a fan of over elaborate showers - "just spray some water over me and don't spill it" is what I say. (Obviously not when I'm in the shower or I'd get a mouthful of soapy bubble).
Good towels, good quality toiletries and a so-so hairdrier completed the scene.
* Las Instalaciones
As already mentioned, the facilities included a gym, indoor and outdoor pool and some commercial activities. There was also a fairly large restaurant but we never used it so can't comment except for the fact that it seemed to do a good trade and price-wise, the menu was comparable to the restaurants in the city centre.
We did use the swimming pool though. And very nice it was too. This isn't the sort of hotel where you'd get lots of kids staying (I don't think) but never fear, there was a lifeguard on permanent duty. Apart from saving lives, his other duties involved taking a voucher from you (collected from the front desk) and handing you a ridiculously large bathing towel. He looked bored out of his mind. I never visited the indoor pool but I did wonder if there was a lifeguard there too.
The pool area was very pleasant and there were always enough quality loungers and parasols available...and if there weren't, Mr lifeguard went and got you one. There was a bar at the pool and a large terrace which got quite busy in the early evening.
The lounge bar was very plush with deep, enveloping sofas and chairs. We were there during the euro finals and they were offering two drinks for one for the duration of any matches that were on. It seemed to get busy then but quieter at other times. I didn't bother with it as it seemed more of a lounge than a bar to me.
* Alrededor y Sobre
As I said, the hotel is situated on a wide avenue heading into town (or out). There are numerous bars and cafes along the avenue and they're close enough to nip out for a cafe and tostada in the morning if, like us, you were room only. An easy, five minute walk along a wide pavement on level ground brings you to the main pedestrian shopping street. The Cathedral and Alcázar are at the far end of this street. The city centre is fairly flat, fairly compact and easy to walk around.
In the immediate vicinity of the hotel is the Royal Andalusia Equestrian Centre and as many Sherry Bodegas that you would want to visit in a lifetime.
* En Conclusión
I really liked this hotel. The location was central enough that you could walk anywhere in the city centre, but with the surrounding grounds, there was no traffic noise and it felt very private. It was nice to be busy during the day but be able to lounge around a pool late afternoon before heading out for the night. I could easily have stayed here for a week instead of the three nights we had.
We booked through yeego and paid Euro177 room only which I thought was good value.