24-Hour Room Service: Hospes Palacio del, Bailío Córdoba

The Spanish dramatist and poet Federico García Lorca once described the Andalucian city of Córdoba as "distant and remote". Ninety years on, while it is hardly an undiscovered treasure bereft of tourists, neither is it consumed by the crowds at the two other points on the Moorish triangle, Seville and Granada.

The architectural legacy of this Unesco World Heritage-listed city speaks for itself: as the centre of power during the golden age of Arab-governed Al-Andalus from the 8th to 10th centuries, it boasts the medieval Alcázar castle and water gardens, and dazzling cathedral complex – La Mezquita – part of which comprises the red-striped Umayyad architecture of the Great Mosque.

Set inside the ancient walled city, the Hospes Palacio de Bailío's history echoes that of Córdoba. Entered through an imposing carriage gate from one of the atmospheric narrow streets, this noble residence is a jigsaw of buildings and courtyards whose occupants were first the Romans, then the Moors, passing to Spanish ownership after the reconquest of Córdoba by Saint Fernando III in 1236. The main building dates from the 16th to 18th centuries and the palace was subsequently occupied as a noble residence before falling into disrepair in more recent times.

It is now part of the Hospes group, whose successful formula is converting historic buildings into boutique-style hotels with stylishly conceived 21st-century details, while still maintaining the highest regard for its heritage. Declared a national historic monument in 1982 and opened as a hotel in 2005, the Palacio de Bailío fits the brief seamlessly.

Set around a series of pretty courtyards dotted with palm and orange trees, all its rich architectural details – the heavily carved doors, Moorish-style arches and stucco work – were carefully conserved during the building's lengthy restoration process. The hotel's Senzone Restaurant on the ground floor of the palace opens on to a glass floor which reveals the foundations of an ancient Roman villa, while the basement Bodyna spa incorporates three original Roman spa pools.

Another decorative highlight is the Mudejar Library, conceived in the mid-20th century by its owner at the time, a Spanish nobleman called Rafael Castejón. Its elaborate stuccowork was inspired by a dome in the Mosque of Córdoba and has an almost honeycomb effect. But one of the most enchanting corners is the tranquil Patio de los Naranjos – with its swimming pool, sun loungers, fragrant borders and fluttering swallows, it's the ideal spot for a blissful siesta.


The palace is situated on a hill within the historic centre of Córdoba – it's a pleasant 15-minute ramble through its heart to the cathedral and the banks of the river Guadalquivir that bisects the city. The city is littered with vestiges of Córdoba's varied past including the 14th-century Calahorra tower, a synagogue and the 17-arched Roman bridge that crosses the river.

In May, a festival celebrates the flower-filled courtyards of many of the private houses in the old town which open to the public in a vibrant, week-long display. Córdoba's main train station is about 10 minutes by taxi.


There are 53 rooms – made up of five different categories from doubles to suites and a loft – scattered throughout the main building and adjacent courtyards, but because of the uniqueness of the building they all are different. The common thread is the signature Hospes old-meets-new aesthetic of existing architecture set off by simple, modern furnishings.

White walls and dark wooden floors are given a light and luminous touch with liberal use of shimmering wallpaper and fabrics in hues of silver, champagne and grey. Some of the more lavish rooms in the main palace incorporate impressive preserved rib-vaulted ceilings and brick arches, carved doors and delicately painted murals several hundred years old.

Bathrooms are done in tobacco-coloured marble with sleek black granite sinks and baths with drenching showers; covetable Korres toiletries are provided throughout. Guests also have the use of free bikes – an excellent way to explore the city.

Hospes Palacio del Bailío, 10-12 Calle Ramírez de las Casas Deza, Córdoba, Andalucia, Spain (00 34 957 498 993; hospes.es).

Rooms 4 stars
Value 4 stars
Service 4 stars

Doubles start at €198, room only. Breakfast is €19.30 per person.

Suggested Topics
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before