Sleepover: Hospederia del Real Monasterio
A bed for the night in Spain
Sunday 30 May 2004
In Guadalupe, a Spanish village hidden away in the southern Altamira hills of Extremadura, about three hours' drive from Madrid. The Hospederia occupies a 16th-century cloister in Spain's Royal Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe, founded in 1340 by King Alfonso XI after a cedarwood likeness of the Virgin was discovered at the nearby river. Home to Extremadura's patron saint, who is also Queen of all Spain's lands, Real Monasterio is a lavish monastery, fortress-like with crenellated towers and colourfully tiled spires. The Hospederia has a two-tiered courtyard with gothic arches.
Only a corridor away from your room is the heart of the monastery with its wealth of fine art and history. Outside are Guadalupe's ancient lanes of whitewashed houses and the remains of stone gateways opening on to wooded hillsides.
The comfort factor
Forget spartan monasticism. This two-star hotel cossets its guests. Palatial bedrooms are furnished in period style, with parquet floors, high ceilings and thick curtains over gothic windows are complemented by air-conditioning.
Wonderfully spacious, elegantly tiled and supplied with a basket of toiletries. All are en-suite.
The food and drink
There's a cosy bar and an excellent restaurant where enormous helpings are served. A starter of Extremadura's jamon Iberico de bellota (ham from pigs fed on acorns) will set you back £11, but you may not have room then for the delicious caldereta de cabrito (goat stew) or cordero asado a la miel (roast lamb in honey).
The Franciscan Order runs the monastery, but you're unlikely to see monks in robes here. The guests tend towards the smartly dressed, and the staff are experts in hotel management and Spanish hospitality.
Take a guided tour of the Real Monasterio to find out about its magnificent architecture and admire paintings by Goya, El Greco and a series by Zurbaran commissioned for the sacristy, illuminated hymnals and the image of the Virgin
Some rooms are fitted for wheelchairs. There is a lift.
Double rooms are a bargain from €57 (£38) per night. Breakfast costs €6 (£4). Half and full board are available.
Hospederia del Real Monasterio, Plaza de Juan Carlos I, 10140 Guadalupe, Spain (00 34 927 367 000; www.monasterioguadalupe.com).
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...
£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...