Hip hacienda hideaway in Andalucia’s heartland

WRAPPED AROUND A BOUGAINVILLEA-HUNG courtyard, Hacienda de San Rafael sits amid fields of wheat, cotton and dazzling sunflowers half way between Seville and Spain’s sherry capital, Jerez.

This 18th century olive estate turned intimate hideaway is a picture: huge shuttered windows, metre-thick whitewashed walls covered in a riot of blossoming jasmine, oleander and purple bougainvillea, and fabulous grounds. It’s an idyllic setting alright.

A stylish makeover has effortlessly blended rustic charm with chic sophistication at Hacienda de San Rafael. The pretty, terracotta-tiled courtyard is centre stage to 11 galleried, hacienda bedrooms – all individually decorated by Kuky Mora-Figueroa, whose family have owned the estate for 140 years.

Hit the spot
Halfway between Seville and Jerez. 

Honeymooners will adore the luxurious and private rustic-chic casitas, with their shared pool.

Be savvy
Book well ahead – rooms are snapped up here swiftly.

Be smitten
Rustic hacienda bursting with chic.

Ultra-private casitas

Each has a little sitting area and a pretty shaded verandah where you can eat breakfast. Family paintings, antiques, terracotta tiled floors, rich fabrics and rugs set the tone, while fresh flowers and gleaming bathrooms add to the feelgood factor. A deft mix of old and new pieces from both Asian and Andalucia add a distinctly southern mood. 

Hacienda de San Rafael also has three thatched ultra-private casitas, sharing a private pool. Each has adobe style walls, terracotta floors, a huge bed dressed in Egyptian cotton and generous, open plan bathrooms with slate tiles. They also have a little kitchen stocked with wine and nibbles, and an upstairs gallery. A flower-shaded gazebo with views towards the Sierras makes an ideal setting for lazy breakfasts or lunch.

Three swimming pools are set among the lemon and olive groves, and there are plenty of other spots for siestas, whether it’s a daybed around the pool, where swallows dart and dive, or your private terrace.  You can sip a cooling drink in the Sunset bar, or – on cooler days – kick back in the stylish drawing rooms, with their cushion-piled checked and stripey sofas.   

Dining here is an out-and-out treat, whether it’s in the dining room, on your terrace or in the flower-filled courtyard, with its centrepiece ancient well. There’s an emphasis on local seasonal produce, and the chef is likely to check your culinary likes and dislikes in advance. Watch out for the flocks of flamingos winging their way overhead in the evenings.

Guests at Hacienda de San Rafael get plenty of cosseting. You’ll be greeted with a cooling drink or a glass of chilled fino, and staff are happy to help you plan days out in Seville, Jerez and Anadalucia’s famous white villages.

Hacienda de San Rafael was reviewed by Room for Romance

Click on any picture to enlarge it and move through the gallery.


Dining in
Dinner is served in the flower-hung courtyard, glowing with candlelight. Soft guitar music adds to the mood, and there's a rustic dining room for cooler nights. Guests shower praise on the Hacienda's innovative (and daily changing) Andalucian and Mediterranean menus, based on local produce and beautifully presented. Signature dishes include local venison in a sherry and truffle sauce, giant prawns and sea bass. There's also an excellent wine list.

Start the night with a cocktail at the Sunset bar by the main pool or pour yourselves a drink at one of the other honesty bars.

Dining out
You're miles from anywhere here so eating out at night isn't really practical. If you fancy a foray into Seville, Sol y Sombra  has plenty of local colour and some good tapas.

Hacienda de San Rafael

What's cooking?
Daily changing dishes include outstanding gazpacho, venison and game.

Dress the part
Dress-down chic.

Top table?
Under the stars in the candlelit courtyard.

See & Do
With three pools and paddle tennis (using short bats) here, you may not venture far. Andalucia's famed white villages are within easy reach, while easy-to-arrange excursions include trips to family owned sherry bodegas,  bull breeding ranches and stud farms, or hikes in the Coto Donana national park. The fabulous Andalucian cities of Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz and Cordoba should also be on your must-see list – be sure to take in Seville's 15th century Gothic cathedral and old quarter.

Your hosts will be happy to provide maps, directions and private guides. Horse riding and golf are also easily arranged.

Book a massage in your room or in the gardens for a total wind-down experience.

Seville is the place to pick up all things equestrian – riding boots and hacking jackets, for instance – or bullfighting memorabilia and Matador prints. You'll also find plenty of little stores selling high-fashion jewellery and shoes. Stock up on olive oil, wraps and bedspreads in the Haciends's own shop.

After Dark
Have a sundowner at the poolside Sunset bar or a starlit chaser on your terrace. The Hacienda also arranges occasional flamenco nights.

Seville's bullfighting season kicks off prior to the Feria de Abril (held two weeks after Easter), when tented stands line the streets and the city is a riot of costume, horses and dancers.

Don't miss the Feria del Caballo in nearby Jerez for a terrific day of horses, sherry and flamenco.

Carretera Nacional IV, 41730 Las Cabezas de San Juan

There is free guest parking

Las Cabezas de San Juan station – 12 km

Around EUR 15 from the station. 

Seville – 45 km

Rooms and suites
11 deluxe split-level rooms and three casitas

Special features
Most rooms have a shady terrace. The three private casitas are perfect love dens with huge beds, double jacuzzis, a music system and private garden. They share a private infinity pool.

There are acres of grounds to wander, and three pools for cooling off. There’s also wi-fi, a boules pitch and paddle (short bat) tennis. Love all?


Rates guide
EUR 225-480

Closed 15 November – 15 March



Minimum night stay?

Continental breakfast (included in room rate) is served until 10:30am. You can also pay a supplement and go for the full works.

Room service
Available from 8:30am to midnight

This is a place for grown ups.

Welcome on request

Air conditioning
Yes – all rooms

Spanish, English, French

Wedding license?
No – but it’s a great place for the celebration. Up to 28 guests can be accommodated, with up to 100 at the reception. Wedding parties are asked to hire the hacienda exclusively.

Your contacts
Anthony and Patrick Reid – joint owners


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We'll be adding guest ratings of Hacienda de San Rafael based on your feedback in the next few months.

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