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Hacienda de San Rafael - Review

WRAPPED AROUND A BOUGAINVILLEA-HUNG courtyard, Hacienda de San Rafael sits among 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 for a honeymoon hotel, and a chillout holiday.

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, Deluxe bedrooms – all individually decorated by Kuky Mora-Figueroa, whose family have owned the estate for 140 years.

Ultra-private casitas

Each Deluxe room has a sitting area, gallery and 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 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 infinity pool. Each has adobe style walls, terracotta floors, a huge bed dressed in Egyptian cotton, music system and bathtub for two. They also have a little kitchen stocked with wine and nibbles, and an upstairs gallery. A private, flower-shaded garden gazebo with views towards the Sierras makes an ideal setting for lazy breakfasts (any time you like) or lunch.

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

Dining at this honeymoon hotel 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 for Room for Romance by Mairiona Cotter

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