Granada was to be the highlight of our trip to Spain. I’d been to all the other cities before, but Granada was new to me and Megan had specifically requested it so that she could visit the Alhambra. The only question was where to stay. Starwood has hotels throughout Spain — but not in Granada. Hyatt will open its first Spanish property in the near future, in Barcelona. My backups are IHG and Hilton but even they didn’t have a property in Granada.
We ended up at the AC Palacio de Santa Paula, an Autograph Collection hotel located just a few blocks from the city center. AC is a Spanish brand that Marriott acquired in 2011, so it’s actually a very good bet that you could redeem Marriott Rewards points anywhere in the Iberian peninsula. I don’t have any Marriott points and declined to transfer them from Ultimate Rewards (I’d rather send them to Hyatt), so we booked a very reasonable rate of about $100 a night on PointsHound. It included Internet but no breakfast, which we enjoyed at a nearby cafe for about $10 per person.
Trip Report Index:
- Two Weeks in Spain
- Is the British Airways Travel Together Ticket a Good Deal?
- British Airways Concorde Room – New York
- British Airways First Class – JFK to LHR
- Transferring at London Heathrow
- Le Meridien Barcelona
- Places You Need to Visit in Barcelona
- Restaurants in Barcelona
- Vueling Airlines – Barcelona to Granada
- AC Palacio de Santa Paula, Granada
- Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville
- AVE Preferente Class Seville to Madrid
- Day trip to Cordoba
- Westin Palace Hotel Madrid
- British Airways Concorde Room – London
Our taxi dropped us off right in front. The courtyard in back appears to be historic (there were grave markers on the patio) but the main hotel is in a newer building. Two agents checked us in, and then we were upstairs to unpack before heading off to dinner. With no status and on a third-party rate, I still thought we got a pretty nice room on the fourth floor.
My only complaints about the room were that it was a little dark and the air conditioning was much too high. These may not be an issue for you if visiting in the summer. It was actually kind of nice to escape the heat. Opening those wooden shutters helped a lot, and the blanket was sufficiently warm that we were comfortable sleeping at night.
On the opposite wall was a chair, television, and two padded benches for our luggage. (One was taller than the other and contained a dresser underneath). However, one of my favorite features was the closet with its wooden grill. In a way it felt like we were already at the Alhambra even though we wouldn’t head there until the next morning.
The bathroom was also a pleasant surprise. Double sinks were an improvement after more cramped quarters at Le Meridien in Barcelona, although I dislike open showers. Toiletries were unbranded. But underneath the sink was a metal cart with plenty of additional items including a shaving set and two dental sets.
The main lobby was a narrow triangular shape and a little creepy because it was so empty, with no one but the receptionist. It was almost impossible to walk unnoticed as we came and went. But downstairs was a lovely bar and restaurant, with an indoor public area that had several couches. The outside was more to my taste while on vacation, and it was well lit at night. This is where you’d have breakfast if you elected to eat at the hotel.
I would consider upgrading to a Superior Room on a future stay. Some of these appear to overlook the courtyard and are located on the mezzanine that you can see above. They also have a small sitting area with a couch and desk. Our Standard Room was perfectly fine for a short, two-night stay. But rates were so low that on a longer trip I would want something more comfortable.
Thoughts on Granada
I’ll have more coming up on our short visit, including our visit to the Alhambra, but I’ll preview by saying Granada was an interesting town. On one hand it was very remote, very quiet. I felt almost odd walking around the city and seeing so many shops closed for the summer (and especially on Sunday, when even the main shopping district was closed). I only saw a few other guests at the hotel at any time.
On the other hand, it was a wonderfully calm and relaxing place. We enjoyed hanging out at the small restaurants, and the hotel’s courtyard was a very relaxing place to sit and read. There were even signs for live jazz one night (but we didn’t go).
You might also consider the Alhambra Hotel. Megan and I noticed during our trip that there was a tour group following the exact itinerary as us and staying in all the same hotels. The one exception was Granada, where they stayed at the Alhambra Hotel and we were at the AC Palacio. It is on the other side of the historic downtown and a little closer to the Alahambra, but the whole city is so compact that I can’t say it has a real advantage. Wherever you stay in Granada, you should be able to find a good room for about $100-150 a night.
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