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Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville (Marriott’s Luxury Collection)

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This is my review of Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, part of Marriott’s The Luxury Collection.

When I first started travelling heavily in my early 20s, I would visit cities, walk past – or often pop inside – the main luxury hotel and decide that I would return one day when I had some money. Over the years I have been lucky enough to tick off most of my list, but I’d never made it back to Seville to stay in Hotel Alfonso XIII.

A few months ago (yes, this is a heavily delayed review) I made it down there. I deliberately picked two nights when the hotel seemed quiet with many suites available for sale, knowing that I had some Marriott Bonvoy Suite Night Awards to use up. My plan worked and the upgrade cleared into what I think was a Premium Suite.

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

I paid for my stay and the hotel did not know I was reviewing it. As I didn’t get an official tour I didn’t see any other rooms and didn’t eat any meals except breakfast and one light lunch in the hotel. The hotel website – click here – has a lot of images showing what I don’t cover.

The history of Hotel Alfonso XIII

There are many smaller cities in the world which have one huge historic hotel, something on a scale and grandeur that nothing else in the city can come close to matching. The Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville is one of these.

Sometimes these hotel are exceptionally faded (eg the Grand in Scarborough!) since they can never charge enough to cover the maintenance required to keep them in top condition. Hotel Alfonso XIII just about pulls it off – it doesn’t have all the mod cons but you wouldn’t want to miss the experience of staying here.

The hotel was built for the World’s Fair of 1929. To quote Wikipedia:

The building is in the Neo-Mudéjar style. This style is historicist and, in this case also has an aspect of Andalusian regionalism. Initially designed in 1916, it blends in with the overall aesthetics of the buildings planned for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Its façade and its overall construction display a significant wealth of decorative elements and details, built from materials that could well be considered as frugal or simple: mostly brick, plaster, wood and ceramics.

The interior puts forth a display of wealth and status: arches and columns, decorated with elaborate coffered hanging lamps and fine carpets from the Royal Tapestry Factory. Ornamented ceramic tiles (azulejos) decorate walls, ceilings and all manner of structures. The luxurious rooms were designed to accommodate kings, presidents, celebrities and other guests of the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. The floors are marble and wood.

A stay here is like stepping back in time, in a generally good way.

In terms of location, it can’t be beaten – directly in the city centre and just a few steps from the Alcazar.

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Inside Hotel Alfonso XIII

Instead of going through the usual check-in etc story, I just want to show a few photos from the hotel website. Frankly, if you like the look of what you see you’ll want to come, and if you don’t then nothing I can say about the number of USB sockets will change your mind.

The images above and immediately below are of the astonishing lobby:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

You’re very much not in a Holiday Inn Express here ….

Whilst there are lifts, if you are empty handed you’d be crazy not to enjoy taking the stairs to your room:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

…. with a separate lobby on each floor:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

The heart of the action is the hotel courtyard, which is covered by blinds when the sun is at its peak:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

…. although you can also eat around the edges inside:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

One thing that surprised me was the large swimming pool, which you can’t see from the street or on your way into the hotel:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

The pool makes the hotel into a real urban resort and means a short break here feels like a proper sun holiday in season.

Let’s move on to a few of my own photographs, which look rather poor by comparison to the official ones. Here is breakfast in the courtyard, from a ‘good but not great’ buffet:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Here’s another shot of the afternoon tea area:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

Here is an utterly OTT lobby area on my floor if you are taking the stairs down:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

My suite at Hotel Alfonso XIII

I had booked a standard room – discounting the cost via the American Express / Marriott cashback offer that ran over the summer and which included this hotel (it is NOT included in the current version of the offer) – and used two Suite Night Awards to request an upgrade.

(You receive five Suite Night Awards for 50 Marriott nights in a calendar year and another five for hitting 75 nights. This HfP article explains more.)

As you’d expect, a historic hotel like this has a disproportionately high number of suites. The chances of a Suite Night Award clearing are good as long as there are a lot of suites still for sale when you book. Out of peak season, suites are also proportionately good value for cash.

The rooms are all different so don’t get too hung up on any particular aspect below. In particular, the hotel photo gallery online shows multiple different bathroom design schemes so don’t let mine spook you!

My suite consisted of two rooms. There was one large sitting area which took up 50% of the space:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

…. with the bedroom and bathroom combined taking up the same area. The furnishings are an acquired taste, to put it mildly:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

…. and the bathroom design was something else:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville


Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

What you can’t see clearly in the photographs is that the stripes are bronze, not purple or brown, creating an interesting reflection everywhere. The shower was over the bath (you’re not in a Four Seasons here, albeit not paying their prices either). Toiletries were Byredo in large bottles.

I don’t want to give the impression that this hotel is hugely luxurious because it isn’t. There were clear maintenance issues, such as this cracking by the door:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville

More bizarre was the coffee machine in my room. I’m used to having to request milk for my coffee, but this was the first time that I had to call down to reception to get coffee itself, plus some cups. It still hadn’t arrived after I went out for a couple of hours and I had to chase it.

Housekeeping is also happy to leave waste from the rooms sitting around in the corridors on shelves for hours on end:

Review: Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville


This is not your typical HfP hotel review – no talk of coat hangers, eggs royale or USB sockets here – because Hotel Alfonso XIII is not your typical hotel, and all the better for it.

It’s not perfect, by any means, but hopefully the pictures give you a feel for what I felt when I first popped in for a look 25 years ago, and why I wanted to go back.

Seville, of course, is a lovely city. It has been astoundingly hot this summer – over 40 degrees at times – so best experienced out of season when the hotel is also better value. For a weekend in late November, rooms start at €450 with a suite like mine around €900 per night. You can knock around €100 off per night for a midweek stay.

You can find out more about Hotel Alfonso XIII on the Marriott website here.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (December 2023)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (24)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Alex B says:

    Can we have a review of the Scarborough Grand?

    • Mike Hunt says:

      Now occupied mainly by refugees

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      In an ideal world, someone would buy Brittania hotels, implode most of them, and go all in on the architecturally significant ones (like Scarborough) with a proper refurb to reveal the amazing old building that is there beneath the many layers of current s**te. It will never happen unless some Saudi prince wants to blow a £billion or more on a vanity project that will lose an absurd amount of cash; but hey, I can dream!

  • An User says:

    The hotel is superb. For anyone who has read Digital Fortress by Dan Brown of Da Vinci Code fame, you realise what a clueless lying waste of space the guy is… He turned it into a brothel and drugs den in that “book”. Go and figure!

  • Stu_N says:

    Stayed here a couple of times pre-covid. The buffet breakfast was one of the best anywhere and sitting in the courtyard made it even more special. Service was also impeccable – sounds like that has slid slightly which is a shame. We were SPG then Marriot Gold, booked via FHR and ended up with a suite both times.

    The review captures the feel of the place really well but photos don’t do it justice, it really is a national treasure of Andalusia and Spain.

    Also Seville is a fabulous city. The Real Alcazar and cathedral are both absolutely stunning. One of the guidebooks suggested not visiting both in the same day, we thought it was hyperbole but actually I see their point. The moorish architecture is everywhere, both original and by reference so it feels very different from anywhere else in Spain and makes a good shoulder season destination due to the warm microclimate.

    • NorthernLass says:

      There is Moorish architecture all over Andalusia! Even in Marbella you still can see the medieval walls still intact in places.

  • Harry T says:

    Stayed here in August 2020 or 2021. I saw two suites, as the air con broke in the first one. Proactively upgraded to a suite on a multi night stay and given a welcome gift including a bottle of sparkling wine. Elite treatment/recognition was excellent, as I think I was platinum at the time. The suites were very different – my first one looked a bit like Rob’s and was on the top floor. My second suite had much larger windows and was far brighter; it overlooked the pool on the floor underneath the top one. Breakfast in the courtyard was a pleasant experience, albeit food quality was good rather than excellent. The hotel is truly stunning; photos don’t do it justice. We also had an evening meal with music in the courtyard as part of a special event, which we enjoyed and felt was reasonable value.

    I would happily return here, albeit not in August, as it was scorching. As an aside, I still remember the silly staff at the Alcazar were making us wear masks outside (which wasn’t even a legal requirement) when it was 40 degrees! I reckon October or Nov would be lovely.

    It’s one of the better Luxury Collection hotels and must be done at least once for the experience. It is isn’t as good as the Matild Palace in Budapest, which we stayed at in September.

  • Talay says:

    In my youth, I walked the beach at Railey in Krabi and looked at Rayavadee, wondering why people would pay the (then) outrageous sum of £250 a night to stay there when you could easily stay somewhere else nearby for 10% of that price or less.

    A decade or so later and in the decades since, I have sat on the other side of that fence, looking out at the people placing towels on the sand, wondering why they don’t pay the seemingly bargain price of about £350/400 a night for a two storey detached pavilion.

    As you don’t need more rooms until kids need their own room, a family of 4 can easily live very comfortably in the pavilion.

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