Published: November 6th 2011November 6th 2011
This is the lobby of the Alhambra Palace Hotel.
Yesterday, we drove from Lucena to Granada. Granada, the pomegranate of Spain, is a nice town, but the hotel is what is worth talking about.
We stayed at the Hotel Alhambra Palace. It’s the most pricey of the hotels that I chose for this leg of our trip and it’s worth it. The lobby is gorgeous, there are views for days, and the service is exceptional. The parking is a little odd, but they make it work for you. The size of the room was OK and the bed was moderately comfortable, but the wall with the headboard has a Moorish scroll around the edges, the ceiling is coffered with a Moorish star pattern. The bathroom is a little busy, but pretty. The view out of our window is fantastic – all of Granada lays below us, with the Sierra Nevada off to the left, snow already falling in the heights of those majestic peaks. The bath towels were big and lush.
Also… the hotel is a five to ten minute walk to The Alhambra. The Alhambra is a 14th Century Moorish fortress with some gardens and palaces within its walls. Carlos V had a palace built within the
Here's part of the view from the hotel's terrace.
fortifications. We toured the “Nazrid Palaces”, the Museo de Bellas Artes, the Generalife (where the gardens are), and around the Alcazaba (fortress).
While The Alhambra was beautiful, I have to admit to a little disappointment. I admit that it has to do with my own expectations. When I saw the monument listed online, I had a sense that it is the kind of place that you step into and you get a sense of history, like it pervades the air. I didn’t get that. It’s very commercial and there were a lot of people there. We had to wait in line to see the Nazrid Palaces for a while (even with a timed entry).
The Palace of Carlos V was actually quite lovely, with a lot of fountains, Moorish architecture, and lovely small gardens. I tried to capture some of the beauty in my photography, but I’m not good with low-light situations. The Generalife is really beautiful and I can only imagine what it looks like in the spring, when the flowers are in full bloom. Our fellow sightseers marred our appreciation for it, as they were very loud and the space feels like it should be instilled
You can see the Moorish decoration around the bed.
Would I suggest going to The Alhambra? Yes. Stay at the Hotel Alhambra Palace? Oh, my, yes! I hope that my pictures allow you to see the beauty and grandeur. But do whatever you can to NOT drive in and out of Granada. Apparently, there are times and places that visitors are not allowed to drive – traffic cameras take your picture and the city charges you 28 euros. There are no signs to this effect, so I’m not sure how they can enforce that, but this is what one of the front desk clerks said at the hotel.
Last night, after walking about The Alhambra, we took a cab into the downtown area to check out some free tapas and to see the local bear life. We aimed to be at Ambiente XXL at about 8pm. The cab dropped us off in front of a closed garage door. We walked about and found a place called Guerrero Bocadillería y Cervecería, where we got to experience, firsthand, the truism that you can get decent free food with the purchase of a drink. They have a menu for free tapas with purchase of a drink… We stayed
and bought additional tapas, which were all quite good (and cheap). The drink we got was a sparkling red wine with lemon flavor.
We went back to where the bars were and they were still closed (at 9:30pm), so we hung out at a Bohemian Jazz bar until 10pm. The bars opened around that time – Tic Tac opened at 10pm, but we were told that people don’t start showing until about 11:30pm. Ambiente XXL doesn’t start filling until midnight. After a couple of drinks, Daniel took a cab back to the hotel and I stayed and chatted with a British fellow for a bit. I then found a cab for myself and headed back, perhaps a little… ummm… drunk.
Woke this morning, went and had breakfast in the hotel, which was nice, but I expected something finer from such an amazing hotel. Daniel wasn’t feeling well, so I brought him some croissants and juice from the restaurant (I’m so thoughtful).
We got our stuff together and bid adieu to the Hotel Alhambra Palace. The Garmin set us off in a direction that kept getting altered by the local police. We figured that we wouldn’t be actually able
This is the view out of the window in our hotel room.
to leave Granada. But surprise of surprises, we escaped Granada! We set our sails for San Pedro del Pinatar, which is on the Mediterranean coast. Leaving Granada, we saw some amazing views. At one point, we came around a curve and the full majesty of snow-covered mountains opened to our right. It was breathtaking. I wish that I had been able to get a picture of it. In addition to these amazing mountain views, we went through land covered in lush pines. Then within 50 kilometers, we were among peach-tinged landscape, dotted with shrubs and farms.
We arrived in San Pedro del Pinatar (actually it’s Lo Pagán, apparently) and saw the Mediterranean. Me for the first time, Daniel’s been before. We found our hotel, Hotel Traiña, which is kinda like Holiday Inn, but we DO have a nice view. To me, the area feels kinda like a tired South Beach… Could be just that it’s the off-season and it’s a Sunday, but it’s still kinda cool. We walked down the main drag until we found a beach. We walked up to the water and saw a jellyfish swimming around, then we found a couple of sea slugs.
All over The Alhambra, there are these mosaic walkways.
checking out a couple of tchotchke-laden tiendas, we headed back toward the hotel and found a bar serving food. Had a couple of sandwiches and a beer, each. Now, we’re sitting in the room, relaxing, the window open, letting in a light Mediterranean breeze.
There are more photos below