WHEN it comes to the world’s best luxury hotels, Spain ticks many boxes.
And the accommodation on offer just keeps getting better, particularly when it comes to architecture, with a host of hip new hotels opening over the last year.
Whether you are seeking rural tranquillity, a lively city break, a taste of history or a beach holiday, there is something for everyone.
Here we take a look at 10 of the best new hotels in 2023…
JW Marriot, Madrid
Opened March, From around €400 a night
Designed to offer a new standard of luxury in the capital, the JW Marriott chain opened its first hotel in Spain this Spring.
Installed in the central Canalejas zone, between the Puerta del Sol and the Castellana, you are a hop, skip and jump from just about every Madrid site.
It’s a striking entrance in Spain for the global US giant, which has gone for a very contemporary feel in its 139-room hotel.
The reception and dining area is dramatically lit with original iron columns
The amazing views from the guestroom terraces are particularly worthy of note, for their graphic black and white tile floors.
The El Patio garden is a charming oasis on the roof and the signing of leading Madrid chef Mario Sandoval bodes well.
Canfranc Estacion, Huesca
Opened February 2023. From €159 a night
EXPERIENCE First Class accommodation at this former railway station.
Sitting in the heart of the Pynenees, just seven kilometres to the French border, this stunning hotel is an architectural gem, both in its original design and recent reform.
Opened in 1928 with a ceremony attended by King Alfonso XIII and president Gaston Doumergue, at the time it was a modernist masterstroke made of steel and concrete.
Promising a route from Paris to Madrid and Lisbon, via Zaragoza, it was suitably grand (and long, at 241m in length).
But the Spanish Civil War ended any hopes of romanticism as the border shut and during World War II, Canfranc witnessed a wagon-load of arrests, espionage and gold trafficking across the border into Spain.
It became known as ‘the Titanic of the mountains’ particular after the station (and route) closed in 1970.
Thankfully after much tooing and froing it was acquired by the regional Aragon government and in 2017 work began on bringing it back to its former glory.
In February its doors finally reopened with 103 rooms, care of the Spanish Barcelo group.
You enter the hotel via the grand, imposing central booking hall (right), with giant windows and views onto the Pyrenees. It sets the scene developed by Barcelona interior firm, ilmio, who have renovated the rooms to a high standard maximising the views.
Vermelho hotel, Melides, Portugal
Opened May 2023, from €278 a night in low season
Okay, it’s not in Spain – but it’s close. This sleepy part of central Portugal was mostly overlooked for decades, until the nearby coastal strip of Comporta got globally fashionable a decade ago.
While a little way south and inland, the Alentejo boutique hotel of shoe legend, Christian Louboutin (above), is by far THE style hotel of 2023 so far.
Opening this month, it is inspired by Louboutin’s ‘eclectic, maximalist and daring’ tastes. And that is all too clear, looking at the photos on the website, which champions, as much, its artisan designers and artists as its actual location or rooms.
The Parisian fashion legend fell in love with the region decades ago and has carefully gathered together the best of its authentic style.
This is the listed historic home he frequently locked himself away to work on his winter collection and, who knows, maybe inspired his famous red soles (top left).
It is very much a reflection of the region’s laid-back vibe and wonderful light and its 13 bedrooms are a riot of colourful details, including frescoes and unusual tiles.
The Matinha suite, in particular, is out of the grand dreamy playbook of the kings of Sintra.
While carefully preserving the building’s detailed architecture, the gardens are a step on, being designed by landscape specialist Louis Benech, who has even worked at the Gardens of Versailles. There is a natural heated swimming pool. Need we say more.
Casa Palacio Paredes Saavedra by Atrio, Caceres
Opened March 2023 From €1,139 a night
LIVE like a conquistador. The price for a junior suite may seem a touch high, but then you are staying in a five-star Renaissance palace with parts dating back to the 14th century.
Caceres is one of the most charming towns in Extremadura, with the ancient streets reminders of the wealth that poured in from South America.
Its opening was a dream come true for Jose Polo and Tono Perez, famous for their three Michelin stars at the nearby Atrio Restaurant (also a hotel), in Caceres.
A further step into luxury, this architectural jewel is artfully placed in a key historic barrio of this wonderful city.
The reception areas of the hotel follow ‘a simple, unified architectural canon in harmony with its surroundings’, and there is a distinct sense of tranquillity.
The beautiful courtyard has maintained its original columns and flagstone floors, while its suites are surprisingly modern, yet work with a range of original features from vaulted ceilings to Juliet windows.
At least the price includes breakfast and you can normally (one expects) get a booking in the nearby Atrio restaurant.
Grand Hotel Son Net, Puigpunyent, Mallorca
Opened March 2023, From approx €615 a night in low season
IF grand, country estates are your thing, then Son Net takes some beating.
Like an Italianate villa its grand proportions shelter some of the best appointed suites – and communal rooms – in all Europe.
And this is no fusty, sit-on-their-laurels grand family sitting back and collecting tithes from the fortunate few. Son Net was taken over by Andalucia’s leading five-star delight, Finca Cortesin, last year. They know how to do luxury… and discreetly to boot.
Far from worried about occupancy, they concentrate on amazing service (the sort where Santander bank’s Botin family can feel comfortable, dining next to the likes of Slash, from Guns & Roses or Peter Andre).
After a year of expensive renovation which carefully conserved its palatial design (stone floors, beams and arches, etc) it has recently emerged as a sophisticated retreat with classically elegant bedrooms and suites.
Nudging into the foothills of the Sierra Tramuntana mountains, the grounds are to lay back and be pampered beside the 30-metre pool flanked by private shaded cabanas, a phalanx of flower-beds and a vineyard and ecological vegetable garden.
La Fonda Heritage, Marbella
Opened February, From €261 a night off season
Another first for Andalucia sees French brand gurus Relais & Chateaux open a stunning new boutique hotel in Marbella.
Following a giant €7.5m refurb, La Fonda Heritage is a genuine journey through elegance and a lesson on how to conserve the best features of an ancient property.
Indeed, the 16th century townhouse – one of the grandest in the resort – has maintained all its iconic features from the remarkable columns and arches to its pretty hydraulic tile floors.
The French, of course, know a thing or two about style and it is no surprise this wonderful addition to the Marbella hotel scene has been included in the 580-property chain, that launched in Paris in 1954.
The Olive Press was particularly impressed with the walled garden (see below left) and use of palms and other trees in internal patios offering a cooling and green effect.
The 20-room hotel’s restaurant, Jane, utilises the skills of well-travelled executive chef Pascal Silman, who’s worked under a series of French greats, including Roger Verge, Alain Ducasse and Michel Guerard.
Ikos Porto Petro, Mallorca
Opening June 2023 from €338 per night
ALL inclusive luxury Greek resort group Ikos is opening its second hotel in Spain this summer.
Already going great guns with their hip resort in Estepona, the group is set to open a second retreat in Mallorca.
Tucked away in upmarket Cala d’Or away from the hordes, you will definitely relax enjoying the five a la carte restaurants, food hall concept and a whole range of sports and treatment activities.
Best of all, kickback and head down to the nearby hidden beaches, which are among the best on the island.
Hotel OD Ocean Drive, Madrid
Opened 2022, from €200 a night
WHILE already open for nearly a year, the Olive Press has yet to write about the most recent opening from Mallorca’s hip OD chain. And the OD Ocean Drive hotel in Madrid doesn’t disappoint with this stylish, great value design hotel.
Cleverly slotting into a mid-price niche, right in the heart of Spain’s capital, the contemporary 72-room hotel is just 200m from the Royal Palace and almost the same to Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor and Gran Via.
In a rapidly developing barrio by the Opera house, it counts on a bright, inspirational reception area and lobby and a cool range of rooms, many with nice views across the square.
Best of all though is the rooftop pool and OD Sky Bar, which really comes to life in the evening, when guests sip on cocktails and canas.
Son Bunyola, Bunyola, Mallorca
Open June 16, From approx €600 a night in September
WE first wrote about the incredible UNESCO heritage estate British tycoon Richard Branson owns in the north-west of Mallorca a few years back… and when he opened a couple of villas last year we expected the hotel to follow soon afterwards.
Now, finally, after plenty of chopping and changing, the Son Bunyola Hotel will open with 26 rooms and suites this month.
The hotel is expected to be a new definition of luxury for the island, sitting in its incredible 1,300 acres of private land.
On a rocky headland, enveloped by a pine forest, the privileged guests can be guaranteed peace and silence.
It will count on two restaurants, an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, as well as a spa.
Nobu Hotel Sevilla
Opened April 2023. From €350 a night
YOU looking at me? You looking at me? Well you should be. Nobu Hospitality – part owned by Robert de Niro – has just opened its latest palatial hotel and restaurant in the heart of Sevilla.
Steeped in modern luxury and historic charm it offers an unforgettable style-orientated experience in this most historic of Andalucian cities.
Situated in the vibrant and colourful Plaza San Francisco, it counts on has amazing views of both the cathedral and Giralda.
The five-star establishment has 23 luxurious rooms each offering a sanctuary of modern Japanese minimalism.
Walnut wood-panelled suites have subtle furnishings and luxurious comfort detailing, from deep beds to ‘crisp high thread count linens’.
The Miyabi and Zen suites are particularly well appointed with their soothing cobalt and cream walls.
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