PRESS SECTION - Mediteranean Life



THE ENGLISH OASIS

In the Casa No. 7 Hotel, Seville, now boasts a unique new hotel where UK visitors will feel very much at home. Alan Clark Checked in.

Gonzalo del Rio y González Gordon is a man in love with his city.

As a member of one of Spain's great sherry families, he has travelled the world. But for him Seville has unique atmosphere and style to which he always returns. He is also however a staunch Anglophile and he had tried to merge these two very different worlds in the creation of his beautiful small hotel.

Casa No. 7 hotel is an elegant mansion dozing in an alleyway on the edge of the Barrio Santa Cruz, the loveliest quarter of old Seville. When Gonzalo del Rio found the house it was derelict and it has taken more than two years to transform it into the small jewel pictured on these pages.

Casa No. 7 hotel is what the British would call a town-house hotel and the French an hotel de charme. But it really doesn't feel like any sort of hotel at all. Simply a private house which happens to accept guests. To the British mind, that's a perfect definition of a B&B but this the most up-market one you'll ever see.

An English look for Seville

The house is decorated almost entirely in a very English style and Gonzalo del Rio hopes it will particularly attract visitors from the UK. Hotels in this part of Spain, even the most up market, can often seem a little spartan to our sensibilities - designed to be cool, they can feel aesthetically cold. But here the northern European look has been cleverly imposed on a very Spanish building without burying its original character, softening the hard elegance of wood and marble with rich cosy rugs and English chintzes.

All the rooms open, off a three storey atrium. After the heat and dust of the streets outside, the lounge and reading room are havens of civilised elegance with deep, comfy armchairs and softly lit paintings. The bedrooms are spacious and immaculately presented with the tiny touches that separate the average from the exceptional - like chocolates by your bedside, a shelf of good books and luxurious toiletries in your bathroom.

An exclusive house party

Gonzalo del Rio hopes that anyone staying at Casa No. 7 hotel will feel like members of a house party and not just names on a register. Although breakfast can naturally be taken in your room, he hopes you will join him in the beautiful formal dining room. To do so would be greatly to your advantage because his knowledge of Seville and fascination with her history would add a great deal to your visit. From the roof terrace he claims you can see 27 churches and no doubt knows the name of every one.

At Casa No. 7 hotel you'll be looked after by Gonzalo's small team of expert staff and welcomed effusively by an extremely licky puppy call Bufa.

If you're looking for satellite TV, mini-bars and anonymity, check in elsewhere. If you're looking for somewhere which will make your trip to Seville even more memorable, check in here.